I Got It From My Mama: Appreciating Hand-Me-Down Clothes

Being the oldest comes with many perks but one of my favourite perks has always been having first choice on hand me downs.

Traditionally, hand-me-downs get a bad rap as sloppy seconds, ratty old clothes that have done their time in the back of the wardrobe. In a generation where we want everything and we want it right now, you can see why millenials might turn their noses up at the thought of hand-me-down clothes. But personally, I’m not in a position to be constantly buying new clothes and that’s not something that’s going to change anytime soon. It’s hard to keep up with other bloggers or girls on Instagram who constantly have new clothes to feature either on their blog or for wearing in general.  This year I also made a promise to myself to value quality over quantity when shopping and only buy things that I really genuinely want and can see fitting into my already fairly extensive wardrobe. Don’t get me wrong, I still moan on a daily basis that I’m bored of my clothes but yet each day I manage to find something that I can spruce up to look new by adding colour, a new accessory, layering it differently or my current obsession – adding some quirky socks.

But back to the hand-me-downs – we’ll come back to easy ways to update your wardrobe at a later date.

As a kid, there was nothing more exciting than the days when family friends used to come to the house having just done their wardrobe clear out and present bags of clothes for me to rifle through. My sister was always too young to fit into them or show any interest and as far as I know my brother has never been into dressing up in girl’s clothes.

As I got older, more into clothes and sadly, family friends moved away, the hand-me-downs slowed down for a while. So I started doing what any fashion obsessed girl would do and played dress up with Mum’s clothes.  I remember I used to try on so many of my mum’s clothes thinking I looked great in them and she would repeatedly tell me that they looked far too old on me which, in hindsight they did. Not that my mum is old or has ever dressed ‘old’, thankfully she has very good taste in clothes and her style is probably where I’ve picked up a lot of my fashion preferences but when a 14 year old is putting on things that Mum would have worn to work, the result is obviously going to be ridiculous.

I couldn’t be more grateful to have a Mum who is just as obsessed with clothes as I am, especially now that I’m at a stage where I can borrow clothes from her although I’m sure her take on the whole thing is significantly different. When she clears out her wardrobe or buys something and changes her mind about it, it’s honestly as if I’ve died and gone to heaven.

At this point I’m sure you’re wondering how on earth is this in any way relevant to this outfit post? Well you see, the top featured, the top that I’ve worn at least 4 times in the last 4 weeks – it was a hand me down from my stylish Mama who although I’m very glad she passed it on to me, she looked great in it. I came home one Friday a few weeks ago, immediately complimented her outfit but she was unsure about the balloon sleeves and the high collar and by Sunday it was mine.

I love that the sleeves make enough of a statement to be worn alone casually with jeans as I’ve styled them here. Mum dressed the top up for a more sophisticated and chic look with a long sleeveless blazer, leather trousers and a neck scarf. As we enter spring and are desperately trying to update our wardrobes as quickly and as cheaply as possible, layering is your best bet. Thanks to the texture that the sleeves bring to an outfit, one of my favourite outfits with this top is with my black culotte jumpsuit cinched at the waist with a statement belt.

So guys and gals, I’m not saying to stop all shopping because let’s be honest, that would be a ridiculous request. Just take a second, chill out with the constant shopping. Chill out with constant pressure to have the newest clothes. Go on and open that bulging wardrobe of yours, appreciate the beauty that it contains and get your creative hat on for the season ahead.

Photos by Kellie Scott

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Niamh ♥

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