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Wednesday 27 March 2019

Fast fashion or thrifted chic? And Link Up

Is This Mutton blogger Gail Hanlon in thrifted print jacket and black top and skirt with silver accessories
It's only logical that after my post about what I'm doing to reduce the use of single-use plastic, I would return to the issue of "fast fashion". This is a contentious topic for fashion bloggers like me, and lately it sometimes feels as if we're letting the side down by not buying more in charity shops  ("thrift" or "consignment stores" in the US). But it's not as clear cut or easy as it sounds.

For me the main inhibitor at present is time. I have a full-time job and I try to squeeze the chores into the weekend, while allowing some time for relaxing and socialising. To find the best charity shop buys, I need to travel into London and an area like Kensington, which takes time.  To be brutally honest, it's much easier for me to order clothes online, with next day delivery. Online purchases of anything vintage are challenging because with old clothes, the sizing is totally different.

Secondly, it's become hard to find any real gems in charity shops. Every high street boasts three or four charity shops because they're offered lower business rates. With so much competition for our pre-loved items, many shops sell what I'd describe brutally as a lot of tat.  I used to find good pieces in Epping and Buckhurst Hill, my local shopping areas, but now the shops seem to be full of tired scraps of greying polyester and shapeless t-shirts from Doroithy Perkins, Primark, M&S and Next.  I rarely see anything that makes my heart sing. In one shop I visited, in London, items from Boden and John Lewis were described as "designer."  I mean, really?

Have charity shops lost their lustre?

Thirdly, charity shops charge a lot more than they used to. In Epping at the weekend I saw a hideous, and dated, Escada jacket on sale for £70, purely because of the name. If you're on a budget, most women would rather buy new (fast fashion) than secondhand.

Anyway, having said all that, I still frequent a few charity shops on Saturday when I'm doing my food shopping, and I'm always on the look out for something cool and distinctive.
Mid life style blogger Gail Hanlon in thrifted Hauber jacket and sequin sleeved black top worn with a black midi skirt and silver ankle boots
I was determined to ceate a thrifted outfit from the three charity shops I visit in Epping. In the end, I only found two items, but I was pleased to find a jacket and sequin sleeve top, which both tick a few boxes for me.

The jacket has some yellow in it - pleasing because yellow is very on-trend for spring, and I saw immediately I could cinch it with a wide belt, another spring trend.

It has the label "Hauber" which was new to me, but I subsequently discovered it was a long established German firm which had about 80 UK stockists until it went out of business in 2015. You can find pieces on eBay and it reminds me of other German brands Gerry Weber and Betty Barclay.

I was instantly drawn to the black top because of its gorgeous sequinned sleeves.  There's no label at all but it's good quality,  and I snap up distinctive black separates to wear to work.
I added some silver accessories: layered necklace, (gifted), boots and bag (Christmas present). I was hoping to find some suitable trousers or a skirt in my charity shop hunt but was unsuccessful. Initially I tried the outfit with a knee-length flippy skirt but the proportions looked wrong and dated.  The midi skirt was definitely better. For spring it's either quite short or quite long in term of skirt length!

I'm pleased with the outfit;  it rocks a couple of my personal "signatures," the cinched waist and metallic ankle boots, and sequins for daytime. It looks a little more edgy than a traditional skirt and jacket combo for work.
In a post debating cheap fashion versus pre-loved chic, Is This Mutton shows off two charity shop finds: a printed Hauber jacket and a sequin sleeved black top.
I reckon that when I'm no longer working full-time (in the distant future!) I'll be able to spend more time searching charity shops and going to places like Shoreditch and Camden where there are "vintage shops" selling pre-loved items at higher costs.

It's definitely satisfying to shop this way, although just to be clear, I won't be giving up on my favourite retailers any time soon.  As a fashion lover,  my fingers start to itch  (like Fagin's in Oliver Twist) when a new season arrives and I can't wait to update my wardrobe.

I'd like to say that I'm going to forsake cheaper clothes and buy fewer pieces of expensive designer stuff, so that it lasts and lasts, but this doesn't really work for me. I'll sometimes spend £200, say, on a cashmere jumper, because it will last and it won't necessarily go out of fashion. But most designer clothes are too tied to immediate fashion trends, unless they're classic pieces. So the reality is, they don't last that well.

I do draw the line at very cheap clothes - I've never been in a Primark -- because if it's that cheap, what are they paying the factory workers?

Give away what you're not wearing

I'm not a hoarder so it's not in my nature to stockpile vast quantities of clothes. It already feels like I've got too much, so every few weeks I try to recycle items while they're still desirable. I've given up selling more expensive stuff through eBay because it's too time consuming and their costs are ludicrous. This week, all being well, I will sift through my winter and summer wardrobes and take a couple of bags to the charity shop.

Sharing this post with Sharing this post with Anna at The Glamadventure,  #ChicAndStylish at Mummabstylish, Nicole at High Latitude Style, #ShareAllLinkUp at Not Dressed as Lamb, #WeekendLinkUp at Claire Justine, #FancyFriday at Nancy's Fashion Style and #ThursdayModa at Elegance and Mommyhood.

What do you think about fast v thrifted fashion? Is it one or the other, or can we happily do both? Let me know in the comments.

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Now it's time for the #WowOnWednesday link up

Last week's readers' favourite was Nancy from Nancy's Fashion Style with her post about what she needs for spring. A subject probably on our minds now that spring is definitely here and it's time to sort out our seasonal wardrobes again.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
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  1. I used to buy a lot from charity but at the moment I'm doing my bit by being really fussy about what I buy anywhere. I'm returning most of what I order and donating more than I'm buying. Im on a roll.

  2. Hi! About 80% of my wardrobe is thrifted. I live in the US and there are good clothes in thrift stores mixed in with those of lesser quality. I'm fortunate that I don't have to travel far to shop second hand, but it does still take more time. However, it's often worth it for me. I do feel a bit guilty buying fast fashion, though it is necessary to a degree. I do sort of prefer the "old days" when I shopped twice a year (fall and summer) first my wardrobe and then spent time on other things. Now shopping season feels neverending!

  3. Personally, I wouldn't like to wear other people's old clothes. I can't afford to buy from my favourite designers at the moment so I try to create their type of looks with "fast fashion" pieces. Actually, I enjoy the challenge of doing this!

  4. P.S. I do like your lovely Spring Garden theme photos😊


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