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Thrifty Fashion Blog

Your Guide to Secondhand Shopping in London

Written by Swoop supporter, Laura Turner of Thrifty Londoner

When it comes to secondhand shopping in the capital, you are spoiled with thrift stores, charity shops, and vintage clothing stores by the dozen. In fact, you might even feel overwhelmed with the number of options available to you. So how do you navigate secondhand shopping in London? It’s certainly a sustainable, pocket-friendly way to shop- but if you don’t know where to begin, you may never get started! Here are some top tips to accelerate you to a second hand shopping stardom.

Make a list

The best way to stay focused when you’re second hand shopping is to make a list of key items that you are searching for. Take the time to go through your wardrobe and identify what might be missing. A black roll neck jumper? A trench coat? A pair of dungarees? Keep a list of items in the notes section of your phone so that you have a list to refer to every time you pass by a store. Whenever you’re in a new neighborhood, make a point of popping into the local charity shops and thrift stores, you never know what you might find!

Try stuff on

What looks great on a hanger, may not look so good in reality. Trying items on can help avoid waste, avoid spending money unnecessarily, and also means that you can check the sizing and fit. Vintage sizing and European sizing can often vary from modern UK sizing- so it’s definitely worth a quick dash to the changing rooms. 

Check items carefully

There is nothing worse than bringing home a gem of an item, only to find that there’s a red wine stain down the front that you didn’t see in the store. It happens! Make sure that you check over any garments you purchase to ensure there is no staining, pulls, holes or fraying. Key areas to check are the inner neckline, armpits, cuffs and also the hem.

Head to London charity shop hot spots

London has many neighbourhoods, and some have multiple charity shops along one street. In some areas you may find up to eight charity shops in very close proximity. This makes a great charity shop ‘crawl.’ You can hit lots of shops in a short space of time, maximizing your chances of coming across something perfect.

Recommended areas include: Chelsea, Balham, Wimbledon, and Hampstead. Not only do these areas have lots of charity shops, they are also affluent areas of London where donations are likely to be high quality.

Try shopping online

If thrift shopping makes you break out in a cold sweat? Try shopping second hand online. Not only do you have access to huge online marketplaces such as eBay, Vinted, and Depop, but you can also narrow down your search to exactly what you want. You may even be able to find current season items for a snip of the original RRP- that’s where Swoop comes in. Simply add the Swoop browser extension, and Swoop will take case of the rest. When searching for an item of clothing, Swoop will find you the same item (or something similar!) second hand, and much cheaper. This takes all the hassle out of trawling eBay yourself- and you’ll feel great about saving some money and doing your bit for the planet too!

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