Second hand shopping: What to Look for

After my post about shopping second hand some of you told me that you’d also like to try it, but don’t know where to start and what to look for.

Second-hand stores can be a real treasure trove for anyone who likes to save money and who cares about our planet. But admittedly, they are also stuffed with junk nobody would want. So it’s somewhat like gold mining. You have to sift through a lot of silt to find a nugget. But believe me, the nuggets are out there.

If you’re not quite sure what to look for in a second-hand store, you can start by downloading my Basic Wardrobe List. This includes timeless pieces that are never out of fashion. This list can be used in stores that sell new clothing as well as in thrift stores.

Here are some hints to get you started:

  • Woolens and cashmere knitwear


  • Timeless outerwear such as coats, biker jackets, and trench coats 

Here you can read my post about how to choose a timeless coat


  • Pencil skirts are hard to go wrong with


  • As well as leather belts, gloves, and scarves


  • Partywear

Most party wear looks the same from year to year and is only worn once or twice, so they are almost always in great condition. Look for sequined, glitter, velvet skirts, blazers, tops, bags, jackets, and shoes.


  • Timeless items that are currently trending also can be bought second hand.

For example, some colors, houndstooth, plaid and animal prints, leather everything, sheer garments, cowboy boots, high waisted pants, etc.


  • Items that you‘ve missed in a department store and can’t stop thinking about may turn up in a thrift shop 


  • If you are an “advanced user” and understand different styles you can look for items that belong to a certain style. 

For example a bohemian or an avant-garde or a “girly girl” bag.


My suggestion is to decide what you’re going to be looking for in advance. You can save a lot of time in that way, but still, it can be fun to rummage around at random. You never know when you’ll see something you hadn’t even thought of, but have to have.

It would be a good idea to write down things you want and/or need and keep it with you at all times. Notes on your phone can be a good place to keep that list. So once you enter a thrift store you won’t be overwhelmed and forget your primary purpose for entering.

There are sites on the Internet as well that you may find well worth your while. There are eBay, Depop and Poshmark. If you know other good sites please share in the comments below.

I hope you have some success in trying some of these tips and if you find any bargains that bring you real pleasure, please let me know ;)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *