Charity Shopping – Then & Now

I had written a piece for The Blogging Grotto, almost a year ago today, that never went to print so I thought now would be a good time to revisit it breathe some new life into it!

Back to 2017 we go…

18th March 2017.

Your shoes leave more than one kind of footprint. I’ve recently had my eyes opened to how detrimental the fashion industry is to the environment; it was never something I had considered before but as soon as I researched it I promised myself I’d try my best to make my carbon footprint as tiny as my actual feet are (a size three).

Fashion is actually the second dirtiest industry after oil. Now, I’d never have thought something that brings so much joy like clothes, shoes and accessories could cause this much pollution, however; some brands don’t donate their products that don’t sell, toxic dyes are used in production, pesticides are used in cotton farming, an extravagant amount of natural resources are used in extraction, farming, harvesting, processing, manufacturing and shipping of garments as well as fossil fuels being used for shipping fast and easy fashion all around the world.

Too many people are buying ‘disposable clothing’ to only wear once and then throw away. I don’t want to blame bloggers/vloggers/celebrities as they don’t ask to be sent products for free however; I will blame the brands. When a brand sends a press release to an influencer of course they want the packaging to be photogenic and pretty, but they are seen using unnecessary amounts of material which is oftentimes not recyclable. A considerate brand will always be more appealing to me. Meaning; cruelty free, recycled packaging, domestically manufactured and ethical products.

So I’m using this wonderful platform to create a second hand look to lessen the stigma around charity shopping! I’ve always donated old possessions to charity and as I was brought up doing that I thought it was something everybody does, looking at the statistics, there’s a lot who don’t. So, if you’re one of these people, I hope this post changes that for you. If your reason for throwing away instead of donating is that you’re not close to any charity shops, there are some charities that pick up from your home – no excuses!
I always buy books and DVDs second hand; I’ve not spent money on a brand new fresh off the shelf book or DVD in years but hunting for this outfit is going to be a whole different kettle of fish…

*Meg goes shopping*

I have completed my charity shop and I found everything I wanted and more in under an hour! How many of us will spend £50 or higher on just one dress? I’ve been guilty of doing so and I still splurge on certain things. To demonstrate how we can be kinder to our planet, kinder to our bank accounts and still shop for the items we want I have managed to create two very different outfits out of eight garments that I will wear again and again in under £42!

I had originally decided to plan my clothing purchases after having found a pair of shoes because I’ve always found outfit planning easier if you know which shoes to wear. However, I started at British Red Cross and spent £15.04 on the striped pinafore dress, the new love of my life the raccoon t-shirt and the cosy and perfectly oversized deep green coat. I’m not a particularly fashionable person but when I find a garment I like, I’ll wear it and I’ll wear it well!

I then moseyed off to The Children’s Society where I spent £2.99 on the coral pink pleated midi skirt, which was originally from Primark. I actually tried on a similar skirt in H&M a month or two ago and I’m now very chuffed I didn’t buy one there as they were about ten times the price!

Off I popped to Age UK which (in Sunderland) has an upstairs floor containing tonnes of vintage finds which is where I discovered the striking 50’s style headscarf for £3.99 and the bag for £6.99, which reminded me of one my Nana Bennett used to carry so I immediately fell head over heels for it.

At this point all I needed was shoes as I was planning on using the ridiculous but adorable raccoon shirt with both the skirt and under the pinafore but alas, I found the one garment I had been searching for endlessly. I had shopped in New York City for six days and not found it. I had trawled the internet and not found it.

British Heart Foundation, you are a dream. The perfect leopard print, button up, short sleeved, shirt. The shirt, tied under the bust, paired perfectly with the skirt and the New Look branded shoes with a front zip detail I also found in British Heart Foundation finished up my shopping adventure and cost £7.99, brand new, down from £19.99.

The charities that I have mentioned all do amazing work and I wish that I could support and donate more. I had an endearing shopping experience, I felt I was helping the environment at the same time as helping myself. It is also heart warming knowing my money is going towards charity instead of to a huge conglomerate company. I am a skint student so I can’t often afford to donate sums of money to the charities I support but I do like to think charity shopping and donating stock to the stores make a difference in some way.

My outfits are badass and I will continue living the recycling and upcycling life, I hope somebody feels inspired and happy shopping!

*

16th March 2018.

Revisiting that article I wrote for The Blogging Grotto was so interesting for me, to see how much more comfortable I feel being photographed and recognising how much my writing style has developed is wonderful. Seeing progress is the most motivating thing!

I’ve actually kept the coat, the shirt and the bag and I still wear them all frequently! I did keep the skirt and the raccoon top for ages but donated them back to the charity shop in my last wardrobe clear out.

I still occasionally shop second hand but nowhere near as much as I should. Fast and easy fashion is just too accessible and affordable for me to stay away. At least I’m aware, educated and trying.

Primark will always be my go to for clothes and accessories but I do want to be as mindful of my carbon footprint as I used to be. I plan to make an effort to trawl through the charity shops before making my way to Primark and I’ll only order clothes online that I’m in love with and know that I’ll keep for years!

Coat: Charity shop £6.99, originally from Missguided.

Top: H&M.

Belt: Primark, £4.

Trousers: Charity shop £2.99, originally from Select.

Boots: Dr Martens x Lazy Oaf Jungle Boots.

Can you believe how long my hair was a year ago?! And let’s not talk about that patchy colour, haha!

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