Pimp your wardrobe

Pimp your wardrobe

Pimp your wardrobe

Time for some good news for a change. According to a WRAP report in 2016, carbon emissions are dropping because we’re washing clothes at lower temperatures, doing less tumble drying and less ironing.

Even more good news - we seem to be keeping clothes for longer than we used to – on average 3.3 years (2016) vs 2.2 years (2012).

However, these impacts are only felt if we reduce the number of new things we buy. And unfortunately, we’re still buying more. One way to improve clothing’s sustainability is to shop second hand.

Provided that the purchase of a second-hand garment displaces that of a new item, then significant environmental savings are made from avoiding production, processing, and disposal. WRAP, 2016.

However, not everyone is a huge fan of second-hand shopping. So here are some tips, opinions and resources on how to make second-hand clothes work for you.

Insiders tips on second-hand shopping

Dad wisdom. Make a list.

When price is no longer a restricting factor (which can be the case with second-hand shopping) it can be tempting to be a bit less selective. So, whilst it’s not a very sexy tip, make a list of items you need. What are the gaps in your wardrobe? Only shop for those specific items. It will save you time browsing on-line or in person if you know what you’re looking for. And prevent that overwhelmed feeling if you’re flicking through endless hangers.

Future proofing – is this purchase a passing fling or a long-term relationship?

How well-made is the item you’re buying? Here are five tips that can help you spot a good quality garment over a short-term fix. Beware, higher price doesn’t always guarantee quality.

  1. Is it lined? Generally better-quality trousers and skirts will be lined. And all the way from waist to hem, not just part way. Well-made lined jackets will have a taped edge holding the lining to the jacket.

  2. Are the button holes neat and are the buttons on tight? Loose threads sticking out – not a great sign.

  3. Small, short stitches; tight stitching; hidden edges (French seams) are all good signs that the garment is made to last.

  4. Is the zip hidden so that you can’t see the stitching or the fabric of the zip? Good sign. Unless visible zips are a design feature a very visible zip tends to be a sign of a short cut during production.

  5. Is it see through, does it crease very easily, does it lose shape when you stretch it? Put it back!

Here is a good article if you want to find out more about improving your shopping IQ

And this video from Justine Laconte shows five key areas to spot good vs bad quality clothing.

Care instructions – can you wash it?

Caitlin Moran once wrote that if something’s dry clean only you may as well put a £50 note in the pocket and walk away. Leave the shop. Unless you’re an efficient superstar with plenty of time on your hands (or a PA) that’s sound advice.

Can you style it out?

If this item was three times the price would you still be interested in it? Does it go with what you already own and can you imagine at least three different outfits you could create with it? In a similar vein, is it wearable enough to pass the #30wear challenge?

Where to shop


Clothes swaps – like shopping but free. If you’re prepared to have a bit of a rummage clothes swaps are a brilliant way to go. Check out Eventbrite for listings near you.


The Happens secret sales

Monthly, pop-up, secret sales – with hand selected, stylish, designer and high-end high street (think Whistles, Reiss, The Kooples etc), second-hand clothes at affordable prices. Click here to be told where and when the next sale is happening.

One scoop store

An online store with a curated range of pre-loved pieces. Some really great pieces and the site is updated very regularly. Worth keeping an eye on.

Beyond Retro

A range of stores as well as excellent online store with speedy delivery (if you’re daunted by the thought of going hunting down the hidden gems).


High end consignment shops are a good way to get designer items at a discounted price. Although be prepared that may still involve parting with a few hundred pounds.

Designs NW3

Change of Heart

Dress for Less

If you want to read the full Wrap report here it is:

What other tips have helped you? Any secrets to success let us know and happy shopping!

Changing perspectives on second-hand clothes at The Happens.

Tash checks the kitchen cupboards, then goes naked shopping (to minimise food waste)

Tash checks the kitchen cupboards, then goes naked shopping (to minimise food waste)

A letter to my mum's shirt

A letter to my mum's shirt