Back to basics
AS WE HEAD INTO AUTUMN/WINTER, SIMPLICITY SHOULD BE KEY TO YOUR LOOK, SAYS AMBER GRAAFLAND SECRET TO SECOND-HAND SHOPPING
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