Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Fashion Schmashion

I actually quite like fashion - but on other people. Personally, I can't be arsed with it. I feel vague envy of the tastefully, expensively dressed women I work with from time to time; but I like those who turn up looking unexciting but comfortable. I belong in the latter camp. I also love those creative types who combine eccentric op shop clothing with great flair, and I take my hat off to those who are skilled enough to make their own clothing - that's a talent I'd love to have.

Shopping isn't much fun for me. I find shops claustrophobic (particularly when I have fractious small children with me), and they tend to remind me that I don't have much money. It was even worse when I was overweight - going to the shops just reinforced that I was poor and fat. What a barrel of laughs that was.

In the last couple of years, my late-to-arrive environmental commitment has led me to buy secondhand goods as much as I can - particularly clothing. (A limited budget makes my green principles far easier to uphold.) My kids are still a little too young to have succumbed to sartorial peer pressure, so they don't mind. And I actively enjoy it: I've spent many a happy hour browsing Trade Me or op shops. Down the road from my house is a small tailor's shop - the woman there will alter the garments I pick up for myself for a very low price. It all gives me a righteous glow of thrift, community belonging and environmental harmony.

How do other THMers interact with the world of fashion? And do you have any recession-friendly fashion tips?


stargazer said...

oh yes, i HATE shopping too. i only go shopping when i absolutely have to, then try to be as quick as possible about it. like you, i'm not fussed about fashion, but i do try pick out pretty things when i have to buy clothes.

Ms. Monster Hunter said...

I love fashion. Love it. Unfortunately it's lead to a shopping addiction which I'm currently battling. I'll be talking about that on my own blog (if I ever get it running)

Recession tips:

1)Thrift shop, Trade Me. Garage sales. Whatever. Hand me downs aren't to be sneezed at either.

2) Pick up fashion magazines at the library, or organize a swap with friends: Each one buys one fashion magazine per season and rotates. The thing about fashion magazines is that you can ignore the trends completely, but they give good styling tips. New ways to put clothes together.

3)Clothes Swaps: Get together with a mate of about the same size and swap.

4) Learn to sew, or knit. A good way to get yarn is to unravel old thirft store jumpers; it's especially good if you're knitting for kids or for 'smaller' people, because you can get a lot of bang for a small price, and often get better quality yarn.

5)Dye your clothes. TBH, I've never tried this before, but I had a hankering for a navy dress. And I have a white dress with a blue pen stain on it...

6)If you know a good seamstress, ask her if she can reverse engineer any pieces you might like but are falling apart. Maybe not less expensive, but you can at least have something you love and fits you.

7)Fashion blogs are a good alternative to fashion magazines, and if you DO like trends, you can pick them up 6 months before if you read European and American blogs. Plus, they tend to be more diverse: greater age, race and body range. Plus infinitely more creative.

Deborah said...

I don't like shopping either, mostly because I find it hard to get the sort of clothes I like (plain lines, classic shapes, good quality fabrics). I don't really go for frills and accessories much, but having said that, today I am wearing plain blue jeans and a very plain black top, so I have put a patterned purple scarf around my shoulders. And I am of course, wearing my favourite six year old purple Mary Jane Doc Martin shoes.

Fashion thrift tips - I've just extended the life of a pair of brown jeans that got badly faded by dying them purple. It's not difficult to do, though it takes a bit of time.

Purple... there's something going on here.

Paul said...

Op shops are good: they encourage one (as does relative poverty) to be creative, to mix and match. Besides, a lot of high street fashion and even haute couture has been influenced by 'street' styles in the last thirty years; so, by going to the Op Shop you are going to the source.

Byron said...

This year for the first time I'm getting a piece of clothing taylor made, via a friend-of-a-friend who makes warm winter coats out of second hand blankets (as well as doing all sorts of other design stuff, even Wearable Art)

During the winter I always go for function over fashion, and will spend more- the most expensive item of clothing I own is a jacket designed for Antartic weather conditions (something you need if you're a year-round cyclist in Christchurch!)

Last summer I got really into Thai Fisherman pants, but usually I go for hard wearing fabrics like denim and corduroy, and solid shoes. Dates back to working in factories and warehouses but I still dress like that now I'm in retail (and a student) if anyone asks about my style I just tell them its 'proletarian chic' ;-)

A Nonny Moose. said...

The last 2 years, I've been taught superb Op Shopping skills by an acquaintence, so much so I hardly buy new any more. And even though my wages have gone up over the years, I've always stuck to my budget of "no more than $X amount per piece". Shoes are more difficult because their prices have sky rocketed lately, but I've learned to look real well through the racks at Warehouse.

My best shopping tip is "Recycled clothing boutiques" - end of lines, out of season and 2nd hand labels. For the Auckland gals, there's a FAB one just off Queen St (about 3/4s up towards the wharf I think?) called "The Recycle Boutique" - it's a pity I don't get north more often. In ChCh I recently discovered the superb "Curvy Gals" (recycled labels for bigger girls) but I just about cried the other day when I found out she'd closed down. COME BAAACK!

Toff's, Sallies, Save Mart, Fluffy Squirril (upstairs Cashel Mall, for REAL retro 40s/50s stuff), there's a couple on High St too, can't remember names...all good ChCh recycle outlets.

A Nonny Moose said...

"6)If you know a good seamstress, ask her if she can reverse engineer any pieces you might like but are falling apart. Maybe not less expensive, but you can at least have something you love and fits you."

Anyone know a good seamstress in ChCh? I'd love to "reverse engineer" my wedding dress. It's such a waste of good material just sitting in the closet.

Joanna said...

I've really loved the clothing swaps we've organised through prettyprettypretty.com, and I also really enjoying lending my friend Sue clothes for her TV appearences since she's not allowed to wear black and I'm determined to make my wardrobe as colourful as possible. Because I'm fat but don't want to dress dowdy, I mostly shop online from American stores - I adore torrid.com, but since the dollar's taken a tumble, I'm trying to figure out new ways to wear the things I already have.

Azlemed said...

I sew to get unique pieces, its great as I get the fit the way I want it too... also a good cheap way of making sure the kids and I have merino clothing to wear.. I can make 2 kids tops from 1m of fabric which I buy at Levana in Levin.

I love shopping, its an extravagance at the moment though... Maternity fashion doesnt change as quickly.