fashion

In case you missed it, its Second Hand September! Which means that this month I have only bought second hand clothes to help reduce the impact of fast fashion on the environment. But I haven't restricted my shopping to charity shops and eBay, oh no, I've been looking for more innovative ways to shop second hand fashion! 


A couple of months ago I happened upon a fairly new online venture - The Big Sister Swap. According to their website "Big Sister Swap is the world's only online personalised Swapping service, letting you send in your unwanted clothes and receive handpicked preloved clothes in return." Sounds pretty good right? So I put the service to the test...


Pile of folded second hand clothes
The bundle of second hand clothes I was sent in my swap

How does Big Sister Swap work?


To swap your clothes you simply purchase a swap in their online store. You can choose between a starter swap, a 1 kg swap, a 2 kg, or a super swap. They even have a swap option for children's items, which is a great idea as kids are forever growing out of perfectly good clothes!


Once you have purchased your swap you will receive an email with the address to send your unwanted clothes and accessories to. Weigh them, wrap them up well and send them on their way to their new home. You will also be asked to complete a questionnaire about the types of goodies you want and the styles you like - this is the fun part. The questionnaire will give the Big Sister Swap team an idea of your taste but after that, it's up to them to supply the treats! After you've sent in your pre-loved items and finished the survey you just wait for your swap to arrive. This can sometimes take a while. 


a pair of black culottes and a green skirt hanging from a wardrobe door
A pair of black culottes and a leopard print skirt sent in the swap

My experience with the Big Sister Swap...


I ordered the 1kg swap, as I thought this would give me a good selection of second hand goodies. There was also an offer on this type of swap as there often is so keep a look out for deals! After purchasing my swap I completed the questionnaire which I thought was pretty thorough. I was asked questions such as my dress size, my favourite prints, and which styles I liked the best. Near the end of the questionnaire, you are also asked if there are any items you don't want to receive and your Instagram account so the team can get a really good idea of what you like to wear.


GRACEBEE BIG SISTER SWAP TRY ON HAUL #SECONDHANDSEPTEMBER
Wearing the black culottes


A couple of weeks passed before my swap arrived, they say this happens occasionally as they need to source specific items and sizes. This didn't bother me however as I'd rather they take their time putting my haul together than whacking in any old item in my size.


a black floral dress and a white jumper hanging from a wardrobe door
A black floral dress and a white jumper which were sent in the swap


On opening my Big Sister Swap package I was pleasantly surprised to see I had been sent 6 items:


- 1 vintage handmade dress

- 1 Monsoon dress

- 1 black floral dress

- 1 leopard print skirt

- 1 pair of Topshop Culottes

- 1 white jumper


GRACEBEE BIG SISTER SWAP TRY ON HAUL #SECONDHANDSEPTEMBER
A handmade dress and a Monsoon dress which were sent in the swap


Straight away I knew a few of the items weren't to my taste but that was the risk I took when I signed up for a blind swap service. I knew I had the option to return the unwanted clothes in exchange for other mystery items but in all honesty, I couldn't be bothered as it would probably be easier for me to just sell them on my own Depop. Would I have been happier exchanging them? Potentially, and if there was anything I thought was damaged or bad quality I would have, but the clothes were fine, I just didn't like all of them!


Out of the 6 second hand items I was sent by Big Sister Swap there are two that I will be keeping - the handmade dress and the culottes. Neither were items I would pick up myself but actually after I styled them up my way I quite like them. In all honesty, I thought the handmade dress was the ugliest thing I'd ever seen when it first came out of the package so I was surprised to find that I liked it once I tried it on.


GRACEBEE BIG SISTER SWAP TRY ON HAUL #SECONDHANDSEPTEMBER
Wearing the handmade dress

Would I do a second hand swapping service again?


Even though not all of the clothes were to my taste I think this is something I would do again. Fashion is all about having fun and trying new things, and actually doing a swap like this was fun! Yes its a risk as you might end up with a haul of pre-loved clothes you hate, but you always have the option to send them back for more mystery items so you can't lose really!


Would you ever try a second hand swapping service like this?


Thanks for reading!


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BIG SISTER SWAP TRY ON HAUL #SECONDHANDSEPTEMBER

So you've seen #SecondHandSeptember trending and you want to get involved, but due to your busy lifestyle or the lingering threat of coronavirus you'd like to participate at home? Fear not as I've rounded up the best ways to take part in the Second Hand September challenge from the comfort of your sofa!


GRACEBEE GET INVOLVED IN #SECONDHANDSEPTEMBER WITHOUT LEAVING HOME

So what is #SecondHandSeptember?


Secondhand September is an initiative or challenge to only purchase pre-owned goods throughout the month of September in a bid to combat the growing problem of fast fashion. 


I've decided to take part in this years Secondhand September as after reading some shocking statistics around fast fashion it makes sense to try and live more sustainably, and for any style lovers like myself, this means reducing the number of fast fashion pieces we buy.


Where can I buy second hand items online?


While nothing beats the thrill of mooching through a second hand shop filled with affordable treats, there are many places to pick up pre-loved goodies without stepping foot out your front door...


GRACEBEE GET INVOLVED IN #SECONDHANDSEPTEMBER WITHOUT LEAVING HOME

eBay

eBay is the original online auction site and one I have used for over 10 years now. Whether I'm buying or selling, eBay is my first port of call. I'll admit that you often have to trawl through a fair bit of shit before finding a hidden gem, but more often than not you'll find it at a bargain price. I also think eBay is one of the better sites when it comes to looking for specific items as it's search function is pretty damn good. If you're not already on the eBay hype, why not?!


Depop

Depop is an app that functions similarly to eBay however instead of auctioning items, the prices are set. Depop is mostly used by younger people are small businesses so I find that the prices are slightly higher on Depop than other reselling sites. 


