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Emma Elwin

Notes from a Swedish stylist


Give us your best thrift shopping tip!

Posted in Style
by Emma Elwin on 24 November, 2014

Win a gift voucher at Myrorna!

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One of the best ways to approach sustainable fashion is, of course, to buy things that already exist instead of using the planet’s resources to constantly produce new. It’s also our best tip to develop a personal style – finding the timeless pieces that have worked for years, and staying with those pieces forever. Today, Make it last highlights the work of Myrorna in Sweden.

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Myrorna is the largest retain chain of second-hand goods in Sweden and collects more goods than any other organisation in the country. They have large sorting facilities in several places around the country, and 35 stores from Luleå in the north to Malmö in the south. Everything sold in the Myrorna stores are gifts that individuals and businesses contribute with, by coming to the stores or leaving things in the Myrorna collection containers at recycling centers or to their pickup trucks. Every year, over 40 million Swedish kronor goes to the Salvation Army’s social activities from Myrorna.

We’ve arranged for a competition that we hope you’ll like. You can win gift vouchers at Myrorna by entering a competition here at Make it last. All you have to do is share you best second hand-tip as a comment to this post.

My own best tip is to go to Myrorna or other second hand stores early in the day, when the stores are filled up with new items. My colleague Lisa’s best advice is to look for timeless pieces instead of seasonal trends. She constantly keeps an eye out for perfect jeans – a garment that usually gets better with time and suede och leather coats – materials that she wants to avoid buying new, and that also grows better with age.

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All the items in the picture are from Myrorna.  

So, hit us – what’s your best second hand hunting tip? 

Share your tip in the comments below, and make sure to get your email right.

First price is a gift voucher worth 3 000 kr at Myrorna.
Second price is a gift voucher worth 2 000 kr at Myrorna.
Winners will be announced on Monday 1 December.

#makeitlastmyrorna

Make it last in collaboration with Myrorna.


44 Comments

emma: Yes on the front page :)
December 12, 2014

Anika: Were the winners announced yet?
December 10, 2014

Fanny: When will the winners be announced? :)
December 1, 2014

Paula: My advice is very simple: be open and don't look only for clothes! Try to find special jewellery or other original accesories. Myrorna offers so many different goods that we can also for instance decorate the house, complement the home library or prepare for a journey! :)
December 1, 2014

Kylie Larsson: I have found many treasures throughout the years at secondhand shops. When I lived in the USA I used to spend hours at secondhand book stores and those books took me on many adventures throughout my child- and adulthood. After visiting Sweden a few times, I finally discovered thrift stores here and fell instantly in love. Rather than paying full price, I have been able to add to my collection of crystal and pewter at very low cost.
November 30, 2014

Cornelia: Take off your coat, grab a basket and chuck everything you like at first sight in it. Then calmly try everything on and with any hesitation say NO! If you see yourself posing and correcting your outfit in the mirror it's a clear give away that you won't be comfortable in it. Final test: Would you buy it at full price?
November 29, 2014

Henry Maxe: Books! I buy all my books at Myrorna! Where else can you leave a bookstore with 10 paperbacks and still have money left in your wallet? And when i've finished reading I bring them back and donate them so someone else can enjoy them!
November 29, 2014

Malin: My best tip is to go to small cities and towns and find second hand shops there. Always try to plan your trips so that you get extra time to stop along the way or between trains. I've made all my best finds on the country side, like my vintage Mulberry trench for 40 sek, string bokkshelfs for 20 sek etc. For me, second hand shopping is like a treasure hunt and I can't walk past an open second hand shop because maybe the perfect find is in there!
November 28, 2014

Sophia: To buy second hand is to consume with your heart. Try to find and connect the item to your life and make a story with it, to proceed what the owner created before you. Look at every visit like a special occasion and always glance at the sofas and porcelain, they can often be pieces of art in them selves. But most important of all - reinvent yourself through second hand, and make a stronger style statement wearing an armor of stories.
November 28, 2014

Anna W: My best tip (or you could also call it 'philosophy') is to go thrifting as often as possible, and you will surely find yourself with some second hand scores! This way you will get to know the second hand shops in your city and find out what kind of products they carry (some stock more clothes, others have an emphasis on furniture etc). I have a little route of the second hand shops in my area that I visit on a regular basis. Ultimately, thrift shopping success comes down to the time you spent in the shops 'hunting' for the goodies.
November 27, 2014

Fanny: My best tip is: go out and get a sewing machine! (If you don't already have one.) I got mine for 150 kr at Myrornas and it is the best thing I ever got from there. Hopefully, if you're lucky, in thrift shops you find those garments that just fit PERFECTLY, but sometimes modifications are needed. It could be a beautiful maxi dress turning into a short party dress, or a blouse that is just one size too big. You could also add a lace collar, change the buttons etc etc. There is nothing you can't do with a needle, thread and some imagination!
November 27, 2014

jenaly: My tip is to go in with an open mind and take the time to look around, you never know what you might find!! www.inmydreams.ca/
November 27, 2014

