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Debunking myths about “Hand-me-downs”

July 2, 2012 by pwtjc

Hand-me-downs: apparels fit for stardom not “frugality”!
I’ve often heard from close friends and even relatives how aversed they are towards hand-me-downs. It’s not surprising to see their lips curled up slightly at the corners into a grimace. Lets face the truth. With ever growing levels of affluence in the Singaporean society, everyone seems to have the cash to buy the newest fashion apparels. With the flooding of fashion sales everywhere, the shopping malls have become a shopaholic’s haven. What with the abundance of new clothes and accessories, “hand-me-downs” have been associated with frugality and money-pinchers. Worse, used clothes have also been stigmatised by many people as “dirty”, “filled with germs” or “having its previous owner’s body odour”. With this, apart from some that are donated to charity, most of them are thrown away to make space for new ones. Yes, this causes a great deal of clothes wastage. The environmental implications probably are already familiar to you guys so I won’t talk about this here.
But haven’t you realised- “Hand-me-downs” are the rage of the town!
According to the Urban Dictionary, “Hand-me-downs” are clothes which no longer serve a practical purpose because
(1): the owner has outgrown them.
(2): the owner realises he/she doesn’t like them anymore.
(3): the owner simply has too many clothes in her wardrobe that she’s overlooked them and probably hasn’t even worn them before.
Which means these clothes are probably relatively new and attractive.
You probably are well familiar with celebrities sporting the latest fashion, perhaps wearing a different new dress for every public appearance. This is not normality- well, at least for non-stars. Personal fashion statement aside, they have to keep up with the appearance of glitz and glamour. And, celebrities are walking billboards for the latest fashion outfits! (no offense intended)
But stigma against hand-me-downs hardly exists in the realm of stardom. Not convinced? Read on.
Shiloh Jolie-Pitt’s gungho hand-me-down style:

The cat is out of the bag! Shiloh has been spotted several times wearing the clothes of brothers- clothes that they wore years ago. That girl must have done some wardrobe-raiding on the sly.

Celebrity Sarah Jessica Parker may be the queen of high fashion, but she confesses that her 5-year-old son James Wilke wears only hand-me-downs.

“He only wears hand-me-downs because I’ve got all these older nephews,” she tells Parade magazine. “That’s the God’s honest truth. Plus, my mother saved all my brothers’ clothes. I am not kidding. I don’t think I’ve ever bought him any clothes. Maybe a new winter coat. I do buy him shoes, because everybody’s feet are different.”


The Emperor’s New Clothes: If only the Emperor hadn’t been so caught up in new clothes, if only he’d settled for something wearable at least… Sasha Obama dons the pretty summer dress her sister, Malia wore on last Easter’s.


Famous Fashion Blogger Shea Marie’s recollections of donning her favourite hand-me-downs : Favorite GUESS memory: “Being born in ’87, I was quite young in the ’80s, but I remember Christmas shopping with my mom at a very young age and her saying that my older cousins only wanted to wear GUESS. As I got a little older, I always got their hand-me-downs.”

Lindsay Lohan’s Visa Clothes Swap photoshoot

A few of the celebs that participated in fashion swap: (from left to right)Deacon, Naomi Campbell, Phoebe Philo, Kylie Minogue

Clothes Swap! A clothes swapping event hosted by Swap Vista has garnered a huge turnout of clothes swappers and Surprise! Even various celebrities got into the act, including A-listers of the Hollywood brigade: Helena Bonham Carter, Naomi Campbell, Mischa Barton, Thandie Newton and others trading their apparels.

….and countless other instances abound. “Hand-me-downs”, “used clothes” should no longer be discriminated against. Clothes swap now and with some luck, you may find some hidden-gems and at the same time, reduce couture waste (clothes waste).

:) Shimin

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