‘Somebody probably died wearing that, you know.’
These are actual words uttered by one of my old housemates, when I returned triumphantly from yet another successful charity shop mission on Newland Ave. She was suggesting that the previous owner of the clothes I had bought had died while wearing them. Probably in their armchair, after a cup of Horlicks, with Last of the Summer Wine on the telly.
I might have taken a bit more notice of these words had the item in question been anything other than an intricately detailed sequinned top. If somebody died wearing it they probably died in a very glamorous way indeed. Anyone who still thinks that a charity shop will only stock dowdy, frumpy clothes that have been passed on from a 90 year old has clearly not stepped foot inside one lately. Or they’ve been going to the wrong ones.
Not that it would bother me anyway. I love second hand clothes, as they are usually either cheaper, or much more unique and interesting than anything you could find on the high street. Vintage shops are often pricier (sometimes a lot pricier) than your average charity shop, but they’re likely to have something amazing that you could never pick up at Topshop.
Also, it’s ethical and all that.
Here are some of my most favourite things that I’ve got my grubby little mitts on in charity or vintage shops. Apologies for the inelegant styling of the photos, a few things I am currently lacking are space, natural light, and a camera that works very well.
The black sequin top is the one in question that ‘somebody probably died in’. I very much doubt this. It was £10 from the Emmaus shop in Hull. That’s more than I would usually pay for something in a charity shop, but I just couldn’t leave it there. It’s so intricately decorated that it’s actually heavy to wear.
The yellow jacket is from Cancer Research UK in Northallerton. It was about £5 and I think it’s pretty dapper, even though it’s one of those items of clothing that elicits very mixed reactions, ranging from ‘Oh it’s lovely, I wish I had seen it first!’ to ‘Are you wearing that for a dare?’
The pink dress is from Bowes Vintage in Hull. It’s one of their handmade items so it’s actually not vintage or second hand. So I’m a big fat liar. However I wanted to include it because it’s beautiful. It was about £13 if I remember correctly.
The navy and white stripy dress is from a vintage shop in Sheffield, the name of which escapes me. It was in an arcade along with a variety of other vintage shops, possibly near Devonshire Green, but don’t quote me on that. It was £14 and even though I felt like a berk buying it as I was, at the time, wearing a short navy and white striped dress, it’s one of my favourite things to wear at the moment.
Finally, the white cardigan is from Dove House Hospice in Hull. It was around £5. It’s unbelievably comfortable and doesn’t seem to bobble at all. I’m on the lookout for a vintage brooch to secure it closed on windy days.
What are your favourite second hand clothes?
Do you have anything in your wardrobe that can divide people in the way that my yellow jacket does? As in, people either love it or hate it.