Second hand shopping

How I shop secondhand

Most of the items in my wardrobe are actually secondhand. I don’t like paying full price on items because I know I can possibly get it cheaper. This is why I love secondhand shopping. Opshopping/Thrifting is something I’ve done for years but since last year, I really got into other ways to buy secondhand. I thought I’d share all the ways I find nice second hand items and my tips and tricks.

First of all, second hand shopping requires patience. Whether you’re looking inside an opshop or browsing online, patience is key! 

Opshopping / Thrifting 

If you have been following me for a while, you’ll know I have always been an opshopping / thrift store fan (I have multiple opshopping posts on this blog). This is actually how I started blogging on Tumblr over 10 years ago. Back when I was uni, I was a poor student that loved clothes.  The best way for me to shop was to check out the opshops/thrift stores.

The photo above is taken from my old Tumblr blog. It was posted 9 years ago and at that time, I was already opshopping in NZ for 2+ years.

Opshopping requires patience and a good eye. Admittedly, I used to just buy anything and everything because back then, the prices were so cheap! I can get tops for $2-5 and dresses for less than $10. Nowadays, I’m definitely pickier as it’s more about quality over quantity.

nz opshopping
Hospice shop | White dress from Savemart I wore to a photoshoot | That pink jumper is my most worn opshopped item and I got it for less than $10.

My favourite opshops are mostly in the north shore:

  • Hospice shops (Takapuna, Ellice Road and Link Drive are my most frequented). I actually volunteer for one of the hospice shops so all proceeds go to charity. I can assure you there are some gems in these shops but sometimes you have to look hard for them!
  • Savemart Northcote. There are other Savemart stores around NZ but I mostly go to Northcote as it is the closest to me. It’s massive and you need to take your time here. I can easily spend 2-3 hours here because there is so much to go through. My tip is to have an general idea of what you’re looking for (ie dresses or jackets) because you’d end up going through so much crap! I tend to skip on pants/jeans because there are rows and rows of them and it’s overwhelming.
  • Recycle Boutique. I still call RB as an opshop although it really is more of a consignment store as people drop off their items to sell and they get a little bit of money. It can also be overwhelming in their stores but they curate their stock to mostly branded items so they are also pricier than charity / hospice shops and Savemart.
  • I don’t frequent these shops but I have been to the SPCA shop in Birkenhead, Salvation Army Glenfield and St John shop in Link Drive

NZ fashion week

Back when I went to NZ Fashion Week, I actually wore secondhand items. On the left was from Savemart and on the right was from Recycle Boutique. 

The RUBY green dress and red Karen Walker dress in the feature image were also opshopped. The RUBY one I wore to a wedding was from RB. The Karen Walker dress which I love and have worn so much and get compliments whenever I wear it was from Savemart. You can find NZ designer pieces for such a good price in opshops!


If going to opshops is not your thing, there also some places you can buy secondhand online. I used to not bother with secondhand online shopping but since last year, I went down a slippery slope and now I’m obsessed! It’s a bit of an addiction and I’m trying to wean myself off it.

Looking online is also the best way to secondhand shop especially during this Covid time when we’re locked down and staying at home. The downside is that you can’t try on the items so I am a bit more careful and considered with what I buy.

Designer Wardrobe

I am fully obsessed with Designer Wardrobe. I’ve lurked on this website for a while before buying anything and when I started, oh boy it was hard to stop! 



Designer Wardrobe is a place where people can sell their items and also rent some designer pieces. I’ve never rented but I’ve bought quite a few items on here. Most of the items are branded for a great price.

Designer Wardrobe
A Huffer striped set for $40 that I’ve worn so much since it arrived. It’s my WFH outfit and I love it | My Nike sweater which I’ve also worn a lot | some more activewear pieces.

I’ve mostly bought activewear from DW. I’m very particular with activewear and getting nice ones motivate me to work out as well. I’ve bought Lululemon,  Nike, Jaggad and P.E. Nation pieces from here. 

Designer Wardrobe
The RUBY starry dress I wore to the wedding in Christchurch | A Coach embroidered t-shirt I got for $40 and it retails for $224AU.

I will warn you that it is addictive to go on there. I constantly check the app on my phone because new pieces get added every minute. My top tip for DW is to make an offer! If you go to a listing, there is an option to make an offer so you can even get the pieces cheaper! Don’t go too low though because it’s insulting. I’ve sold some stuff there and some offers I get are ridiculous. I offer a reasonable amount and one that I’m willing to pay for because if the seller accepts your offer, you have to follow through with the purchase. They can also make a counter offer for a bit more than what you started with.

