I am not sure when pre-owned fashion shopping became such a way of life for me but I do know that I find it really hard to buy brand new these days. My obsession is not driven solely by thriftiness, although of course we all love to save a few £s, but more by the fact that I have a genuine fascination for ‘out of season’ shopping.
I get a real thrill from tracking down and snagging those catwalk pieces that I missed first time around and the wait, whether it be a few months or a couple of years just makes the prize all the sweeter. I have been searching out past season fashion for years and I wanted to share my 10 top tips on getting the most out of this most exciting of sports*
1. Make a list of things you’d love to own as and when you spot them. My brain is like a Rolodex with catwalk pieces I love neatly stored for future reference. If you don’t have a weird filing system in your head then make notes, tear out pages from magazines, tattoo yourself – whatever it takes to keep you focused and on track.
2. Make your search area as broad as possible – check eBay, dedicated re-selling sites and high street second hand designer stores as often as you can.
3. Be pro-active. Contact people who may be able to help (see above) and ask them to keep an eye out for you. They may even be able to source directly for you from their own network.
4. Sign up for style alerts and newsletters, otherwise you could miss out on the pieces your heart most desires.
5. Have an idea of what you are prepared to pay and be realistic. Yes second hand is usually cheaper, but do remember that many top end labels sell for a premium even pre-owned. Sold out and limited edition items can go for more than retail as can collectible pieces.
6. Know you limits – if you don’t have a couple of grand then you won’t get a Tom Ford for Gucci cut-out dress but you may get a pair of heels from the same collection for much less.
7. Make sure you really take notice of condition. Minor issues such as pilling, loose seams below the zip are very common and can easily be fixed yourself. More substantial repairs can be done by an expert but do watch out as they can be expensive, especially on fabrics such as leather and fur.
8. If buying online check measurements and sizing. Fashion labels can have widely different sizings, even within their own label. Balenciaga, Louboutin and Roland Mouret are renown for their small fits whereas Marni, Yohji Yamamoto and Marc Jacobs tend to be more generous.
9. Take your time. You may not find what you want straight away but if you keep searching you almost certainly will. Good things do indeed come to those who wait.
10. Enjoy the chase. Once you do snag your first piece you’ll be hooked.
We’d love to hear about any ‘missed and found’ pieces that you managed to track down or if there are any you are still on the look out for.