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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:
wilbur · 30/06/2005 12:58

Definitely love 2nd hand stuff - it's nice seeing dd in her cousin's stuff that I remember from when she was a baby. Also get stuff from NCT sales and a nearby 2nd hand shop (where I also sell on stuff that is still good). I also get the odd thing for myself from a local dress agancy. However, having been raised on hand-me-downs myself from big sis, I do also make a point of buying new, special for each child stuff every now and then. Interestingly, our 2nd hand shop is about to close and says that they can't compete with tesco, george and primark - people would generally rather buy cheap stuff (even if it will fall apart) new than pay the same for better quality but 2nd hand. Seems a shame really, and wasteful too.

pinotgrigio · 30/06/2005 13:03

I love buying used stuff on Ebay - I think what is different is if you have no choice. I could afford not to, but love the thrill of getting a bargain. I know some mums who are struggling but would rather die than admit (or put) their dd is in second hand clothes.

acnebride · 30/06/2005 13:31

I think it is the choice thing, but also not supposed to think about your appearance in my (v middle middle) family. I was the youngest of 17 cousins so shedloads of handmedowns, and I do the same for ds. Will try not to shamelessly hawk for freebies when he is older but bet I embarrass him with it at some point.

My mil, who is v middle now but had a v poor and working class upbringing, always buys ds new clothes - maybe she thinks nobody else will!! very kind of her.

flobbleflobble · 30/06/2005 13:35

Hmmm. Not many mumsnetters despise 2nd hand clothes then!

Is it safe to offer some of dd's old gear to other mothers at her school who have younger children, or would this be rude?

I am sure some folk might be offended & I would hate to appear patronising!!! It wouldn't be patronising in reality because I love second hand gear myself - but it still might seem patronising?

OP posts:
Caligula · 30/06/2005 13:42

I buy s/h clothes for me and the kids, but quite often find that s/h clothes shops are overpriced. With shops like Matalan and Primark around, I'm always outraged that Oxfam charges £7 for a blouse you can more or less buy new for about 50p more in Primark.

SH shops are no longer the bargain they used to be imo.

Jumble sales are still great though.

alux · 30/06/2005 14:03

I was brought up on hand me downs from well off cousins and felt embarrassed to wear 'their stuff' in front of them - and once or twice was reminded it used to be theirs.

Now I couldn't care less. In fact, I am proud when someone comments on something I am wearing. I utter: charity shop and its price. I spend a couple days a year 'charity shopping' and always find something I love.

Dd was given loads of clothes up to 18 mo. when she was born. I only bought a few sleep suits and vests for her early on. Virtually everything new she has were presents.

Dh grew up as poor as I did but would not be caught dead in already used or in a charity shop.

Lilliput · 30/06/2005 14:30

I have just been GIVEN a huge bag of clothes for my ds by afriend at the baby group who alrady has two boys and is expected a girl. I gave her some of my dd stuff in return ( I got the better deal). I won't have to buy a single thing until he is at least 18 months. I wish I had known people like her, already with kids when I had my daughter.
I think it is a class thing - I remember seeing this family who had something like 11 kids and they bought EVERYTHING brand new for each baby, EVERYTHING - cot car seat clothes etc Where's the sense in that?

colditz · 30/06/2005 14:58

flobbleflobble - ask them if they know anyone who wants them. That is my cue for saying "Mememe!" when people are giving clothes away!

Issymum · 30/06/2005 15:02

"Is it safe to offer some of dd's old gear to other mothers at her school who have younger children, or would this be rude?"

I was just given two bags of clothes for DD2 by another mother at pre-school. The clothes ranged from Adams through to Boden and Rocha. I didn't consider it was remotely rude, I thought it was very generous, the DDs had a fantastic time going through all the clothes and trying them on and DD2 now has a different outfit for every day of the summer.

