There's nothing that throws a wrench in careful budgeting plans quite like a well-intentioned shopping trip. I learned that lesson the hard way when I moved to New York City. Sure, I worked in fashion, but between rent (terrifying), groceries, and the occasional Seamless order, I wasn't left with much of a budget for clothing. Since admitting defeat and swearing off shopping altogether wasn't an option, I was forced to get creative with the ways I shop.
Learning to prioritize my purchases was my most important skill. Momentary trends were passed over for quality pieces. I weaned myself off of fast fashion, and I instead began to master the art of secondhand shopping. Not only was it exhilarating to find something special (like the time I discovered Freda Salvador boots—in my size—for $40), but to me, secondhand shopping solved my biggest shopping dilemmas all at once. I could still save for bigger-ticket items I wanted without paying full price. And instead of having to throw away inexpensive pieces in tatters by the end of the season, I've held on to the styles I love, which is great for me and better for the environment.
From brick-and-mortar stores like Crossroads and Buffalo Exchange to online shops like Vestiaire Collective and apps like DePop, there are so many ways to get those pieces you really want, even if you can't afford them when they're brand-new. And while now I'm able to treat myself once in awhile, I still find that shopping secondhand makes special splurges more attainable.
Below, I'm highlighting my three important rules for mastering the art of secondhand shopping. Check them out, and then shop a few of my favorite styles right now!
1. Play the Long Game
My big suggestion is to keep a list somewhere close (I have a note on my phone) of things you want and need in your wardrobe. That could mean something as simple as a great pair of vintage jeans, or it could be a splurge you're holding out for, but keeping a record will make it easy to say no to the things that aren't already on the list of must-owns.
2. Don't Be Afraid to Splurge
One of the great things about secondhand shopping is the fact that you can get some of the nicest pieces for half-off or more. Still, that doesn't always mean the items are exactly affordable. If you've saved up for something special, don't be afraid to go for it. My one rule: I think about the item relative to what I already own. If it's something I think I'll wear, I'll do it.
3. Don't Get Distracted
Through my own trial and error, I've learned a lesson or two about buying something for the steal instead of out of necessity. Secondhand shopping calls for some serious discipline because something that almost fits, or isn't quite the right color won't ever be as valuable to you as what you were holding out for.
shop secondhand must-haves
NYC fashion girls love this cool brand.
Cool logo tees are an easy way to spring for something from a brand you love.
This stylishly simple coat is a cool choice.
There's no such thing as owning too many pairs of sneakers.
Get the vintage-inspired look for less.
These shorts are sporty with a fashionable twist.
Summer is right around the corner, and it's time for a chic pair of slides.
Update your look with an eclectic pair of hoops you can wear forever.
This T-shirt is a must for It girls around the globe.
The classics will never go out of style.
Sunglasses can make or break a great outfit.
Do you have any other tips for secondhand shopping? Let us know in the comments!