Big Sister Swap

Big Sister Swap is a second hand swapping service where you send off your preloved clothes and accessories to receive other used items of the same weight in return. Swaps start from £5 for up to 3 second hand items. I thought this was a fantastic idea which is why I purchased a Big Sister Swap myself, but you'll have to wait to that second hand haul!


GRACEBEE GET INVOLVED IN #SECONDHANDSEPTEMBER WITHOUT LEAVING HOME

Online charity shops

Charity shops have gone digital! From Cancer Research, to The British Heart Foundation, most high street charity shops will have some sort of online shop nowadays. Although some of them seem to increase the price of items being sold online, many charity shops actually use eBay to sell goods so it's still possible to snap up some second hand treats this September at a reasonable price!


Online vintage shops

Vintage shopping has been the in-thing for a while now so it's no surprise that online vintage shops are growing in popularity. While I don't think you can top rummaging around a vintage store, you can still get your second hand clothing fix online, and without that smell - you know what I mean.

There are tonnes of online vintage stores in the UK but some of the popular ones are; Cow, Beyond Retro, Brag, and Thrifted. Depop also features a lot of vintage fashion that will likely be more affordable than online vintages stores.


Selfridges

Selfridges selling second hand fashion? Since when? Selfridges have partnered with Oxfam to promote Second Hand September with a pop-up store in their Oxford Street branch, but you won't just find pre-loved items in their high street store, they are also selling second hand items online! The second hand fashion for sale on the Selfridges website is all designer, meaning most of it is still unaffordable for the masses however it's great to see a major brand getting on board with something like this. 


So those are some of the best ways to get involved in #SecondHandSeptember without even leaving home!


You can also recycle your own clothes from home this September through eBay, Depop, and by requesting a collection bag from charities, though not all donations make it to your prefered charity this way so always read the small print!


Are you taking part in Second Hand September this month?


Thanks for reading!


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HOW TO GET INVOLVED IN #SECONDHANDSEPTEMBER WITHOUT LEAVING HOME

I have been layering everything in my wardrobe lately! I don't know what it is about sticking a top underneath another top, but I just really love the way it looks. Especially in the summer if I want to wear a strapless top but I'm not confident enough, I just whack a T-shirt underneath and the jobs a good'un! 

With this in mind, it only made sense to invest in a staple mesh top I can wear undeath multiple items of clothing. I went for something simple and long-sleeved so that it would be a super versatile piece.

Mesh top laying flat with jewellery on top of it

So here are 3 ways to style a mesh top...


1. Over a vest top

Wearing a black skater skirt, a black mesh top, and black heeled boots

The first way I've chosen to style the mesh top is over a plain black vest top. It's a super simple look that can be worn with jeans or a skirt. I've chosen to pair it with a plain black skater skirt and some heeled boots to create an outfit I'd likely wear on a night out. 

- Shop the look -


2. Under a cami top

Wearing a leopard print cami top with a black mesh top underneath

Like I said previously, I'm not always confident enough to wear sleeveless tops (which is silly I know) so I'll often pair them with t-shirts to cover my bingo wings. My arms are something I'm working on loving, but until I do, I'm happy to wear this mesh top underneath my cute cami's. 

- Shop the look -


3. Underneath a strappy dress or jumpsuit 

Wearing a floral playsuit with a black mesh top underneath

This is probably my favourite look of the three and one that can easily be dressed up or down. Here I've paired the mesh top with my favourite Topshop jumpsuit. I never wear this jumpsuit without some sort of top underneath it but this might be the nicest top I've worn underneath. The mesh top helps to cover my insecurities without taking away from the super low v-neck which I love.

- Shop the look -


So those were the 3 ways I would style a mesh top! 

Which outfit is your favourite?

Thanks for reading!


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3 WAYS TO STYLE A MESH TOP

At the start of the month I wrote a blog post about shopping sustainably and how and why I'm doing it. Along with buying second hand clothes, and selling on my unwanted clothes, I've also started 'shopping my own wardrobe' a lot more too.

"What on earth is shopping your own wardrobe?" I hear you say! Well to me it's basically digging out those pieces you haven't worn in forever and giving them a new lease of life! For me it also means actually wearing the clothes which have been sat in my wardrobe with the tags on for months, oops!

Full length shot wearing a white tshirt and a black midi skirt
Close up of tshirt and embroidered detail which reads ''love is enough''

This t-shirt is actually one of those items. I bought it forever ago when H&M released their William Morris collection as I just had to have something from the collection and most of it was too long on me! It's actually a pretty gorgeous embroidered top that I just haven't really wanted to wear yet?

Well I finally styled it up with this pretty midi skirt from Asos and honestly I love the look. I liked it so much that I just had to head out to the park to get some snappy snaps of the outfit. Actually the first person I passed at the park stopped me to say she loved what I was wearing! That doesn't happen very often to me and it honestly made my day!


Half body shot of the outfit showing my head down to my waist
Close up of black leather handbag

Apart from the skirt, which I admit is new (but it has pockets, come on!) every other part of my outfit is pretty damn old. But they don't feel like old pieces to me, because I've mixed in a new item and an item I haven't worn before!

So how else can you 'shop your own wardrobe'? Well a fun way to mix things up is by getting a little crafty. I'm forever chopping up t-shirts to make them slightly cropped, which not only makes them look better on my short arse body, but also gives them a completely new vibe! In the past I've also dyed older clothes new colours and ripped jeans that were already on their way out. There's no end to the kind of things you can do to your old clothes to make them feel new again!


- Shop the look -
(or shop your own wardrobe for the look if you can!)

Shopping sustainably, and reusing clothes as much as possible is something I'm really going to make an effort to do in the coming months because it just makes sense!

Thanks for reading!


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