Experts weigh in how to navigate your way through the secondhand shopping market

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(NEW YORK) – With inflation and higher prices across all industries, many people are looking closely at how to save or further expand their dollars. Fashion is not excluded from the discussion and is one of the reasons why there is an ongoing boom in the second hand shopping market.

From thrift stores to online consignment stores, these accessible destinations give shoppers the opportunity to breathe new life into used items, save money and acquire a more environmentally friendly wardrobe.

At a time when there are so many fast fashion retailers mass-producing large amounts of clothing, everyone from influencers to shopping enthusiasts is opening up to the idea of ​​slow fashion through second-hand shopping and other methods.

“It helps slow down the carbon footprint in the fashion industry,” Iesha Gilchrist, fashion content creator and owner of @ThriftNTell, told ABC News. Good morning America. “I’m not sure there’s a way to stop it completely, but knowing that I’m choosing to check out the thrift store first rather than these popular fast fashion websites, then I am one.” One less person contributing to overcrowded landfills. ”

Dallas-based fashion and beauty influencer Stephanie Taylor Jackson also explained GMA that another key benefit is the endless amount of unique vintage pieces you can find when you go second hand shopping.

“It’s always very special to find something that no one else has right now,” she said.

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She added: “You are doing your part to help the environment. Instead of throwing something away, destroying it or even sitting on the shelf unused, I see second-hand shopping as a new life for beautiful pieces.”

Late last year, she snagged a beloved Chanel purse from online luxury fashion resale site Fashionphile.

Expert tips on second-hand shopping

If you’re brand new to the idea of ​​thrift shopping and not sure where to start, you’re not alone. If you’re a newbie, Gilchrist recommends not going in with high expectations and checking out several stores.

“If you find a staple at a thrift store, you win,” she said. “Thrifting is all about building a sustainable dream wardrobe and adding a few on-trend pieces here and there.”

Taylor added that another key factor is to always look out for reputable websites and retailers that can guarantee authenticity.

Madeline Cronin Aaronson, brand director at major online mail order and thrift store thredUP, pointed this out GMA how easy it can be to get carried away with really fun, unique pieces. Her tip for making the best decision: “My rule of thumb is to have at least three items in my closet that go with the thrift item. That way I know it’s a worthwhile addition to my wardrobe. Worst case, if you save an item that ends up not working, you can always resell it and reintroduce it into the circular economy for someone else to try.”

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In addition to the above advice, CEO and founder of luxury used car consignment business Dora Maar said Lauren T. Wilson GMA Knowing your style and knowing your measurements are other important factors.

“Make sure you know your chest, waist, and hip measurements,” she said. “Each designer is different, so platforms like Dora Maar are careful to include measurements on our clothing descriptions so our consumers know if it’s the right size for them.”

What is real and what is not?

When shopping second hand, especially for luxury items, it can sometimes be difficult to distinguish what is authentic and what is not.

Gilchrist suggests that it is best to research and examine the product thoroughly.

“Pay very close attention to the stitching and lining. Personally, I can tell when something is cheaply made, especially when it’s faux leather,” she said. “Most dupes or fakes have something special about them, whether it’s the color of the thread, the zipper, the lining, or the logo font – don’t get me wrong, there are some great fakes out there that can fool you. Researching your favorite designer brands always is.” my best advice before buying.”

If the platform you’re shopping on doesn’t have its own authentication process, there are a few trusted sites that can help, including Authenticate First, Real Authentication, and Zekos Authentication.

What are some downsides to shopping at thrift and consignment stores?

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Taylor advises buyers to be sure they are aware of the condition of the item they are purchasing – especially anything they buy online.

“Use the rating scale that many sites have and ask for additional photos if possible,” she said.

In addition to thoroughly checking the condition, Gilchrist warns to confirm you’re not bringing home “unwanted guests” like bugs, rodents, germs, etc. from a thrift store.

She added, “Make sure you thoroughly shake and inspect every piece of clothing you pick up and try to stay away from stained clothing, especially if you can’t tell where the stain came from.”

The final result

“In a world of fast fashion, second-hand shopping offers a rare opportunity to extend the life of an item, whether it’s a Chanel bag or a Carolina Herrera dress,” said Wilson. “It took time and real craftsmanship to create these pieces. Being a fashion lover and giving that piece a new life is a wonderful thing. I also firmly believe that there is more satisfaction in buying second-hand – you search and explore, and more often than not you find a piece that speaks to you and has a unique flair that you won’t find anywhere else.”

According to Experts, the Best Online Stores for Pre-Loved Consignment Shopping:

Dora Maar
fashion enthusiast
The Real Real
Julia RoseBoston
Vestiaire collective

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