Sunday, 6 March 2011

Conversation point: why thrift/vintage?

Just a quickie, but I hope it will be provocative (oo-err). Some of you lovely peeps that validate my fumble thumbed typing by following and commenting are proper fashion bloggers, some are fabulous vintage divas, some are superb thrifters.

My most thriftiest of thrifty purchases. Yeah, I'll stop bangin' on about it now.
I'm not a proper anything but I enjoy my fashion and think the high street 'just another place' not the be-all-and-end-all magazines assume it is. OK, it's Sunday and I'm feeling good ...but I think I dress quite distinctively. I think if Gok saw me he'd approve of my 'fierceness' and flaunting of 'bangers'. The majority of my clothes come from vintage, charity shops, ebays and designer sales/Bicester. So why do I do it?

My personal reasons are as follows:

  1. Sensible reason: thrift and the environment. I hate to waste things, it's silly. I'm no eco-warrior, and to be honest, my re-using is a little sentimental. I'm the kind of person who eats the last Pringle in the tub because it might feel lonely and unloved there on its own. It ties in with my logical brain: wearing decent second hand (and I don't feel that's missing a trick: last year's M&S usually has a lot of life yet) and second-hand is cheap, environmentally friendly and (bar ebay) raises some quids for a good cause be it the local Scout-hut or Barnardos. Vintage costs more, has the unique factor of designer, gives a wonderful look and engages me with my heritage. I feel proud to wear the items I choose. OK, OK, this is the reason I put first because it makes me look worthy, I do believe in it but really, when shopping, what's on my mind is...
    OK, couldn't find the offending outfit from the 90s:
    but this halloween outfit was only halloween cuz of the
    kitty ears!! That basque got worn out!
  3. Creativity. This is my true main reason; I adore vintage but I'm playful with it. Fashion should be playful and a thing of utter joy: something to lift the spirit like a wonderful painting (and my favourite artists are Dali and Carrington). I love to play with clothes, I'm interest in fashion history and art. A bland, beige Gap wardrobe, or one chosen for me by a stylist, just wouldn't do. I'll see something in a magazine, film or gallery and I simply must go with it. Sometimes I just feel sophisticated, feel disco, feel cute, feel daring. Sometimes I just get it wrong, but hell- you know who your true mates are when they'll walk down the Unthank road with you in broad bloody daylight, 1996, in a blue aqua bra-top, low-low-low-low white flares, sliver glittery platforms and a faux-fur stole (in the snow- cold likkle belly) and still hang out with you in your 'middle 30' years. Or maybe they, like you, were drinking less than responsibly. In which case Hayley and Cat... that outfit never happened...
  4. You can afford posh designer labels for cheap. Let me repeat that you can afford posh designer labels for cheap. After all, one is a princess.
  5. The thrill of the chase. This is last but most definitely not least. I really, really love to shop- properly. It doesn't feel the same if it's there, handed to me on a plate. I adore a good day rummaging and making little memory-connections... 'oh, those overalls would so go with my brushed-cotton plaid' ... 'is that a 50s evening bag? In pink?' ... 'that boob-tube's obscene, but layer it over a super-low cowl neck'... when reading CVs, as I do at work, I often see those old chestnut interests 'food and drink' and 'fashion'. To me, I always hope they are proper hobbies, for the richness of the person's life: more than wandering, staring in a bovine manner at TopShop's latest offerings or- for the rich- being spoonfed a chosen selection of the latest labels before eating at the place 'to be seen'. Give me street food or the most sublime cuisine, it must have a thrill, give me jumble or a slick department store, it must thrill and excite.

See... it works sometimes!
Aaaanyways people. That's me: what about you? Why do you thrift and vintage-shop?


  1. Hi my dear-I think thrifting is truly in my blood now!! Its the thrill and anticipation of what you can find with virtually pennies is what intrigues and excites me most. I love a charity shop and booty so much more than a High Street store-this morning I bagged 2 pairs of shoes and a bag for £8.50!! I really enjoy it too, the boot sales are great exercise and good for people watching. Most of all, its a definite lifestyle choice for me, one that I am most happiest with too. Fabulous post, fellow thrifter!! xxx

