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Meet My Favourite Dress!

23.08.2023 3 Minutes
Meet My Favourite Dress!

I wore this dress when I first met my husband. I’d already owned it for a year or so before we went on our first date. He said he loved it (maybe that was what sealed our fate) and 20 years later he still says he loves it and so do I.

It came from my favourite store in Wellington, Starfish. The owner of the label is now on the Wellington City Council. Over the time I’ve owned this dress I’ve fallen in love, got married, had a baby, lost a baby, had three very different jobs, moved cities and started Hello Period with my best friend. Throughout all those years, this dress has faithfully hung in the wardrobe. 

Yes, there were years where she didn’t fit but I loved her so much I knew that eventually I’d be able to make my way back into her belted, floral corduroy gloriousness.

From a very early age I remember my mother telling me to buy well because good clothes tend to last longer and reduce waste. I grew up in Hong Kong and Mum witnessed the rise of fast fashion before it even had a term. Even as a child I remember being aware of the crazy consumerism that existed in our midst - the off-casts of which lined streets and floated in the murky harbour.  

Thanks to Mum, I grew up having the ‘buy well’ mantra in my head. Buying well is often associated with costing more however that doesn’t have to be the case. If something is well-made it should last. My green dress has probably cost me $2 per wear at this stage. And the best bit? It still looks as good as new.  

This dress isn’t the only item in my wardrobe that has history. I have a Burberry trench passed down to me that is over 50 years old (older than me!). I have a coat that I bought in my first year of university for $5 in a second hand shop that I still wear and regularly get asked where I bought it from. 

Several years ago a friend and I embarked on a year of ‘no new’. I didn’t make it to the end because shoes were included in our ‘must only by second hand’ rules. I needed a pair of sneakers and, well, the search broke me. But while I didn’t last the full term, the ‘experiment’ continues to work because I’m more mindful about every purchase I make - even second hand purchases. 

So what can you do to buy well, buy less and still love what you own? Here are my top tips:

  • Avoid spontaneous purchases - do you really need it? Can you style it multiple ways to make it more versatile? 
  • Look at how well it is made, and what it’s made from - will it last?
  • Is it made from natural fibres? Cotton and wool have amazing properties and will stand the test of time, and can be repurposed. 
  • Visit second hand shops regularly - so many beautiful bargains to be found. 
  • Don’t wash your clothes as regularly as you ‘think’ you need to. Spot wash any marks rather than put the garment in the machine. 
  • Follow the care instructions - your woollen jersey which has the potential to last years but it will last nano-seconds if you put it on a normal wash in the machine. 
  • Leave the tags on until you have tried it on at home. If you change your mind, most stores will refund or offer a credit.