second hand style

 – by Jessica Edney

Introducing a new segment on The Beautiful Home Company blog: Second Hand Style! Every month, I’m going to be sharing with you the outifts I put together from trawling through local charity shops, in the name of sustainable fashion.

It’s funny, because I love fashion. I read Vogue. But I hate clothes shopping. To be more specific, I hate clothes shopping in high street retailers – particularly the lowest-priced ones (I’m looking at you, Primark). It’s not just the bright lights, awful music and the long queues for the dressing rooms that bother me. It’s also the terrible quality of the clothes, which are designed to be worn a few times and then thrown into landfill. It’s seeing a cute cotton t-shirt on sale and knowing that it took more than 150g of the most toxic pesticides and chemical fertilisers to produce the cotton for that single piece of clothing. It’s the dirty words: ‘exploitation’, ‘sweatshops’, that so frequently come up whenever the ethics of high street fashion are questioned.

To be fair, not all shops score equally on the ethics rankings, so if you’re a big fan of the high street I advise you to check out this website, where you can see how ethical your favourite shops are.

OR. You could shake up your attitude towards clothes, inject some adventure into your shopping and join me in Oxfam! I have been buying the majority of my clothes from charity shops for a good few years now, and I’m no longer embarrassed about admitting that. While the habit did spring from a desire to save money, my main motivation now is to reduce the amount of clothing that goes to landfill, and to not contribute to the environmentally-damaging budget fashion industry. I’m also concerned with quality; I’d much rather shell out £10 for a well-made, second-hand dress than for a brand-new frock that will fall apart after two wears. Of course, there is also the feel-good factor of knowing that your money is not feeding a corporate giant, but is contributing to a good cause. Interested in second-hand fashion? Watch this wonderful TED talk by Jessi Arrington, called Wearing Nothing New. She shows off the fun side to second-hand fashion beautifully.

Before I went shopping this week, I made a mood board that helped me to decide what I was looking for exactly – the trouble with low charity shop prices is that there’s a temptation to buy LOTS of stuff that you really don’t need. This is bad and not the sustainable approach! So I like to inspire my choices by first planning the look I want to create. I also thought about the items I already own, because the point wasn’t to buy a whole new wardrobe – just to supplement the one I’ve already got. IMG_9840
As you can see, I was going for a monochrome, bold look. I may or may not have watched a few French films before I made this…


Shirt – £3.50; Trousers – my own; Shoes – my own
Dress – £4; Shoes – my own
Striped top – £2.50; Scarf – Rescued from my mum’s throwout pile! Shoes – my own

Have a lovely week!


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