Lulu's guide to “Second-hand September”

Lulu's guide to “Second-hand September”

Posted by Katy Hancock on Dec 16, 2023

Sustainable fashion is fast becoming the latest trend. 

From GOTS to OEKOTex, organic to ethical, the sustainable labels seem to dangle from every online to high street garment these days. By 2030, experts predict that second-hand clothes may make up almost 20% of our wardrobes; up 9% on 2020. (@fash_rev

If you’re reading our blog, the chances are you’re already a super fan of circular fashion and you’re probably a little suspicious of the sustainable claims that traditionally fast fashion brands are churning out?

You only have to follow Camille Reed or @liviafirth and @ecoage to get a feel for the lip service some of the fast fashion multinationals are paying to the sustainable fashion agenda.

“So, what’s new?” we hear you cry? Well, this month sees the third “Second-Hand September” since it’s inauguration by Oxfam in June 2019. Since then, #SecondHandSeptember has taken on a life of its own with celebrities, companies and shoppers all trying their hand at sourcing second-hand gems.




Why buy second-hand?

The truth is by choosing preloved, we are reducing the three hundred thousand tonnes of clothes that are thrown away every year. In fact, if everyone switched to second-hand this year, it would equate to 66-billion trees being planted

But second-hand clothing doesn’t just reduce our carbon footprint, it also preserves water quality in some of the poorest parts of the world. According to Loopster, swapping to second-hand clothing reduces water usage by the equivalent of 1.25 billion showers each year. That’s a whole lot of washing!

By reducing the demand for pocket money garments, rag traders could invest more in improving conditions for workers and their families, whilst also playing a vital role in environmental preservation.

So how can you become a second-hand savvy shopper? Check out our top tips for grabbing a second-hand sensation.


Lulu's top five tips for second-hand shopping.

  1. Audit your existing wardrobe before you start browsing.

    Sustainable fashion is all about reducing the amount of clothes in landfill, preserving our planet’s natural resources, and reassessing our need to consume. 

    So, deciding what you actually need before you start browsing is a great first step towards successful second-hand shopping. Auditing your existing separates and basics will help you be second-hand savvy and enable you to create capsule collections of sustainable outfits. Thereby reducing waste and repurposing your wardrobe staples

2. Quality not quantity - #lovedclotheslast

Don’t clog up your closet with polyester. Natural fabrics, such as wool, linen or cotton last longer and wash without shedding microplastics into our water systems. They are also traditionally more expensive to produce, which makes them the choice of quality brands and designers, and therefore more likely to be tailored.

Poorly tailored items are less likely to get worn, which means they’re more likely to end up in landfill. So, even if the price seems right, don’t settle for slouch! Good tailoring makes all the difference.




3.  Rework it baby

Once you’ve found a preloved gem, it doesn’t take much to make it sparkle again. Depending on the price point, taking your second-hand items to a specialist tailor can breathe new life into garments from any fashion era. It is also a cheaper route to a wardrobe of clothes that fit like a glove and makes more expensive designer brands more affordable.

Second-hand is a cheaper way to take risks with your wardrobe. If it’s a spot of darning or embroidery that’s required, be brave, give upcycling a go. There are lots of amazing upcyclers online – take a look at @makingclotheswithstories @sewvintageseptember @handmadehannah_

4.  Vintage to Vogue

Clothes or accessories from distinctive eras never go out of fashion when done well. Try and mix modern favourites with vintage twists for a truly eclectic collection.

1950s headbands with jeans or dungarees hark back to the 50s, Mom jeans and crop tops; the 80s and a dash of Art Deco goes a long way.

Keep your eyes peeled for old lace, beads or trims and try your hand at upcycling plain basics. Stitching lace to pockets or collars, embroidering vintage fabrics and beads to trims or dyeing lack lustre luxe is a great way to inject your individual style into your wardrobe.

5.  Less is more

Take your time when browsing preloved stores online or on the high street. Feeling pressured to buy something for the sake of retail therapy will lead to unloved items clogging up your drawers.

When shopping second-hand look for potential, if it isn’t perfect, could you make it so? If not, leave it on the hanger. The bonus of second-hand shopping is there’s no shortage of stock!

Don’t be tempted to buy before you try. The temptation with second-hand stores is to “just get it” because it’s cheaper, but stuffing a bag full of poorly fitting garments won’t make you want to shop preloved again and that’s no good for your wallet or our planet.

We've done the hard work for you.

At Lulu's we've curated a beautiful preloved range of quality, tailored and on-trend pieces. We only list items we would wear ourselves and keep our prices affordable. 

We are passionate about the circular fashion economy and all the benefits it brings environmentally, socially and economically.

Not got the time for thrift store browsing? Just visit our preloved range here. We hope you love what you find as much as we do.