A Definitive Information to Second Hand Formal Garments – The Oxford Pupil

Picture Description: An individual looking out by a classic clothes rack – maybe looking for formal garments!

Ball season – on high of weekly formals, launch occasions and twenty first’s – is as soon as once more upon us in earnest, and for some, that is the primary time we’ve ever skilled the glamour (and the worth tag) of an Oxford ball.

Oxford balls appear to foster a sure Brideshead Revisted-esque longing in its attendees. The attract, the drama and the seduction of Waugh’s presentation of the dreaming spires appears to coalesce on these nights – or a minimum of within the expectations of these in possession of a ticket. Possibly it’s wishful considering of £240 properly spent, or perhaps there actually is one thing of Waugh’s imaginative and prescient of Oxford within the air.

No matter it could be, balls (and different formal events) are costly hobbies regardless of the frequent promise of an open bar (double shot cocktails who?). Importantly, they aren’t solely costly to your private Monzo account, but additionally for the surroundings, particularly the outfit.

From a broader perspective, bettering accessibility of second hand procuring can be important for transitioning to a round financial system, wherein gadgets reminiscent of formal attire (and the garment staff who produce them) can not be handled as disposable. As avid scrollers on Depop, Ebay and Vinted, in addition to a former charity store volunteer (Charlotte), we current you with our scorching takes on second hand formal put on as a solution to scale back your local weather affect, and look nice doing it (formal or no formal).

We’re certainly not consultants, merely devoted lovers, and so earlier than diving into the recommendations, we provide a disclaimer: having the ability to store second-hand is a privilege that not everybody has entry to. Think about the time dedication, monetary constraints and lack of plus dimension clothes choices that procuring second hand typically entails. On high of this, attending occasions reminiscent of balls, backyard events and formals typically requires vital monetary commitments, a worth not everyone seems to be keen, or ready, to pay. Though procuring second hand typically supplies a less expensive different to sourcing garments on the Excessive Road, this isn’t universally true and so we encourage you to chorus from lecturing (and judging) others on their consumption habits.

With that being mentioned, onto the recommendations!

Oxford Ball Robe Swap and Store

A staple for procuring (and renting) second-hand in Oxford. Sellers submit their obtainable gadgets right here a number of instances a day, with pictures, sizes, and costs. Renting an outfit sometimes prices between £15-20 an evening. We might suggest dropping sellers a message on Fb just a few weeks earlier than an occasion, or making a saved folder of future gown choices on Fb to keep away from disappointment. There are some nice attire right here, and also you don’t wish to miss out!

Let’s Share our Garments

If you happen to’re seeking to borrow a ball gown totally free, Let’s Share our Garments could also be your finest guess. Sometimes, folks submit the gadgets they require (offering pictures for inspiration) and hope that somebody has what they’re in search of.

Professional tip: We’ve discovered the extra energetic you might be within the group (i.e. providing others to borrow your attire), the extra success you should have!

This group might be hit and miss with merchandise availability, so once more, it’s finest to submit forward of time.

Depop, Vinted and Ebay

The holy trinity of second-hand web sites.

Personally, we’re Depop women, however the gentrifying inflow of drop shippers and sellers flipping charity store gadgets for double their worth signifies that we’re slowly transferring in direction of Vinted. If you happen to haven’t heard of Vinted, consider it as Depop’s understated youthful sister; i.e., much less ‘Depop Girlies’ and extra ‘shopaholic who’s clearing out their closet’. Vinted can be usually less expensive, doesn’t have a promoting payment, and permits clothes swaps! It could appear much less user-friendly at first, however persevere, as there are some actual gems to be discovered!

