My Seamless Pledge: An Update

So I have been meaning to update you on the progress of my Seamless Pledge for a few weeks, but as always other things have gotten in the way. The news is generally good. Since I took the pledge on 8 May 2012, I have not bought any new clothing. With the exception of the odd brassiere – which came courtesy of Debenhams (I know. I’m a classy bird) – all my other purchases have been from charity shops. Gold Star to me! But it has not all been plain sailing. No Suri.

When I took the pledge, I thought it would be easy peasy, to tell you the truth. I shop a lot in charity shops anyway and I have good reason not to spend money on new stuff because, well, because I don’t have any. I pictured myself rummaging through rail after rail of vintage-y little gems, in the cinnamon-smelling thrift shop of my dreams, with The Go-Gos playing in the background in a typically girly movie-montage-type-way. Alas, I must save that little fantasy for the afterlife (yet another for the pot). The reality has not been like that.

First of all, I discovered that I am actually really, really fussy. I thought the aisles would be crammed with stuff I would want to wear. Not So. The average secondhand shop is actually 99.8% tat. And that’s ok, when you’re not restricted to shopping there exclusively. Under normal circumstances, I’d really dislike it if all the tat had been filtered out, because where would the challenge be in that? But with the pledge underway, that tat/awesome ratio means a lot of time spent rifling through last year’s Primark stock. It’s time I will never get back.

Secondly, I have discovered that there exists in the world a breed of person who can’t understand why anyone would want to walk about in second-hand clothes when they could buy new. In fact, this discovery has given rise to a bit of a dilemma. We have a big family wedding coming up very soon, and as yet I have nothing to wear. My mother-in-law (whose other son is the groom) has actually given me some money ( I know, right?) and told me to treat myself to something new, so I look as nice as the rest of the family, presumably, and not like Stig of the Dump.

So what do I do? No really, what do I do? I don’t want to disappoint her by coming home with something she doesn’t think is smart enough (she’s more likely to come to this conclusion if she knows it’s from a charity shop). But then again, I don’t want to go back on my pledge. I asked Gaz what he thought I should do, and he said something along the lines of, ’stop making so many ridiculous rules for yourself and just buy a bloody dress Freya. You’re not paying for it, so it’s not breaking the stupid rules anyway’. The thing is, it is breaking the rules, isn’t it, really?

Once I commit to something, I’m in till the end. Perhaps I do occasionally overburden myself with self-imposed rules and regulations, but it’s part of who I am. Giving in now would feel like cheating. And, in that case it wouldn’t matter if I went to the wedding in sodding Givenchy – I’d still feel like a dirty fraud.

No. I am resolute. I will go thrift and style it out. I’ll just have to find something gorgeous enough to pass the MIL test.

Will I be able to find a secondhand outfit to satisfy both of us?

Will I actually end up hotstepping it into Monsoon at the next opportunity?

Will I look like a bag lady at the wedding of the year?

Does it even really matter what I look like, as long as I’m there to see two people I really care about tie the proverbial knot?

I will report back soon. In the meantime here’s a quick rundown of some stuff I did actually buy.

The Hills Are Alive, Stripey Day Dress from YMCA, £3.99

For all you vintage fetishists out there, I just had to show you the buttons on this bad boy.

The Age of Aquarius, Lovely Folky Day Dress, from Marie Curie, £6.00

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, psychedelic shift dress from Scope, £4.00


4 comments on “My Seamless Pledge: An Update

  1. What about something from a vintage store? It’s still used, but you can honestly say you spent the money you were given… and maybe you could find something a step above? Even online on Etsy, if you don’t have good vintage locally… Just an idea! Or wear something you have and like, and donate the money back tot he bride and groom! 🙂

  2. Elena Cresci says:

    Oh this is a bit of a pickle. I’ve actually been thinking of addressing similar concerns in a post on Seamless (more with a job interview angle) so keep your eyes peeled for that one.

    I wouldn’t beat yourself up too much if you do end up buying something new – after all, it’s your choice. Confession time, my Mum’s actually bought me some new things for interviews because a lot of my smarter clothes are looking quite threadbare. I haven’t broken the pledge as such but I still felt quite guilty, but I have to admit, it’s quite nice to feel I look smart at an interview.

    What you could possibly do is go more ‘high end’ charity shop, if you will. Is there an Oxfam Boutique near you? They get the best stuff donated to Oxfam basically. It’s a little more expensive but you’re more likely to find the kind of thing your mother in law would like. Alternatively, while it’s a pain in terms of trying things on, vintage items on Etsy or eBay are always worth a nose. Failing that, do you know of any ethical clothing brands near you? For example, TRAID have a line of clothing remade from stuff from their warehouse (you may have seen them on Zoe’s blog as she works for them!) and they often have some really nice designs here:

    Let me know how it goes, and I hope that’s been somewhat helpful!

  3. Thanks for chiming in. I love the idea of donating anything I don’t spend back to the happy couple. That’s definitely a keeper. As for vintage vs charity shop, you’re right of course. I think I have possibly been making things difficult for myself. I love the idea of finding a treasure in the trash heap, and I find it difficult to let go of the dream sometimes.

  4. Hi Elena, Thanks, you’ve made me feel much better about this whole mess. I think a trip to Brighton (where the good vintage shops are) is in order. Great excuse for posh rummaging.

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