Pre-Loved Clothes for Special Occasions

Summer is the season for weddings, school proms, parties and going out. Recent fashion management graduate Emily Zandt-Valentine tells us about dressing up for that special occasion with pre-loved and nearly new garments and accessories.

The environmental impact of many industries is becoming increasingly evident, with fashion being one of the major causes for concern. Recent studies have shed light on the alarming reality of the fashion retail industry, with 92 million tonnes of textiles waste ending up in landfill each year.

Shopping for pre-loved, vintage and secondhand fashion is needed now more than ever. While reducing detrimental impacts on the environment, it also allows you to find one-of-a-kind, unique pieces that often come at a lower cost compared to buying new.

Photo by Cam Morin on Unsplash

There are many charity shops located around Gloucestershire that offer a variety of fashion and accessories from high-end designer brands to affordable, high-street retailers. Some of my personal favourites are The British Heart Foundation, Oxfam (online too), Longfield Hospice, Save the Children, Cancer Research UK, Barnardo’s and the British Red Cross.

Although sometimes a little more expensive than charity shops, vintage stores can provide higher end, stylish designer pieces that have been handpicked by experts in the vintage stores. Below are just a few to get you started.

Vintage shops in Gloucestershire and Bristol
Online second-hand sites and apps

If you can’t find what you are looking for in-store, there are also many online alternatives. By using keywords to search and page filters such as condition, size, colour, brand, or price range, you can tailor your shopping experience to find exactly what you are looking for.

Renting special garments

If you are looking to purchase occasion wear that you don’t want to keep in your wardrobe, online rental stores allow you to borrow and sell designer fashion items.

Many luxury retailers now have their own pre-loved/rental services themselves, for example:

Making alterations

Finding a preloved garment that fits perfectly can sometimes be challenging. When I find a second-hand item that I love but may not fit me exactly how I would like, I like to take it to a local tailoring shop to get it fitted perfectly to my size. I find that by doing this, I have spent less, provided a new home for a piece of clothing, and have got an item that fits me better than the standard sizing of buying new.

Upcycling Existing Items

Finally, upcycling clothing is a great way to give life to your existing wardrobe whatever the occasion or just for every day wear. Here are some creative ways to upcycle:

  • Denim revival: old jeans can be converted into shorts, skirts, or bags. The denim fabric could also be used to create patches on other garments to cover worn out areas.
  • Fabric dyeing: revive plain or faded garments by dyeing them with natural or eco-friendly dyes to give them a fresh, personalised look.
  • Trims and components: by adding lace, buttons, beads, sequins, embroidery, pockets, or hems, you can jazz up plain clothing to make them more unique and stylish.

Further reading

Best charity shops according to Marie Claire
Vinted pre-loved clothing app – climate impact report
Fashion Network – global industry report