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Ask Sherry Anything: How do Europeans feel about secondhand clothing?

You asked, and I am answering every Friday once I have enough questions!

You can ask any question using the form here.

I’ve never been to Europe and I have often wondered how the people across the pond feel about consignment and thrift store clothes. Do they embrace that particular culture or is it just an American or Canadian thing?


I think in the past, the French even had markets where you could go and pick up old, (now vintage) Hermès bags for a song in the flea markets.

My partner remembers going there as a kid and selling refurbished furniture he would pick up on the streets and work on restoring to make money. He became quite good at selling and loved being there.

The only thing is that now that they’ve all cottoned on that this is a cool thing to own and do, the prices have gone up and secondhand resale markets have blossomed. Boo 🙁

I know my friends in England go thrifting often, and really enjoy getting new-to-them items and mixing and matching.

Naturally, this is looked down upon by SOME people (“why would I wear anyone’s castoffs!?“, or is a squeamish thing (my partner had to wear secondhand his whole life and he has forever been psychologically scarred by this)….

But generally speaking I have not heard anyone think it is not cool that you found a perfectly like-new cashmere sweater and are rocking it along with your thrifted bucket bag you found for $7!

I also heard from my partner that the new style is “shabby chic” where you have antiqued, or old-looking items with history in your home. Who knows? Tastes and styles change, but money, being frugal and resourceful to find something for a fraction of its retail value in almost new condition is ALWAYS going to be in style.

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  • Kandice

    I recently hit up a high end consignment shop in my neighborhood. I was able to buy a pair of dark wash Joe’s Jeans, a pair of black pants with the original tags still on (Lisette L from Montreal – I’ve never heard of the brand tbh), and a well made wool sweater, all for around $140. I also have been enjoying a NWT Cinzia Rocca cashmere wool blend camel coat that retailed for far more than what I paid (paid maybe $50 for a $600 coat). I got it from a liquidation place. I love thrifting.

  • Maggie

    Lol. Nailed it. Always loved it. My best pieces in High School came from second hand stores and flea markets. It’s much harder now to find “treasures” but not impossible.

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