For a primary time consumer, navigating these websites and discovering second-hand garments that you just really like and which match you’ll be able to really feel daunting, so listed here are some particular tricks to get you began:

If you happen to’re doubtful over the model/match/color clothes you need, begin with on-line (or in retailer) manufacturers that you’re accustomed to. Discover gadgets that you just like on the model web site, and for which you understand the tough sizing, then seek for them second-hand afterwards. When looking out on Depop/Vinted/Ebay, filter for particular sizes, worth ranges, and merchandise situation earlier than you begin shopping. Use key phrases reminiscent of model title, particular merchandise title, or kind of sample (for example: ‘off the shoulder Zara maxi gown’ or ‘black midi gown with slit’). If you happen to can’t discover it on one web site, attempt the others! Have a fast take a look at vendor rankings to find out whether or not it’s value shopping for from them. Something beneath 4.5 stars is usually a purple flag for scams, though studying the critiques might provide you with an perception into how reliable the vendor is. Look out for drop delivery. Gadgets that are ‘model new with tags’, take 2-3 weeks to reach, or appear to have tons of of critiques regardless of being referred to as ‘distinctive’ are virtually definitely drop shipped. These are gadgets which have been purchased in bulk by the vendor from web sites reminiscent of AliExpress and resold at a major markup. These will typically be poor high quality, arrive late, and are extremely unsustainable. Message the vendor. Ask for estimated postage time, whether or not they do returns, or if an merchandise is true to dimension. Formal outfits can typically be a major funding, so don’t be ashamed to pester a vendor to know if it’s going to give you the results you want (you possibly can even try to haggle the worth down a bit!).

Classic retailers in Oxford

Though few and much between, classic procuring in Oxford is a considerably of a mecca for retro gems and one-off items. It can be an expertise to say the least, so put together your self for a little bit of strolling, a number of rummaging, and the occasional alternative for some bargaining.

Reign Classic on Cowley highway is a London based mostly classic icon which has branched out to Oxford. It’s a spacious and welcoming store, making it nice for newbies, though it may be on the pricier facet for sure gadgets. Nonetheless, a noteworthy choice and an ideal springboard into the world of classic procuring in Oxford.

Picture Credit score: {Photograph} taken by Katie Hulett. Located on St Clements, Ballroom Emporium is the go to vacation spot for some severe classic. This institution has been round since 1984 and specialises in ball robes and formal put on in addition to having a powerful costume division. The Ballroom Emporium is to not be missed when on the hunt for a present stopping ball outfit!

Picture Credit score: {Photograph} taken by Katie Hulett. The Unicorn is a treasure trove nestled away on Ship Road and is as piled excessive with garments because it appears to be like from the surface. The Unicorn is run by a very eccentric woman, so count on erratic opening instances, costs based mostly on how a lot she deems you personally ought to pay, and far left to be desired in the best way of a altering room. All this being mentioned, you will see that a few of your new absolute favorite garments on this warren which might be most of the time, at a really cheap worth. Like I mentioned, that is an expertise that’s maybe not for the faint hearted.

Whereas we hope these suggestions are greater than ample to get you began in your classic procuring journey, our Fashion Staff has written an ideal information purely devoted to classic procuring spots in Oxford and we actually suggest you checking it out if this has whetted your urge for food for all issues retro.

Additional Recommendation: Alterations

While not essentially a high tip for buying second hand garments, it’s necessary to contemplate the chance that the merchandise you’ve got bought (utilizing our final information), won’t match. If so, alterations is usually a lifesaver. They typically price between £10-£20 relying on the adjustments required, the model of the gown and the supplies used. Our high suggestions for formal gown alterations in Oxford are: Bespoke Alterations (Jericho) and Sew Tailoring (Coated Market) and Wash and Sew (St. Clements).

With the garments resale market rising at a price 11 instances quicker than that of conventional retail, there’s little doubt that sustainable style is right here to remain. The way forward for sustainable formal put on in Oxford appears to be like promising. Alongside the rise of resale web sites and marketplaces, School run garments swaps and secondhand gross sales have gotten evermore commonplace (and supply a wonderful method for ball committees to cut back their wider environmental affect!).

Hopefully this information has impressed you to seek out your subsequent ball outfit from a sustainable supply. In spite of everything, nothing appears to be like nearly as good as saving the planet feels.

Picture Credit score: Joseph Brent by way of flickr.com.