If it helps at all, I'm pretty sure that this mother doesn't think we're skint as she's met our live-in nanny several times and knows I work as a lawyer.

compo · 30/06/2005 15:06

I've bought ds lots of nice Next/Gap/Ladybird clothes from second hand shops. I don't see it as a problem as kids clothes generally don't get worn that much as they gro out of them so quickly and I always wash them beofre he wears them. I'm middle/working class

vickiyumyum · 30/06/2005 15:08

oh well must be super chav then as my kids clothes rarely secondhand!
not that thats because i'm rich or anything, just because i don't know anyone with boys all my friends have girls or boys younger than my two, so i have to buy new clothes and then i pass them onto other friends(or sell them on ebay/mumsnet!!!:O)
i have brought second hand clothes from ebay that have been in immaculate condition, its just that when i have visited charity shops, particularly as the area that i live in isn't exactly affluent, the clothes have been not very nice or even of a nice standard of cleanliness/wear and tear. i am deeply jealous of my friend who lives in notting hill and her dd is often immaculatley kitted out in head to toe charity shop monsoon, boden, dkny!

Chuffed · 30/06/2005 16:21

vickyumyum where does your friend shop for second hand in nottinghill, I have hardly found any good 'real' second hand shops around the greater W2 area - spreading down to Kensington/Nottinghill

dizzymama · 30/06/2005 16:28

I buy Dd lots of second hand clothes, especially as she's only 5 months and in them twice!! Don't see it as a problem at all but this may change as she gets older and is getting more wear out of her clothes. I'd consider us middle class but don't really think it has a bearing tbh.

giraffeski · 30/06/2005 16:30

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giraffeski · 30/06/2005 16:31

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purpleturtle · 30/06/2005 16:34

We run a 'clothes bank' at our playgroup - but the theory holds true: it's the middle class mums who are happy to take 2nd hand clothing, for free. The mums from the local (deprived) area who we're actually hoping to help don't seem very interested.

happymerryberries · 30/06/2005 16:36

I put mine in hand me downs. We have a circle of friends who pass things on, some pass more and are 'rewarded' with gifts and a thank you.

I came from a working class background and wore them. Dh is from a middle class, posh but broke family (IYSWIM) and he wore them too

frogs · 30/06/2005 16:42

Colditz is spot on. It seems to be okay to go to charity shops if you can safely assume people will know you're doing it through choice not necessity.

Dd1 came home with a lovely story a few months ago, which involved two of her classmates (twins) from a very poor and troubled family background (very overcrowded living accomodation, kids sent to school unfed, clothes black with dirt etc) who were taunting her and her best friend with, "Oh, your clothes come from Oxfam, ner ner ner." Dd1 and her friend (whose Dad is a pretty senior barrister, so hardly on the breadline) were completely baffled by the taunt. I think as far as they were concerned it was about as insulting as, "Oh, your mum shops in John Lewis, ner ner."

aloha · 30/06/2005 16:50

dd in delicious pink smocked dress and pink and cream Miniman cardigan today - dress 1.50 from charity shop, cardigan, forget how much but from posh second hand kids clothes shop.

Aero · 30/06/2005 17:12

Yes, most definitely! We also pass on what we can to friends etc and sell a few bits cheaply on here or Ebay. I also hate to throw away perfectly good outgrown clothes.
I know that for some people though that wearing second-hand clothes is a very sensitive issue. I was given some clothes by a friend for ds1 a fewq yeas ago, but some of them were way too big and we'd have had to keep them for years before they'd fit and with space at a premium, I thought the young girl who lived above us with her 4yo son would appreciate them for him. They a few pairs were lovely trousers with not a mark on them,so I took them round. She looked at me in disgust and said 'no thanks - I don't accept seconds!' I though it was really rude tbh. she was a very difficult neighbour to live underneath, but we always tried to get along with her despite all the hassle she gave us!

trefusis · 30/06/2005 17:21

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trefusis · 30/06/2005 17:25

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happymerryberries · 30/06/2005 17:27

This is such a strange thing. My two go to a private school. Few of the parents are filthy rich but we all have enough to send out kids there, so we are all 'comfortable'. The school shop does a roaring trade in second hand uniform.

trefusis · 30/06/2005 17:32

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paolosgirl · 30/06/2005 18:00

Actually, I do have one bad memory of 2nd hand stuff. We'd just moved up to a very posh place in Scotland and my Primary School had a clothes sale. Mum bought me this lovely, very distinctive wool coat - although I didn't want to wear it because it was 2nd hand. I walked past a group of girls wearing it - and one said to her friend "Look, that girl's got your coat on". At 11, I just wanted to die!

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