Writer Janina Mathewson explains the rules of wearing something that has been loved before, and how a girl on a budget can avoid growing weary of the nearly new...
Sometimes in our lives we find it hard to stretch to a new pair of jeans. Sometimes we find it hard to stretch to a replacement pair of three pound sneakers. Sometimes we're startled awake by the realisation that we don't own a single piece of clothing that's newer than three years old and that we have more hand me downs than clothes we've actually bought!Once you start accruing hand me down clothes it can be difficult to stop. There are two reasons for this. The first is because if you're going through a time where you know you may not be able to have a decent shop for a while, you start losing the ability to turn down free things. Someone might offer you a dress in just not at all your colour, and you'll take it because you're not sure when you're going to manage to buy a dress yourself. The second reason is that once people realise that you're open to receiving their leftovers, they start running them all by you before they take them to the charity shop.
This is obviously lovely; it's splendid to be able to sit back and reflect on the fact that your friends won't let you go completely naked, but there is a difficulty to be overcome. Because when you're trying to choose something to wear, you want something that feels like you. Something that shows the most and best of you. And it's really hard to achieve that with a wardrobe stocked with other people's leavings.
This is easiest combated with the smaller items. Your skirts and shirts and cardies. In this case, it's like mixing paint - you think yellow is too jaunty? Mix in some blue for a vintage pea-green. Think that shirt is a bit too prim and businessy for you? Chuck an old belt over it and wear it with a chunky necklace.Dresses and such like are harder, as they're kind of like a full outfit, but choice of boots and jackets can do a lot. It' s all in what you do with it.
Choose different boots
Yes, there will be some things that will always feel a little strange; like those boots you have to wear more than you want to because they're the only footwear you own that keep out water, but you can still have a strong effect on the overall look. And if nothing else, you'll learn more about what you don't like to wear, for when your ship comes in and you can foist the whole lot off on someone else.
Follow Janina on Twitter @J9andIf