Anna: My best Is to look in Old package there noone sekels to look You can find gold
November 27, 2014

Silvia Göz: My best tip is to take a short roadtrip over the weekend or for a day to à small town near you and ask some elder people in town for where the best second hand shops are. Other than that the best tip ever is to get to know somebody that works in your favourite second hand shop so you get to all the good stuff before it goes out for display;)
November 26, 2014

Amanda: First and foremost, take your responsibility. Yes this may come across a bit pretentious but it is true. We are all responsible for the values which we base our everyday actions on. When living in this consumer society we are obliged to think in a sustainable way. My tip is simply to choose second hand shopping as your only shopping. The hunting skill will come with time as there is no shortcuts in the jungle of clothes in the thrift shops. Sorry for the moral lecture but I am so tired of people’s ignorance, it is time to act and where to start if not with yourself.
November 26, 2014

Amie: My best tip is to wear clothes that are easy to take off! A dress is perfect. Shoes that come of easy helps a lot. Do not wear anything with lots of buttons, unless you can pull it straight over your head. All the trying on you'll have to do demands an easily removable outfit.
November 26, 2014

Theo: My tipp is, to look beyond the surface. Maybe the chair doesn't look enticing at all, but may be with colour dipped legs it is an altogether different story. Don't worry about colour, it can be changed and that can make an amazing difference. The same with garments, if you can sew, your the second hand queen! And isn't it so much fun, to give things a second life?
November 26, 2014

Matilda: My primary recommendation would be to go into every thrift shop, or grovsoprum (room for bulky waste) for that matter, with an open yet conscious mind. That way it becomes possible to find those pieces with something extra, but instead of bringing everything back home you can assess the potential on spot. As you get better at this, besides from saving time (and obviously the planet's resources), you also save money, energy and inspiration. Especially the energy and inspiration can instead be used to make more aspects of your life last longer!
November 26, 2014

Sarah: My best advice, or I dont really know if it's an advice, but at least my mantra when I come to the store. 1) see potential. This can be made through bringing different "tools" such as a meassuring tape (if you find chairs that would look great redressed, you might as well find the material for redressing it at the same place), or to buy frames. The meassuring tape is good if you have something special you want to frame rather than just overconsuming in another way, leaving good frames for other people. Otherwise, I'd say frames are a good catch every day of the week. Different frames and good materials give much more character to your home. and also: I always bring a walnut to the furniture-department. If there's a wooden furniture with let's say water damage or water marks on, I rubb the walnut against the wood and the oil from the walnut fills in the blancs which misses its original color. Either its good enough for me, and I might buy it, otherwise it looks much (!) better and maybe someone else will enjoy it. Last but not least, I always go through the kids department. Wooden toys and my best buy ever: polly pocket pink castle. Would make every home SO much nicer to come home to. Patience, fantasy and some tricks!
November 26, 2014

Filippa Lind: My best advice is to go with a close friend of yours who also woreships secondhand as much as you. It makes the experience a lot more fun and interesting since you're both oh so into shopping second hand. Pick as much clothes and items as you can possibly carry and try them on, show them to each other and give each other feedback. Having your friend with you can help you to decide if the clothes or items are a keep or not. I myself can feel quite unsure about the clothes sometimes and when my friend Anna is there with me it gets a lot easier. The most important thing is to have fun and let yourself go crazy. It's always fun with a colourful outside the box mentality!
November 26, 2014

Björn Lindström: I buy clothes on Myrornas and let a tailor fix them to suit me. It sounds expensive but its not. Take shirts for example, make sure its good quality and that it sits good around the neck, 100kr for the shirt, 200kr for tailoring, and voilà, you've got a top quality shirt tailored for you!
November 26, 2014

Marielle: Go as often as you can! It's that easy. Every day if possible. I don't know how many times I've heard my friends say "How come you always find something and I don't?". Well, I've spend hours and hours on second hand shops for the past 10 years and walked away with nothing 80% off the time, but I keep on looking. The perfect catch is just around the corner.
November 26, 2014

Klara H: Another tip is to look in the "one pound basket" or whatever the name is. Those are usually very good items being thrown in there straight from the rack after a week or so in the shop. Also, don't go to the busiest shopping district or trendiest area. They will for sure know what they've got. Go to the suburbs but be aware the clothes are often a reflection of the inhabitants of that area. For good design bits, go to an area a bit further off but with wealthy people living there. For example west hampstead in comparison to camden. The goods in store are in many cases given by the people living there.
November 25, 2014

