One morning, many years ago, I remember entering my favourite charity shop where I was a regular customer, to be greeted by the sales assistant holding up a fantastic Versace padded jacket for my inspection. Laughingly, I commented that this Op-Shop even offered a Personal Shopper Service! It was a perfect choice not only in size, but suitability. I wore it for years; it saw me through many European winters and still hangs in my wardrobe, not much worse for wear.
I’ve been a pre-loved devotee for many years, long before vintage was fashionable, long before there were prettified, fragrant, upmarket charity shops with laundered, colour categorised clothes. My wardrobe contains many pre-loved gems, which have been collected over the years and still ‘keep on giving’. When I think of the meagre outlay for many of the garments I’ve bought over the years, the resulting excitement of discovering them, and the enjoyment of wearing them, makes their value per wear unbeatable!
In this extraordinarily expensive post-GFC city buying second hand makes good economic sense, not to mention it allows me to indulge my shopaholic addiction and experience the thrill of buying something ‘new’ without spending lots of money. The enjoyment of rummaging in pursuit of a bargain and unearthing a treasure can be so addictive that I have to limit my ‘Oppy’ Shop excursions to once a week, although the urge to just pop in whenever I happen to pass a charity shop is hard to resist! (These times don’t count; they’re ‘quick reconnaissance missions’… you never know what you might miss!)
Buying second hand allows me to afford better quality clothes, which I’d never be able to buy at their original prices. I’m still amazed at what I find. Many clothes are often quite new and are of wonderful quality with expensive labels. Swing tags are sometimes still on them. Although it’s commendable that people give generously, the up-to-the-minute fashions of many donations suggest that clothes have a short shelf life in many wardrobes. Perhaps they are the result of excessive or rash purchases. Buttons missing, hem downs or zippers broken on these gems are possibly further indications of wasteful, flippant consumption. Whatever the reason, buying second-hand in part addresses this waste.
Recycling clothes is not only great for the thrifty fashionista and good for the environment, but benefits the community with the profits generated by the sale of clothes in charity shops. As second-hand clothes often cost little, they are easier to let go of, so often find their way back to the charity shops! Wins all round!
Words by Shirley Bond