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Second hand clothes - would you or wouldn't you - and is it really a class thing?

134 replies

flobbleflobble · 30/06/2005 08:38

Do you let your kids wear second-hand clothes?
I have just read a book which claims that this is a class indicator!
Apparently only the higher social classes find it acceptable to wear second hand clothes.

OP posts:
CountessDracula · 30/06/2005 09:56

Maybe it is more related to how good the charity shops are in your area. I buy lots of stuff for dd and me in charity shops, our local ones are full of brand new looking great clothes for pennies!

Why would anyone care if something is second hand, you can wash it! (not knickers or shoes obv ;))

rickman · 30/06/2005 10:02

Message withdrawn

wysiwyg · 30/06/2005 10:07

Don't mind having clothes for the kids from friends (ie I know where they come from), and would buy second hand if they were in excellent condition. However sometimes I've had bags of kids clothes given to me (people seem relieved to offload these) and lots of the items are pretty worn out, or have stains.
Sometimes I think things are getting cheaper these days - nappies and wipes for example are always on offer, there seem to be more sales in shops about every 3 months now (when I was younger weren't the sales only in January?)so I almost always buy stuff in the sales. (Boden online clearance for eaxmplae gives massive savings).
When I was a young student I remember the winter weather coming on, and going out to the "Spastic Society" charity shop (is was called that then!) to buy a new winter coat - a man's rain mac for £10!

Times have changed a bit!

ninah · 30/06/2005 10:07

fio - WHERE?!

colditz · 30/06/2005 10:08

No, that can't be true, because I always have had my son in second hand clothes!

ScrewballMuppet · 30/06/2005 10:15

i grew up wearing a mix of them and new wasn't too fussed as long as I had something nice to wear.
My ds's were a mix too especially ds2 he gets ds1 cast offs
As for a class thing.....maybe it's that lower classes(hate that term, as everyones definition of lowere/poorer classes is different) are very sensitive as being seen as not being able to afford new things so feel the need to buy everthing new to prove something...I'm not sure.
Speaking as someone who definately was poor class and possibly still is....I don't care would prefer to have completely new things who wouldn't but if someone offers something that could save some money and its in good condition then I'm not going to say no.

lailag · 30/06/2005 10:19

My family can't believe I buy second hand stuff for dd and ds! But they are real snobs and certainly belong to higher social classes.

expatinscotland · 30/06/2005 10:21

Well I grew up the daughter of a 'self made' man whose parents were penniless immigrants and still wore second-hand clothes. As my dad would say, 'You don't get rich by spending it.' Another of his fav one-liners was 'Get off your high horse before someone knocks you off it.'

nutcracker · 30/06/2005 10:21

Second hand clothes have been a life saver for us loads of times and i don't mind one bit how many times they have been worn before so long as they are still in good condition.

misdee · 30/06/2005 10:22

most of the kids clothes are second hand, especially dd3's. (thanks mumsnetters). i just dont see the point now of buying vlothes new for babies as they grow so fast. i also tend to go mad i nthe sales for new clothes. so my kids have a vast wardrobe.

which reminds me have to sort out dd1+2 stuff soon, the wardrobe is full with long sleeve tops and trusers, not much good in the summer lol.

zebraZ · 30/06/2005 10:27

Never mind the kids (who of course wear 99% 2nd hand clothes), I must be very high class, then, because almost all of MY clothes are 2nd hand.

I try hard to make DH buy 2nd hand, too... he has this habit of buying expensive clothes, then discovering a week later after being worn twice that they are too small/too short/etc. (most recent discovery was a pair of trainers he has not worn since buying them 2 months ago, and they turn out to be 3 sizes too small). I'd rather DH wasted his money on £4 trousers from Oxfam than £60 ones from M&S. He has a green shirt with too nude female sillohuettes on it. Friend was admiring it, pointing out it's a very expensive trendy brand... didn't have the heart to tell friend DH got it for £2 in a charity shop.

crunchie · 30/06/2005 10:28

My kids are always in a variety of second hand/ebay/from friends type clothes, plus clothes bought in sales like Gap etc. I used to wear 2nd hand clothes ALL the time, when I was 13 I got a clothes allowence and I was MAD on clothes so I relaised I could buy a lot more if I went to charity shops, so i did. I either made my own clothes, or customised charity shop ones for years. Until I earnt my own money and could afford new stuff. Nowadays I would buy 2nd hand for me, but don't often see much I like. kids defineately, dh no, but only becasue he wears shorts/t-shirts and jeans and doesn't need 'expensive' clothes to begin with.

treacletart · 30/06/2005 10:39

Absolutely! I love a bargain! most of DS' clothes are second hand - we have lots of very good charity shops near us and I'm an ebay queen. I cant see the point of spending a fortune on new clothes for him - they grow so fast, kids clothes rarely get to wear out, you get a better choice - particularly when you use ebay, its much cheaper and much greener. I'd wear more vintage myself if I were a more regular size. Hadnt thought of this as a class thing before at all, but yes I'm a classic middle class girl - I'm guessing that maybe you have to be confident of evading any riddiculous accusations of being cheap or giving your kids second best with second hand, sadly maybe this is easier with the right accent??

