Second Hand Pros: Can We Still Thrift Shop After 40?
Can we still thrift shop over 40? Hell yes!
I bought my first piece of second hand clothing when I was about 13 at a street market. But really I had been wearing second hand since birth. Hand me downs, dress ups from my Mum’s selection of 50s and 60s gems that lived in our famed dress up basket. I bought my first piece of second hand clothing when I was about 13 at a street market. But really I had been wearing second hand since birth. Hand me downs, dress ups from my Mum’s selection of 50s and 60s gems that lived in our famed dress up basket.
The street market purchase was a pair of men’s shorts which I indelicately turned into a skirt to wear to my school’s “mufti day”. I had just started at a pretty scary private girls’ school and some of the girls talked about having separate winter and summer wardrobes. I wore my Dad’s jumpers when I went out. I was in over my head.
I wore my Dad’s jumpers when I went out. I was in over my head.
As my thrifting skills grew I found myself living for the hunt. The entire experience enthralled me. Finding a new shop. Perusing the racks, flicking, hesitant, expectant, scoring!
There was no internet back then so I spent hours scouring this way. I loved the smell of the shops. The colours and textures of vintage pieces thrown in with modern designer pieces. All for a song. But what I loved best was that I could create my own style. My school mates didn’t quite understand my penchant for men’s ties or velvet jackets but I had found my passion. As I’ve aged and grown tech savvy the internet has spoilt me for choice with sites like Ebay now making up around 40% of my buys. But I still love the real thing.
My local area is not one where you go to buy couture. It’s more ill-fitting acrylic shock frocks and five dollar leggings. But interestingly the two charity shops in my suburb are gold mines. I go there every weekend after my yoga class.
Recently I found a dress in my local AngliCare that I donated to a charity bin a year ago! Love that circle of pre-love.
My old Scanlan & Theodore dress! Love that circle of pre-love!
I know thrifting isn’t for everyone. I have a friend who will thrift everything but shoes. I won’t do undergarments (for obvious reasons) but I do have some gorgeous vintage petticoats. And I know people who wouldn’t be caught dead in a pre-loved piece.
I don’t get that but I accept it.
But in an expensive city like Sydney and in a world choked by landfill, and clothing made in sweat shops or soaked in formaldehyde, sustainable, recycled, pre-loved, thrifted, op-shopped fashion seems a pretty smart option. Even if just to mix-up your regular wardrobe pieces. Trouble is now – even when I’m feeling cashy or sent out to buy myself a birthday gift from my husband – I can’t seem to pay retail. I look at the price tags and shudder. I just can’t do it.
So I go home and search up Ebay. I truly believe we can thrift shopping never goes out of style.
Why on earth – and for the earth – why not?