As a friend and I looked through the local shops on Saturday afternoon, gazing into shop windows at what we wish we could afford and saying how “we must start saving”, we discussed how much we loved to shop and why. “I’m just so over my wardrobe at the moment,” my friend said, frustrated, “I just get bored”. This is true, we look into our own wardrobe and can’t see a single thing to wear, nothing, we would rather go naked than wear anything in our wardrobe. Yet a second pair of eyes, can easily see everything we can’t; a vast collection of outfits, all perfectly respectable and some items that might even be described as fashionable. Sometimes I clean out my wardrobe, rearrange everything, line-up my shoes and I find inspiration, I rediscover an old outfit that flatters me or an old bag, and I manage, for another week at least, to not buy new clothes and be inspired by my current wardrobe. But about 90% of the time, somewhere in my room I have a shopping list, with the new boots, ballet flats or pea-coat that I need this winter, never satisfied with last seasons jacket that hangs in my wardrobe.

I have a friend who is a similar height (short), size and similar fashion sense, we both have used our similar bodies and tastes to our advantages over the years, swapping clothes and bags (although not shoes, she has enormous feet, compared to mine), allowing us to, for a night or day, feel as though we have a new addition to the wardrobe. But when I’ve worn almost everything in her wardrobe as well as mine, I move to the spare room of my house, where my mum keeps all her old clothes from the 70s, 80s and 90s. One summer I found a black spotted dress from the 80s that my mum had made, it was backless and floor-length and for the rest of summer I was obsessed. I shortened the hem and wore it at least twice a week, completely inspired by the look and imagining my mum, as a young journalist, living in London, donning this fabulous, backless dress. When my mum’s hand-me-downs, fail to satisfy my need for new clothes, a trip to the local charity shops or markets on a Saturday morning, guarantee that I can buy clothes for very little money, the clothes are generally vintage and some of my greatest finds have been at Glebe markets in Sydney, or at charity shops. For about four years in high school, I wore a pair of high-waisted, cut-off denim shorts that i had bought for $4, at a charity shop. Although when we become frustrated with out lack of clothing in our wardrobe we feel the need to flick through magazines and look at the latest blogs, longing for the latest jacket from Burberry or the new Celine wedges, if money is tight it is possible to find fashion satisfaction without spending any, or by spending very little.

Recycled: my mum about 1986 in London wearing the dress I re-discovered in her wardrobe.


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