Dear Cath

Do you recognize this dress?

Because it was Alison’s, I call it my teacher-with-an-edge dress (readers, Alison is an awesome primary school teacher at a charter school in a low socio-economic area of Atlanta —  coincidentally where Matt and I used to live!). I wear it roughly once a week — usually with tights and a coat (that pic above is a lie — bare legs in Scotland? Ha!).

I feel like hand-me-down clothing is just another component to the ethical clothing supply. I’ve bought a few new pieces this year, but I’m still trying to be fairly conscientious about the amount I buy and where it’s sourced from. And this dress was not only recycled, but received from such a lovely person that I feel happier when I wear it than if I had bought it new.

I still remember the thrill of getting cool-cousin-Genn’s hand-me-downs: all those 90s Betsey Johnson dresses and random assortment of jackets and tanks. Thinking about it now, a large part of our wardrobe growing up was probably hand-me-downs. We couldn’t afford to do much shopping so we took what we could get.

It’s tricky not to be snagged by the siren song of the high street shops — especially when the seasons change. New coats, new boots, fuzzy sweaters, faux fur jackets, gloves! So I’m constantly looking for inspiration to fight the urge to run into Zara and buy everything that looks furry or glitters: enter We Make It Last.

Photo via WeMakeItLast

It’s a digital magazine all about sustainable clothing and style. One of my favorite fashion bloggers (see above) now blogs on the site, which equals double the amount of inspiration. It really helps to see a community that you admire trying to curb their consumerism and doing it with ingenuity and beauty.

So I’m going to keep trying to ignore the glittery enticement of over-shopping this holiday season (for myself and others). I know this will be a challenge, especially when all the festivities start. There’s less time to make things or source things properly and you easily get caught up in the frenetic energy of the season — so easy to shop and eat and shop and eat. I’ll let you know if I avoid any of that. (Considering make next post to you is all about food, I’m probably not off to a great start ;D).

I hope this post helps you, Cath! I know it will be hard to not spend money so you can save up for your endometriosis surgery. And especially when you are stressed with work and school and thinking about saving money, the last thing you want to do is . save money. But I’ll be with you every step of the way.

Love you more than that velvet Betsey Johnson hand-me-down dress from 1995!


15 thoughts on “Hand-me-down”

    1. Hi Diane

      Yeah — boooo. But the good news is Cath’s endo hasn’t gotten nearly as bad as mine did. This will also prevent her from going through the pain I had to by catching it now.

      I hope your endo is feeling better or at least behaving these days!



      1. actually this month mine isn’t too bad. my doctor made some changes to my birth control pills. she now has me on a continuous 3 month active pill.and also changed me from tri-sprintec to regular sprintec. and surprisingly i have had NO PAIN this month. but.it’s only month one with taking my pills like this. so we’ll see. fingers crossed.

        1. Oh I’m so glad you are pain-free this month, Diane! I know how you feel being hesitant about saying that that’s the way it will be. Since my surgery with Dr Sinervo (who Cath will see too) in February, I’ve had very very little pain in comparison to what it used to be. I still don’t believe it or quite trust it. I’m so glad we have these moments though!

    2. Yes. I’m not looking forward to it (obv), but I’m so grateful that Lar found such an amazing surgeon in my own backyard! My biggest worry now is paying for the surgery since the surgeon is out of network for me. Blerg.

      xoxo, Cath

      1. best of luck to you cath! i know how expensive the surgery can be. i felt like i was paying my debt off on it for a while. but that is great that you have an excellent surgeon! keep me updated. xoxoxo

  1. Oh man, Cath, you’ve got endometriosis too? That sucks!
    I’ll be sending you lots and lots of good savings vibes over the next months! Hope you’re ok!

    1. Hi Michelle!

      That is so sweet of you! Yeah endo tends to have a very strong genetic link. Our mom had a less intense stage of it as well.

      I’m sure Cath so appreciates those vibes!


    2. Thanks Michelle! You’re so sweet! I know I’m just lucky that I didn’t have to go through the pain that Lar did. My condition is not nearly as bad, but it probably will be if I don’t take care of it soon!

      Thanks for the sweet thoughts!
      xoxo, Cath

      1. I’m really glad to hear that it isn’t that bad for you yet, what Lar went through sounded horrific! Fingers crossed that the pain stays low/manageable for both of you and that you get that surgery soon!

  2. I remember those Betsy Johnson dresses! I still have one actually, even though I probably don’t fit in it. It’s the plain black one with black sparkles around the neckline.

    I’m so inspired by your ethical shopping habits. I want to do more of it. Although i do find it hard to by good second hand work clothes. The style of clothes (clean lines, structured pieces) I like just doesn’t lend itself to second-hand, but maybe that’s because I haven’t spent enough time looking. Or maybe I’m being to close-minded about my style.

    Either way, I have to start saving and spending less so I really want to make second-hand work for me. You’re my inspiration!

    xoxo, Cath

    1. Hi Cath

      That was exactly the Betsey dress I was thinking of! I can’t believe you still have it!

      I’ll let you know how I get on with the ethical shopping/non-shopping. I will definitely put all shopping on hold while Christmas comes around (buy for others, buy for others — mantra reminder ;D).

      Oh and I think work clothes are so very tricky. I think buying a few key pieces is important and then just to take care of them very well — as you do! I think it’s much harder to thrift them — especially finding petite jackets/blazers that fit. I’ll keep my eye out here though!


      1. I find thrifting clothes really hard, I tend to do better with accessories, stuff for the house and the occasional piece of clothes. Buying less generally works for me and mixing and matching loads to keep up the idea that I’m not always wearing the same thing. I used to get loads of books through thrift shops (a huge savings for me, as I love to read), but what with e-readers that’s changed.

        1. I’m the same way, Michelle! Buying less seems to work better than looking for something definitely at a charity shop/thrift store. I used to be the same way with books too! I used to think I’d never like an e-reader, but I’m never without it now!

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