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In this article, I share 5 tips on how to shop in a second hand, consignment store or a thrift store. Shopping in a second hand or consignment store is a more sustainable way of purchasing new clothes and it saves your money.

So what rules one should follow to shop in second hands successfully?

urrentlywearing swiss blog_sustainable fashion_3 tips how to shop in a second hand
Rule 1: Make a list.

In order to avoid buying what you don’t need, make a list, and stick to it. If you need a blouse, don’t buy a cashmere sweater that you don’t need. Even if it is an expensive brand or your color. It is better to leave empty-handed than spend money on an item you already have in your closet.

Rule 2: Make sure you have enough time & and a clear idea of what you look for.

When you go to a consignment, second hand, or a thrift store, make sure you have enough time. Most of the time, I check item by item and it takes time.

When you go to a consignment, second hand, or a thrift store, make sure you have enough time. Most of the time, I check item by item and it takes time.

Be patient.

Sometimes I don’t find anything that would fit my style or my color palette*. But when I come back two weeks later, I find something that I like and need.

*Buying clothes that are in my color palette (I am “warm autumn”) has saved me a lot of headaches and $. Now I buy only colors that flatter me. Not what is currently in fashion or looks good on someone else.

Timing is everything.

Ask the owner/ shop keeper, when they receive new clothes, and how often they add new pieces. This way you’ll know when to come back.

Rule 3: Choose natural materials over synthetic ones.

Normally, I would not recommend that you purchase conventional cotton, silk, wool, or cashmere because these fabrics are not sustainable. They are natural and biodegradable but the way they are grown and processed is not sustainable towards the environment, farmers, workers.

Furthermore, when we talk about silk, wool, fur, and leather, the whole industry’s behavior is not ethical towards the animals. The exception is ethically sourced wool, cashmere, or silk.

BUT buying these fabrics in a second hand represents an exception. Because these fabrics have already produced and would end up in a landfill, you’re giving them a second life.

Rule 4: Inspect the item properly.

Make sure there are no, holes, food stains, or decoloration. Check for sweat marks under the arms, and any loose threads.

Rule 5: Negotiate the asking price (if reasonable).

If you really want to buy the garment but there is a food stain, decoloration, or a loose thread that YOU CAN FIX, ask for a discount. Don’t buy a Chanel jacket just because it is Chanel if there is a red wine stain that you don’t know how to get rid of.

For example, if you choose a pair of jeans that are a bit larger on your hips but you know a tailor that can fix it, go on. Buy it. Just make sure that the additional cost won’t be high.

And a rule number 6, that my husband would add: Budget for it.

Include it in your budget so that you don’t spend money that you don’t have. Even if it’s only 30$, if you spend it every week, you’ll get to 120$ per month. If you include this amount in your budget, you won’t have any unpleasant surprise at the end of the month.


Click here to find my List of consignment stores, charity shops, and second hands in Geneva.

Watch my video ” 3 Reasons Why I shop at Second hands”.