My One Secret to Never Paying Full Price for Clothes

Aemilia Madden

There's nothing that throws a wrench in careful budgeting plans quite like a well-intentioned shopping trip. I learned that lesson the hard way when I moved to New York City. Sure I worked in fashion, but between rent (terrifying), groceries, and the occasional Seamless order, I wasn't left with much of a budget for clothing. Since admitting defeat and swearing off shopping altogether wasn't an option, I was forced to get creative with the ways I shop.

Learning to prioritise my purchases was my most important skill. Momentary trends were passed over for quality pieces. I weaned myself off of fast fashion, and I instead began to master the art of secondhand shopping.

Not only was it exhilarating to find something special (like the time I discovered Freda Salvador boots—in my size—for $40), but to me, secondhand shopping solved my biggest shopping dilemmas all at once. I could still save for bigger ticket items I wanted, without paying full price. And instead of having to throw away inexpensive pieces in tatters by the end of the season, I've held on to the styles I love, which is great for me, and better for the environment.

From brick and mortar stores, like Crossroads and Buffalo exchange, to online shops, like Vestiaire Collective, and apps like DePop, there are so many ways to get those pieces you really want, even if you can't afford them when they're brand-new. And while now I'm able to treat myself once in a while, I still find that shopping secondhand makes special splurges more attainable.

Below, I'm highlighting my three important rules for mastering the art of secondhand shopping. Check them out, and then shop a few of my favourite styles right now!

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