Other People’s Hand-Me-Downs

I just had a phone call from a friend who is sorting out her wardrobe.  ‘I have a few pairs of jeans that are too big for me that you can have,’ she says.  What?  Do you think I’m happy too just accept your cast-offs and suggestions that I’m a little on the chubby side?  Yes, I am.  I love other peoples cast-offs, especially books and clothes.

Not only is it amazing that you get something for free, but it’s an amazing kind of recycling.  It has been estimated that throwing away clothes is resposible for 30% of landfill.  Okay, so that figure is from 2008 but I can’t imagine it has gone down since then.  If anything, our taste for cheap throwaway fashion has only increased.

Feeling a bit guilty that I was going to be getting three barely worn pairs of jeans for free I told her that you can take jeans in at the waist/seat by unpicking the back seam, pulling the fabric in and re-striching it.  ‘Well you can do that if they’re too big for you,’ she replied.  Ah.  So what she actually wanted was new jeans, rather than just jeans which fit her.  The excitement of buying new clothes and all the associated (advertising created and short-lived) happiness that brings.  I get it too, I am happy to be getting “new” jeans.  But I don’t know why. I already own two pairs of jeans, which is really all I need, seeing how I can wear the other while one pair is being washed and I have plenty of other clothes to wear if they both are.  Before she called me I didn’t want any more jeans, hadn’t even thought about getting new jeans.  Yet I jumped at the thought of owning some more.  Weird, eh?

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