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The Ultimate Ukay-ukay Guide to Shopping Thrifted Clothes and Shoes

The top tips you should know when you visit thrift shops.

By: Daphne Benosa | August 17, 2016
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When it comes to buying ukay-ukay or second-hand clothes, it helps to be more cautious. These are clothing previously worn by people you don’t know, so they are worth the extra vigilance. Some people consider buying second-hand shoes and clothes as unhygienic (for obvious reasons) and impractical, but there are steps you can do to ensure that you’re getting an item that you can actually use and wear for a long time.

Here are some Ukay-ukay shopping tips when you visit the thrift shops:

1. Choose timeless pieces.

tips on shopping pre-loved clothes and shoes

Every Thrift shop is chock-full of quirky, unique items — trendy clothes and shoes that were considered popular many years ago. To avoid looking dated, choose pieces that are timeless and simple. These are items that you can wear at any time and occasion, such as plain black dresses, flats, dress shoes, and pencil skirts, among others.

2. Look for signs of wear and tear.

We know that sometimes, used clothes and shoes need a little TLC to make them look like new, or at least more decent. And that’s okay. However, we need to know the difference between mendable flaws and irreparable ones. Check the clothing’s stress points, like knees, elbows, and underarms, for signs of wear and tear. For shoes, check the soles and heels. If it looks like they can’t withstand a few wears and washes, then it’s best to put the item back in the rack. If a leather pair shows signs of cracks, wrinkles, or peeling, for example, it’s not worth your buck anymore.

3. Check for any unpleasant odor or discolorations.

tips on shopping pre-loved clothes and shoes

One thing to remember about ukay-ukay shopping (thrift shopping) is that the items sold at thrift shops were discarded for a reason. Most of the time, it’s due to stains and foul smell—which means if the previous wearer or store owner couldn’t get them out, then most probably you can’t either. Again, check the stress points. If they look yellow-ish (eww!), don’t ever think about buying them. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

4. Avoid items made of absorbent material.

Germs and bacteria thrive in moist environments, so steer clear of items made of absorbent material, like suede. While it’s possible to disinfect used clothes and shoes, it’s difficult to completely rid them of germs. If you don’t want to catch other people’s body or foot odor, choose leather, vinyl, or other similar materials. Besides, they are machine-washable, easy to sanitize, and more comfortable to wear, so it’s a double win.

5. Whatever you buy, detox.

tips on shopping pre-loved clothes and shoes

Thoroughly washing clothes and other stuff bought from a thrift shop is a must. And it doesn’t only mean tossing them into your washing machine. Take note that these items may have been sitting in the store or storage room for days or even months, so there is a good chance that bacteria (or molds) have grown in them. Sanitize clothing by soaking them in warm water with alcohol for about five minutes. As for leather shoes, you can use a clean towel dipped in alcohol to wipe the insides, and then anti-fungal spray to further sanitize. Foot powder is also a great alternative. Let it sit for 2 days or more to get rid of lingering odors and germs.

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About Daphne Benosa
Daphne is a professional copyeditor and lifestyle blogger based in Quezon City. She loves testing different skincare products and sharing beauty tips to readers and friends. She also writes product reviews for both local and international brands. To learn more about what she does, visit her website:
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Disclaimer: All articles in the Consumers Magazine of Yoorekka are for general information and entertainment purposes only. Although careful research has been made in writing them, Yoorekka does not make any warranty about the completeness and accuracy of all information presented in our articles. Our content is not intended to be used in place of legal, medical, or any professional advice.
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