Ozma cypress playsuit in raw silk (medium) | purchased last year
Eileen Fisher recycled hemp and organic cotton sweater (XXS)
Birkenstock Birko-flor arizona sandals
Marsell 4 dritta bag
Is it weird that I don’t really shop second-hand?? I am certainly not opposed to it, in fact, I think it’s the most sustainable way to shop. I just prefer it when it comes to me; I’ve never had good luck finding treasures in person. Maybe that was my ulterior motive when I started slowre LOL – to bring the second-hand shopping to me! Bwahaha!!! 🙂 I have ended up with some great pieces…
Anyway, most of the people I know who are great at thrift shopping and finding amazing secondhand pieces have done it all their lives. I grew up shopping department store sale racks with my mom, who always focused on finding Liz Claiborne petites either on sale, or not, because she knew the brand worked for her body and budget. She also made a lot of our clothes, so we didn’t shop very often as kids. As a teenager I continued to gravitate towards brands I liked (Esprit!!) at department stores mostly. I never had a lot of clothes, and remember wearing the same things often.
My father is also very brand-loyal; now most of his wardrobe is made up of Lacoste shirts and gap shorts/jeans. He and my mother both buy primarily for quality and longevity – he has had a pair of Gucci loafers forever and takes great care of them. No wonder my brand loyalty is strong, and I gravitate towards shopping the way I do.
I was just thinking about this a little recently – shopping habits. Why we shop the way we do, and gravitate towards the brands we do. I of course, am fiercely loyal to James Perse because having more than a decade’s experience with the brand, and now see myself adding in more and more Eileen Fisher. I will admit, it’s mostly because I appreciate the fabric choices and company ethics/commitment to sustainability, but I do sometimes find styles that appeal to me as well. (lately more often than not apparently!!)
You may remember I have been seeking out a lightweight crewneck pullover to wear in warmer months (This Acne Studios sweater was my HG light pullover) when I want something other than a cardigan. When I saw this recycled hemp/organic cotton piece in a recent EF newsletter I wanted to see it in person. Obviously it came home with me and I wore it all day yesterday.
I tried the XS before I settled on the XXS for me. I wanted something cropped, with a little drape, and this is perfect. And the sleeves are just the right length for my short arms. The color is sort of a green-black, which I like, because it provides some contrast with black. It’s not too warm, but warm enough to be an excellent throw-on for the grocery store, or air conditioning at restaurants. I really love it. I got it for $25 off in the store, I think that promo runs through 5/6?
I did also try on an organic linen sweater which I loved (can’t find it online right now), but I had to choose one and chose this one. I was hopeful that the sleeves on this one wouldn’t stretch out as much as woven linen does, which is a big reason I ended up with this one – I HATE it when sleeves stretch out so much from being pushed up.
How were your shopping habits formed? How did you grow up shopping with your parents? Or did you consciously create your shopping habits yourself?
Love this post Grechen! I think my shopping habits are basically over-buying and then returning, which I learned from my mother (she did it so often, it was just an endless cycle: buy when she returns). I’m trying to do that less (less buying and less returning) but I still get sucked into that cycle once in awhile.
I agree that we are informed by our family’s shopping habits — although I shopped often with my mom, she is trigger-shy when it comes to actually buying clothes but my dad is a peruser and usually tries to find the best he can within his budget and seems pretty brand-loyal. Even though I don’t think I shopped often with him as a kid, I’m definitely more like him in my shopping habits. During my first job I had a binge-purge relationship with shopping where I’d spend a ton of money then return all of it to pay my bills, but that has since stopped. I do however have expensive taste considering my actual budget, so I am a loyal second-hand shopper since it’s usually the only way I can afford the pieces I want (like Kamm pants for $200, for example), and I will scour the interwebs with a fine-toothed comb for months until I find exactly what I want for a price I feel good about.
I’ve also realized that I like very classic and simple silhouettes, and that by looking for natural materials at second hand shops I can often find great staples for less than $10 — and since the styles and colors I wear are pretty classic, they’re usually easy to find. It also helps me save my money for other more expensive pre-owned things that I want from places like Black Crane (currently coveting their quilted dress), ES, Jesse Kamm, etc.
The shape of this outfit is so perfect! I own a lot of pre-owned stuff that I primarily buy online. I cannot stand “thrifting” in the traditional sense. The smell and mounds of junk to comb through is so off putting. When I was a kid, I didn’t do much shopping at all. I was one of the youngest kids in my family so my mom never took me shopping because I had plenty of clothes to choose from. They were all hand-me-downs from both my sisters and many boy cousins. As I got older, I wore school uniforms, so there was still very little shopping. I first started shopping in my late teens and college years, mostly cheap fast fashion junk that I bought at mainstream stores in real life, bought with the little money I had at the time. Things have changed a lot since then.
