How to Source Cheap or Free Clothes

I’ve read somewhere before that your fashion style can reveal who you are without you having to say anything. I wear particular clothes because I like them and they reflect my values. I’m passionate about freedom and children’s rights. I have learned it is the demand for new, cheap goods that drives slavery in other countries. Therefore if there is a new cheap item that costs $5, the chances are, I’m not going to buy it. By going to an op shop I’m no longer being a part of that demand. So I prefer second hand clothes. I’m not saying it is wrong to buy new clothes, it’s just not my style!

I’m also passionate about sustainability. I don’t feel the need to buy new clothes all the time because I feel it’s wasteful. I don’t care if someone sees me wear the same outfit 10 times or if they see me wear it for 10 years! I give things to op shops when I feel I’m done with them or because they don’t get worn anymore. I’m not saying it’s wrong to buy new clothes all the time, it’s just not my style!

So this is how I source my clothes: hand me downs from my little sister Bernardine who is also an amazingly stylish singer/songwriter, op shops, tip shops, garage sales, second hand stores on eBay and my lovely friend at Paperdolli Vintage. My friends know that I only like to wear second hand stuff so when they are going to get rid of clothes, they let me go through the bags first!

Some people say they never find anything in op shops, and are sometimes shocked when I tell them my outfit was from a rubbish dump! The secret is that you have to know what you’re looking for! If you went in to the supermarket and didn’t know what you were looking for how would you possibly find it? It’s the same with op shops. Know what you’re looking for before you start. Have a specific list.

I LOVE boho (bohemian) clothing! I can’t explain it, because it’s just an intuitive thing. I’ve never had my colours done, but I love to wear the colours white, ivory, blue and turquoise. I also love anything lacy. So when I go to the op shop, I make a bee line for the white/blue section, look for anything lacy, try it on and leave. When I go through a bag of clothes, I pick out anything that is white/blue/lacy. Everything else goes straight to the Good Sammy’s. As soon as I know what I’m keeping, I put the bag of leftover clothes straight back in my car.

I love dresses and boots. One of the main reasons that I started wearing boots, was actually because I had this severe eczema on my shins! So I wore boots with dresses in summer. My eczema has cleared up but the dresses and boots just stuck with me.

From a practical point of view, defining your style is time saving. If I know what I’m looking for, clothes shopping (or in my case clothes collecting) is much faster. If I have all these outfits that I already know will work, I don’t have to waste time trying things on and seeing if this goes with that. If I have a gig to go to, it literally takes me one minute to get dressed. And with four kids I don’t have any more time than that anyway! I also always wear earrings I buy at charity auctions. If I wear makeup or do my hair, I prefer a natural look.

So I have given my style a name: ‘boho-hippy-cowgirl’. I have even made a Pinterest board for inspiration. I hope that this inspires you to define your style. Your style is not about others- it should reflect you, your values and what you love! But really, when it comes down to it, we are all made beautifully, regardless of what we wear. Do you know what your style is?