Clothes can be one of our biggest outgoings, even if you wouldn’t exactly call yourself a fashionista.
You need day-to-day wear for home and work, formal clothes for events and occasions, going out outfits, utility wear, holiday clothes…the list goes on.
At the same time, clothes are a vital way of expressing ourselves, showcasing our personalities, creating our identities and boosting our confidence.
But being ready for every occasion and feeling good at the same time doesn’t always come cheap, particularly if you’re also buying clothes for growing children.
So what can you do to cut the cost of this basic essential, at a time when prices seem to be rising across the board?
Buy pre-loved clothes
We’re in a world where many people go through clothes at an alarming rate, often to keep up with the latest trends and because they refuse to be seen in the same outfit twice, both in real life and on social media.
But this trend of buying and disposing of clothes so regularly and on such a massive scale has led to huge concerns about the fashion industry’s environmental impact.
As consumers become more conscious of their own carbon footprints, many are now actively looking to source clothes in a more sustainable way, such as by buying second-hand clothes.
Purchasing pre-loved items can tick multiple boxes for environmentally conscious and hard-pressed shoppers.
Firstly, it reduces the level of demand for new clothing production, and therefore means there’s less waste and pollution.
Secondly, it can be extremely affordable, with even designer goods often available at knockdown prices.
And finally, buying pre-loved clothes allows people to express their own unique style, rather than conform to the trends dictated by big brands in the shops.
Where can I buy pre-loved clothes?
Scouring your local charity shops is a great way to find some stylish and affordable bargain clothes, and support a good cause at the same time.
If you thought charity shops were full of old-fashioned, dowdy and worn-out clothes, then think again, as many will be full of exciting options for people of all ages.
Of course, you can never be sure exactly what you’ll find when you start looking through the clothes racks, so it’s worth being patient in your search to find the right items for you.
Spending time browsing can also open your eyes to items that you might not ordinarily consider. What’s more, since charity shop clothes are so affordable, you’ll have a bit more freedom to experiment with different styles and mix things up a little.
Online marketplaces such as Vinted, Depop and eBay can also be a treasure trove for anyone searching for great clothes at low prices.
Simply set up an account and you can then search for the items you want to see. You can also use filters to narrow down your options even further, and then easily make a purchase.
Many of the items listed on apps such as Vinted will be as good as new, maybe even still with their shop tags on, yet on sale at ridiculously low prices, so it’s a really affordable way to refresh your wardrobe.
Declutter your wardrobe first
A good way to make the most out of charity shops and online marketplaces is to go through your own cupboards beforehand.
Are there any items of clothing that are in perfect condition that you’d forgotten all about and could be put back in rotation?
Could an item in perfect condition that you don’t wear any more be sold on an online marketplace and make you a few extra pounds?
Are there items in your wardrobe that have seen better days and need replacing?
If money is tight, you don’t want to be purchasing items you don’t really need, so it’s well worth making sure you know what you’ve already got and what you need to look for.
Style doesn’t have to be costly, either to your wallet or to the environment, so next time you’re in the market for some new clothes, why not start by looking for pre-loved items?