How to shop for second hand bridesmaid dresses

Becca Donaldson ·
Second hand bridesmaid dresses

Wedding season is winding up and with it those who were bridesmaids this year are beginning to sell their
preloved bridesmaid dresses. This is a perfect opportunity for those in the UK to snap up second hand bridesmaid dresses. Second hand bridesmaid dresses are ideal because they’ve only been worn once for a few hours and buying new can be ridiculously expensive, simply because of the W word!

However, knowing how to reliably buy second hand bridesmaid dresses can seem a little complicated. So, if you’re looking to buy preloved bridesmaid dresses in the UK, read on to discover our Reliked top tips and advice.

Know your reasons

When it comes to buying a second hand bridesmaid dress it’s good to start out with solid reasons. It should be an active choice that is just as exciting as choosing something new in store. 

There are compelling reasons for choosing to buy bridesmaid dresses second hand. 

First up, preloved bridesmaid dresses are considerably cheaper. New, off the peg dresses are often notoriously costly, simply because of the bridesmaid label and style. Many brides offer to buy the dresses for their bridesmaids, but this can add to an already pressured budget. If bridesmaids themselves are paying, then it can be tricky. So, making big savings by choosing second hand bridesmaid dresses is highly compelling.

Secondly, preloved bridesmaid dresses are the more sustainable choice. It’s simply a better option for the planet. You’ve reduced the carbon footprint of the dress and you aren’t contributing to unsustainable fashion processes. While bridesmaid dresses don’t typically fall into the ‘fast fashion’ bracket, all clothes production has some impact on the planet through use of virgin material manufacturing.

Lastly, when it comes to buying second hand bridesmaid dresses, you aren’t limited to what someone else deems to be suitable for the bridesmaid label. Browse our complete range of dresses to discover that there are plenty of gorgeous dresses suitable for bridesmaids which don’t actually carry the bridesmaid label. This opens up your choice and style options. More and more brides are allowing bridesmaids to choose their own dress in a broad colour palette, according to a style they like, so cast your net wide!

Know what to look for

The vast majority of preloved bridesmaid dresses are sold online, so there are some key things to look out for.

1. Look at lots of photos

Choosing items of second hand online can feel like a gamble. An important part of the process is to look at lots of photos from various angles. If you’d like more photos than are provided in the listing, don’t hesitate to contact the seller. This is still an important purchase. Particularly ask for photos of any damage. It can also be helpful to have close-up shots of detailing and of a section of the main seams. This allows you to determine quality.

2. Be clear about sizes

Bridesmaid dress sizing in the UK can be complex. Many dresses are originally brought in from America, with different sizing. Others are imported from elsewhere, and some are made to measure. Therefore, don’t simply cast a glance at the listed size, but seek out detailed measurements. 

A good rule of thumb is that bringing in a dress a size or two is fair game for a competent seamstress. Letting a dress out is tricky and sometimes impossible – this should be avoided. Err on the side of caution when buying online and be aware that it’s very common to need adjustments made for a perfect fitting dress. Budget for the alterations!

3. Be clear on colours

Brides are generally more open to broader colour palettes at the moment, with a trend for bridesmaid dresses to complement each other rather than strictly match. However, it’s still important to be aware of colours when buying online. This is particularly true if, as is often the case, you’re choosing a fabric with sheen. These are hard to photograph and get the colours accurately reflected.

This is when platforms, such as Reliked, which use professional fashion photography tools and techniques are worth their weight in gold. You can be sure that colours are as accurately reflected as possible, like in a catalogue shoot.

4. Ask about imperfections

The dress has probably been worn for just one day so you should be able to expect it to be in near perfect condition – but make sure to check it has been dry cleaned. Indeed, some dresses may not have been worn for more than just a shoot, especially if it is an influencer selling a bridesmaid dress second hand. 

However, it’s important that you know about any damage or imperfections before you buy second hand bridesmaid dresses. Reputable sellers should be honest and transparent. It’s another reason for choosing a reliable platform like Reliked

5. Check the returns process

Returns processes are often quite different for preloved and second hand items. Feel confident in your purchase by looking at the returns process before you click buy. 

Where to buy second hand bridesmaid dresses

Former bridesmaids often wonder about where to sell second hand bridesmaid dresses and so they tend to be sold across a broad range of platforms. Common places to look for preloved bridesmaid dresses for sale include Etsy, eBay, Bridal Reloved and ASOS Marketplace. You can also find bridesmaid dresses for sale on Instagram and other social media selling platforms. 

Your number one first stop should be Reliked. Keep an eye out as we constantly get new pieces from influencers and late summer and autumn are excellent times for preloved bridesmaid dresses coming onto our shelves.

Where to sell second hand bridesmaid dresses?

Are you looking at selling a bridesmaid dress second hand? Hopefully the above buyer’s guide will help you out with some insider tips. If you are an influencer, you can sell with us! We handle the entire sales process for you, even collecting the items from you.

Choosing a preloved bridesmaid dress is exciting and makes you feel good for the pennies saved and the green credentials.

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