Shopping with my mom growing up – I don’t know when she shopped for herself! She wore scrubs for a large part of my childhood, though! We went to outlets for back to school shopping – Reading PA or Freeport ME – back when they were really outlets and they weren’t on every block (most of the 80s….) I started thrift shopping when I was in high school – buying men’s blazers & wearing with khakis (or jeans, if I wasn’t in school – no denim at school!) I still love to thrift but there aren’t as many good thrift stores near me now. I still do it when I travel! My love of thrifted clothing shifted to auctions & estate sales when I was in grad school – pool but needed to furnish an apartment. I think I got even better deals that way 🙂 Now that I’m verging on plus, thrift clothing shopping is a little harder, so I’m not as excited about it – plus I’m trying to buy less and wear the same things more often (hence a standard uniform of black with colorful scarves from my travels, or jewelry….Though I go in phases where I don’t wear any jewelry but pearl studs, a bracelet and my wedding band, so….
I used to do a lot more thrift shopping when I was in my teens and 20s, and I was going through an emo/punk vintage tee phase. So many tees!
As I’ve aged, I focus more on fit and quality, though I am still pretty shy about spending too much money. If something is close to $100, I try to find a less expensive version. Very very rarely will I spend over $100 on clothing or shoes. I feel very guilty about spending a lot of money on clothing. Which in turn makes me spend smaller amounts more often, so I really just should have bought the expensive, quality thing! I think this comes from my parents, who were always worried about money – though we had plenty growing up, and lived very comfortably – my parents were always stressed about it. Now that I’m an adult and I have some more perspective, I think they overreacted about money most of the time (they do about most everything), and so I got it in my head that spending money was BAD. Then I started hanging out with the “thrift crowd” when I hit my teens, and it was a badge of honor to pay as little as possible for something.
Now that I’m older I don’t stress out about it as much, but I also don’t really have the energy to thrift shop. I know what brands and styles work for me, so I stick to those. It gets a little boring sometimes, but I just don’t have the desire or energy to venture out much. However I have forced myself to be a lot more critical when I shop – I shop for specific things, and I do a ton of research to find a good one – instead of just “going shopping” and seeing what catches my eye.
I grew up shopping primarily second hand, with a first day of school outfit being the exception. I have continued to shop second hand, but definitely got lured in by department stores and online shopping. I have now consciously shifted all of my shopping to be second hand for ethics, my budget, and to cut down on the mental/physical clutter. I truly love thrifting, so the shift was a logical one.
This post brought back so much memories for me! I used to work in a regional department store in Hawaii in college (late 80s to early 90s) and my favorite department to work in was the petite contemporary – Liz Clairborne, Carol Little, Max Studio, etc. The great thing about Liz C is that the clothing came in groupings (the name of the group was right on the tag). Clothing still comes in group/collection names now but with Liz C back then, the group was a mix and match capsule. All the pieces in that group would work together. So, if one style pant didn’t work for a customer, you could easily grab another pant/skirt that was better for the customer’s body type. Liz C was also one of my favorite brands when I graduated & started working at the CPA firm. The store I worked for was one of the companies snapped up during the big Macy’s expansion.
And Esprit! I can still picture those great ads that had a very California vibe with the rainbow logo. I loved Esprit. Esprit and Bennetton were my favorites although Bennetton was more aspirational for me as a student. I could only afford it if it was on sale and it was still a splurge.
Now your question…I don’t think my parents formed my shopping habits at all. The only thing I would say is that I inherited my creative side from my mother and if I’m not doing anything creative (busy with work, etc), I shop more. I figured out at some point that my creativity will come out in my shopping for clothing/accessories if I’m not balanced. My mother doesn’t shop for clothes really and is much more of a tomboy than I so I don’t know where I got the love of clothing from.
The ES Wide Clydes! I received and love G! It is true what you said, you need to wear this style as high waisted, they won’t look good hanging lower. For me, I also took them to the seamstress to shorten by 2 to 3 inches (I’m 5’1″). The shorter length balances the width of the pant against a smaller part of my frame (I’m curvy but with small calves/ankles). I’d say the width at the portion of the pant (a few inches shorter) is also better proportionally for me than the original as I felt the pant was wider on the last few inches of the leg. I find that many petite cropped pants are better on me if I knock off 3 inches or so this is no different. So, I haven’t worn them yet (I pick them up on Wednesday). When I was having them pinned, the seamstress, who is actually a tailor in terms of her skill level, remarked on how nice the pants were and the unusual style. I was planning on emailing you but I thought I’d give feedback here in case the info is helpful to other readers.
Grechen Reiter says
oh!! nice to hear about the wide clydes 🙂 i’m glad you’re making them work for you. i am going to patiently wait until later in the summer to order my ‘new’ pair! they are definitely well-made, i’m always really impressed with the quality of ES when I receive pieces…
[email protected] says
I love that top on you, it’s really cute! So interesting that you don’t tend to be second-hand but I understand if it’s in a situation where the item can’t be returned. I have to say, I’ve found great luck buying second-hand from eBay sellers who accept returns. Sometimes I’m out the shipping, but I figure that in as the cost of getting to try something on. My best finds on eBay have been when I’ve searched by fabric (silk, linen, cashmere) rather than brand. I have a cashmere sweater collection that I feel great about, and most of them were under $30. I also have a vintage silk top — the silk is as luxurious as ES or J+J and it was $20. Gotta love it!