The end of lockdown and a second hand wardrobe update
Having lived in a pair of lockdown leggings and a selection of my daughter’s cast off hoodies for the past 2 years, my mind this week turned to, well, actual clothes.
My leggings practically walk across the bedroom and put themselves on my legs - even they are sick of seeing me! I’m not giving up on them though - they are relegated to grass mowing activities which I CANNOT WAIT to start doing. It nearly happened this week but then it started pouring - again :-(
Anyway, I was Zooming as usual earlier this week and someone piped up, ‘next time, we’ll meet in person’ which essentially means I’ll be trailing to Elland Road at 4.00pm on a wet Wednesday next month. My heart sank - it more than sank - in my head I was screaming WHAT? WHY?!
‘In-person meetings’ are becoming a thing - just as I’ve got VERY comfortable ‘in my lockdown leggings and a hoodie’. We all used to do this though right? Go places and meet people - yes, I vaguely remember. And in fairness, I’ve worked with these people over Zoom for 2 years and never met them - it will be nice to actually be in their presence. It will. Will it?
The thing is, like many people during lockdown, I’ve had a clear out. The charity shop and textile banks have done well, I’ve passed some things on to friends and last month I finally gave up all my formal workwear - beautiful and timeless though it was, I haven’t needed it for such a long time. My lovely friend and neighbour Katy volunteers as a stylist at Smartworks so hopefully my stuff will help someone else on their journey back into work.
So, lockdown is over, I’m going to have to start going out and all that’s left in my wardrobe is joggers, jeans, jumpers, thermals (because you can’t have the heating on all day) and the odd dressed-up outfit just desperate to make an appearance. My holiday stuff can’t remember what the sun looks like and it’s all ancient anyway because it’s rarely worn - maybe this year!
Needing a bit of a boost, a wardrobe refresh and being 100% committed to second hand, my mind turned to charity shops and online apps. My local charity shop came up trumps with a new gym top - it’s a gorgeous colour, looks brand new and a snip at £4.00! I’ve worn it nearly every day since, it’s walked, done a HIIT workout, yoga and appeared on a few Zooms!
And, I have discovered Vinted - an app I haven’t used before and I am completely hooked. Online second hand shopping can be a bit scary - you can’t send things back if they don’t fit (you can resell them), so here are my top tips for a first time user.
Stick to brands you know well and have a fit you are familiar with so you can be confident buying them. You can use the search facility to search for the brand and then filter by size.
Buy things in colours you already know suit you - it’s probably not worth chancing that dusky pink just to find out it makes you look washed out.
Apps like these are based on trust - the seller has to be honest about the condition of the garments but there could be some differences of opinion when it comes to statements like ‘good’ or ‘fair’ condition. Try filtering ‘new with tags’ or ‘new without tags’ so there is no ambiguity and if the item turns up in poor condition you can report the issue.
Check out the seller reviews - until you have confidence maybe stay away from sellers with no reviews because they have no track record.
Maybe also start with lower value items to build up your confidence - it would put you off if you paid a lot of money for something that you didn’t like when it arrived.
It’s worth making an offer if you think the price is a bit steep. Click on the Ask Seller button and make your offer there.
Remember that postage and fees are payable by the buyer for any purchase - the additionals are very clear so you can always change your mind before you press the button. Sometimes the postage is included so just make sure you check.
Do the seller a favour when your item is received and go through the process of accepting it and leaving feedback. They don’t get paid until you’ve done that and if you had a good experience it will boost their rating.
Conversely, if you do have an issue with the item which might have arrived in poor condition or not as described, report the issue. You have a couple of days to do that and payment is not released until the issue is resolved.
You pay a ‘Buyer Protection Fee’ on each purchase, it’s not much and it funds the dispute resolution process. Vinted has a team that can be contacted if you have any problems - I haven’t used them so can’t comment.
Obviously you can also become a seller - I haven’t done that yet. Unless I had a particularly expensive item, I would prefer to donate my old clothes so I can’t talk you through this process but it would be good if you do make mistakes and want to resell items. The good thing is there is no commission - the buyer pays a small fee for every transaction which is how Vinted earns money.
If you give it a go, let us know how you get on and if you have any other favourite ways to shop second hand, please share!