I helped organise a charity clothes swap at my local gym the other day and enjoyed transforming it into a boutique as people brought their unwanted clothes and accessories.
The experience has prompted me to think about buying new clothes versus revamping your existing wardrobe or buying second hand.
It can’t have escaped your notice that there has been much in the press recently about the toll our clothes take on the planet, either draining it of resources as in the amount of water required to make a pair of denim jeans, or taking up vast quantities of landfill space as we throw them away again. The conditions of workers in the clothing industry also gives us pause.
And yet there is no doubt that something new gives us a lift. In the Victorian era that might simply be a new ribbon for your bonnet rather then a totally new outfit every time you appear on Instagram.
Shopping your wardrobe, i.e. looking at what you already have afresh and wearing it in a new way is one option. I was on the verge of selling or giving away an old (20 years?) Ghost suit. I tried it on and put it with a newer top and decided it was for keeps after all. Surprisingly I felt that little thrill of the new.
Even more exciting is shopping someone else’s wardrobe e.g. in the charity shop or at a clothes swap. Personally, I have no problem wearing clothes someone else has worn before and I was delighted to score a lovely orange Linea jacket at the clothes swap which could have been made for me! Thank you to whoever brought that in!
Both the Ghost suit and the Linea jacket are beautifully made pieces in quality fabrics. Proof, if it were needed, that buying more expensively initially, can make an economical pay-per-wear cost, and ultimately can salve your conscience regarding the planet..
This appreciation of beautiful clothes was taken to extremes on a recent BBC TV programme “The Secret World of Haute Couture”. On it Margy Kinmonth took us to see the wardrobes of some very rich ladies. What came across, apart from their extreme wealth, was the passion these ladies felt for their clothes – the exquisite fabrics, the beautiful workmanship etc. They take great care of them and treasure them as works of art, wearing them over many years..
What I experience with my Ghost suit and Linea jacket is of course not at that level but I suggest this is the direction we need to go. I know it is not possible for many to buy expensive so embrace the joys of being a “Second Hand Rose”. Either way, enjoy that satisfying feeling as you keep and value beautiful things rather than buying cheaply and throwing quickly away.