Sunday, 17 January 2016

Second Hand Style #2: Autumn/Winter Update

Clockwise from top: 1. Leather bag // Colours Kreuzberg 2. Wool jumper // B&B Secondhand 3. Denim dress // Topshop via Ebay 4. Grey silk & angora jumper // B&B Secondhand 5. Ethnic jumper // Zara via Ebay
A big part of ethical fashion is all about regularly curating your wardrobe - making the most of what you already have and adding well-thought out pieces when necessary that will stand the test of time - or as Vivienne Westwood says: "Buy less, choose well, make it last". There are so many great ethical fashion brands to choose from these days, but if your budget doesn't stretch that far then buying second hand or vintage instead is an easy and fun way of shopping more consciously, and of developing your own unique style.

Shopping second hand is especially good for occasions when your purchases have a limited shelf life, such as a holiday, but it's also perfect for making sure your wardrobe stays up to date throughout the year through the addition of a few key pieces. After buying only pre-loved items before my holiday to Croatia last summer, I set myself a little challenge to try and resist buying new for the rest of 2015. Surprisingly, I found that the extra effort I put into buying only a limited number of items meant that  I thought a lot more about how they would work with my existing wardrobe, and they rapidly became my favourite go-to pieces! Not bad for a total of £60 (€80).

1. Vintage leather bag // Colours in Kreuzberg, €19.99
I've previously written about this vintage treasure trove, which is one of the best stocked second hand stores in central Berlin, and was especially pleased when I found this vintage leather cross body bag, as it's been on my wishlist for months! At the moment my other handbags are still full to bursting with hats, gloves and scarves because of the cold weather, but I'm hoping I'll be able to use this a lot more in the summer, paired with a pretty dress and sandals.

2. Wool polo neck jumper by Esprit // B&B Secondhand in Dresden, €15
I picked up this jumper on my recent trip to Dresden, where I visited the exhibition "Fast Fashion: The Dark Side of Fashion" and also managed to squeeze in a few vintage shops! B&B Secondhand is my favourite, as it's full of reasonably priced, good quality items - case in point being this Esprit jumper, which is 80% wool and a bargain at €15.

3. Denim dress by Topshop // Ebay, £11.50 incl. shipping
This has to be my worn purchase of the season - a classic shape, easy to dress up and down, and a nod to the 70s trend without looking like a total fashion victim. If I was buying this new, I'd look for similar styles in organic cotton from sustainable brands like MUD Jeans, Nudie Jeans and Monkee Genes, or check out ASOS's Reclaimed Vintage collection, which repurposes old fabrics in retro styles.

4. Grey silk and angora polo neck jumper // B&B Secondhand in Dresden, €10
Another purchase from B&B Secondhand, this time a simple grey polo neck jumper made from 40% silk and 25% angora, which lends a lovely feel to the fabric. Although I would never buy angora or fur products new (read why here), I'm not against buying vintage, as to me it seems counter-intuitive to the principles of ethical fashion and a circular economy to just throw things away.

5. Ethnic jumper by Zara // Ebay, £17 incl. shipping
The last of my purchases for AW15, and again something that I've hardly taken off since buying! My go-to outfit for this jumper is skinny jeans and either black block heel ankle boots or trainers, depending on how dressy I want to be. Although the temperatures here in Berlin are still below zero, this will be a great piece to take me through into Spring teamed with a leather jacket.

What items have been your second hand heroes this past season?

Find My Top 10 Second Hand Clothing Websites here
Check out the first part of my guide to Second Hand Shopping in Berlin
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