Thrifting to be trendy: a practical guide to thrift like a pro

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For those who have never bought second-hand, we have a question for you. What has held you back until now?

The fear of not finding your size? Or did you not find a shop in your town? Maybe you have tried several times but each time you arrive at the shop you don't know where to start looking? Or maybe you still haven't overcome stereotypes and are afraid of finding only old, smelly and ruined stuff?

No worries, it's never too late to start and with our guide, you will know exactly where to go and what steps to follow!

Second hand walk


Gent is filled with vintage and second-hand shops, we have created a special route just to see more second-hand shops and find your favourite, you can find the list here.

If you are not from Gent, fortunately there is Google! You can just search for second-hand shops in your city and voilà!

If there is nothing near you, don't worry, we have solutions for you too! Thanks to technological innovation, thrifting is now also possible online, safely and quickly. Below you can find some reliable sites and apps where you can do your shopping!

Online 2nd hand
  • Vinted: free app that allows its users to upload their used clothes and items to their noticeboard and of course to buy them quickly and conveniently;
  • Depop: this is also an important app, mainly used to buy and sell products online, from clothing to beauty products, but also books and films;
  • Facebook Marketplace: a Facebook function accessible to anyone with a profile on the site that allows buying and selling between private individuals, provides a series of categories in which you can enter the object you want to sell. It is an excellent tool for those who want to dispose of clothing, accessories, gadgets, but also bikes, books, furniture etc. The good thing about Marketplace is that if you are lucky, you can find exactly what you are looking for near you! Facebook is also full of groups for buying and selling or exchanging items and clothes! Just do a quick search to find the one you like best, for example there is Online Rommelmarkt Gent and ESN Gent Secondhand Market just to name a couple of them.
  • 2dehands: very similar to eBay, you can find everything you want here! Give it a try!


When and if you buy new clothes, do you ever ignore labels? Of course not. And when you buy second-hand, it must be no less.

Learn to read labels, ask for compositions and prefer natural materials, especially if it comes from fast fashion!



If you are in the shop, take your time to try on the clothes and to analyse its details. Also look at how the garment falls on the mannequin, whether it is transparent or not, how it fits etc. If you are lucky enough, you might even find new clothes with labels! This is because nowadays compulsive shopping leads us to buy trending clothes without actually being interested in them, some clothes are never worn and are just thrown away, which increases textile pollution. I found my favourites

If you buy online, many websites and apps give measurements in centimetres (if not, you can always ask, as well as more pictures) in addition to the size, which helps a lot. Don't be lazy: arm yourself with a tape measure and, before buying a dress or trousers, measure length, waist, leg from crotch to bottom and the like. This way you will be more sure that the size is right (advice that applies to online shopping in general).


Before going shopping, it is necessary to know your wardrobe thoroughly. because we will often be attracted by similar garments, which will lead us into temptation to buy them impulsively, not because we need them, but just because we want them. My weakness for example is jeans, I have several and I use them all, so when I go to the thrift shop, they are the first clothes I go to see and try on, but because I know my wardrobe, I often end up not buying them, precisely because I don't actually need them.



Don't rule out a clothing item regardless just because it fits too big or has some flaw! Let your imagination run wild and give it a new life by thinking about how you could upcycle that dress! A trouser can easily become a short, a dress can become a set with top and skirt and so on!

If you are good at sewing and using a sewing machine, it should not be difficult and besides there are many tutorials on the internet that would make it easier and more fun. If, on the other hand, you are not very good, you could still take it to a seamstress and trust me, in most cases it will still be cheaper than a new fast fashion garment.

6. ASK!

If there is something that doesn’t convince you, if you want further specifications on the material, if you want to have the exact measurements of the garment... just ask! If the website or seller is serious, it won’t be a big deal: they will be happy to help you. Once you have bought your second hand clothes, wash everything properly, iron everything and then enjoy your near-zero-impact purchases!

No prejudices


Ah one last note for those who turn up their noses thinking that these are things that have already been put on by others: even new garments that you try on in shops have already been tried on by others, maybe even very often, if they have been on the hanger since the beginning of the season.

Another big prejudice against second-hand shops is the idea of not being able to find branded stuff. Who said that? Not only in vintage shops can you find high quality and unique designer clothes (iconic pieces, clothes for various occasions, special accessories, bags and leather belts), but also in second-hand shops you will find clothes from fast fashion. You may have to look a little harder, but trust me, you will find them! For example, my winter jacket is a Woolrich bought for €60 in a second-hand shop in Italy. My favourite shoes are Dr. Martens paid €38 in the same shop (which by the way were already softened, thus avoiding blisters for the first few times I wore them). And so on!

And you might ask: why should I buy a piece of fast fashion second-hand when I can buy it new from the shop? Well, not only because by doing so you would avoid it ending up in the Atacama Desert in Chile, but also because it is more likely to be an opportunity to add an item to your wardrobe that you would otherwise not have bought because it was too expensive.

The trick is not to be discouraged at first glance, give it a thought!


Dalila Ferrari

Dalila is geboren in Brazilië, is van Italiaanse afkomst en heeft het grootste deel van haar leven in Italië gewoond voordat ze in oktober vorig jaar naar Gent verhuisde als internationale ESC-vrijwilliger.

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