How buying second hand clothes helped me find my style (and accept my body!)

by Cath
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Spending money is hard for me.

While nothing ever lacked at home, and for that I’m privileged, I was always very aware of the difficulties that my parents were going through.

My parents have their own business. Having your own business it’s not easy and there’s not a stable income, I’d hear a lot of these talks while I was a child and it worried me.

This made me very apprehensive to spend money and only now, after several years of working and having my own money, I feel like I have a better relationship with money, not the best but better than before.

For that reason, I never wanted to spend much money on clothes, I felt there were more important things to spend my money on.

And taking the money out of the equation, I never liked to buy clothes.

There are beautiful pieces of clothing but they don’t always fit my figure and trying out clothes it’s not something I enjoy.

It was SO frustrating to go shopping.

A couple of years ago, if I tried out clothes in a store and didn’t like how I looked in them, I would give up and be utterly sad with myself.

I’m fat, my body type is not the best for these kinds of clothes, I can never be a stylish person like my friends.

Blaming myself for something that was not on me.

The culprit was those clothes label that would tell me they were size 40 but they didn’t fit me, it just made me think, am I fatter?

Or those mirrors in changing rooms made to make you feel skinnier but they always terrorized me.

How many times did I went to buy clothes and left with nothing?

How many times did I cry after going shopping because nothing that I liked felt nice on me?

I wanted to be like those stylish people that I knew or followed online. For example, I loved Charlotte‘s style.

Why couldn’t I be as stylish as everyone else?

I turned to buy second-hand.

Buying used is not very common in Portugal although in the last few years it has become more acceptable, people still think that buying second-hand is gross.

Nevertheless, when I moved to Porto, a bigger city, I got more access to markets and stores that sold second-hand items.

Having access to these second-hand clothes, made me better accept my body, it made me realize there are other types of clothes than the ones we see in Zara or Bershka – nothing wrong with that it’s just that a lot of those clothes didn’t fit me properly, other than the basics.

Buying used changed a lot of my perspective, buying clothes it’s not a nightmare anymore.

I admit that getting older has played a huge part in accepting my body but buying used was a huge step for me.

If you also feel this way, it also might be the solution for you.

Why buying used helped me so much?

second hand clothes close up

A piece of clothing costs less money

I’m not going to lie – this is the most important factor for me.

Like I said before, spending money on me isn’t particularly easy.

One of the things that I worried more when buying new ones, was whether or not I’d use it enough to justify the money. I’d get anxious about spending 10€ in a new piece of clothing:

  • Do I really like this?
  • It’s best to spend 10€ on something useful like food, I’ve other clothes that I can wear
  • I don’t need clothes, I have enough.

I know that this is something that’s discussed a lot these days, minimalism is very in vogue these days, but I always thought this way and I know it has disadvantages. Because it was something so limiting and that caused me anxiety. I’m not telling you to buy enormous quantities of clothes but this type of restriction isn’t healthy either – especially for someone like me who has to pep-talk herself into buying something for her.

The truth is that I had a lot of clothes that were my aunt’s (who still gives me a lot of used clothing that I love, thank you!) that I didn’t identify myself with or clothes that I had since forever.

Buying used took the pressure away

Buying a piece of clothing for 1 or 2€ gave me freedom. If I bought something that I didn’t like, I could always give it to charity or friends and family without thinking about the money that I lost. It gave me the opportunity to buy stuff that I normally wouldn’t, because they’re a bit more eccentric and don’t match with everything.

I’m a very practical person so it makes more sense to buy a shirt and a pair of jeans than buying that super cute dress that I love but maybe I’ll wear it less often than the pants.

Buying new also raised the environmental issue, I felt stuck and felt superfluous for buying new clothes, contributing to consumption and for a society that would wear an item once and then throw it out. Since buying second hand is more eco-friendly, I feel less guilty about my consumption.

There’s a possibility to find different pieces of clothing

fleamarket fair lots of people buying second handitems

I always identified myself with more “alternative” styles and “regular” stores didn’t always carry the things that I liked.

It was probably influenced when reading so many blogs from people who had very distinct styles, I already mentioned Charlotte but I was also a big fan of Elizabeth, there was also another blog that I don’t remember the name from someone who was slightly older than me but she used a lot of different and colored clothing, I loved following her!

Second-hand shops and markets have a variety of styles, a bit of everything.

From more discreet to more eccentric, you can find it all.

It’s easier for me this way, I felt overwhelmed by the number of stores that I had to visit to find clothing with different styles.

It gave me the opportunity to find my style

If I didn’t spend much money on clothes, no wonder I couldn’t find my style.

Sometimes I saw clothing that was gorgeous and would love to own it but it cost 40€.

Better to buy something simple that I’ll always wear!

This piece of clothing is beautiful but will I use it for more than one week, won’t it be forgotten in my closet?

This is related to the first point, my main blocker was money, but by buying used I was able to spend money on clothes that I normally wouldn’t without feeling like I should spend that money on food.

And that’s how buying used helped me accept my body and find my personal style.

Nowadays, it doesn’t matter the size that’s printed on the label, it doesn’t also determine my value.

What matters the most is: do I feel good with it?

What do you feel when you buy clothes?

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