How to shop secondhand... with Josefina Boston

Ever wondered how to shop preloved for your kids? Sometimes it can feel even more overwhelming than shopping brand new, right? Wrong! We spoke with secondhand guru and dotte member Josefina Boston to get the lowdown. From the best fabrics to the perfect sizing, find out exactly how to make shopping secondhand work for you.

Part Brit but mostly Swede, East London based Josefina runs her own women's secondhand business (@SecondArchive) alongside being a more mum to her two boys, Leo 3 yo and Wilbur 9 months old. Read on for her top tips for buying preloved!

Josefina runs Second Archive, a secondhand womenswear shop

1. It's all about the fabric!

I always buy predominantly cotton clothes as these can go in the washing machine, can take stain spraying and are easy to repair. Buying my boys beautiful chunky knits that need special care is way too time consuming for me. I don't even have time to care for my own clothes! If I do buy wool, I make sure it is machine washable - most merino base layers can be washed in a 30 degree wash. I just have to remember to take them out before all goes into the tumble dryer - have done that mistake before! Another thing I do with wool purchases is putting it into the freezer first thing, for a minimum of 3 days. To kill any possible eggs from moths. Then I wash it.

Josefina's youngest's wool suit from Norweigan brand Nøstebarn - a hand me down from a friend

2. Size up!

When it comes to sizing I tend to buy jackets and tops on the bigger side so it lasts longer. Except for rain jackets, because if you fold up the arms, rain will find its way in and soak the layers beneath. I also make sure any rain trousers still have the elastic band at the end of the leg - to go under the wellies (not the feet inside the wellies). I've seen too many children getting wet with ill fitted rain gear. Being from Sweden we learn from a young age 'there is no bad weather, only bad clothing'.

3. Shop out of season!

People often sell items at the end of a season, meaning at the start of winter there'll be loads of great summer stock you can buy up ready for next summer in a size bigger! I pop everything I buy ahead of time in a big box I keep under my little one's bed and love re-discovering them later on.

Now when I buy my kids' clothes, I much rather they wear everything, as much as possible. I no longer care about holes or stains, because I can wash, repair or cover them up. Iron-on patches are a life saver for holes or stubborn stains!

4. Save money by buying more expensive clothes!

When I started shopping secondhand I realised that some of the big high street names I heavily depended on for kids' clothes ended up totally worn out and weren't any good for resale.  Now I seek out more durable, premium brands because I've realised that although the upfront cost is higher, they last longer and recoup way more from resale, which means I'm actually saving money!

5. Find your tribe.

The great thing about secondhand shopping is you can find sellers whose kids have similar tastes to yours.  Once you've got a handful of sellers you know have similar tastes, you end up with a pool of perfectly curated items for your little one that you can go back to again and again!

6. Last but not least - don't be precious!

With my first child I had one 'nice clothes' pile that stressed me out every time he wore it thinking he'll stain it. So by the time he'd grown out of it, he'd only worn it twice. Now when I buy all their clothes second hand, I much rather they wear everything, as much as possible. I no longer care about holes or stains, because I can wash, repair or cover them up. Iron-on patches is a life saver for holes or stubborn stains!

Josefina with her little one <3

be in the loop

find out more about upcoming online pop up shops, interviews and news

sign up to the newsletter