Why Are We Scared Of Secondhand?

WRITTEN BY Verona Farrell

March 27, 2022

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Why Are We Scared Of Secondhand?

Verona Farrell

27 Mar, 2022

In a time where ageism doesn’t fly, why do we mock the old when it comes to clothes?

Perceiving secondhand clothing as dirty may be preventing you from all the joys of thrifting. We can all admit that we rarely think of the previous owner’s sweaty hands on the steering wheel of our secondhand cars or the possible colonies of germs on the sewing machine used to produce the items in stores. So why do we take the opposite stance when it comes to something like fashion?

We need to debunk the marketing strategy that tells us new and shiny things are the only onesworth celebrating. In order to see good in the old – we should ask ourselves, we have to ask ourselves, what does ‘dirty’even constitute? When have you ever heard of someone falling ill because of a pair of thrifted cowboy boots? If we limit our view about the life of a garment to this extent, the idea of recycling, rewearing or reusing clothesclothes doesn’t have much chance of survival. A stain here, or a loose thread there shouldn’t mean we disregard preloved pieces entirely.

There are enough clothes in the world right now to offer everyone on the planet a wardrobe they love – if, and it’s a big if, we can get over the mental barrier of seeing secondhand as ‘dirty’. Why not celebrate the past life of a garment, its history and the life events it endured alongside its owner?

Whether that was a first date or a friend’s wedding, how many owners it’s had or how long it’s been on the go should only enhance its value –as evidence that it’s been loved and is worthy of more.

When I started to dip my toe into secondhand I drew strict boundaries about what I would and wouldn’t buy. It’s safe to say that it took little more than a pair of vintage Reeboks and a vintage Victoria Secret lace nighty to change my outlook. My reasoning came from asking myself “If I feel comfortable borrowing from my friends, why am I put off by its contact with another body?”.

We’ve all seen the @depopdrama catastrophes (if you don’t follow this Instagram page , you’re missing out) where previous owners don’t exactly live up to the agreed expectations of cleanliness. In my experience, these secondhand shopping misfortunes aren’t very frequent and even when they do occur, it makes a good story ((and typically a washing machine will do the trick on most things). After all, when you compare the negative surprises with the possibilities of finding a forgotten tenner in the jean pocket, I would argue that the risk-taking element of secondhand is part of the charm.

It’s time to dispel this myths that old clothes are less exciting or less worthy than those made today. After all, age is but a number and secondhand is but a label.


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