Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Mirror Has Two Faces: What to Watch Out for When Buying Secondhand Clothing

Examiner.com folded ealier his month, so I have decided to repost all my articles here on my blog. This one is part of a two part article looking at the two sides of buying clothes on a budget.


The Mirror Has Two Faces: What to Watch Out for When Buying Secondhand Clothing



Probably most of us on a budget know all too well that clothing does not have to be brand name or even brand new to be fabulous and fun. You can go shopping in your friend or sister's closet (with permission of course), you can get vintage clothes from older relatives, you can shop at the D.I., factory outlet stores, consignment shops or other second hand stores.
There are a lot of options out there and though it can take some serious time, finding usable used clothes can be like a treasure hunt and really can be fun and exciting. When buying secondhand though, do remember to check the item carefully before purchasing.
Be sure to check for:
  • Holes
We know this may seem obvious, but sometimes the holes themselves are not. To avoid any possible regret later take the item into a dressing room and check every inch of it for even the tiniest of holes. If it is knit material or has some stretch then gently stretch it as you search so that nothing will be missed. Be sure to check near the shoulders and around the collar or waistband areas front and back, along the side seams and the bottom edges as well as across the middle.
  • Ripped seams
This check will be easier since you can follow along each seam pulling each side gently and easily discover if there is an area where the seam popped.
  • Stained underarms
It often surprises us how often shoppers forget this important detail. When you try on a top or dress raise your arms in front of the mirror and look for even subtle discolorations. Also, this may seem gross but you also really ought to smell the armpit area. The hugest regret we have ever discovered in buying secondhand is the discovering that certain items seems to have “perma B.O.” from who knows who! Even after repeated washings and special treatments it often proves to be a lost cause that some stinky shirts are simply beyond salvation.
  • Missing buttons/broken zippers
This can even be an issue with new items occasionally so it should already be a part of your shopping routine. Always test zippers, don't forget coat pockets make sure you have tested them all, even the hidden inner pockets that some winter coats have. Also always test all the buttons. We know it is time consuming but better to spend a little more time than to take something home that you'll never wearing because the first time you tried a prominent button split.
  • Loose threads
Sometimes loose threads can be simply that, extra threads that just happened to become attached and are not part of the garment. By gently pulling on any that you find you will soon see whether the items has any that will be of later concern.
  • Other stains
This means stains around the collar or anywhere else on the body of the garment. Collar stains can sometimes be remedied by soaking them with shampoo before washing, but even this may not prove to be a permanent solution. Often it seems that once something is stained, especially with oily substances they will remain stained, or the stains will continue to resurface as the oil continues to grab new dust. Also try it on in a well lit dressing room and stand back looking for general discolorations or fading. We've also found it helpful to sit down in the garment, especially if it is pants or a skirt and look at your lap for a few minutes. This is when the tiny flaws and stains usually appear that were invisible before. Like when you're waiting at the doctor's office or are sitting in church. Don't let those places be the location in which you discover flaws in your clothes. Think about this ahead of time and you'll have much more peace of mind and be able to focus better in that important work meeting.
  • Signs of wear
Probably the most overlooked item on this list. Signs of wear can mean anything from slightly sheer elbows on a cardigan or sweater, or slight pilling or fuzziness on a knit top. Even if the pilling is not too bad, scrutinize the material carefully and ask yourself how much longer it will last before it starts to look too shabby for church. Even if you never intend to wear it to church, this is a good gauge to go by.



The same rules apply when buying used online. Be sure to ask questions if you aren't sure of the quality. Even if it seems perfect, the seller may be hiding something so it would be best to verify this list of questions with the seller.

Photo Credits:
Photo by Nathan Cox, Getty Images. Catherine Tyldesley attends Manchester Pride 2012 on August 24, 2012 in Manchester, England.
August 24, 2012 License 


CHICHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 15: A lady browses vintage clothing in a shop during Day 3 of the Vintage at Goodwood Festival on August 15, 2010 in Chichester, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images for Vintage at Goodwood)