I have never been that into shopping for clothes. I don’t like to own things which take up a lot of space, or create too much choice. Everything I own fits into a chest of drawers (including underwear), and I typically buy maybe 3-4 new things a year and put a lot of thought into it. For a long time I’ve tried to only buy fair-trade clothes, or from shops that I feel are behaving responsibly. Over the last few years I have decluttered a lot more clothing than I have bought. However, sometimes I am tempted. When there was a fair trade shop in the city centre I used to find it hard to resist things with colourful patterns, especially as I felt good about where my money was going. Since it closed I’ve found a few good websites that I look at, but as we’re trying to save money I’ve been trying to avoid looking at them!
However, this summer there seem to be a lot of really lovely flowery dresses around. Vintage ones, chintzy ones, the sorts of patterns I like. I found myself browsing websites to see if I could find something which I could justify buying. A new fair-trade dress would have been around £50. I did try to do an Ebay search, but I’d prefer to try something on first as I wasn’t sure of the sizes. I even considered making one, but I haven’t even finished my basic skirt yet.
Then I found myself walking past several charity shops. During the de-cluttering I gave a lot of good quality unloved clothing to these shops, and so I went in to see if anyone else had done the same recently. Perhaps someone who is no longer into flowery dresses!
I went in 6 shops and found them all well laid out, with a good range of stock, and customers and volunteers of all ages. People do give away a lot of synthetic clothing, it seems, but if you look closer you can find good quality cotton or other natural fabrics. In the last shop (British Heart Foundation) I amazingly found this dress, for £4.99. It only went on sale yesterday!
I tried it on and it fits perfectly. A charity rather than a company gets my money, and re-using clothing has minimal environmental impact, so I feel good about it. As the super-friendly volunteer at the till said, the money could go towards equipment for babies born with heart conditions. You don’t get to hear that when you buy new clothes. My mum has been charity shopping for years, and so now it’s time for me to develop my charity shop skills. When I find something special I will share it here!