Ida Mac: My best advice is to try out clothes that you may not think fit you when it's hanging on the hanger. Don't only look at the sizes and try clothes that actually are sewn to fit someone else than your target group, like children clothes, mens wear, womens wear. Don't let what you think is right stop you, GO WILD.
November 25, 2014

Klara H: Gee having worked in a London based second hand shop I could fill this space to the maximum with do's (and dont's). I would say one of my best tips is one that works just aswell on those things at home that you are about to throw out because of their bad condition. The truth is a lot of stuff gets thrown out even in second hand shops ( you see about 10 percent of what's coming in) but a lot of these things don't need much to look as if new again. Straw hats and felt hats for example just need a bit of steam (hold the steamer a few centimetres from teh hat) and you can easily bend it back into its original shape. The same with suede shoes - just put the steamer a few centimetres from the shoe and brush the suede into its former state. Tadaaa :)
November 25, 2014

Alexandra: My best tip is to not just hunt for yourself! A retro flower pot can make the perfect base or a flower arrangement to your parents. An interesting painting can be the perfect house warming gift. The cheapest clothes and accessories can make the perfect gift for kids as fun dress-up clothes to use for their performances at home. And you might also find a lovely suitcase to store it all in :)
November 25, 2014

Rebecka: My best tip is to go for SPARKLES. Thrift shops and vintage stores have the best party items, no doubt! When I have absolutely nothing to wear for an upcoming party, I love to go second hand shopping for party tops, vests and dresses with beads, pearls and sequins. My eyes just scan for sparkling garments! Personally, clothes I wear for New Year's Eve, Christmas events and birthday parties, I only wear that one time. Therefore I find it much more environmentally friendly to purchase an 80's sparkly party top or a 60's dress than going out and buying something newly produced that probably some other person may happen to have in their wardrobe. Besides, this way you will also most likely be the one at the party or club with the most unique and original outfit:)
November 25, 2014

Ingrid Rodman-Holmes: Find the needle, In the haystack, A peice of art glass, A jacket with sass, Check under, Check over, Be creative, Be surprised, Buy what pleases Your own eyes.
November 25, 2014

Jennie Berggren: My best thrift shopping advice - bring your best friend/-s. She/he makes it even funnier, gives advice and can convince you that something is just right. Two (or more) minds are more clever and creative than one! And, regardless of outcome you will have a great time.
November 25, 2014

Linnea: I always keep in mind that some pieces of clothing are really easy to alter, to give them a more modern feel. For instance, hemming a skirt/dress or changing the buttons on a jacket to is super easy and can really make a huge difference. But my best tip is to buy shoes in a size larger than you normally would. That way, you can put a new sole in them and make them feel like new again!
November 25, 2014

Klara B: I have been thrift shopping since I was 12 years old and had a burning passion for fashion(I actually made my own imaginary brand where I drew collections with inspiration from fashion magazines). I have since the day I first walked into that thrift shop, been having an addiction to thrift. I visit proximately 2 thrift shops a week and I tend to find the most amazing garments each time. So my biggest tip, which will probably creep the cashiers out, is to visit your local thrift stores VERY frequent. There is no other way to be able to find those rare pieces, since someone else will snap them up before you even see them. This is also, ironically, the thing that creates the addiction, since I always think to myself "Maybe they have gotten that 60's dress I've always dreamed about". And, I find these vintage treasures again and again so this addiction will perhaps never end. I do not regret that I started though, since my closet exists of 90% thrifted items and is therefore 90% cheaper, more sustainable and unique than if it would exist of retail clothes. And isn't it also quite ironic that those "friends" who used to laugh at the fact that I thrifted clothes, are now admiring how good I am at it...(I will not share this tip with them)
November 25, 2014

sofia: My best second hand tips is to look for classical pieces in good materials, like silk, wool, linen or cotton. Good quality items that would otherwise cost a fortune if you were too buy them new. It's easy to find shirts, summer dresses and knits in second hand shops, that are in timeless models. Leather handbags are also something i look for second hand, because sometimes you can find really good quality handbags that look just like brand new. I also always look for interior decoration, more than clothes, since I think decoration that has some character makes a home more cosy. I especially look for kitchen ceramics, lamps, candelabras, chairs etc. A great tip is to go to second hand shops in the suburbs/smaller towns, or to go to flea markets because the second hand shops in the bigger towns are usually too expensive and filled with hipsters ;)
November 25, 2014

