The RSPCA have taken op shopping to a new level with their Reloved boutiques, these concept stores feature a curated selection of high quality preloved contemporary brands, designer labels and true vintage in a beautifully organised retail space.
A few weeks ago, I was invited to discover these boutiques which I thought would be a great follow up from my previous blog post about buying second hand and the circular economy. The aim of Reloved is to make fashion more accessible by providing great quality clothing at an affordable price, which in this economic crisis is more important than ever. It increases the lifespan of an item by giving it a new home and most importantly it raises funds for all the animals in the RSPCA’s care.
With three locations in Fremantle, North Perth and Subiaco which each have their own character, if you are thinking of buying second hand, I would highly recommend visiting one of their boutiques.
A few reasons why I absolutely loved shopping at Reloved:
- Everything is categorised by size, which makes it so much easier to shop, especially if you have limited time – there definitely won’t be hours rummaging through all the racks.
- They have a ‘designer rack’ so if you are specifically looking for high-end pieces, these are easy to find. During my visit I came across vintage Ralph Lauren and Armani, RED Valentino, Dolce & Gabanna, Isabel Marant, Max Mara, Scanlan & Theodore, KITX to name a few. These pieces were very reasonably priced and some still had their original tags on them.
- These really are community-based stores, the majority of items that they receive are made over the counter by regular donors. I was told that they encourage all customers to donate their good quality clothes, which the majority do and with the increase in apparel rotation, they have a consistent supply of clothing and accessories that arrive every day. In a way, they have created their own circular economy which I think is really fantastic.
- Last but not least, knowing that all the proceeds of your purchase is going towards rescuing and rehabilitating animals in need is a really great feeling.
While I found so many things that I loved, I do believe even when buying secondhand that you need to be mindful and not buy everything just because it is a ‘good deal’. Here are a few tips I use when deciding to buy something, whether it is new or secondhand.
- Make a list – At the beginning of every year when I do my new year wardrobe cleanse, I make a list of everything I need or would like in my wardrobe over the next 12 months. I try to solely stick to this list when shopping, unless I find something incredibly unexpected, then see the tips below.
- How much wear will I get out of this? We should be wearing our clothes time and time again to extend their lifespan; I am a big fan of outfit repeating so when buying something I always think of how many times I will be able to wear it in a year and how easily I can style it with other items in my existing wardrobe so maximise its wear.
- Does it fit properly? This is a big one and I have fallen victim to it on many occasions when I have found something absolutely amazing, it wasn’t my size but I desperately wanted to make it work. If it is too small, the reality is it’s not going to get any bigger so don’t buy it – this happens to me with shoes all the time but the best advice I have is save the money and the pain, leave them for someone else. If it is too big but you know you are going to get a lot of wear out of it, it is great quality and you won’t be able to find the same thing or something similar again than buy it but get it tailored professionally soon after buying it – otherwise it will end up lost in the back of your wardrobe for the next few years.
- Do I really need this? Think of what already exists in your wardrobe, if something is similar or a double-up of what you already have, you probably do not need it.
Based on the above tips, I left the Subiaco Reloved boutique with the most incredible Max Mara suit. It’s made from wool and angora in a versatile ink colour and features subtle grey pinstripes. I have been looking for one for a while but was not set on a specific colour or material, I just knew I wanted something classic that I could wear together or separately to get the most use out of it and for years to come. So, here are three ways I intend to style my Max Mara suit from Reloved.
The full suit, I would wear this to an event or an important business meeting and pair it with a white tee or a cami in summer or a sweater in winter, some statement earrings and a pair of classic heels pointed heels or open to sandals for evening affairs.
The pants, I would wear these to work with this vintage blouse, a tailored shirt or a silk blouse, some simple hoop earrings and a pair them with my matching vintage Chanel heels.
The jacket, this provides endless opportunities and will pair perfectly with everything in my wardrobe. This casual trans-seasonal look which features the same tee as outfit one, some denim short and sneakers is one I will be wearing on high rotation until the weather gets cooler. I could also pair it with a dress and some strappy heels or to dress up a cami and some jeans.
I hope I have inspired you a bit more to shop secondhand to visit the Reloved boutiques to find your own treasures.