I really take issue with unwanted items just being thrown in the rubbish bin. We all know that the production of items – be it clothes, electrical goods, household items or whatever else – takes up resources and labour. We also all know that the production conditions, especially for clothing, are often far from perfect. I like a shiny new product as much as everyone, but at the same time I have really been making an effort to buy things second-hand lately (and you may have noticed that many items on this blog are in fact preloved!).
The benefits are manifold: you safe quite a few pennies, and you opt out of the cycle of constantly just buying new stuff, throwing it away and increasing demand for the production of even more things. Plus, you often find quite unique items – granted, you might not be nailing every new trend every new season, but that would be a slight overkill anyway! And by the way, buying second-hand items doesn't mean that you have to look last season: just pick a trend you like, let's say velvet, and keep your eyes peeled for clothing made from that material. Pretty much anything that's trendy now has been done before, so I guarantee you that you will find a retro version of what you are looking for.
Now, I know that many people have concerns about vintage or second-hand clothing – the smell (nothing a good wash or dry clean can't solve), the condition (easy – just don't buy anything that looks like a rag), the fit (if you really love it, no problem – just get it altered by a tailor or do it yourself if you're handy with a sewing machine) and the design (naturally, an item produced in the 80s won't look like an item produced in 2017). The latter can be a great source of inspiration though: if you're not quite happy with the design of an item, just change it! How? Just read the following suggestions for some fresh ideas:
Sew on new buttons: this one really is a winner. New buttons can transform a garment completely and give you a lot of freedom in design. The dress I am wearing in the photo is a vintage Karl Lagerfeld dress I recently bought, but the original buttons were just sad, hanging off the front like wilting flowerheads. I replaced them all which took about 20 minutes and gave this item a new lease of life.
Make it trendier by shortening the hem: there are some beautiful vintage dresses around, but they often have a really long, heavy skirt that can look quite drab. Why not slice off a good few centimetres at the hem to give the item modern appeal.
Decorate: this is such an easy one – just sew on appliqués, sequins or bows, or if you don't like sewing, get yourself a pretty brooch – even such a small detail can make a difference. By the way, I am really into brooches recently – so much so that I will dedicate a whole blog post to them shortly!