So What’s Wrong With Second-hand Anyway?

Most people I know are very squeamish about anything second-hand. I laugh every single time I receive a compliment on something because I am compelled to be honest if it was from a charity shop.

I gave someone some ice cream coupons this morning and she asked me if I got my top at Anthropologie (not a bad guess since Anthropologie is my crack cocaine) but no, it is second-hand.

This makes my chest look huge!

She sighed in frustration. Sorry LC.

Okay, I’m not really sorry.

Finding a second life for things other people are finished with is good for the environment but you can also get very unique, better made items. My girlfriend will often only buy from a second hand shop because she has to clothe four kids under the age of 10.

Even though I was the first born, I lived in second-hand clothes outgrown by my older cousins in the States. I don’t remember being especially thrilled about it because this stuff was generally not the most fashionable but it was better than the matching outfits mom would make for me and both my sisters from fabric found in the discount bin. They were pretty cool in hindsight (brown corduroy with multi-coloured flowers made into 70’s style pantsuits) but who wants to dress like anyone else, let alone one’s sisters?

We are social animals. We all want to fit in, belong, and how we dress is a big part of that. This was very crucial in school (and to varying degrees, at work) but we did not grow up with a lot of money and options were limited. I usually “made do” with second-hand almost everything. I didn’t even get my first pairs of jeans until grade nine (one pair of Calvin Kleins and a pair of Scratch jeans) but now it behooves me to buy jeans new- only if I desperately need dark jeans for work.

I’m lucky I found the pair I’m wearing today for $5- fantastic when the same pair new would cost about $79 at The Gap before tax. Of course that is still not as good as the True Religion jeans I picked up for $6.95, no tax, at Sally Ann.

I guess I can understand there may be a bit of an ick factor but what confuses me is there is no guarantee no one has sneezed on, touched or tried on the brand new stuff you buy at the mall. When I try to make that point I get shushed.

Everything I get used or new is either washed or dry cleaned before I wear it so what’s the difference? If someone offered to loan you a vintage Balenciaga for an event would you really say no?

The same person who shuddered when I told her my top was not “new” borrowed ski pants last weekend that were purchased at Value Village about 15 years ago and that didn’t seem to phase her.

I wonder if the gag reflex is stymied when a garment is once removed from the second-hand store?

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~ by angryegg on March 3, 2011.

One Response to “So What’s Wrong With Second-hand Anyway?”

  1. I am the youngest of 6 and wore hand me downs until I could buy clothes on my own. Even today I never pass up clothes passed along from a friend or cousin. I shop at some thrift store and love to get a bargain, just don’t buy too much from the clothes rack. I don’t have patience for looking through stacks of clothes. So many people do not understand and would refuse to wear second hand stuff. Their loss!….and yes your chest looks huge in that top, but that is not a bad thing.

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