I can’t quite get my head around the ‘fast fashion’ business. I’m certainly no saint, but my wardrobe is a constantly changing (fairly) ethical hive of patterns and styles, with a few well-loved pieces from 1990s TopShop spending sprees thrown in. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Of course, I do occasionally stock up on stuff from Primarni or Tesco. Most often it’s the basics – the black long line vest tops that cover up my middle-aged midriff made from an over consumption of Krispy Kreme doughnuts and a decreasing stash of hormones. Or it might be a comfy pair of pyjama bottoms that I nab for a big weekend night-in – in front of the telly with a pizza and Breaking Bad round 2. Perhaps I need to keep an eye on the levels here…
And admittedly, my dress sense isn’t going to influence the pages of Bella never mind Vogue, but I’m fairly happy with it.
I will occasionally invest in some good quality clothing. When I was offered my current job, I immediately hit Fat Face and spent about £150 on three items of clothing which is a rather significant investment for me. However, in the main, when I’m after a new-threads fix, I’ll hit my favourite online store. Hands up and whoop whoop chicken soup for eBay please!
You simply can’t get bored. Not only that, if you know your staples (for me, Fat Face flared jeans and maxi dresses) then you can hunt them down by brand and style, and you know they’ll fit you perfectly. You can also afford, both morally and financially, to take a few risks on something a bit different. And if it’s not for you after all that, your local charity shop will love it.
So here are a few tips from an unfashionable 40-something who is accidentally on trend when it comes to ethical fashion:
Invest in good quality new stuff
There’s no reason not to if you’ve got a bit of spare dosh to treat yourself. But personally, I’d always use it to find something I truly love. And then wear it to death.
Layering at the supermarket
Vest tops, tights and leggings. Get them from Tesco or Asda. But then wear them to death (and if you have a few clawed holes from cats in your black vest tops, you can still wear them over black jeans and NOBODY WILL KNOW).
Get the eBay buzz
Is there anything more fun than tracking down the cardy you loved (but killed by wearing it every single day for three years) at a bargain price of £2.75 on eBay? And then feeling the buzz of the auction as the seconds tick down and oh my god you just won it! Oh, and then try something new for £3.75. Maybe re-live your youthful 90s days by tracking down an Etam dress for £4.65. At least you know the only thing that’s being worked to death is your thumbs on your iPhone screen.
My good friend Sarah started throwing these parties back in the 90s and they’re great fun. Bring your old clothes along, negotiate with your mates and drink a cocktail or two while listening to a bit of Kylie. Cheap night out. Bargain new wardrobe (and you never know, you might be the one to get Kassie’s 70s leather jacket you’ve all secretly coveted for over ten years).
Here’s a great trick – head to an affluent part of town and hit the charity shops. I’ve had loads of high-end branded stuff from charity shopping in the right location.
As a teenager, I loved shopping in Larry’s, Arcade Curios or the brilliant shop on Princes Ave that Roland Gift’s mum ran (Pauline’s?). You got stuff that nobody else had. And you looked cool. Sometimes, anyway.
So yep. You’ve got a choice. You can head to Primark, spend ages queuing to try clothes on, decide it’s not worth it cos they hardly cost anything anyway, then spend ages queuing at the cash desks, before getting home and immediately binning 50% of what you bought cos it either doesn’t fit or the colour makes your face look sick. Or you can have fun and welcome some great old-school pieces to your wardrobe while being a little bit kinder to the environment.