The unexpected joy of the beautiful and the new


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

2 thoughts on “The unexpected joy of the beautiful and the new

  1. How amazing it was to cooperate with you Julia! You look stunning and the post is so beautifully written! Thank you dear! ❤


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