Designer Wardrobe

Here’s a snipper of my wishlist. So you can ‘heart’ listings you like or want to keep tabs of. They will disappear and will move to a ‘missed out’ section once it’s sold. 

Trademe

I used to not bother with Trademe at all. I associated it with buying/selling cars and property more than clothing/fashion items. However, I was after a particular item and I couldn’t find it on DW and none in the oshops so I tried Trademe and I’m now also hooked although I’ve bought much less on Trademe compared to DW.

My main thing on Trademe is finding secondhand designer bags / leather goods. Last year I decided to treat myself with a new bag and I settled on a brand new Coach bag and ended up loving the brand because it’s great quality but the prices are reasonable. It’s a good entry-level designer brand.

Coach

The items above were all Trademe purchases! I now have a Coach small wallet, wristlet, black evening bag and work bag. The wallet, wristlet and red bag were all under $40 each. You do have to really check the photos or ask the seller questions to make sure you’re not getting duped into buying a fake item.

Coach Noa bag

My favourite TM purchase is definitely this Coach Noa Pop-up messenger bag. It was my second Coach piece and I have worn this so much. Great for weddings / parties or running errands. I got it on Trademe for about $100 and the seller lives in the same street as me so it was super handy. It retails for $325AU so I got a steal as she said she only used it once. It’s in perfect condition. I love that it fits a lot of it has a removable zipped pouch. It can be used as a clutch when you remove the strap as well. I love it so much.

Trademe

I’m slowing down on the bags and small leather goods part and my recent purchase was an iPad Air. I’m starting a Te Reo course this year and my laptop is an old Macbook Pro I’ve had for 10 years since I was at Uni. It won’t work unless plugged in because the battery is terrible and it’s heavy. I thought it was time to get a table because it’s easier to carry and I love it. It was a great second hand purchase and less than half the price if I bought it new.

I’ve bought a Mulberry tote bag and Marc Jacobs bag from TM last year as well for such good prices! I’ve since sold these bags as they weren’t the perfect work bag I was looking for but you really just have to look!

My TM tip is to save your searches especially if you’re after a specific thing. For me, I saved ‘ipad’ or ‘coach’ and sorted on latest listings and when I have time, I check the app and go through the new ones. I saved the ones I’d consider on my watchlist and some people might hate it but I only bid when it is minutes away from the auction closing. I love $1 reserve auctions and it is the reason why I’ve managed to buy my items super cheap. 

I tend to add a lot of my watchlist but I also use it as a way to figure out how much certain items go for. I’m still on the lookout for a great vintage designer bag. One day I will get my hands on a vintage LV that is not ridiculously priced. You’ll be surprised at the variety of designer items on TM and how some people just want to get rid of them and put them on $1 reserve. I was very close to buying a vintage Gucci bag that went for $250 but in the end I realised it’s more of a trend piece than something I’d want to keep for a long time.

Instagram sellers

The latest place you can shop secondhand items is on Instagram. I follow a few accounts and do lurk at their listings. However, I’ve yet to make a purchase. You also get niche accounts like for curated vintage items (themustardjumper, herharvest), designer items (bagaholicnz, patinaavenue, fridaycandy) or general second hand pieces (everlasting_recyclingwithlove, lovemeagain).

I also have a separate Instagram account (@shopastylecollector) where I sell pieces I don’t need in my wardrobe anymore. I tend to declutter a lot now compared to keeping / collecting everything so I thought it was a good way to find new homes for my things.

https://www.instagram.com/shopastylecollector/

I don’t update my resell page every day as it depends when I declutter or see something I don’t need anymore then I post it up there for a really good price. I was going to do a second hand market last year but Covid lockdown hit and we haven’t had any secondhand markets since. IG is an easy way to sell and I share on my main @astylecollector account too.


Those are the ways I shop second hand. I know you can also try Facebook Marketplace but I don’t bother with it because fashion items tend to be less authentic over there. I feel like Trademe is good at removing dodgy listings and you get more security on Trademe and Designer Wardrobe. 

I’ll end this post now as I’ve rambled on but I hope this is helpful in a way or it gives you an idea to shop secondhand. It’s quite hard for me to buy brand new. I’d always check on the places I’ve noted above before buying brand new in stores. It’s also a more sustainable way to shop because you’re giving this piece a new life and saving you money too. I can’t recommend second hand shopping enough!


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