SWB on sartorial dilemas

My pre-teen girls have discovered shopping, and very excited they are about it too. With newfound independence and their friends in tow, they’ve taken to heading down to our local shopping centre and the novelty has rendered them almost giddy with glee.

Here I find myself in a CONNUNDRUM because I’m Miss ‘Second Hand’, Miss ‘Rewear-don’t-care’, Miss ‘Let’s go plunder a charity shop’. They’re only little, hence my reluctance to grim them out with doom-laden talk about the environmental impact of their purchases.

I also don’t want to rain on their fashion parade because I remember this time very well myself. I recall channelling my inner Claire Danes from  ‘My So-called Life’ and ogling a red and black lumberjack shirt from Tammy Girl. It wasn’t just a shirt; it was a pathway to teenage drama, to mild transgressions and experimentation. When I finally got it for Christmas I was beyond thrilled, layering it over my Lee jeans and black bodysuit. Sadly for me, up at my local Youth Fellowship there were no Jared Leto look-a-likes who fancied me in my Indie-grunge attire.

Later came my hippy phase, when I took to wearing crocheted cardigans and tie-dyed skirts paired with DM boots (which sliced the shins clean off me, long after they should have been worn in.) But regardless, it was sourcing these items in Ard’s Shopping Centre which was the real fun; curating a new persona with a little help from Top Shop and River Island. And I agonised over these purchases, because I knew they couldn’t just last a season, as I couldn’t just replenish my wardrobe the second I tired of them.

But when my kids bounce in with a tee-shirt and crow, ‘It was only £3!’ I want to say, ‘That’s not the bloody point!’ I hate the idea that they’ll start thinking clothes are disposable, when they can pick up a new top for the same price as a tub of gelato.

At this point though, I need to be transparent, because I have been known to feel a great deal of gratitude to our retail outlets,  such as on ‘World Book Day’ back in March. The Small Child, along with a few mates, took a notion to be an Oompa Loompa. Since it was her last year of primary school and I didn’t want to be a kill-joy, we ended up in H&M. I was relieved when she found a brown pullover and white jeans, both of which were relatively inoffensive and she promised me she’d wear again. (She also bought a shower cap and painted it green as I refused to buy her a wig, and I was impressed at her ingenuity.)

Last week, however, when I asked if she would wear the brown jumper, she made non-committal noises. I asked again, and it was a flat no. My response to this was language that Oompa Loompas may have fashioned a song and dance around.

But I may have stumbled upon a solution. The Small Child is of an entrepreneurial bent, like a mini Lord Sugar (except hopefully with better politics.) I’m currently persuading her to sell her items on via Vinted or E-bay, then you’ll be pleased to see that e-bay have scrapped their seller fees; a big bonus for buyers and sellers alike. It’s a small bid to promote a circular economy and is thus something that I am 100% behind.

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