It's been a year (and a few days) since I've set myself the challenge to only shop for clothes second-hand. I had to make an exception once for family reasons, but apart from that it went well- I think.
Here's what I've learned:
1. Identifying your style first helps
I'd spent QUITE some time beforehand thinking about the clothes I wanted in my wardrobe. There are so many beautiful second-hand clothes out there, that I was tempted to buy pretty much all of them. But I knew that all the beautiful dresses (especially) would end up just taking up space.
2. Online is great, local is better
Firstly, it supports a (usually) small, local shop. And secondly, you can try on the clothes before buying them. I learned the hard way that sizing differs across brands and some online marketplaces won't let you return the items if they don't fit.
3. Take your time and NEVER look for specific items
I suppose this is the same as with 'normal' shopping, but you will never find the perfect LBD if you are searching for it. I've found it best to limit myself to a type of clothing (tops, trousers, skirts, dresses...) and just browse what's on offer.
4. A bit too big is fine
If a piece of clothing is a bit too big, you can have it altered. Too short or too tight are no-nos (obvs).
5. A bargain is great, quality is more important
I've applied that rule to normal clothes shopping for years and I've found it to be even more true when shopping second-hand. I know a bargain is tempting. But buying badly made clothes is a recipe for disaster. Especially since second-hand clothes have been worn and washed (at least once). I don't want to spend even a Euro on clothes, the seams of which look dodgy; they tend to fall apart after a few washes. And second-hand really only looks good with well cared-for, quality clothes.
6. Only buy what you LOVE
Another rule that also applies to normal shopping. It's quite possibly the most important one when shopping for clothes.
So, would I do it again? Absolutely. In fact, I'll stick to shopping second-hand for most of my clothes. It's fun, sustainable and a lot more individual than the local big-brand stores. I'll also sew more of my own clothes and buy from small, ethical, sustajnable brans when necessary.