Finding second-hand clothes, shoes and bags is no longer so difficult these days.
You have online second-hand platforms such as Vinted, Marktplaats, Facebook and, of course, plenty of options offline.
Only, what should you pay attention to when you buy something second-hand? If you are going to buy pre-owned items, what makes the difference? Of course you want to buy something that lasts a long time and meets your expectations. For me it is the combination of something that is made in a good way, that does not go out of fashion quickly and that has a good price/quality ratio.
However, if you don't have such a trained eye, you can get overwhelmed by the offer. Then be the first to look at the following features:
You can of course score super cool quality items from a small or unknown label, but usually a brand indicates whether something is high quality, well made, with beautiful fabrics and attention to detail and design. In addition, it is very personal what you label as a 'brand', but for now let's focus on the higher segment. When I start searching, I am more focused on well-known brands. A recognizable (size) label gives you that information. Pay close attention to the authenticity of more expensive brands. There are many counterfeit articles in circulation and also online. I've messed up a few times myself!
The material and composition
Sometimes the brand is unknown or cut out. Or it may be a homemade item. This does not necessarily mean that the item you are holding in your hands is of poor quality. Cheaper brands or larger clothing chains also make beautiful items that you can enjoy for years to come. But pay close attention to the washing labels and composition. Polyester, for example, is a fabric that lasts a long time, does not wrinkle and dries quickly, but also quickly feels warm and is not very breathable. This fabric is also anything but environmentally friendly, because it is made from petroleum.
I myself prefer a fabric that is as natural as possible in terms of raw materials, such as (organic) cotton, linen or silk. These sometimes need a little more care in the wash, but will offer you a nicer and more durable wearing comfort.
There is actually no right or wrong here. All that matters is that you choose something that you will wear a lot! Take a good look in advance at those items that you now enjoy a lot or that are already worn out.
If you wear a lot of jeans, you probably don't suddenly wear a lot of neat trousers. What is nice is to look for a different model or color than you normally choose.
Because that's the nice thing, if you don't like it, you can always give it away, try to sell it or return it to the cycle. You won't be disappointed with those few euros.. (that's also my biggest pitfall, haha!)
Do you like vintage (i.e. more than 20 years old - please note that this term is often used for items that are not actually allowed to bear this name) or more of contemporary fashion, almost everything is for sale second-hand. What you choose is personal and depends on your taste, and not on the trends that you blindly adopt because you shop in a large fast-fashion store.
Pay close attention to the overall condition of your item. Pilling sleeves, raw trouser legs, loose stitching, missing buttons - some things can be fixed, other flaws make an item unwearable or at least ready for some serious upcycling!
If you're handy you can mend most of it, but sewing haberdashery like buttons and zippers can be pricey. It is worth spending extra time or money on a designer item, but not for fast fashion, because then the button or zipper will soon be more expensive than the item cost new.
Pay extra attention to any stains or holes in a second-hand item. You can try asking for extra discount if you want to try washing it. Sometimes it comes out in the wash, sometimes it doesn't.
Even then you might be able to come up with a crea-bea solution to give the garment a second life, such as dyeing it. Or use it as material for a new -unique- piece of clothing, make a nice patchwork quilt (also a nice idea for your baby clothes) or use it as a cleaning cloth if necessary. It doesn't really matter that much, as long as it doesn't end up unused in a container!