Tortington · 30/06/2005 10:40

i buy a lot of stuff from car boot sales and most of the kids stuff comes from charity shops.
my mil and fil do it too and buy for all their grandchildren. my mother does it. but i don't know whether we are the exception to the class rule or not.

hand me downs didn't really work in this house as my two sons are not only 3 years apart but one is a short arse weed and one is the incredible hulk so my daughter does get some of my oldest sons clothes occasionally.

but my daugher does give her clothes to her friend next door and next doors mother gives her clother to my daughter!! nice stuff it is too!

but i do have a cousin who is 19 expecting her 2nd kid, rfuses to live on council estate out of snobbery so privately rents. and has just put a deposit down on a £400 quid pram and is buying everything new again??? it hink if i took her in a charity shop she would literally die of SHAME!!!

zebraZ · 30/06/2005 10:50

We were selling heaps of good quality (mostly not brand names, but barely worn, Tesco-quality, solid nicely made in good nick) baby-3yo clothes for 5-20p/item over the weekend. Why pay new prices if you can get bargains like that?

Lonelymum · 30/06/2005 10:57

My kids wear mostly second hand clothes or new clothes bought for them by relatives. I only buy new for them if I have to. I occasionally buy second hand for me but not as a rule. I consider myself upper middle class, so I fit the original premise.

colditz · 30/06/2005 10:59

I think it is a lot easier to avoid the "shame" of charity shops if you are making a choice to shop in them.

The shame is internal I think, middle class people know they are looking for a bargain, but could buy it at Boden if they really had to.

Working class people have this internal shame-ometer, because we worry that people can see the reasons we are in the charity shop written all over our faces, ie can't afford the buy it if we don't buy it there.

Lonelymum · 30/06/2005 11:01

Don't make the mistake of thinking middle class and wealthy are the same thing! I may be middle class, but I certainly couldn't afford the designer shops.

spidermama · 30/06/2005 11:03

Stop feeding my addiction by raising interesting topics on which I simply must comment! I love recycling clothes. Apart from anything, it means I can afford really beautiful, posh designer makes for my kids because they've been 'gently used' by some other kid. I love buying clothes for my kids on ebay and in second hand shops.

colditz · 30/06/2005 11:03

But when most journalists talk about the middle classes, they are talking about affluent people. And when they talk about the working classes, they are talking about people on a low income.

we are classing ourselves according to what we believe in, rather than our income, them everyone will be middle class.

colditz · 30/06/2005 11:05

It's true about there not being many boys clothes though, but if you look in the shops there just aren't as many boy's clothes in the first place. There's only so many grey T-shirts a boy can have!

Lonelymum · 30/06/2005 11:07

NOt sure. I only know I am middle class and always have been, but I can't afford designer clothes for me or the kids (don't want them either so it is not an issue). Sometimes I do wonder what my kids would be wearing if there were no such things as nearly new sales, jumble sales, charity shops, generous neighbours, etc. ie if I had to buy everything new. I have 4 kids though. If I only had one or two, maybe I would be able to manage without the secondhand sources.

Chandra · 30/06/2005 11:09

I didn't mind when Ds was younger as it was easy to find clothes in very good condition, as they grow up it becomes more difficult, I used to go to carboots and come back with many nice almost new outfits but since he is 2 yrs old I rarely come back with more than an item (probably because I hate to iron and the non-iron clothes are normally more worn that other things)

Listmaker · 30/06/2005 11:10

Mine wear plenty of hand-me-downs too - feel a bit bad that dd2 has nothing but 2nd hand stuff!

It is a bit of a class thing I agree. There are lots of Mums at myy dds' school that would die rather than hand down even to their own younger kids. They have the siblings dressed identically - one Mum does it EVERY day with her dds and they are 2 years apart so ideal for handing down. I just don't get it - that means going out and buying two of everything when the stuff from her dd1 must be immaculate and fine for her dd2!!! And I know she lives in a council house and has 5 kids between her and her dh all living with them.

I don't have 2nd hand stuff myself but am happy to have it if offered but I'm too fat and have no time to shop so do it all from the Next catalogue!!!

zebraZ · 30/06/2005 11:11

There is a mum like that at our school, too, Listmaker, but she has 3 DDs identically dressed, one year gap from each to the next!

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