I Spoke to a Second-Hand Shopping Expert—They Rate These 8 Key Buys


If there is one thing we’re passionate about at Who What Wear, it is smart shopping. And while we pride ourselves on buying less and buying better, with a view that every item we purchase, whatever the price, should be seen as an investment in our wardrobe, there will always be room for improvement. One element that can still prove to be intimidating for some is the world of second-hand shopping.

Someone who knows a thing or two about this is Amy Bannerman. The stylist is a pre-loved pro, and as an important partner for eBay, Bannerman (who was named as the platform’s official pre-loved fashion stylist, also sources the wardrobe for reality TV show Love Island) has made it her mission to promote the power of shopping second-hand. As a result, Bannerman has become a leading voice in the conversation on consumer habits and sustainability within the fashion industry. 

In fact, last year Bannerman launched a social media campaign called #ChoosePreloved. What started as a way to encourage people to shop pre-loved for their Christmas gifts has now transformed into a weekly edit of pre-loved pieces that Bannerman shares each week on her IG stories. 

So, as we look to a new season, we thought there was no better perfect time for Amy to share her story, as well as her tips for shopping pre-loved and the key pieces she’d recommend buying into this year—second-hand, of course. Scroll on to discover what she had to say.

When did you start to become so invested in secondhand shopping, and when did it start to feature as the majority of your wardrobe?

I have been invested in secondhand as a general concept for as long as I can remember. When I was younger it was more the idea of things being passed down to me. My mum had a very shoe obsessed friend with size 2 feet and when I was about 7 years old she gave me a huge bag of glitzy ’80s heels. My mind was officially blown! Moments like these sowed the seeds of my pre-loved obsession. I love the concept of things being worn and cherished then passed on, so that they have multiple lives. Working for eBay (my dream job), I am I obviously on the site more than I ever would have been before so my collection is definitely growing and I’m very happy about that!

What was it like working in the fashion industry (which has been a bit slow to the pre-loved market!) and feeling like this was what you wanted to wear rather than what’s “new”?

When I started at ELLE as a fashion assistant I was constantly surrounded by runway pieces and items I knew I would never be able to afford. I used to watch the shows and note the trends or pieces I fell in love with and then look for them on eBay. The thing about trends, if you really buy into them, is that everyone ends up looking the same. My Mum is Canadian and I spend every summer in Canada so I would leave my assisting job and go to Canada and trawl the charity shops and the vintage shops to try and dig up some real gems, knowing that when I got back to the office nobody would be wearing the same thing as me. Designers often copy vintage pieces, so my thoughts are why not just find those vintage pieces before the designers do!

Do you have favourite haunts or are you always on the lookout?

Charity shops are a definite favourite just because they’re so hit and miss that when you do find the really good stuff it’s deeply satisfying. I wish I was more on top of the boot fairs and antique markets but I like lying in bed with coffee too much! Even prior to working with eBay I was on the site every day; there is nothing you cannot find and I love it for that diversity of items. I also really love going to rural areas and villages and hunting out the smaller chairty shops. The charity shops where I live, in Leytonstone, are really great and the stock turns over quickly, they are probably my favourite thing about living in Leytonstone. So much of what we do now is digital I do really love the aimless wandering around not looking for anything in particular. 

Do you know what you’re looking for or does each shopping trip just offer up a surprise?

I always have a kind of mental list of things I’m looking for which is mainly made up of the “ones that got away”, that way when I’m popping in and out of charity shops I can be a bit more targeted and when I’m on a site like eBay I don’t fall into a massive rabbit hole and come out with lots of random stuff. Weirdly, a lot of things I look for are things I once owned and had to sell to pay the bills when I was an assistant. Perhaps I am sometimes buying back my actual item—true circularity! 

What are the mistakes you’ve made with second hand shopping that makes you better at it today?

I am not remotely mathematical and never measure anything. I also hate being asked to measure things when I’m selling. I once bought a beautiful mid-century desk but when it arrived it was toddler sized. Another time I bought a drinks cabinet and was amazed at how cheap it was but when it arrived it was about 15cm tall and was made to display tiny china animals, not bottles of gin. I narrowly missed buying an incredible leopard print faux fur coat, just realising at checkout that it was for a Barbie doll and not a human. I also make the mistake of convincing myself to buy shoes which aren’t my size because I really love them, I have quite a lot of size 7 shoes which are like boats on my size 6 feet. Some of my favourites are actually coming to eBay soon, watch this space! 

What are the essential parts of your wardrobe that you bought second hand and couldn’t get dressed without?

I have quite a severe coat and jacket obsession. The thing I love about them is they can completely change your look and can be quite far removed from your usual style; you can be more experimental with what you choose to layer over a simple outfit. My favourite ones are a navy floor length cashmere and angora overcoat which almost touches the floor. It was £10 from a Hospice in the Weald charity shop and I bought it in the summer when no one else was looking for such a warm coat. My latest favourite is a vintage ’80s GAP leather varsity jacket which is worn in to perfection and brings me such joy every time I put it on. It was £40 on eBay and it’s received a lot of compliments this year.

Do you look to trends for inspiration? If so, how do you set about applying more sustainable methods to shopping for new looks?

I only really look to trends for work and now that I don’t work for a magazine, trends are thankfully not really a part of my life. I buy things because I love them and I like how they look on me. I don’t really care if they are “on trend”. I think people are sick of being told something is cool one minute and is not the next. This really is a construct of consumerism and companies pretending they are reinventing the wheel to get you to buy more stuff. Everything you want is already out there, you just have to find it! 

What are you on the lookout for this season/year?

I have been looking for a plaid shirt to wear tied around my waist with a skirt. I haven’t found the right one yet, but patience is a virtue. I have also been looking for a Balenciaga city bag for quite a long time and have just found one for such a good price in a colour I’ve never seen and which makes everything feel a bit off, but in a good way.  Next on my list is a really luxe hoodie with a zip to layer under light-weight jackets going into spring. My brother has a really chic Vivienne Westwood one which I’ve managed to track down on eBay, not sure how he’ll feel about that…!

Copyright : https://www.whowhatwear.co.uk/second-hand-trends

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