Friday, 21 March 2008

Does second hand count?

The enchanting Ranna from Only shallow raised an interesting question about fashion/style consumerism. When it comes to spending money on clothes, does second hand count?

A lot of style bloggers are interested in recycling and thrifting because those aspects of reinventing your style provide an outlet to dress individually without spending a lot of money. The added bonus is eco-friendlyness. Want to revamp your style without feeling the post-H&M hangover? Go to the local flea market or Fida, go through piles and piles of old stuff, spend 20 euros on 5 cool, edgy pieces. You feel good about yourself for not having spent much money, and for having found cool things that give you instant gratification. Most likely the little money that you have spent goes toward a good cause. Is there even a need to ask questions?

Yes, for me there is. Here is why:

I can only speak for myself, but I have recently discovered that second hand shopping can really get out of hand, and in terms of the amount of stuff that accumulates, it is potentially a lot worse than even mindless H&M shopping. Stuff is cheap, why not buy it? It is way more difficult to control yourself when the price of a scarf is 50 cents than if it was 5 euros. I end up hoarding a terrible amount of (albeit lovely) stuff because it is available, because it is second hand, and because it is cheap. The end result is still consumerism. I spend money on stuff I don't really need.

Of course I feel better for spending money on second hand than cheaply manufactured, child labour stuff. However, the space in my closets runs out just the same. The pictures above are just the tip of the iceberg. An entire room in my flat is dedicated to my flea market project: sorting old stuff, pricing it, packing it. I take a couple of Ikea bags to the local self-service flea market almost every week. My closets are still full.

Anywhoo, this is what I wore today:


Unicorns Have Whiskers said...

There is definitely that possible outcome, if things get out of hand! I have always been quite good at giving unnecessary things away so I have managed to avoid a complete wardrobe chaos.. It's easy to overlook the fact that our wardrobe isn't some mystically ever-expanding space. If it's full to begin with, bringing in a few (and then another few) pieces will make it even more stuffed. Still that advice about getting rid of one old thing for each new thing you bring in sounds a bit extreme. Could I do it? I don't know. Some people always keep a bag in their closet where they toss a piece that has to go, and when the bag is full they take it to recycling. Anyway, I'm trying to buy only things I absolutely love, even at fleamarkets, and regularly put away things I don't want to wear anymore, either to be sold, saved for my nieces in the attic, or donated. I'm far from minimalistic, but the stuff I have just has to be something I really like. If it doesn't get worn it's out. So to save myself the trouble (and save money) I am still trying to buy even less, be more picky, and to buy things that need alteration only if they are totally perfect in every other way! Just thinking that if I buy 20 pieces of clothing a year that will be 600 pieces in 30 years!!!! Which in turn makes me wonder how many pieces I have now.. Maybe I should count when packing for moving hehe. And also, what would be the ideal size of a wardrobe?

puf! said...

you're so stylish!
i'll add you to favs <3


Vasiliisa said...

I too struggle a lot with keeping my wardrobe manageable. Most of my stuff is thrifted, so cool, I avoided bankruptcy... But I still have only so much storage room.

Bad thing - or good thing? - is that I'm very inspired by thrifting and thrift clothes. They just make me really happy. I don't have clothes I don't like... More like clothes I don't have time to wear!

The Waves said...

Unicorns have whiskers: I hope I am starting to become more stable with my shopping habits. I am certainly trying! It helps to not have much money at your disposal. I guess there is no such thing as an ideal size for a wardrobe. Too much is too much when there is no time to wear any of the great stuff you have, or when you find stuff at the back of your wardrobe, and didn't remember you had it.

Vasiliisa: I find thrifting very inspirational too. It is a way of life, it is a way of respecting old lives. Almost all of my furniture is second hand too!

All in all, I guess the key is to keep the process moving, like unicorns have whiskers said. Only buy stuff you adore, and get rid of stuff as soon as you stop adoring it.

cirkuspony said...

I have been thinking about this a lot lately, especially since joining wardroberemix and seeing all the lovely thrifted clothes people wear. I quit my job in September last year, which has meant that I haven't had the money to buy any clothes, second hand or new. As a result, I've been 'shopping' in my own wardrobe and realised how much stuff I have hoarded over the years (despite the regular recycling). All of it might not exactly reflect who I am and what I like right now, but there are a lot of nice things I simply haven't integrated into my daily wear. Out of laziness or lack of courage or... not seeing the trees for the forest, in this case :) All I know is that I really have no real reason to buy more - except for the weakness for pretty things, of course. In that sense it has been a very useful exercise, and I hope I'll remember this when I start earning again. Buy, and keep, only what you really like seems like the right principle.