If you are reading this, the chances are you totally get how amazing it is to upcycle clothes and shop pre-loved. The incredible bargains, the unique outfits you can create, the benefit to Mother Earth, and the support you can give charities like Barnardo’s.
But tell me this if you can, why is the older generation – like your parents, not seeing this? I am in my fifties, so likely to be the same age (ish) as your mums. A couple of years ago I wandered into a charity shop looking for a fancy dress outfit for a party. I came out with a load of wonderful ‘new’ clothes and completely forgot the fancy dress. So began my love of upcycling and shopping pre-loved. But why are there so many people my age who don’t feel the same? When I get compliments on my outfit (which actually happens quite a bit) I excitedly tell them the bargain price I paid for it and that it was from a charity shop. Their response tends to be initial surprise, quickly followed by proudly saying they too support through donating old clothes. I just don’t think they get that they could actually buy them too. Now don’t get me wrong, I am sure there are loads of women my age buying them, but my point is, more should be too.
I wonder if the issue is that the clothes have been worn by others? My grandmother used to say ‘you never know who’s worn them’ with a grimacing face. Or maybe it’s because they could be hiding some horrible flaw which you only notice when you get home. Both of these are easily fixed at home!
Or it could be that charity shops have a bad rep for being rammed to the rafters like a jumble sale and are not exactly inviting places to shop. While this has certainly been true, I think there has been a real step change and charity shops have really come into their own. I’ve seen clothes organised by colour, size, occasion and even a designer section. And many are light and airy places with helpful and attentive staff.
So I have a request for you, if you are up for it. If you enjoy upcycling and shopping pre-loved, why not see if you can persuade your mum, aunt or special older friend to check it out too. They might need a bit of hand holding at first to help them find something, and to get into it, but that’s part of the fun. The way I do it, if it helps you at all, is:
- Branch out to different areas, including the posher spots!. You can pick up some amazing premium clothes that have hardly been worn (check out my coat!).
- Don’t go in looking for something in particular – you need the TKMaxx ‘stumble on a treasure’ mentality.
- Go in with a bit of time and ideally a pal who can tell you if it is hanging on you properly or if there is a mark or hole you can’t see.
- Check everything about the item is in usable condition eg zips, buttons, stitching.
- When looking at the price, add a bit more in your head in case it needs to be dry cleaned.
- Worth noting that women of my age are less likely to chop up the item they have bought and create or adapt it into something new, so ‘it is what it is’ to them. They may not necessarily see the same potential that you do.
If (when!) you succeed, please share pics of them in their new outfits and the price (I love a bargain!) and copy me in on Instagram @lydialoves50 and together we can all look great, including Mother Earth!
Big thanks to Lydia for guest blogging this week. Lydia is a blogger and influencer who aims to empower women in their 50’s and to encourage them to start shopping pre-loved. Be sure to head over to her Instagram and give her a follow and why not get involved.
Want to share your top Barnardo’s finds with us and feature on The-Thrift? Comment below and we’ll get in touch!