{How to} Shop for secondhand clothing online and actually love what you buy

s buying secondhand strange? To some people it is. But to me, its just another way to shop (in addition to buying new, of course) and its a really clever way to buy!

Also, when I was little my Nana used to run the local Op Shop with friends from her church so I guess you could say that I’ve never been afraid of it!

Here are some more reasons why I love it: 

  1. You can find one of a kind, quality pieces without the markup.

  2. It’s a green way to buy. You are in a sense recycling what to someone else is no longer of interest but that you could do a lot with.

  3. The thrill of the ‘amazing find’. Plus it’s a great thing to do on a lazy weekend with a like-minded friend.

While most of my wardrobe is bought in-store and new, sometimes when I have a little time I’ll head online to places like Trade Me, or Etsy and with a bit of careful searching and a plan (see below) more often than not, I’ll come away with something great…

Some recent secondhand buys (found online) and how I wear them!


Best buy 1: That wool coatigan. Retro but never worn and made by hand which is why I felt a bit bad paying only $30 for it!


Best buy 2: That leather skirt in my favourite shade of khaki. A Summer staple for $70. 


Best buy 3: That maxi skirt of course. Loving the earthy colour palette and made in vintage Marimekko fabric. $45 


Best buy 4: Designer pants. Retro but like new. Who knew I’d be loving wide leg trousers but I do and these move so nicely thanks to the linen fabric. An Etsy purchase for under $80.


Ok, while these aren’t the cheapest secondhand buys I’ve ever made, you can find some amazing things online for very little. But here’s the thing, how do you shop for secondhand clothing online without buying impulsively or half-heartedly and without it being a complete fail (or waste of your time)?

Yep I’ve been there, ‘got the t-shirt’, didn’t like it and made a conscious effort to shop smarter online and now I do, so here’s what I’ve learned:

Secondhand shopping online with far fewer fails (My tips): 

  1. Choose styles that you already know suit you

  2. Choose less fitted (unless you want to pay on top to have it altered)

  3. Choose quality brands you know and love

  4. Ask questions about the item (as many as you need to make a more informed decision, without being annoying!)

  5. Create a list of things you’re currently wanting to buy and search only those items every couple of weeks, who knows when that ‘thing’ will appear for an amazing price!

  6.  (Trade Me shopping) I like to search most expensive and work my way backwards. For me, it’s a quicker way to find quality pieces. I search the other way if I have more time (which isn’t often!)

  7. If the image for the item has been heavily styled use the product-only images to help with your decision.

  8. Again, if you’re shopping Trade Me, refine your search by choosing used (or ‘vintage’ for Etsy) then refine some more with size, style etc

  9. If you have more time sometimes I’ll purposely type in the incorrect spelling of a brand…someone’s spelling mistake might be your gain? i.e Karin Walker, Whitchery etc

  10. Store it in your cart, wishlist or watchlist it – its free – and if you tend to buy ‘in the witching hour’ like me check it out again in the morning and see if you really do still love it.

Still not convinced? If you’re not so sure about buying secondhand online (or at all) but do want to ‘dip your toe in’, start by shopping at a secondhand/vintage boutique. That is, no moth-ball-smelling shops but rather carefully curated fit-outs with beautiful pieces that have been found and picked for you (and priced accordingly). Or try the clothing boutique online equivalent of Trade Me, Designer Wardrobe.

There is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for those who want to dive right in and fossick (or scroll) around for a beautiful garment, it just takes time and a plan!

If you enjoyed this, or have more tips to add or places to try, or an amazing buy to share let me know!

As always thanks for stopping by (and also, I hope you had a great long weekend)!

Erena Te Paa sig

#secondhandclothing #shoppingvintage #styletips