Having just returned from another car boot sale – a bit of a Sunday morning ritual – it got me thinking how popular these have become during the summer months.
Car boot sales, much like charity shops and thrift fairs, have grown tremendously in popularity in the last few years. We are well and truly a nation of shoppers, but as the market for fast fashion and online shopping continues to soar, the ethical reasons for buying what someone else is discarding – particularly when it comes to clothes – becomes a little more profound.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in a report published at the end of summer last year, non-food stores and online shops recorded their highest year-on-year price growth since March 1992, at 3.2% and 3.3% respectively. While online shopping, a perfect past-time from the comfort of your sofa, is rising too with the average weekly spend in August last year a staggering £1.1bn – an increase of 15.6% compared with August 2016.
So, it’s clear we like to shop. Sometimes though, it is the joy you get from just buying something, which becomes so addictive. I found a wonderful basket bag the other day in a charity shop for £4 – something you’d expect to see in Zara for £30 – and when she saw it, my friend couldn’t believe it was a second-hand find. She confessed that she always wants to buy something new, but can’t always afford to, and that she wants to start looking in more charity shops. That way, it feels as though you’re still adding to your wardrobe without spending too much money doing so.
While some may sneer, car boot sales are also a brilliant way to find clothes. From tea-dresses to vintage blouses, I’ve also found several cardigans in the last few weeks in an array of different colours which I simply pop new buttons on (also found at fairs!). It’s a common misconception that everything is old too – the mustard-coloured cardigan I bought today for £2 was actually brand new.
If you don’t mind rooting around – and you do really have to root – then the house clearances found at car boot sales always turn up a few treasures too. From basket bags to silk scarves, jackets to midi skirts, they all tell a bit of a story about the person who wore them last. Of course you’ll need to wash them, and perhaps mend a zip or a button, but there’s no reason why they still can’t be worn for many more years. It is these items that are so wonderfully well-made and sewn to stand the test of time.
Buying clothes second hand won’t be for everyone, but I urge you to venture into your local charity shop – or car boot sale – to see what you can find. On the first visit you may not find anything, nor on the second, but on the third? Who knows what you could come away with!