How to shop for clothes on eBay

shopping

I buy most of my clothes secondhand- and a lot of them come from eBay; I’ve been doing so since I was a sixth former and I like to think my game is fierce. Often, when I tell someone one of my dresses came from eBay, I get an answer like ‘Oh, I have no idea where to start with online shopping!’ or ‘How do you know it’s going to fit?’

So wonder no more, mystery friends! I thought I’d share my tips on how to navigate the online thrift shop with ease and (hopefully) style.

1. Know your size

It’s really handy to know what size you are in certain shops- for example, I know I’m a 14 in some and 16 in others. I also make decisions based on whether I think a particular garment will be comfy/flattering in a bigger or smaller size. Be warned though- some shops’ sizes have got smaller in recent years. Damn recession.

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2. Have a brand in mind

I love Monsoon clothes, but am rarely able to afford to buy from the store- so I often keep an eye on what’s new on eBay. I know that Next, M&S and Dorothy Perkins often offer things I like and I always avoid Primark on eBay. It never lasts and is often priced way up more than it should be. I also find H+M to be hit and miss with sizing, so I try to avoid it if I can. It’s often handy to have a saved search for these things.

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3. Buy out of season

I just bought a brand new Next winter coat for a tenner (and £3 p+p). Last year I bought some calf length DMs in the middle of July for £50. Buying out of season means you beat demand and can snag some bargains.

4. Consider a budget… and stick to it

It’s really easy to get carried away on eBay, so I think of what I’m after and how much I want to spend. Then I take a look at the Buy It Now options first, as you’re paying a fixed price. I’m also a great fan of seeing these lots from the ‘lowest price first + P+P’ angle.

5. Think about what you like- and will you really wear this dress?

Some of the eBay mistakes I’ve made have been when I’ve bought something that is really not my thing (for example- high heels. I never wear high heels, so why I thought I’d wear some patent pink stilettos is beyond me. Yellow makes me look washed out if I wear too much of it and pleated skirts make me look like I have the legs of a wrestler. So if anyone can explain why I bought a mustard dress with pleated skirt, I’d be interested.) So I stick to things I like. Mostly skater dresses with birds on. Also, never fall for that part of your brain that says ‘Oh, I’ll alter it!’ 1) You won’t and 2) that way, madness lies.

6. Be zen when mistakes happen

Sometimes, no matter how well you’ve planned your shopping spree, you end up with a dud. It happens. If it does, I either resell, give to a friend, or (more likely) donate it to a charity shop.

Do you buy from eBay? What are your top tips?

From spendthrift to… actual thrift.

From next month, I am going to be significantly poorer than I am now. This is not necessarily a bad thing because it means we’re finally moving! Hurrah! Into an actual house that I like, that doesn’t have steps leading up to the front door, or an infestation of woodlice and that has charming Victorian fireplaces and an extra room for Fidget. However, extra rooms mean extra money and I’m going to have to economise. Sigh.

This probably won’t be so bad once the baby arrives and I completely forget what it’s like to wash my hair, let alone put on a full face of makeup/choose a co-ordinated outfit/finish reading a complete book, but I think putting the groundwork in now is a good thing. So, I’ve been taking a leaf from A Thrifty Mrs and looking for cheaper alternatives to things… Here are my plans:

Makeup

I’ve already been extolling the virtues of budget eyeshadow and I’ve been looking at cheaper alternatives for most of my makeup- I’ll be posting a full write-up of thrifty makeup in the future, but I am making a start (although I’m still not sure if you’ll be able to wrench my MAC foundation from my cold, dead hands just yet… the jury’s still out on this one.)

I’m going to have a really good clean out of my makeup bag and throw out any old, past-it stuff and focus on using things I already have, instead of impulsively buying more. For example, I have a brilliant blusher compact that I got from Boots at Christmas; there’s still loads left and I have no need to buy any more! I may stock up on a few bits now, but will make sure that they’re not opened until they need to be (thus extending the shelf-life of the products- they go off as soon as you open them!) Then, I will only buy things on a need-to-replace basis. In theory. Hopefully this will lead to a reduction in impulsive-lipstick-buying, if nothing else.

Skincare

My main skin staple, cold cream, is dirt cheap, so I’ll stick with that- although I have loads of acqueous cream that I think is pretty much the same (and doubles up as both a good eczema cream AND nappy rash cream. Hurrah!), so I will try and use this as a cleanser and see how I get on. As for moisturisers and so on, I’m a big Body Shop fan- but I will be investigating similar products in Superdrug that are half the price.

Clothes

I already buy most of my clothes from eBay, but I will also have a look in charity shops (I often don’t have the patience to root around in the racks of clothes…) I have bought some excellent quality baby clothes from really good second-hand shops and I think car boot sales may also be in my future. I’m not going to go as far as saying I’ll learn to sew because a) I’ve tried before and b) I’ll be too knackered.

Books

I love books. To the point that one time, the bookcase collapsed while the cat was sitting on it. I am a hoarder of books and this must cease. I now will aim to:

  • Read all the books I have already
  • Use the library more
  • Check out free Kindle books- particularly classics
  • Try not to buy so many secondhand books

Crafting

Those who know me know that I’m an obsessive knitter. I am trying not to buy any new yarn, as I have well over 50 skeins of the stuff (maybe more- I haven’t counted, so it’s an estimate!) that needs to be used. I am also planning on making small presents in the next few weeks to stockpile as Christmas gifts, as with a young baby I am NOT going to be in the mood for shopping/making. So I am hunting around for craft bargains while I have the money and making stuff while I have the energy. Yes, I am aware it’s July.

This is going to be a hard challenge. But I think I may be up to it. Feel free to add any suggestions/comments/ideas- I’m going to need all the help I can get!