Annika Åström: My best thrift shopping tip is to go crazy with those items that you love but would maybe hesitate to buy in an "ordinary" store. Not the safe bets, like basic black sweaters and stuff, but rather go for the quirky, bold, unusual clothings that you would't dare to buy full-price. It's a great way to spice up your wardrobe and try out new looks - you will either love it, or, if you don't feel comfortable in it, at least you learned something about yourself and your style and you can just give it back, no harm done - the money goes to a good cause and no resources are wasted! Also, these items are perfekt for upcycling and modifying, without worrying about messing up an expensive new garment. Have fun, go trial-and-error!
November 25, 2014

Anna: If you want to buy a garment that lasts almost forever and with a personal unique toutch from past decades go to myrorna. Look at the fabric and if it looks like the garments made with love (meaning that its made with quality and with a thought, not just for mass production.) Then buy it! And when or if you ever get tired of your garment, give it to a happy friend or leave it back to myrorna so it can get alive in someone elses hands again!
November 25, 2014

Lan: My tip would be dont look for anything special, meaning let your mind be blank when entering the secondhand shop. Look around and let the things find you.If you feel in yr heart for something special you see, go for it,whether it´s something you need or not at the moment, first impression never fails, you will love that intem forever.And oc course, for clothes always have a look at the label for quality, laundry options etc.
November 25, 2014

Sofi: My best tip after many years of searching through second hand stores are these: take your time, and look at the label. Never be in a hurry when you look in second hand stores, to find the best pieces you need to take time to go through it all. There might be 200 pairs of jeans in one Myrorna store, and you would have to look at pretty much every single one to find that one pair that is the perfect fit for you. But when you do find it, it’s worth it! Also, look on the label to see what material the garment is made of. An old knit sweater made of acrylic or polyester is not a bargain, however cheap, because it won’t look good for very long. A 100% wool or cashmere knit, on the other hand, even if the price is higher, will last and look good for longer. I always search for natural materials such as wool, cashmere, silk, cotton, linen, leather and suede. Materials that tend to cost more when you buy it new. But I would much rather spend 300 SEK on a second hand woolen cardigan than a new one made of synthetic materials. Also, if your travelling to big cities take a morning off from the usual shopping street and seek out the little secondhand places, it’s well worth it, I got some of my favorite pieces from shops and markets in London, Sydney and Paris! xo
November 25, 2014

Carmen: Go after the label, and I don´t mean fashion label but the old one, f.eks. made in Sweden. The clothes marked with made in Sweden/Finland/Denmark etc. are the best ones in quality and they will last forever in your closet. That´s what I do, and of course always follow your gut!
November 24, 2014

Mary B: My best tips is to go to charity shops in small cities, I like those on the danish country side or in Bristol, UK. An very opposite tip is to go to big shops in untrendy areas, there you know no other fashionistas have been.
November 24, 2014

Frida Byström: My very best second hand tip is simple. Coats! It is the best second hand product you can ever buy, and I'm definitely proof of that. All my coats are second hand and I love it. Most coats from back in the days were not only produced in Sweden, but were also made out of more or less 100% wool. My best second hand coat purchase I've ever made was this fall. A long black coat with 80% wool and it cost me 50;-, now THATS a sustainable bargain!
November 24, 2014

Vera: My best tip is to go to the second hand stores you didnt know exsisted, find your own "smultronställen" where no one else is looking. It's like picking mushrooms in the woods, if you go to the same place as everyone else all the mushrooms will be gone. So get on google, take a buss or a train out from the city and find your own secret spot! It will be like a little adventure in your everyday life and if you are lucky you will find a lot of treasures!
November 24, 2014

Ann-Sofie Wiklund: My best tip is to try and look at the pieces for what they can be not what they are right now. Some furniture and clothes just need some love and care to be perfect. A thread and a needle or a jar of paint can be your best friend when your looking for secondhand clothes or furniture. Just put on your creative mind and your stuff are going to feel even more personal than before and you will love it !
November 24, 2014

Kickan: My best tip is to make a list of the things you want or feel are missing in your wardrobe and follow that list when you do your second hand shopping. It’s easy to get blinded by all the clothes in the stores and you might forget what it is that you really want and need in your wardrobe. In that way you will not only buy second hand-goods, which is good for the environment and the wallet, but you will make sure that you find the perfect pieces for your wardrobe. I for one, am always looking for the perfect shirts and cozy sweaters with good quality!
November 24, 2014

Teresa: My best tip when you look for second hand goods is to look after exclusive materials - ceramics, brass, silver, glass, marble, wool, leather, etc. Its a perfect way to buy high quality when you have a thin wallet! You can find so many classic pieces for your home and wardrobe, yet with a personal twist to it.
November 24, 2014

Johanna: My best tip is to go bananas! Myrorna, or at any other charity second hand shop, is the only place you can shop til' you drop without feeling quilty (and unsustainable). The pieces you haven't been wearing within a month - just give it back! The only impact your shopping did was to give some money to a good cause.
November 24, 2014

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