Queensland Country Life

Ready steady stop: Six items that are better when bought pre-loved

Ready steady stop: Six items that are better when bought pre-loved

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Thrifting has well and truly become a quintessential component of putting together a diverse wardrobe.

From vintage clothing and designer finds, to unique, handmade accessories and other items, the world of op shops is packed full of potential for those hoping to curate an eclectic personal collection.

Alongside this, the option to shop online at eBay via Qantas shopping in order to actually earn Qantas points on your thrifted clothing finds, makes buying second hand just that much more enjoyable, eco-friendly, and personally beneficial to boot.

Understanding the art of thrift shopping can help bring focus to both your in-store and online wanderings.

But there are very few ways to engage with the art of thrifting without actually spending countless hours thrifting yourself and training your eye to discover all the hidden gems that do lurk in the corners of opportunity shops.

So what items should you be looking out for when walking around your local thrift store or browsing good deals online?

Here are just six items that you absolutely should find pre-loved wherever possible.

1. Shoulder bags

Although there is something rather satisfying about buying a designer handbag brand new, you'd be surprised by just how many designer or vintage finds you can stumble across in a thrift shop.

In fact, an educated shopper may even be able to find limited release designer bags or bags that have been discontinued, and have been sorely undervalued by your thrift store operators.

If you are curious about the resale value of any bags that you find during your thrifting experience, you can use tools like Rebag's Clair app or by doing a little independent research into the designer behind the bag, just to see if any similar designs are still being sold today, and what price points these modern bags have been marked at.

Just be sure not to go overboard with your bag buying! You don't want more bags in your collection than you know what to do with, regardless of how valuable your finds may be.

2. Sunglasses

There's nothing quite like a quality pair of vintage aviators. There's just something about well-worn sunglasses that brings a little verve to your everyday life, especially if you find yourself on the road fairly often.

The only minor concern that you may hold when shopping for second hand sunglasses, however, is that the lenses in older pairs of sunglasses may be less polarised than more modern pairs of sunnies, and the importance of polarised lenses cannot be understated, especially under the Aussie sun.

Thanks to fast fashion, however, chances are high that you'll be able to find a pair of modern sunglasses that offer fairly strong UV protection for a fraction of the price that you'd have to pay when buying new sunglasses off the revolving rack.

3. Outerwear

Stumbling across vintage clothing items is always a cause for celebration when at your local thrift store or when shopping for second hand items online, especially if the pieces you've happened to come across have been on your wishlist for quite some time now.

In fact, there are a selection of vintage outerwear pieces that the majority of us hope to come across virtually every time we start thrift shopping.

One of these evergreen excite-worthy pieces is of course, the timeless leather jacket.

Well-worn leather jackets have a little bit of a magic about them, as the jackets have well and truly lived a life of their own, a life that you can only imagine has been filled with adventure.

Finding a pre-loved leather jacket to call your own is about so much more than accruing a highly versatile piece of outerwear, because there's no denying that leather jackets may just be the most versatile outerwear you can own.

Finding your own pre-loved leather jacket is about adding to the story of that item of clothing, and taking it on new adventures. And who knows?

With a little TLC, you may even be able to pass that leather jacket down to your own children someday.

Another kind of outerwear that many thrifty shoppers are likely to pounce on with zeal are woollen jumpers.

Brand new wool products can get incredibly pricey, so finding some quality wool garments in thrift shops always feels like a gift sent from above.

4. Denim overalls

It's safe to say that denim is the equivalent to a blank canvas in the world of fashion.

A highly versatile material that's used to produce a wide range of everyday staples, denim can also be easily customised using a variety of timeless techniques, ranging from ageing denim, to having a go at embroidery or even using iron-on patches.

One particular denim garment that you're likely to find in plenty of thrift stores is a good pair of full-length denim overalls.

These evergreen garments can be styled in a variety of ways, ranging from everyday garden wear, to effortlessly chic casual street fashion when paired with a cosy hoodie and some chunky boots.

Alongside snagging your own vintage denim overalls, finding a really comfortable pair of worn denim jeans can be just as satisfying.

Ready steady stop: Six items that are better when bought pre-loved

5. Jewellery

A surprising amount of high-quality vintage jewellery can find itself in thrift stores, meaning that shoppers with a discerning eye may be able to return home with a number of high-value finds at drastically reduced prices.

But how do you know what to look for when sorting through thrift store jewellery?

If any pieces stand out to you, it's well worth inspecting them for any stamps or branding.

Pieces bearing a '925' mark are sterling silver, so looking out for this mark and other kinds of telling stamping may help you better determine what pieces are worth your time and attention.

Any gemstones that appear cracked or scratched are either soft gemstones, or perhaps even just glass. Signs of damage may also reveal what pieces are worth taking home with you.

Even those with a keen eye should still be ready to do a lot of digging in order to find your diamonds, so to speak, as virtually all thrift stores do have a copious amount of costume jewellery that you'll have to sift through first in order to find items bearing real gems and high-quality metals.

6. Ties and belts

Last but not least, there's no better place to find a wide assortment of unique neckties, bowties, and belts than at your local thrift store.

As thrift shop ties and suit accessories tend to be a tenth of the price of 'off the rack' accessories, savvy shoppers can actually save an incredible amount of money by simply finding all their ties second hand.

Belts are a similar tale here, as some good quality leather belts can be purchased at thrift stores for mere dollars, saving shoppers potentially hundreds of dollars in the long term, as well as reducing the consumption of cheap belts produced by fast fashion conglomerates.

After all, why buy a cheap belt that lasts you a year or two at most when you can buy a vintage leather belt that's good for another ten or so years for the same price?

As you can see, there are many benefits to practicing the art of thrifting, with reaping major savings whilst cultivating a killer wardrobe just being the tip of the iceberg.

Thrift shopping is just as essential to the fashion industry today as the production of fast fashion.

In fact, thrifting helps offset the negative environmental impacts of fast fashion, and other elements of the fashion industry, a global industry that has been criticised for its collective lack of eco-conscious thinking.

You can do your part not just for your wardrobe or for your local business owners, but also for the world at large, by thrifting wherever you can!