Throughout the last decade I’ve increasingly kept my wardrobe afloat with second-hand wares – jeans from a clothes swap, a top from a charity shop, a friend’s handed-on jumper. I’ve written before about how I’ve learned to make the most of the sometimes erratic preloved offerings that line shop rails. And in general, I’ve been able to find what I needed.
There have been occasions though, when I’ve picked up something new. A pair of brown brogues, after a nine-month search for second-hand proved unfruitful. A brilliant yellow mac as a birthday gift. There has been a pragmatism in these choices. But I also discovered something unexpected: a joy in wearing something newly, beautifully made.
Each item – and they are few enough that I can count them on just two hands – is from a company that fits with our values, with thought for the makers and the environmental consequences of such making. That was intentional. What was surprising, was how I found an extra level of pleasure in wearing them. There is something that differentiates them from the high-street clothes that I pick up second-hand. Because the reality is that most charity shops are bursting with the products of fast-fashion; sewn under pressure, and not intended to last. The difference is in the quality, the cut, the care with which they can be made. So I found a joy, not just in the new, but in the beautiful.
The most recent addition – after sometime looking for a second-hand variety – is this yellow, linen skirt from Amberoot. Handmade here in London out of leftover linen (rescued from a landfill fate), it has been keeping me wonderfully cool in our current heatwave. Plus, it has the holy grail of all women’s skirts: pockets. Glorious, deep pockets that free me to meander outside without needing a handbag or having to clutch my keys and phone as I stroll. And when I put it on that first time, I experienced that thrill of wearing something well made, constructed with care, created to last.
I still work through my six questions for ethical shopping, starting with ‘do I need it?’. I’ll try second-hand before buying new while there are still so many clothes that need a second life. But I will, on occasion, pick up something new from companies that I can get whole-heartedly behind. And when I do, I’ll relish their newness, and their beauty.
Thank you to Amberoot for working with me on this blog post. I only work with companies that fit with our sustainability values and choose products that I genuinely will use. All opinions are my own and photos are by T Kendal. Amberoot are giving a 15% discount to readers of this blog – use the coupon code ‘papiermachethoughts’ by 1 October to make the most of it.
Today’s soundtrack: Florence & the Machine // How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful