Fashion comes and fashion goes, and luckily for me, fashion gets recycled. A broad idea of what I'll wear, and where, and when, means that someone else's favourite dress of the late 1990s can be my favourite dress of summer 2016.
Buying second hand is great for two reasons: it's kinder on the environment, and it's kinder on your wallet (so you can take a few risks with your style without having a 3 am panic about your bank balance). This combo means you're more likely to end up with something unique and interesting, and never have to deal with the awkwardness of wearing the same thing as someone else at that party #twinning?
A trip to Waitarere Beach meant a stop at Savemart in Levin was on the cards, where the Gods of Recycled Clothing were on my side - so much so, that many unusual treasures had to be whittled down to just...six. So here I am, jumping for joy in my delightful new kilt!
I have some guidelines that help me sift through thousands of items to find the few that I know will make an impact in my wardrobe. That's a whole post in itself, but the Three Key Rules are:
- Have a list in your mind and work through that first. I knew I wanted to search for flares and bright coloured shirts (plus some other items that weren't on the racks on this particular day), so I did that first. Only after you've searched for your particular items can you have a general fossick.
- Don't buy anything that originated in a chain store. It's horrifying how much stuff from Temt, Valleygirl et cetera ends up being recycled (although, at least it's not being thrown away). I don't buy those items as a rule because the quality is just not there - I'd rather spend $14.99 on a beautifully made kilt than the same amount on four tops that will ultimately fall apart.
- Try it all on. I'll touch on this in more length on another day, but size does not equal fit. Vintage clothing, in particular, is on a totally different sizing scale. If something is slightly too large or slightly too long, consider having it tailored. A beautiful piece of clothing might end up costing $20 more, but looking totally incredible. And be bold! Try something new (and striking)!
So what did I buy?
In addition to my kilt ($14.99, plus a new kilt pin for $2) and my jeans ($7.99), I picked up the bright green blouse above with the great double-button feature ($5.99), the maroon and cream tshirt that reminds me of a friendly game of cricket ($4.99), a perfectly worn-in men's Hawaiian shirt that will look perfect tied at the waist with distressed white jeans and some sandals ($3.99) and a billowing retro dress, which truthfully I bought just because it was such a production of a dress (and only set me back $8.99).
The beauty of buying recycled clothes is not just the bargains - it's the fact that in those thousands of items of clothing there is something for everyone. Current trends will come and go, and they might not be to your taste right now. Second hand clothing is not trend led - it's just whatever someone else finally gave up on - so if boyfriend jeans, slip dresses, novelty patches and oversized shirts aren't doing it for you - have a hunt online, or in person, and find the thing you feel comfortable and happy in and make it yours. That's true style, regardless of the era.