Making Secondhand Clothing Fun with @girlwithbellsandwhistles

Mixing patterns, colors, and textures. Silver sequin jacket from eBbay with  Chinti & Parker  t-shirt on sale, and crane trousers from Zara (from many years ago)!

Mixing patterns, colors, and textures. Silver sequin jacket from eBbay with Chinti & Parker t-shirt on sale, and crane trousers from Zara (from many years ago)!

Kirsty aka @girlwithbellsandwhistles doesn’t just believe sustainable fashion can be fun, but that it can be more fun than new and fast fashion. “Dressing sustainably means buying more secondhand which can be so bright and colorful with beautiful prints too,” Kirsty said. “There are gems waiting to be snapped up....I'll race you to them!”

Read on for her tips on how to bring fun, color, and patterns into your sustainable wardrobe this Slow Fashion Season (but beware—she may outbid you).

So, who are you?

Hello my name is Kirsty and I am @girlwithbellsandwhistles. I'm a (normally) very happy energized person, who does love to talk....fast! :) I really enjoy fashion and how amazing it can make you feel but equally am trying hard to think more about the effect of fashion (and just general life) is having on the planet. I am 38 years old and have a 2 year old boy named Edwin. I live in South East London near Peckham, which is super trendy nowadays. I'm married to Geoff who gets very bored taking my photos for insta.

How do you describe your style?

My style is loud, bright, shiny and sparkly. I do wear black occasionally as I think it can look very smart but it will always be black with bright accessories. I find people around me, when I am dressed brightly, comment more on my outfits and it makes them smile. There's lots of research that bright colors lift you own spirits and the spirits of those around you. I just find being bright makes me feel so happy.

“Cardigan of dreams” handmade in Devon, England, by  @creatorofthree .

“Cardigan of dreams” handmade in Devon, England, by @creatorofthree.

What is your go-to look?

I tend to mix high and low pieces. Over the years I've been lucky enough to accumulate a few designer bits, mostly bought in sales. I'm a savvy sale shopper. I look for vintage and secondhand pieces all the time and find a lot on eBay. I then tend to mix all of this with some high street too. I've been stepping away recently from high street and supporting small businesses as I love the fact it's more sustainable and you are helping a small business to grow and keep going.

What's an outfit in your closet you wear to make more of a statement?

My most statement piece I have is a gold sequin jacket that I found in a tiny village in Devon, England. It was £5 and my husband and the shop assistant were like you have to buy it but I wasn't too sure. I am so glad I did as it stands on a mannequin in my bedroom and brings me joy every day, not just when I wear it!

A myth I hear is dressing sustainably means not having the ability to have a lot of fun with patterns and colors. What are your thoughts?

Oh my goodness so not true! Dressing sustainably means buying more secondhand which can be so bright and colorful with beautiful prints too. Also modern sustainable clothes can be dyed with beautiful colors such as an amazing Pink City Prints dress I have that's dyed the most amazing blue from an indigo plant.

All natural. Indigo-dyed dress from Pink City Prints.

All natural. Indigo-dyed dress from Pink City Prints.

Do you have any additional tips for making sustainable fashion fun?

Search eBay or Depop for items that you want like an animal print skirt or vintage jacket. There is so much out there—you'll be surprised at what you find! Also accessories can make an outfit, look for amazing items at car boot sales [for us American folks, this is similar to an antique show or flea market], charity shops, and eBay again.

Vintage find from  Portobello Road Market  in London.

Vintage find from Portobello Road Market in London.

What fun sustainable brands and stores do you love?

eBay for secondhand is my favorite but one of my favorite stores that stocks a lot of sustainable brands is Mercantile London that is online and has a store in Shoreditch, London.

What's your advice for someone who wants to bring more sustainable items into his/her wardrobe?

Go through exactly what you have. I think a lot of people rebuy similar items as they are drawn to a style but forget that they already have a version in their wardrobe. Never apologize for rewearing. Everyone needs to be a #proudoutfitrepeater. If you are looking for something specifically search for it on resale sites like Vestiaire Collective or eBay. There are gems waiting to be snapped up....I'll race you to them!

Secondhand, sewn, and reworn (and Edwin!). eBay dress she had altered to fit, worn over the same Chinti & Parker t-shirt on sale (see above).

Secondhand, sewn, and reworn (and Edwin!). eBay dress she had altered to fit, worn over the same Chinti & Parker t-shirt on sale (see above).

Thanks, Kirsty!

This article is from my series highlighting kickass women who don’t buy new. From upcycling to eBay, get inspired and learn easy ways to keep your pledge to not buy new this Slow Fashion Season.

See more articles:

Thrifting Your Way to a Sustainable Closet with @i.thrift.shit

The Magic of Upcycling Your Clothes with Drea Johnson