A few years ago I came to the somewhat disturbing (but ultimately liberating) conclusion that I didn't enjoy clothes shopping any more. Shopping for new clothes I didn't really need in big, soulless highstreet shops with questionable environmental and ethical practices made me feel guilty and sad and all empty inside. At the same time, I love clothes and like to try to look not too obviously like a shagged-out, middle-aged country bumpkin when I leave the farm. So what to do?
Second-hand clothes shopping! Buying from charity, vintage and second-hand clothes shops is a total win/win solution, for the following reasons:
- Remember that feeling as a child when you used to dig your hand down into a lucky dip and come up with a really great toy? Second-hand clothes shopping is treasure hunting for grown-ups.
- You can afford much better - even designer - clothes. Thought Balenciaga boots or a Maje knit were out of your price range? Not if you spot them in a charity shop.
- Vintage and/or designer clothes are generally much better made than new ones, with higher quality materials (just compare the look and feel of old velvet with new) and timeless design so they'll last even longer.
- If you buy clothes you really don't need at a charity shop, you can justify it by thinking of it as donating money to charity with a free outfit thrown in.
- The world now consumes about 80 billion new pieces of clothing every year. You can feel extremely smug and pleased with yourself knowing you haven't contributed to the huge environmental cost of fast fashion.
- Clothes are pre worn-in for you. According to my mother (who knows about such things), the 12th Duke of Bedford used to get his butler to wear his suits in for him for a year and what's good enough for a crusty old English aristo is good enough for me.
Balenciaga bargains - 250 SEK from Emmaus
The only downside (or possibly upside, depending on how much you enjoy shopping) is that in order to find the real gems you need to scour the shops fairly regularly. Every few months I do a tour of my favourite Stockholm charity, second-hand and vintage shops and it goes a little something like this:
- First, to Arkivet, handily located close to the Thatsup offices. They hand-select the clothes, bags and shoes they sell on commission so they're all top-notch quality, with lots of chichi Scandi brands like Acne and Rodebjer. You pay probably around 50-70% less than if you'd bought new.
- Over to Slussen and the Emmaus Stockholm charity shop just off Götgatan. The flowery-roofed flight of stairs of the smaller side store leads you down to a treasure trove of garmentary delights - this is where they sell their edited vintage and designer things. I don't usually have the patience or energy to sift through the clothes in the huge main store but the children's section is fab.
- Along Hornsgatan, checking out the various charity shops including Myrorna Hornsgatan and Stadsmissionen.
- Finish at Judits Second Hand. Probably a good thing this is the last stop as it's also the most exclusive/expensive but it always has a beautifully-edited selection. I've found some real gems such as this & Other Stories skirt (which I tried on new in their store about a year previously and then found waiting for me at Judits, pre-loved and half the price - second-hand shopping is full of serendiptious moments like that):
Check out this Thatsup guide for more fab second-hand shops: Where to find Stockholm's best vintage and second-hand shops.
Happy treasure hunting!