Pre-loved or second-hand clothes are a real option if you’re on a budget, want to have an individual style and protect the environment.

Here’s some tips for finding unique bargains you’ll love for ages.

Tip 1 – Go with a purpose

Have in mind what you’re looking for. A particular outfit for an event? A specific piece to fill a gap in your wardrobe? Or if you’re following a trend such as velvet, denim or mini-skirts. If you have a focus you’ll skim the rails, spot the possibilities and shop much faster.

And keep your other clothes in mind and look for pieces that go with other items in your wardrobe.

Tip 2 – Focus on quality

Check, check and check again. Examine the whole piece for tears and stains. Check the quality of the fabric, is it already looking worn or bobbly? Are the buttons secure and the seams all intact?
Even if you completely love it, have a think about whether you have the time, energy or budget to fix the problem or pay someone else to fix it.

Tip 3 – Chat

The staff in 2nd hand shops are often there for the love of clothes, vintage or because they feel strongly about the charity they represent. Ask them if there is a special rail with vintage or designer pieces. Or if you can’t see what you’re after on the rails ask what’s out the back. There are often piles of great clothes waiting to come out onto the rails so asking for a sneak peak is always worth a try.

Tip 4 – Online options

For the charities, Oxfam has Oxfam Fashion online and Cancer Research has an eBay store.

There are also great sites such as Depop, We Are Cow, Beyond Retro, Vinted, and Vestiaire Collective selling vintage, sportswear, designer clothes in perfect condition and at great prices.