WRITTEN BY NAOMI FARMER (GUEST WRITER)
I have always been obsessed with clothes; yes of course I like the way they can make you look, but more importantly I love how they can make you feel. Clothes and dressing how you like without following ‘the rules’ is liberating. It’s a way of being creative, expressing yourself and can be the ultimate mood lifter.
This obsession with clothes escalated through my teen years and I went on to study fashion and styling at uni. As much fun as it was it opened my eyes to the clothing industry, the business of fast-fashion and the impact it has on the planet.
Did you know: That EVERY WEEK the UK sends 11 million items of clothing to landfill.
It would take 13 YEARS for one person to drink the water needed to make 1 t-shirt and 1 pair of jeans.
The carbon footprint of the new clothes bought into the UK EVERY MINUTE is greater than driving a car around the world 6 TIMES.
SHOCKING I KNOW! (Credit to Oxfam for the facts and figures!)
Anyway, to cut a veeeeery long story short, I had a brief career in visual merchandising and personal shopping for some big retail brands before turning my back on it all to become a charity shop manager. I’ve always dabbled in charity shopping, much to the amusement of some of my friends. The stigma around thrifting and wearing second-hand clothing has always been prominent but thankfully with more and more people becoming aware of the positive impact it can have, shopping sustainably in this way is becoming much more popular. I am now a fully fledged convert, shunning the high street in favour of Charity shops, vintage stores and online thrifting platforms such as Vinted and Depop. I’ve been shopping this way for years now, but only in the last 4 years have I made it my mission to make my wardrobe at least 95% preloved, and I’ve achieved it! It’s taken a while to get there and not every day has been a winning day. For every good item there’s a whole pile of crap to sift through (one man’s junk is another man’s treasure after all!) but the thrill of the hunt is the best bit, and it’s so, so addictive!
With that in mind I thought I’d share my top 5 Chazza thrifting tips for those of you who want to give second hand shopping a try:
- Make a list…and check it twice
Make a list of items you need, items that will pull together an outfit, items that you’ve always wanted. A thrifty wish list of sorts so that when you go in the shops you don’t get side tracked or buy unnecessarily.
- Rummage on the regular
I have to admit that in non-covid times I probably managed to go thrift shopping once a week. Whether in my lunch break or for a couple of hours in an afternoon. New items are constantly being put out for sale and by regularly checking different shops you’ll never miss out on that bargain you’ve spent weeks hunting for.
- Check it once, check it twice, then check it again
ALWAYS check an item over; check fastenings and check seams for holes. Then check it again…and then again for good measure.
- Size doesn’t matter
Charity shops sell an amazing array of brands; the good, the bad and even sometimes the ugly (that’s the joy of it!) Like the high street, the sizing differs from brand to brand so check all the rails and sizing options to bag that perfect item. Remember a size is only a number, my finds have ranged from an optimistic 10 at times to a size 16. It doesn’t matter one bit. All that matters is how good you feel in it!
- Just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean you need it (unlike wine!)
OK so thrifting in general means you’re sure to be bagging a bargain and OH MY! there are some amazing ones to be found. But just because you’ve found a skirt on a bargain rail for £3 doesn’t mean you have to buy it. Especially if it’s a designer brand and you don’t even like the item. If in doubt, walk away, and walk out.
So now I’m counting down the days until the charity shops open again; nothing like a bit of kid-free me time to look forward to. The charity shops are going to need our help more than ever post-covid so why not scratch that retail therapy itch and do a good deed for both the planet and a worthy cause at the same time.
I promise you it will give you that feel good buzz we all need right now!