Once upon a time there used to be this stigma associated with buying second hand goods. Fortunately for me, my addiction to vintage and second hand clothing had formed when I was too young and too poor to care about what other people thought.
And if I were to blame anyone for my second hand obsession, I’d blame my father. He introduced me to the thrift life through his love of garage sales, trash and treasure markets and recycling and reusing everything he could!
My first second hand buy was in my early teens when I spotted this electric blue top in my size (I was and some will argue still am, teeny tiny so to find something that fit was amazing in itself!) And it was love at first sight. My father brought me to a garage sale one Saturday morning in a suburb I can’t recall, but instinctively know was not in Melbourne’s western suburbs. At the garage sale, I found this particular blue acrylic woollen long sleeved V-neck top for $2. It was the beginning of a cheap illustrious affair with secondhand fashion and vintage clothing – which still continues to this day.
My mum often wondered what drove my fascination for thrift shopping. Why would you choose to buy clothes already worn by someone else when you can buy something brand new? she would ask me. For a woman who loves retail therapy and enjoys the purchase of something shiny and new, my response was one she never understood. That is, until I started writing this blog! In fact, it is only through reading my posts that she has finally ‘gotten’ my love for vintage. Hooray!
Like all love affairs, I know I don’t need to justify it to anyone. I enjoy wearing items that aren’t widely available or sold at a normal retail shop. I enjoy the freedom of knowing that when I attend an event or a party, some other girl won’t be wearing the exact same thing. And I enjoy the sense of individuality and craftsmanship that comes with vintage clothing pieces.
Yes some vintage fashion can be kitsch. Some of the so-called ‘vintage’ origin claims are also questionable given so many new clothes are passed for vintage when they aren’t. And some really should remain in the historical style archives never to be seen and worn again (think acid wash jeans..!)
But that shouldn’t stop anyone from buying ‘used’. I’m willing to bet my entire wardrobe that once someone begins this journey, they’ll stumble upon a vintage piece so extraordinary, they’ll want to remove shopping centres and fast fashion retail stores from their shopping repertoire altogether. As I have
T-shirt: Chapel Street Bazaar / Secondhand Lee jeans + Hush Puppies sneakers: eBay / Baseball cap: the boyfriends! / Prada sunglasses: my own / Fair trade earrings: I’m a stockist (find my email address here) / Photographer: Ben McGuire