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Bangor Mail - - Fashion Focus - JOANNE watkinson

OX­FAM’S new ini­tia­tive, Sec­ond Hand Septem­ber, is en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to avoid buy­ing “new” clothes for the 30 days of Septem­ber.

The aim is to raise aware­ness of the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact of fash­ion and to avoid adding to the thou­sands of tons of clothes sent to land­fill each month.

It’s a tough ask for fash­ion fol­low­ers as it’s the start of a new sea­son. The weather is chang­ing and so our wardrobe needs a lit­tle up­dat­ing, new boots per­haps or a warmer jacket. But I’m all for be­ing a lit­tle more mind­ful when it comes to buy­ing clothes.

I’m over fast fash­ion and I cer­tainly don’t want to buy clothes which have a murky sup­ply chain – when a gar­ment costs less than a Venti latte some­one some­where is pay­ing the price – but given the op­por­tu­nity I love a good vin­tage, aka sec­ond hand, rum­mage.

Some peo­ple balk at the idea of wear­ing other peo­ple’s cast offs, imag­in­ing them to be musty, fusty and moth­e­aten. Each to their own, but some­where in my early teens I caught the bug (ex­cuse the pun) for sec­ond-hand shop­ping and it’s stuck with me.

I love both gen­uine vin­tage and straight-up char­ity shop finds. But af­ter 20 years of dig­ging in pursuit of gems and mak­ing count­less dodgy pur­chases, I have learned the hard way when it comes to sec­ond-hand buys.

To that end, I have com­piled some sec­ond­hand shop­ping ad­vice that should help any novice or nay-sayer and it goes some­thing like this.

Sniff it. Vin­tage cloth­ing can smell. If it’s a wash­able fab­ric then great, but dry clean­ing won’t re­move any un­pleas­ant odours and re­mem­ber, older items won’t have care la­bels so it’s a gam­ble.

If it’s stained I’d put it back. Ig­nore sizes, that’s true of new or old, al­ways try things on and find a good al­ter­ations ser­vice. Too long? Shorten it. Don’t like the neck? Change it, make it your per­fect dress.

Look for great qual­ity fab­rics such as leather, denim, silk and wool and check for work­ing zips and miss­ing clasps or but­tons, most are cheap enough to fix or re­place but this should be re­flected in the price.

It may sound like a lot to con­sider but vin­tage shop­ping is a lot of fun, find­ing some­thing unique is a thrill and shop­ping while help­ing the en­vi­ron­ment is the bonus!

Coat £95.99; T-shirt £7.99; jeans £49.99; shoes £89.99, all Zara Blazer £34.99; trousers £34.99; train­ers £49.99, all Re­served Blazer £59.99; hoodie £35.99; jeans £35.99; train­ers £59.99; bag £29.99, all Mango

Jumper £59; trousers £79; bag £99; train­ers £90, all Ar­ket Coat £49.99; jeans £17.99; train­ers £29.99, all H&M Blazer £79: T-shirt £6.50; trousers £22.50, all Marks & Spencer ■ Joanne is a stylist with more than 20 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence in the fash­ion in­dus­try. Email: Joan­necwatkin­[email protected]

Vin­tage shop­ping can bring great re­wards

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