Slow Fashion Season // Shopping Vintage

I made a promise to myself that during slow fashion season I'd do some actual research along with not buying anything new in an attempt to change my habits and mindset in the long term and the first point I've chosen to focus on is shopping vintage. 

I've always had mixed feelings about shopping vintage; on the one hand I adore vintage style and have found some absolute gems for my wardrobe over the years. On the other hand, there's always been a niggle in my mind that it's sort of just overpriced second hand.

However as I've gotten older and my mindset has shifted, I've realised that unless you're willing to scour every single charity shop in the land to find a decent vintage-style item in your size then spend some time professionally cleaning/mending and sprucing it up, shopping vintage is expensive for a reason; someone has already done all that for you.

On top of that I've read some posts surrounding the gentrification of charity shopping; essentially where second hand shopping has become more popular due to movements such as slow fashion season, it's having an impact on the people for whom charity shops are their only option, making clothing less available and more expensive for them.

I'm not really in a position to spend a lot of money on vintage clothing, but I have found some decent in-betweenly-priced (yep that's an expression) vintage stores to shop from, plus when I thought about the vintage clothing I already own (which was surprisingly more than I thought) I've always managed to find pretty good bargains (the dress in the above photo was £5 so that's just excellent really isn't it).

 I love a good rummage through a vintage shop as much as the next person (unless said person doesn't like rummaging through vintage shops then my point is invalid but I'm sure you get my drift okay then), but I still don't feel particularly comfortable with shopping for leisure in the current situation so I've done most of my hunting online, however as I want my better shopping habits to have a lasting effect I'm going to make suggestions based on life when it returns to normal too. 

So after a rather long winded introduction and ramble there, here are some options and tips for shopping vintage from an amateur vintage shopper:

LOOK LOCAL // Search out local vintage shops or local independent shops with vintage options. In Hull Chinese Laundry and Beasley's are have their own vintage sections so if you think there aren't any vintage shops local to you then check your independents to see if they do something similar. As well as being sustainable you're also supporting a local independent business, plus the vintage clothing tends to be affordable. 

VINTAGE FAIRS // Obviously these aren't really happening at the moment, but I know that in normal circumstances Hull has a huge vintage fair every few months. I've only been once, and that was back in the days when I was still a little sceptical of vintage so I'm itching to go back once they're allowed again. The good thing about fairs is that you can shop to your own budget and style as there is such a variety of stalls. There's usually an entry fee, but I've found it to be worth it!

ONLINE // The great thing about online is that there's such a huge variety of online vintage shops with a lot more choice than a physical shop is able to have. I recently trawled through The Vintage Scene for hours because there's so much choice. The one negative I've found to shopping vintage online is the sizing; vintage sizes differ so much that it really does help if you're able to try things on and despite ordering a dress that claimed to be a size 10 it would appear I actually ordered an oversized pair of curtains so definitely look out for places that offer returns!

How do you feel about shopping vintage? Throw any tips my way as I'm clearly still very much an amateur...

Amy x 

The Ongoing Battle With Body Image

I listen, completely dumbfounded, to some of my gorgeous, kind, amazing friends completely put themselves down and devalue themselves because of their insecurities. Insecurities that nobody else but them even see, but insecurities that they have been taught they should have by the media as they've grown up. 

I find it incredibly frustrating when someone can't see how amazing they are and genuinely heartbreaking that people don't place enough value on themselves. 

However, in this instance I'm being incredibly hypocritical. I've posted uplifting captions on Instagram, messaged friends words of reassurance when they've felt low in confidence; I've even written entire blog posts almost lecturing anyone happening to be reading that they should love themselves more.

But what do I tell myself?

Certainly nothing uplifting or reassuring. 

I tell myself I could be fitter, healthier, kinder, harder working, more toned, more understanding, prettier, a better friend/girlfriend/daughter; the list goes on. 

I am exactly the same as the friends who I wish would value themselves more highly and that's frustrating in itself because how can I preach something I don't practice myself?

From a young age we're taught the things we 'should' be; slim, toned, tanned, flawless, elegant. Our perception of beauty is completely warped by what we've seen and read in magazines, on TV and on the internet. The majority of people and bodies are completely under-represented; growing up it was rare I was exposed to plus-size, mid-size, black, disabled, people with cellulite, people with acne, the list obviously goes on.

We've been so used to seeing bodies put on a pedestal that are nothing like our own that there's no wonder we're all riddled with insecurity. Learning to love your body is difficult when you've spent so long essentially being told that you shouldn't.

Realistically I think that breaking away from that is probably impossible in this generation, BUT I'd like to hope that if we attempt to change our mindsets it can only get better for future generations. I hope with all my heart that any son or daughter I have is able to grow up in a world where all bodies are normalised and that they love themselves as much as they should.

The most ridiculous paradox is that I'm able to see past these stereotypical and unrealistic beauty standards when it comes to other people, yet not when it comes to myself and I think that's the case with a lot of people. I have plenty of friends who lift me up when I'm low in confidence, yet subsequently are extra hard on themselves. It's like there's something deep rooted within us that can't see past our own insecurity. 

So just remember when you're attempting to boost someone else's confidence and looking at them wondering why they don't love themselves when you think they're beautiful, they probably feel the exact same way about you. Look at yourself the way you look at your friends and most importantly, be kind to yourself. Please.

Amy x