This year, we're celebrating Earth Day by encouraging you to shop second hand to help reduce waste and increase the lifespan of your wardrobe. We’ve put together our top second hand tips to help you shop more responsibly and build a killer wardrobe.
What Is Earth Day & Why Is It Celebrated?
Earth Day is an annual celebration that honours the achievements of the environmental movement and raises awareness of the need to protect Earth's natural resources for future generations. Celebrated on every 22nd of April since 1970, Earth Day not only honours our planet, but acts as a reminder to speak about climate change. Earth Day even has its own website! earthday.org was created to educate and activate the environmental movement on a global scale, so far successfully working with 150.000 different partners in over 192 countries.
How To Get Involved?
There are many activities you could do to honour our planet on Earth Day! Simply by checking out the Earth Day website or online charities/petitions can give you insightful information into the importance of living more sustainably and educative messages you can spread to those around you.
Being more conscious of your consumption habits could begin with exploring your local charity/second-hand shops. If you prefer online shopping, there are now an array of apps and websites to check out such as Vinted or Depop, where you can both buy and sell cool and unique pieces.
Why Buy Second Hand Clothes?
You will surprisingly make a beneficial contribution to the global mission of minimising climate change by shopping second hand. Here are some reasons as to why extending clothing lifespan, recycling and reducing fashion consumption is an important part of your personal responsibility towards our planet and also self-beneficial activity.
1. More Ethical and Sustainable
In terms of sustainability, shopping second hand and donating unwanted clothes to charity/thrift shops helps reduce the level of waste ending up in landfills. By increasing the lifespan of an item, the demand for newness could be minimised, meaning less resources such as water are wasted on production. As an example, to manufacture 1 pair of jeans an average of 1800 gallons of water is used.
The rate of consumption, growth of fast fashion and customer demand for trendy but cheaply made clothes implies use of low quality materials with a higher environmental damage. If you choose to shop vintage clothing however, they often tend to be made with higher quality materials and construction techniques.
From a socio-economic perspective, the fast fashion business has a history of unfairly paying its workers. Shopping more ethically can ensure you are contributing to workers receiving pay above the national minimum wage.
2. Gives Your Wardrobe A Unique Style
Vintage clothing is one of the biggest current fashion trends. Luxury houses are even exploring upcycling clothing, celebrities often style with at least one archival piece . Second hand clothing is the ultimate way to make your outfit unique, as pieces are rare and people won’t be able to find an instant replica with the same durability on a fast fashion website.
3. Helps Support Small Businesses & Charities
Supporting local, independent owned businesses is really important to keep a healthy cycle in our global economy. Particularly when buying from a charity shop, not only are you helping reduce the growth of immense profit for big corporations which tend to pay unfairly, but you’re supporting an amazing cause and multiple individuals in the process.
4. Second Hand Clothing Has A Story To Tell
Shopping second hand allows space for creativity, building a story around an outfit. Focusing on the character of a piece gives more credit to the designer and their work behind the garment.
A vintage outfit could be a great conversation starter, the manufacture of a piece or the specific era it was designed can tie together an interesting and unique narrative. Some pieces might be discontinued by their brand or designer, so your outfit could bring a sense of nostalgia and honour creativity.
5. Is Often More Cost-Effective
Not only does shopping second hand economically benefit the small businesses, it will also benefit you! Already existing pieces are often a much cheaper alternative than mass produced garments, which are made on demand for a very current look. As trends are coming back around, you’ll often find that fast fashion takes inspiration from vintage – the second hand option is a no brainer alternative.
How To Shop Second Hand: Second Hand Shopping Tips
If you’re new to trying out vintage, you may feel overwhelmed by not knowing where to start and how to style. Glass Onion Vintage have the perfect second hand shopping tips to get you started as a sustainable fashion consumer.
Shop With A Purpose
When building an outfit, staple pieces are key! Having in mind specific must needs that you can restyle and re-wear is always a good way to start building your wardrobe. Don’t waste money by instantly trying to find a dupe of a celebrity/influencer piece that probably won’t stay on trend for longer than a few months. Instead, start by shopping with purpose for items that you know will suit you and that will be classic and adaptable.
Keep An Open Mind
If you’re just starting out thrifting, we’ll be honest – chances are you won’t find your perfect hidden gem at first glance. But be patient and keep an open mind, good second hand shopping takes time! Along the way you’ll learn to love the search and will discover some really interesting garments with amazing stories behind them. Second hand shopping make a great day activity or even a hobby, you’ll never know what you come across.
Know Your Size & Try Clothes On If You Can
When it comes to second hand, sizing can be a little bit more difficult. It’s important therefore that you know you measurements, and if possible, try on before you buy. Don’t be vague with knowing your sizing, specific measurements can help vintage brands find you your perfect fit, especially when shopping online.
