They say if you do something for 30 days straight, it becomes a habit. Once I started my fast journey to slow fashion, I really, really wanted to change the way I shopped, and I wanted that change to stick. For real. As someone who has always been up for a good challenge, I knew the best way to dive in head first was to participate in Second Hand September and commit not to buy any new clothes for 30 days in solidarity with all the other consumers who pledged to do the same on the Oxfam website.
For some people, this commitment is really easy. But for a constant online shopper, it is actually a legitimate challenge. The Emmys are in September which means I’ve got a few work events that require cocktail dresses. Usually I’d take a quick trip to the dress section of Bloomies for a new cocktail dress (not for each event, but probably for at least one of them). Since this fell squarely within the parameters of Second Hand September, I decided to rewear. I went deep into my dress catalogue for my favorite, silk off the shoulder dress from the 2007-ish era. I definitely wore it to a wedding in Miami from like three relationships ago and also to my first law school prom (yeah, that’s a thing and it is embarrassing).
Second Hand September was going well until I contemplated a few shopping opportunities that made me question the exact parameters of the challenge. Since my mom’s birthday is in September, does that mean I have to buy her a second hand present? Usually I get her an item of clothing since she is also a shopping addict. Most of the time she sends me a link to exactly what she wants, and I buy it (then she returns it, but that is the subject of another blog post). I decided that yes, gifts also need to apply to this challenge and it was very lawyerly of me to try to come up with loopholes to my own, self-imposed challenge. This is why people hate lawyers. So instead of buying my mom exactly what she wants (until she wants to return said gift), I decided to buy her something that she could not exchange--an experience. Bam! Problem solved, I decided to take my mom and the rest of the fam bam for high tea at Rose Tree Cottage in Pasadena. This was a win-win as I finally had an occasion to wear my fascinator. Word on the street is that that this is the place where Megan Markle learned the proper way to have tea before becoming a Royal.
This establishment is legit and there is a very strict dress code...which led to possibly the biggest challenge of staying true to Second Hand September. All males attending the tea must wear a coat and tie, and my 12 year old nephew was no exception to this rule. Since we got the reservation super last minute, my sister didn’t have the time to get him a coat. As she was racing up the 405 to meet us, I had about an hour to find something that would fit him. My first stop was the National Council of Jewish Women Thrift Shop. This place always has pretty good suits and sport coats since it is between Santa Monica and Century City (translation: en route to where people with money drive toward their professional jobs that require suits). After about 10 minutes at the racks and trying not to get distracted by shiny objects, I found nothing in his size. In an act of desperation, I went to Target thinking I could find one of those blue, uniform-type blazers. It was an emergency and I was going to use this as my Second Hand September “cheat day”. Alas, being only a tiny, city Target, they oddly had bow ties and suspenders, but not coats.
Next stop, Goodwill. I was hoping to find something that didn’t smell like a dead person so that he wouldn’t notice I hadn’t taken the time to get it dry cleaned. At this point I became panicked, because as you can imagine, a tea place that makes 12 year olds wear ties also has a very stringent late policy. Run-walking, I dashed towards the sportcoats. After about 5 panicked wrist-flips of the hangers, I found a beautiful, navy, wool suit jacket that looked about his size. I’m sure there was a 13 year old out there who wore this once to a bar mitzvah and then promptly outgrew it. Total spend, $9.99 for a really nice, silk-lined suit jacket to get us through a 2 hour-long tea ceremony. He felt a little hot and squeezed in it, but I told him to suck it up because beauty is pain.
Just when you thought this was the end of the bar mitzvah suit, turned tea ceremony suit, I’d like to update you all that this suit has indeed found a third act. Embarrassingly...the jacket also fits me as an oversized blazer (yes, I can share clothes with my 12 year old nephew). I like to wear it with distressed jeans, a t-shirt and my rose gold loafers for a Janelle Monae inspired, androgynous office look. And I’ve got to say...I’ve gotten a ton of compliments! Stay tuned for another “Who Wore it Best?” post featuring me and my nephew.