Top tips for second-hand shopping in Aberdeen

Second-hand shopping can be a fun activity to do on the weekend, and with Aberdeen’s many charity shops you will frequently be able to find some unique items. On top of this, buying second-hand is not only good for your wallet but for the environment! Fashion Management student Rachel shares her top tips to second-hand shopping in Aberdeen to help you get started.

Second-hand fashion is making an overdue comeback, and I couldn’t be happier. I could spend all day telling you the countless reasons why second-hand stores are my go-to for all things fashion however, to summarise just a few;  

  • It’s better for the planet and supports our ongoing fight against climate change and fast fashion. 
  • It’s the chance to find unique, one-of-a-kind items that you can’t get anywhere else. 
  • They offer low prices and are often far cheaper than traditional stores.

Couldn’t get any better right? Charity shops often come with that stigma of old-fashioned china and knitted sweaters, however as a Fashion Management student myself, I can assure you that is not the case. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. Some of the favourite items in my wardrobe have come from second-hand stores!

Whether you are a regular charity shopper or completely new to the concept, here are some of my top tips for your next bargain-hunting trip.

1. Plan your itinerary

Firstly, and of course most importantly, you have to know where to go. As with many things, second-hand shopping is primarily down to your personal preference and as you begin to explore, you will see certain shops carry certain themes in terms of brands and clothing style, as well as pricing and layout. Nevertheless, below are some of my favourite streets across the city to get you started:

  • King Street
  • Union Street
  • Holburn Street
  • George Street
  • Rosemount Viaduct

2. Make yourself a list

Before setting off on your treasure hunt, it’s important to make yourself a list. If you have been charity shopping before, you will know the stores can often be overwhelming with clothes, and unlike traditional retailers, you aren’t able to see items on mannequins and posters.

Writing down items of clothes you are looking for, or even just colours, can give you a boost of inspiration and help make the trip a little less chaotic! I love using a Pinterest board and gathering images of the types of outfits I like, then searching for items similar in the second-hand shops. Knowing the type of thing you are looking for as you enter the stores will make browsing the racks a little more exciting, like hunting for gold! 

3. Dress appropriately

It sounds a little silly, but charity shopping often involves a lot of rummaging. Reaching up to high shelves or wading through bargain bins means your chosen shopping attire is crucial. Think COMFORT, especially footwear. Aberdeen has a large array of stores, however these are located all across the city centre and if you intend to tackle them all in one day, be prepared to walk!  

4. Charge your phone

Not only will your phone be your holy grail when it comes to directions to the various stores, but I always find it helpful to take photos of clothes as I go along. If you are incredibly indecisive like me, photographing any items you are unsure of means you can look back at them as you move around the shops to help make any decisions. Although, be quick if you want to run back for anything as stores won’t usually hold items for you! 

5. Allow plenty of time

As with most things, second-hand shopping takes time! It can sometimes be a tedious process as you swipe through hanger after hanger in search of your new favourite t-shirt. But don’t be disheartened if your first trip isn’t anything to make a haul video about, it’s a little bit of luck, some days will be great and others not so much…

Nevertheless, make sure you devote a large chunk of time when heading out to allow yourself as much time as possible to find as many bargains as you can.  

6. The fitting room situation

A random inclusion in this beginner’s guide to second-hand shopping, but something I wish I knew sooner was the fitting room situation, or lack of should I say, within second-hand shops. Some stores across Aberdeen and the wider area will offer a space to try on anything you find, however they most often won’t. A top tip I always use is to take a couple of items, maybe even just a top and a pair of trousers that fit me well, to compare size-wise with items I find in the shops. 

Overall, as we move into more testing times both financially and environmentally, I hope these tips have given you a burst of excitement to try your hand at the thrilling world of second-hand shopping in Aberdeen!

Rachel Johnstone

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