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Don't sell out when buying second hand

A visit to a 'pre-loved designer sale' in city-centre restaurant Fallon and Byrne confirms one thing -- young stylish women are not in the slightest bit squeamish about buying and wearing second-hand clothes.

Instead, fashionable young women who know Prada from Penneys, yet can't afford to pay full retail price for their favourite designers, don't care that another woman has worn clothes before them.

They just want the best quality clothes at the best price and sod it that the garments aren't fresh off the rails.

Stylist Cathy O'Connor concurs that second-hand clothes are where it is at for many young women these days.


"I'm a huge fan of buying second-hand clothes as I love luxury fabrics and beautiful cuts but don't like the price tag they come with," Cathy says.

"I have found fantastic pieces on eBay but I only buy labels that I know and in particular, labels where I know my exact size.

"On eBay, I generally buy pieces that are new as sometimes it can be difficult to assess the condition via pictures," says the stylist. Swapping clothes is another way women with an eye for style aren't compromising on the style front, in spite of hard times.

"Myself and my pals are always swapping bags of clothes and have found some real treasures that way," Cathy says.

Yet how do you make sure you get something decent when buying clothes which have already been around the block?

"When buying second hand, it's best to examine the garment really carefully for signs of wear. I've got some brilliant pieces at the various Closet Clear Out sales," Cathy says.

She advises: "As with every purchase, you have to ask yourself two questions -- when am I going to wear it and what am I going to wear it with?

"If you can't answer those questions, back away, no matter how much of a bargain it may appear."

Fashion stylist Marietta Doran agrees that shopping for second-hand clothes works best when you take a pragmatic approach: "Personally I wouldn't buy second-hand shoes, but I see the value in second-hand clothes and bags," Marietta says.

"Approach a second-hand clothes sale in the exact way you would a shopping spree in a department store.

"Be sure it's your size. Ask yourself what it will go with. Try to get a mental picture of where you will wear it and how often," Marietta advises.

"The difference is that you'll be paying special attention to details like buttons and embellishments, to make sure they're in good condition.


"You'll also want to make sure that all seams and hems are in good nick. One thing which you may benefit from when shopping for second hand is a good tailor who'll do any alterations and mending needed.

"And don't forget the shops where you can bring along your designer clothes and they'll sell them for you, giving you some handy money to buy new clothes!"

Knowing when the next pre-worn designer clothes sale is on is simply a matter of keeping on eye on certain websites dedicated to fashion, for example www.fashionistaeventsireland.com or www.whatshewears.ie. Also check out www.mariettadoran.com and www.stylist.ie.