There’s something magical about shopping for second hand clothes; it’s a treasure hunt for a hidden gem and when you find something, you cherish it forever.
Fashion + Sustainability

Second-hand Stories

There’s something magical about shopping for second hand clothes; it’s a treasure hunt for a hidden gem and when you find something, you cherish it forever.

Words by Rachel McMinn

Since I was a young girl, I’ve always loved second-hand clothes, to me it was normal – I’d always get clothes given to me from my mum’s friend’s daughters, my brother’s friends, my brother’s girlfriends etc. and whenever my mum would give me a bag of second-hand clothes I would be so excited. 

Fashion has always been a love of mine, so to get a load of new clothes without spending a penny was fantastic, I’d try everything on and give my family a fashion show, desperate to go out and show off my new outfits.

I would also pass my clothes down to younger friends and people my mum knew so I thought it was the “normal” thing to do. As I got older, I loved going into charity shops or buying vintage clothes from eBay. I liked to stand out from the crowd and dress differently from my friends, so I found charity shops the perfect way to get unique clothes at a cheap price.

It wasn’t until I was around 16 that I realised not everyone felt the same way about second-hand clothes that I did, and some people actually looked down on it. I’ve never understood the stigma around wearing clothes previously worn by others, that’s actually an aspect of second-hand clothing I find so intriguing. The thought of someone else wearing the clothes you’ve bought, and the memories they’ve had in them is incredible. Something I’ve always done, is coordinate my memories with the outfits I was wearing so my clothes hold a lot of meaning to me, so to think of them being passed to another and providing them with good memories is great. 

I have two items of clothing in my current wardrobe that belonged to my mum, first of which is a gorgeous orange woven blazer. Getting to wear my mum’s clothes that she wore when she was my age is amazing, and I love how fashion trends come back around.

Secondly, I have a par of silk pyjamas that my mum actually got when she was going into hospital to give birth to me. Second-hand clothes hold a lot of stories to them which is what draws me to them so much.

There’s a lot of pressure in this day and age to constantly buy new outfits and never be an outfit repeater but that concept is ridiculous, never mind unsustainable. Clothes are meant to be worn over and over again, and I see absolutely nothing wrong with extending their lifetime by buying and selling them second-hand. 

One Comment

  • Andy

    Fantastic article, especially the way you describe the memories that 2nd hand clothing carry. I used to only buy new and then a few years ago I found the most amazing coat in Oxfam for £12.50, it looked like new. Since then I’ve bought my “best” jacket in Oxfam and I’m sure there are many more treasures to come

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