While many people buy from online selling sites, there is still a stigma attached to buying “second hand”. I can’t help but wonder why this stigma exists? There are so many barely worn or even new items in the second-hand market.
My Grandparents, and indeed parents, would but items carefully and learn to look after them to pro-long the life of the items. For example, winter coats and shoes were expensive, and needed to be cared for, they would not be replaced annually. Many items would last decades. Shoes would be investment pieces, and they would be resoled before they were too worn. Clothes survived years, and some can still be found in exceptional condition today in vintage shops. I can’t help but wonder if the fast fashion of today will be in a vintage shop in 40-50 years time? I fear not.
Today, fashion is relatively cheap encouraging a throw away culture. It’s so cheap to just buy a new pair of trousers or shoes, do we really care for them like we used to? I don’t think we do. Another problem is that skills which used to help maintain clothing aren’t being passed on as they once were. For example, I have absolutely no idea how I would darn socks for example. (I actually have a pair of woollen socks desperately needing darning, so any tips let me know!)
Growing up, I was taught to look for “better” fabrics. Ones which would wash, ones which would endure. I remember hating the patched knees of my jeans, wanting instead to have the rips! Now I look on in despair as I see people paying to buy “distressed” jeans. Charity shops are regularly full of jeans of all shapes and sizes. Most of which look barely worn. To make one pair of jeans it takes 1800 gallons of water, that’s a lot of water! Especially if they are discarded at “the end of the season”.
I started buying clothing from charity shops a bit by accident. I had lost weight after having my second son, and couldn’t afford to update my wardrobe. Buying second hand clothes from the charity shop gave me the opportunity to cheaply update my wardrobe. But it was then that I noticed the type of things which turned up were often like new.
Fab or Drab?
I hear lots of horror stories of charity shops being full of cheap clothing brands, which are well worn and over priced. I hear these stories, and I could tell you my own. However, many charity shops are adopting the Mary Portas approach, and are almost becoming boutiques. This has pushed prices up, but also made it easier to find better quality items which suit the look of the season.
By buying second hand, I am not contributing to the huge problems of used textiles. Textiles which aren’t easy to recycle. I also love having clothes which are a bit different. Clothes which I probably couldn’t afford to buy new. I shop carefully. Imagining how I will wear items, what will it go with? Will it wash well? Does it actually fit?! I admit I look at the trends for the next season and always have them in mind! Once I have finished with an item, I try to re-donate it, or repurpose it. More on repurposing in another post!
Do you buy second-hand clothes?