Shop preloved like a pro

Dress by Simone Rocha

Dress by Simone Rocha

With more people becoming conscious of being environmentally friendly and shopping with sustainability in mind, preloved fashion is having a major moment. Campaigns such as #slowfashion are encouraging more of us to embrace the fashion already out there and to ditch trend driven fast fashion in favour of more quality and longer lasting items. To shop preloved is an altogether different experience than visiting your local high street store. You aren’t feed items and styling ideas in the same commercial way and there is an art to trawling rails and bagging that ultimate bargain.


The term ‘second hand’ got a bit of a bad rap so somewhere along the way the phrase ‘preloved’ became more popular which is now more often applied to shops and outlets today. There is no difference between the two although there is a tendency to attribute preloved to more high-end items, such as designer wear. Following the launch of Hospice’s pop-up Preloved to Reloved store in Liberty Wharf, I decided to style some of their more covetable pieces and to write a handy guide to buying preloved goods.

Jacket by Marni and skirt by Teija

Jacket by Marni and skirt by Teija

Be adventurous

Often preloved items can look like nothing on the hanger so its important to shop with an open and imaginative mind and make sure to try everything on. Search out prints which you are drawn to, luxurious fabrics or items with an interesting cut. You’ll find value in hard-wearing pieces like coats and handbags and investing in classics will give you a great cost per wear. Don’t always imagine items for the purpose for which they were created. A long skirt could make a great bandeau dress, or a large jumper could hang off a shoulder for an oversized, sexy look.

Shirt by Mariko

Shirt by Mariko

Ignore the label

Don’t be put off by the sizing of clothes in preloved shops. Sizes change dramatically between different brands, countries and depending on how old an item is. Even if an item is too large, there is often a new lease of life within it depending on how you style it. Use the trend for volume by nipping in a waist with a belt or scarf - or by mindful of the possibility to have it altered to better fit you. If its too small  - its not for you!

Tunic top and belt (worn as headband) by Paul & Joe

Tunic top and belt (worn as headband) by Paul & Joe

Make an investment

Gone are the days when you could pick up a Mulberry handbag from a preloved shop at a fraction of its cost. Charitable organisations have got smart and are, quite rightly, looking to get the best deal for what they sell. However, do your research and find out what it is you are buying. If its designer, how many seasons old is it? Is it selling on eBay and for what price? Is the item something that would be coveted from a collection or one of those pieces that would end up in their bargain bin?! Always try to shop for high quality.

Cape (worn as neckpiece) by South

Cape (worn as neckpiece) by South

What’s it worth to you?

Beyond all, you should always pay what an item is worth to you. Ignore brands, designer names and trends and take time to consider the love you have for the piece and how it would fit into your current wardrobe. This will more often than not dictate the price you are willing to pay. There shouldn’t be any stigma about buying preloved or second hand, stores like Hospices are popping up all over the place and if you are looking for a great bargain, something unique or special, discounting these shops will mean that you ultimately loose out!


Shop at Hospice’s Preloved to Reloved store in Liberty Wharf until Sunday 28th July or on Instagram @prelovedtorelovedjsy