Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Second Hand September

Last month Oxfam challenged us all to think about our clothes and refrain from buying anything new for 30 days.  By highlighting the enormous amount of clothing which ends up in landfill - estimated by Oxfam to be 11 million items each week - the charity hopes to change the way we think about clothes shopping for good.

One of Aberdeen's Oxfam shops in Chapel Street
I love to browse in charity shops so I decided to join in Oxfam's worthy initiative by showcasing the pre-loved clothes in my own wardrobe and sharing them on my Instagram stories throughout September. This involved a lot of dressing up and taking ridiculous selfies.  Clearly I have no idea what to do with my hands!


It turns out I own quite a lot of second hand clothes.  I've got jackets...

Lightweight jacket by Joules and cosy down-filled outerwear, from my local Cancer Research and Barnardos shops
and dresses....

Oasis dress from Cancer Research again and Tu at Sainsbury frock from Crisis in London
and separates for work...

Next skirt with M&S jumpers - all from Barnardos in Inverurie
as well as lots of charity shop tops and tee-shirts.  Definitely partial to stripes!


There's also some beautiful knitwear.

This gem is from Cabbages and Roses by way of Cancer Research
My top tips for seeking out charity shop finds:
  • pop in frequently to your favourite charity shop as stock changes often
  • search out quality brands - generally, better made clothes last longer
  • look at the label as you can often tell a garment that hasn't been worn very much by its pristine label
  • try things on - seems obvious but something with no appearance on the hanger might look great on you
  • ignore anything excessively pilled, stained, ripped or worn
  • a bit of home laundry tlc works wonders on everything
More knitwear - all charity shop sweaters from Woolovers, Whistles, Cos, Eastex and M&S
I've also been lucky whilst perusing the pre-loved rail of local dress shop, Cat Walkers in Ellon.  These gorgeous cardigans and the beautiful dress I wore for our silver wedding party are now enjoying a new life in my wardrobe.


Throughout my childhood, Mum was very actively involved with the local Oxfam group in Ayr and our house was frequently filled with items she was laundering for the charity.  Buttons and zips were removed from unsaleable goods then cleaned and labelled for re-sale.  Recognising the value of second hand was second nature to a generation brought up with rationing in the austere post-war years, long before the modern trend for up-cycling.

Many of my clothes came from the shop, something I was less keen on as a teenager!

I credit Mum for imbuing me with a respect for charity shops, and the potential treasures within, something I'm glad to have passed onto my own daughters.


Eilidh  and Maddy both agreed to share some of ther favourite outfits from London.  Eilidh's black and white dress came from a vintage second hand shop on Brick Lane.  Her red denim jacket and print shirt are from the Marie Curie shop in Crouch End whilst both pairs of jeans and her black silk shirt came from the TRAID charity shop in Dalston.


Maddy's bucket hat and jacket, festival shirt and oversized suit are all second hand staples from her London wardrobe.

Just in case you thought I spent all my time taking self timer photos in my daughter's bedroom, here's some of my extensive charity shop wardrobe items in the wild.


I hope you've been inspired to take a second look at second hand clothes and know that my own shopping habits to reduce fashion waste will continue beyond the month of September.


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