Embrace Small Imperfections
With second hand pieces, imperfections are a given. But this isn’t something you should be put off by. The worn look adds to the character of a piece, and often small damages can easily be repaired. Just because something has imperfections doesn’t mean wearability is lost, it in fact could be quite cool.
Alter If Necessary
Often any alterations needed for second hand clothing are minor. Shortening, taking in the waist or a few stitches can easily adapt the fitting of a garment from one silhouette to another. These can be done cost-effectively too. Making small changes so that a piece fits you perfectly will also make you more inclined to wear it again and again.
Ignore The Size On The Label
If an item is from a different decade, sizing might vary from then to now. Different brands also often have varied sizing processes from one another. It’s important you don’t pay much attention to the original label, instead take a measuring tape with you in store or if shopping online enquire with the team members for details.
Do Your Research
Reiterating the idea of not shopping for a short term trend, it’s important you get wearability from your vintage piece by knowing what suits you and what defines your style. Do some research into brands you might like to wear, what vintage they have to offer, so that you know what to look for rather than buying just because.
Look For Quality
If you’re willing to shop more consciously, your mindset needs to be quality over quantity. Look into the durability of a product, learn about its manufacturing process, materials used and if the condition is up to standards for a second, third or fourth restyle.
Be Willing To Pay A Little More For Quality Vintage
Although general vintage is more cost-effective than contemporary trendy pieces, certain good quality/rare second hand can be found to be pricey. If you’re sure to know this fits your style, and you have a genuine interest behind the story of the product, then you’ve probably found a staple worth investing in. Great conditioned vintage with a defined uniqueness tends to be priced highly as it will be in high demand for second hand curators.
Care For The Clothing You Have
Alongside shopping consciously and caring for the planet comes caring for your clothes. Some vintage pieces in particular might require special care in order to keep the condition at its very best. Look after your wardrobe and it will offer you the durability it was intended to give when designed.
Where To Buy Second Hand Clothes?
There are lots of places where you can buy vintage and second hand clothing, including thrift stores, online, vintage clothing brands, flea markets, pop up events and much more. Here’s our top recommendations on where to buy second hand clothes:
Charity shops are one of the most affordable ways of finding second hand and vintage clothing. Not only that but the money you spend will also go to a good cause. Check out the local charity shops in your area and discover some hidden gems.
Many cities have dedicated vintage clothing shops that specialise in men’s, women’s and branded vintage clothing. Shopping in store allows you to try on items before you buy them and inspect them for quality. Vintage fashion is becoming increasingly popular in the UK and we expect to see more vintage clothing stores popping up and down the country.
Glass Onion Vintage has its physical store in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. Here we offer a variety of menswear, womenswear, accessories and numerous vintage brands, including Nike, Adidas, Carhartt and more. We also stock some really unique rare garments and, of course, our Remade pieces. Our factory team in Barnsley hand makes pieces and repurposes clothing which was originally destined for landfill. Check out the tag of the garment and you’ll find out if it was sustainably reworked by us! Our store is located on Division Street alongside other second hand businesses, offering you the chance for an exciting thrifting day out in a great city.
Online Vintage Clothing Brands
If you prefer shopping online then you’re in luck as there are plenty of online vintage clothing brands including us, Glass Onion.
Our website offers a multitude of brands, pieces from different eras and collections. On trend styles so that you can easily find the look you want. From the 70s, to Y2K, T-Shirts, Rare pieces, incredible Denim and Leather, our amazing web team is here to offer product knowledge and package your order with care.
Websites and apps such as Etsy, eBay, Depop and Vinted are great places to find second hand clothing. You can also use Instagram hashtags like #vintageclothing or #vintagefashion to find sellers.
Estate Sales And Garage Sales
Estate sales and garage sales can be a great place to find vintage clothing, although you may have to spend some time searching before finding your perfect piece.
Flea Markets And Antique Stores
Flea markets and antique stores may have a small selection of vintage clothing, but they are worth checking out. They’re also great spots for vintage homeware.
Customer pictures by @cocovandijk @pippagilroy @omgtiffanie @tildabeino @bylizzycapps @tonihaswell
Start Shopping Second Hand
Overall, the best place to shop for vintage clothing will depend on your location and budget. It may take some time to find the perfect piece, but the hunt for vintage clothing can be part of the fun. Shopping second hand is a great hobby to pick up that’s cost-effective, interactive, socially, economically and environmentally friendly. In honour of Earth Day, we hope to inspire, inform and educate you on being a conscious consumer and the benefits it will bring you, others around you, and of course, our planet.
Sources: Eco Watch, BBC Radio 4, Earthday.org