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What Should I Buy New, and What’s OK to Buy Secondhand?

Justin Grainger

New vs Secondhand Shop

These days, thrifting, or secondhand shopping, or consignment shopping, or whatever you choose to call purchasing items that are gently used or vintage, has become more than a way to update your wardrobe for less than retail prices. It’s a pastime, a hobby, even a means by which to explore the ins and outs of a new city while traveling or get to know the local flavor of various small boutique neighborhoods situated within or around large metropolises. Social media influencers will post on their pages or accounts with recent scores or rare finds. Teens often flock to consignment stores that hold the latest in coveted brand names and trendy styles where they can get more bang for their buck than at the mall, and still feel like a million bucks the next day at school. There’s even a whole market around reselling items collected at rummage sales or thrift stores that were underpriced there, for a markup on websites like eBay or even Etsy. The whole culture around secondhand shopping can be overwhelming, though. You might get really excited about going treasure hunting, then walk into the Goodwill or Value Village and become completely lost. You’ll wander out an hour later, emptyhanded and discouraged.


We’ve got the antidote to your thrift store blues. With a little forethought, you too can score big! Here’s what to put on your list – and what to leave off – next time you hit the secondhand shops.


Basic Wardrobe Staples – Yes

 Jeans. Slacks. Blouses. T-shirts. Blazers. Sweaters. Dresses. Coats. All these and more can be perfect for your list for your next thrift store excursion. The reality is that in a brick and mortar retail store, or even a big box discount store, you’ll be paying a hefty markup on whatever it cost to make those items you need to form the foundation of your wardrobe. These clothing items, though you do need to find the ones that sing to you and fit you just perfectly, are usually recycled through secondhand shops on a regular basis. This means that you have a high likelihood of finding a variety of options in your size no matter when you choose to shop. Look for your basic wardrobe staples at secondhand shops, and you won’t regret it.


Statement Pieces and Risks – Yes

 Statement pieces and items of clothing that are outside your comfort zone can be a bit trickier to shop for at secondhand stores. This is because you won’t be able to know in advance exactly what you will find. However, this shouldn’t dissuade you from looking for statement pieces that are gently used. Chances are, if you open yourself up to a few pieces you wouldn’t reach for off the rack at first, you’ll be happily surprised with what you end up bringing home – for a price that makes risks quite low stakes.


Undergarments, Suits, and Jewelry – Buy New

 There are certain things that you would be better advised to purchase new, and these include some of the obvious items – like underwear, tights, bras, boxers, lingerie, et cetera – but also a few items you might not expect, such as suits or jewelry. Secondhand suits have already likely been tailored to fit their previous owner, making it less likely you can have them tailored to fit you affordably. And jewelry is often sold at secondhand stores for an even higher price than you might buy it new – especially Fashion Rings that feature simulated center stones like our simulated amethyst rings or simulated alexandrite rings. For these items, you can usually find exactly what you’re looking for online.

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