Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pre-loved versus Second Hand (it's all in the wording)!

There's been a flurry of activity here with the Buy Nothing New campaign for October.  In fact the concept has been so popular that many participants have made a conscious decision to follow the principles all year round.  What is so good about this is that, as far as the pre-loved garment market is concerned, it can not only be ongoing but increase in ways of utilising the Buy Nothing New principle.

"Second-hand" for some reason of another has taken on a negative thought in many people's minds.  It's as though being "second-hand", it should only be relegated to the waste bin.   I guess it all comes down to the way you think about things.

For instance - you may go into a leading boutique and buy a highly priced garment which in your thinking is "new".   Has it ever occurred to you that that particular garment may have been bought by someone else, taken home, tried on, and then returned to the boutique as being "unsuitable"?  It does happen you know.

As a comparison you enter one of the major Charity Stores, such as St Vinnys, Brotherhood of St Laurence or one of my favourite haunts, the Salvation Army Thrift shops or Family Stores, and you are surrounded by, in many cases, absolutely new garments that have never been worn.  They still retain their swing tickets, and they have been carefully and lovingly checked and rechecked as being squeaky clean without any blemishes, by professional people within these organisations before being distributed to the store outlets.

Even obvious second-hand clothes have been dry-cleaned, buttons sewn on, hems and sewing checked, and presented in such a way that you don't "see" the second-handedness of the garment, but that it is something that appeals to you, that fits you, and more often than not, is totally affordable.   And in many cases, these garments are priced so low that they shouldn't be missed!

I read in a national newspaper that three mature aged ladies had bought themselves lovely pre-loved wedding gowns which they have had altered, and which they intend to wear to the Melbourne Cup!  "We said to each other, let's dress up!  And none of us had ever been dressed as brides when we married, so this was a great opportunity!"

Women who were born during and following the Second World War, and indeed their children, grew up with what used to be termed, "hand-me-downs".  There was never a thought that they were not appreciated and in fact many times a garment such as this became a firm favourite.   These garments would never have been afforded, but with the advent of passing one garment to another person, meant that each was given the opportunity of having nice clothes to wear.   And for many women, that continued throughout their married lives, when money was tight - and let's face it, money is tight in many families all the time, not just occasionally.

So there are many reasons why the Buy Nothing New campaign has been a success - of course to many of us it's been a way of life for a long time.


  1. I haven't heard of the Buy Noting new campaign. But I live that way regarding a lot of things in my life. However, It has been extremely rare that I find any plus size clothing in my size. They just don't get donated often.

    Another problem is that "thrift store smell" that so many clothes seem to acquire in thrift stores. I wonder why they do that. Do you know how to get rid of that musty odor?

    And I rarely donate clothing either, because I wear my clothes until they are worn out. If I get tired of something before it's worn out, I only donate it if I can't use the fabric for one of my projects. Like I got tired of my dumpy denim dresses, and I've made toys and am going to be making a handbag of one before long.

    While I'm not particularly interested in fashion, I am interested in great ways to acquire clothing at good prices. One thing I do is always shop the clearance rack when I'm out looking for clothes.


  2. Janet - the Buy Nothing New initiative appears to have been an Australian one. (I may be corrected here as I haven't heard of any overseas), But it took off like a flash once it began, and now I see where bloggers everywhere have taken up the challenge of "recyling, refurbishing, remaking etc" as an ongoing principle.

    However I do agree with you about a couple of points. The first is that it is very rare to find plus size clothing in the Thrift Shops/FamilY Stores/Op Shops. As you said so succinctly, we (the plus sizers of the world) wear our clothes until they're worn out! But occasionally they are out there and I've found personally that so many clothes of smaller sizes can be surprisingly relevant to my needs. If I see something in these stores, I try them on - I don't take any notice of the labels.

    The other thing you mention is the "thrift store smell", which I had forgotten out until you mentioned it. Years ago, yes, we had that problem over here too. But in an effort to upgrade many of these stores and because they're not always run by volunteers, but by paid staff with volunteers, there was a move towards ensuring that the clothes were all dry-cleaned professionally before being put on the shelves or racks.

    The clearance racks are a great way to increase your wardrobe at a fraction of the original cost.

    One of my friends and I are even contemplating holding a small "market" of sorts locally concentrating on size 16 plus clothes of which we have a collection - some never ever worn but still with their original swing tags - it seems there are more ladies out there than we imagine who are on the look out for pre-loved clothes in first class condition at low costs.

  3. We are in no disagreement, just different countries. For instance, I think it's wonderful that they clean the clothing before putting it up for sale. Here I wouldn't dream of trying anything on in a thrift store.

    I've bought used furniture from thrift stores, and damaged from furniture stores to save.

    Most of our thrift stores are charity based, so that helps the charity too. So, I figure that thrift store shopping helps me, helps them, and so it goes.

    I'm waiting for the day that sweat shirts and sweat pants are all the rage, and where comfort is the rule of the day! LOL