Shoppers guide: second hand accessories

Accessories – by which I mean jewellery, belts and scarves – are a great way to liven up an outfit.  Second hand or vintage accessories tend to be a little more unique than those found elsewhere, meaning you can put your own spin on things.  Here’s my guide for buying second hand or vintage accessories.

  • Try the charity shop first

Just like with bags, my first port of call is always the charity shops as they tend to pop new donations straight out (unlike with clothes which often get sent to a central depot) meaning their stock gets refreshed often.  Often all the accessories are grouped together, meaning it’s easy to rummage through everything at once.  Don’t forget that most charity and vintage shops will also keep jewellery in a cabinet at the till point, so even if you’ve found nothing to purchase, don’t forget to go and have a nosy.

  • Check it for flaws

If you find an item you like give it a once over.  Open out a scarf to check it for holes (the non-intentional kind), especially if it’s knitted.  Look at both the buckle and hole ends of a belt to see if it’s still in solid condition, as well as the length of the belt to make sure it’s not wearing through.  Jewellery may be missing gemstones, beads may be split and/or missing, and don’t forget to check if the fastening works so you can actually wear it!

  • Does it fit?

Especially important for belts – it may look long enough, but does it go around and do up?  If it’s too long that’s not an issue as you can easily add extra belt holes with a leather punch.  Don’t forget too that it’s worth trying on bangles to make sure you can get them on and off, likewise rings.

  • What’s the damage?

Finally, take a look at the all important price tag.  Charity shops will often be a lot cheaper than vintage shops, but you might be surprised.  If the price is right, you’ve found yourself a winning new accessory.

These are my top tips when shopping for accessories.  Do you have any more?  I’d love to know what else you look for!

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