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Secondhand and Vintage Fashion – a rant September 15, 2009

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Rants, Vintage.
Tags: , , , ,

Step back guys – I sense a rant coming on.

On the way to work I was thinking about Friday, when I spent my afternoon traipsing desperately around Leamington, searching for a white stole of any description that would suit my 1930’s outfit. The journey was, suffice to say, a failure, and I trailed home just as depressed and uninspired as I had been when I arrived.

The only hope for such a stole had been the secondhand clothes shops and charity shops that litter our streets and fill up so much of my time of a weekend. The stores, however, were blissfully void of stoles, and instead my attention began diverting to the vast array of other items that I neither needed, nor knew I wanted. Before I knew it, however, I found myself feeling rather irritated at that oh-so-familiar situation – overpricing.

I have probably ranted about charity shops and their prices before. Don’t get me wrong, I love that they are raising money for charity. But in my head charity shops are aiming at those who cannot afford new clothes, and who therefore don’t have much money. Pricing heels at £25 even after plenty of use because they have a vaguely recognisable name is absurd. The influx of Atmosphere (Read: Primark) dresses on the shelves for more than their original retail price cripples me. I actually challenged a few prices, to be told that the sales person knows they are absurd but it is the powers that be who dictate the prices. Unsurprisingly, I stomp out fuming, in a very mature way.

Secondhand Fashion at a car boot sale

Secondhand Fashion at a car boot sale

The charity shop prices rant has been done by me before. It may still irritate me, but my one little voice is unlikely to change it. I had almost accepted this when I wandered into a secondhand clothes shop down the road. The prices here? The prices here were astronomical! Charity shops are one thing – but these prices were all nearly £100 or above – and largely for unheard of brands, or brands who had a recognisable name but horrible clothes. There were some gems there too – but if you wanted them, I think the cost was one arm, one leg, and possibly an earlobe.

 I don’t understand the mentality of paying that much money for something someone has already worn. They may be in great condition, but it is just… unfair! And ridiculous! I much prefer to stick with buying my vintage items on eBay, or even in the charity shops. Suddenly the common £10 costs don’t seem as bad!


1. Retro Chick - September 15, 2009

I know exactly what you mean, I am seeing this more often, but they aren’t increasing the “creature comforts” of shopping that you expect when you are spending that much money, so items are still stained, smelly or need repairs.

I don’t object to that if it cost £5 and I can take a chance on a repair, but for £15 I don’t want the risk!

2. Angel Cutsforth - September 15, 2009

I’m with you on that one they get the clothes for free. If it’s vintage or designer mark it up a bit but they overstep the mark.

3. stoogi0 - September 15, 2009

In total agreement. The ‘Atmosphere’ & ‘H&M’ thing never fails to shock – 9 times out of 10, said garments marked up over their original cost! My local St Petes Hospice love a bit of this, but then they do seriously undervalue the odd thing too so I always give it the once over when passing. Funnily enough – & it may have something to do with an influx of younger volunteers – they have just set themselves up a little Vintage/Retro rail which just contains the most hideous brightly coloured polyester garments that wouldn’t even shift on the £1 rail. Unfathomable madness!

4. Lauren Cooke - September 15, 2009

Retrochick – exactly, they seem to be failing to balance trying to get money with trying to get people to buy – which are two very different things. To shift stock they should see for less but to more people!

Angel – they overstep indeed. Again, it is that balance they have so many problems getting! Selling is a delicate art!

Stoogi0 -I have noticed that at the moment vintage in charity shops seems to be 80’s and dodgy early 90’s! Strange eh? Oxfam is the worst in my opinion – everything is valued by “professionals” before sale, meaning they have priced themselves past thrifters and antique dealers – dangerous territory for a charity shop!

5. Leah - September 29, 2009

I think you said all the arguments I think of on this topic. So often, I feel a little selfish for wanting prices to stay lower (maybe there is a touch of that in it anyway?) but as you point out, whether vintage or not, it’s still second-hand. I noticed a ‘vintage’ rail in oxfam when i was staying with my friend in devon – prices in the £20ish mark on the whole. I found I wasn’t just irritated by the prices, but by the fact that there was a rail in the first place. I quite like hunting out the treasures (admittedly, it was mostly hideous polyester numbers on the rail, but still) in charity shops!

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