Words & Images: Ruth Logan
About 70% of my wardrobe is vintage, charity shop sourced, second hand, hand-me-down, borrowed, swap shopped, eBayed or altered. The only items which aren’t are a few pairs of jeans, shoes, a couple of bags and some of my evening outfits. If I buy into the high street, I buy and use it A LOT, e.g. I bought my Topshop stonewash jeans four years ago and I’m still roaming around in them! Some of the best tips I can give you on vintage and second hand shopping are pretty simple…
1) Try on!!! I cannot express this enough. The majority of clothes in these stores are a good few years old, and body shapes have changed within these years, meaning the high street has had to adjust to these changes. A garment which says it’s a size 12 could actually be more suited to a size 14.
2) Rummage, don’t just flick. The things you will find when you actually delve into the rails can really surprise you. I’ve seen some friends walk away with fantastic finds, including a pair of snake print jeans and a two tone leather jacket from the 1960’s.
3) Travel around different cities and towns for different stores. I’m from Glasgow and grew up surrounded by fabulous vintage stores in its West End. Now I’m a student in Aberdeen and have scoured the city for vintage and charity shops. I go to Edinburgh whenever I can to attack their stores and also travel around the small towns outside of Glasgow, like Bearsden and Bishopbriggs. A favourite place of mine and my best friend’s is St. Andrews; go at the end of term when students are moving away and have to ditch a lot of their clothes. That’s when you’ll get the best finds.
4) eBay! Oh good old eBay. I have to admit that it’s a love-hate relationship between us. I’ve had some disastrous buys from there when I think it looks perfect and it arrives and… well, I’d rather not talk about it. Be careful and think to yourself “would I really suit this?” or “would this size really fit me?” Email the seller any of your questions or queries, this will make your decision easier. Also, don’t just think eBay is good for clothing, I’ve made some pearl necklaces from 500 pearls I bought from a seller for £3, and I am about to buy 100 studs to decorate a t-shirt with.
5) Do a regular wardrobe clearout with your flatmates/friends. This is a brilliant way to keep your wardrobe new and exciting without spending any money. My flatmate and myself do this every few months and because we have such different styles (she’s quite grunge/gothic/pretty and I’m more of a boyish/girl/comfy) we wear each other’s items differently. This also works well with swap shops, but go to ones that are targeted to your age! You don’t want to show up with body con dresses and lace tops to an event that is made up mainly of 50 year olds… that might be a little awkward.
6) Bored of a dress? Cut its sleeves off! Bored of jeans? Cut them into shorts and fray them! Bored of a t-shirt? Buy some faux leather and studs, and add a leather pocket and studded shoulders! Bored of shorts? Add some lace to the pockets and some cute buttons! Be creative, don’t get boring.
These outfits are some of my recent ones, which are all made up of second hand, vintage, altered, swapped or eBayed pieces (except shoes; I’m a very protective and sensitive person when it comes to feet. Laugh all you want…) The best thing about second hand shopping? No one else will have the exact same thing as you.