  2. Oh- you know I forgot about the people-watching and social aspect. I love a haggle and a chat!

  3. Love the 'thrill of the chase' reason. I think this is probably behind a lot of my charity shopping x

  4. I have to agree, it's the thrill of unearthing treasure for pennies.
    I've always worn second-hand clothes but as I've got older I've got fussier with my purchases and limited my buying to vintage pieces only.
    I love the banter of a charity shop, jumble sale or car boot, it beats the sterile atmosphere of a conventional shop hands-down . xxx

  5. Is that you?! You sauce-pot, what a stunner! I love it for ALL the reasons you give, plus a bit of history and imagining I'm back in the olden days xx

  6. I like charity shops and car boot sales as you never know just what you will find. I don't shop in trendy boutiques as the music is too loud to think! I've got really picky lately and would rather have one nice piece that goes with my 30s to 50s style than bags full of poorly finished stuff from Primarni. X

  7. oh dear I'm rubbish I'm not about finding a bargain, though I do like a bargain, I'm not about being an eco-warrior, I just the style of the 50s, always have, veered a little towards 40s when I was younger occasionally do now, but I just love the look, am I shallow? ;o)

  8. I agree on the thrill of finding something vintage and cheap that is worth a lot more.
    I started because I love collecting Vintage never know what tresures you might find.

    You hot tamale..your gorgeous amor!

  9. I think this is the first time I've seen a piccie of you, nice to finally see you!

    I have to say I love to hunt around, it is exciting finding the unexpected. But also vintage is just made much better than highstreet so you get more bang for your buck. I am also obsessed with fashion history so that appeals too.

  10. Because I'm cheap! I can't bring myself to pay £40 for a new High St top when I can get one that's 6 months old and practically unworn for £4 in a charity shop or 40p at a car boot sale. I have no problems whatsoever with second hand stuff.

    I don't think I'm daring enough to claim individuality as a choice - I feel uncomfortable dressed top to toe in vintage but the odd piece mixed in with newer stuff suits me nicely. And I find that the colours, fabrics and patterns are so much interesting than current High St stuff, especially when it's a season when dreary pastels and neutrals are all that's to be found.

  11. So many reasons. I'll buy certain items new and in bulk (bras and plain long sleeved tops for example) and I like that experience to be predictable. Apart from that, I like the thrill of excavating items of vintage no one else will have and making them my own.

    I've always shopped second hand and would probably get very bored if I didn't have that option.I love to meet the old dames who work in charity shops. Part of charity shopping for me is about meeting up with the older generation.

    I will occasionally shop on etsy for something vintage but never use ebay due to an ebay phobia (similar to my facebook phobia).

    A couple of times in my life I have built up nice little vintage collections and then lost it all in a freak occurrence. I try very hard not to think of the beloved items now floating somewhere in the world or turned into table cloths or shoulder bags. I remember each and every second hand/vintage piece by name, they are truly loved!

  12. I loved your post, particularly the photos and the whole ethos of why you choose the clothes and style you do and where from.

  13. I'm a cheap skate,you sexy bint!!!'ve gona and distracted me...yeah,I opshop cos I'm cheap,I can't bear to be anything but original,I'm cheap,I love getting more bang for my buck(o,yeah,I'm cheap),and I adore old,worn,preloved things.........dribble dribble,I smell pizza.......

  14. For me - I like the hunt. I like to have a real good look around the chazza shops and come out with something that nods towards the history era I am obsessed with and that I know no one else will be wearing - at least not in the same way as me. As for proper vintage - I am not an avid collector or buyer - but if something grabs my attention and the "mark up queens" have not been hacking away at the price - the it could well be coming home with me.

  15. Reading these responses has been great, I'm over the moon that people are having such a lovely chat about the lovely thing that is buying second-hand!

    Thank you so much for not screaming and running away from my picture and for being so kind in your comments! :)

  16. I'm very discerning when it comes to 2nd hand or 'vintage'

    I also love an eBay bargain and just snagged a See by Chloe top for a fiver!

  17. You're gorgeous!

    I have the attention span of a gnat when it comes to my own clothes. I always hated reading articles about spending a fortune on quality pieces which would last forever. I want quality pieces which have already lasted forever but are fun, frivolous and evoke the eras I wish I were living in. Vintage is the affordable way to do this. Even pricey vintage is more affordable than 'quality' modern designer gear, and I am less likely to run into someone wearing the same thing. Which shouldn't be that irksome, but it really is. And when I get bored of something I can pass it on to someone else who will get a lot of enjoyment out of it as well.

    Plus I get to be a big smuggo when people ask me where something amazing has come from ;) xx


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