A lot of people would say the first thing that comes to their mind about second-hand shopping is that it’s cheap and it can easily look cheap too. I beg to differ. You can easily look like Downton Abbey’s Lady Mary or anybody from The Great Gatsby by shopping second-hand.
My husband goes to a university where they often have fancy evening parties, which means that I have to have fancy evening gowns to go to these parties. Oh what a shame! (please read that in a sarcastic tone) My second-hand addiction works perfectly with this, because there’s a lot of second-hand evening wear; people don’t normally wear their evening gowns more than once or twice, and they’re pretty expensive, so people want to get some money back from them by selling them. The most sustainable choice is to rent evening wear, but if you want to buy a second-hand evening gown, that’s easy to do. The reason I decided to buy my dresses was that they were actually cheaper than rented dresses and I’m planning on wearing these dresses in the future as well. All my friends are also welcome to borrow these dresses if they want.
Second-hand evening wear can be found online, on forums and Facebook pages etc. Vintage stores are another sure place to find gowns: both of the dresses in this post I bought from one of my favourite stores in Helsinki, Ruutu Rouva. I’ve also seen some evening gowns in regular second-hand stores like UFF and Fida.
This dress cost 100€ at Ruutu Rouva. It was quite expensive, but for an evening gown I didn’t think it was that much (and even my husband didn’t complain about the price!). What I love about this dress is the vibrant colour and the embellishment on the top. Another thing I love is that the dress is actually really comfortable (yes, evening gowns don’t have to be impractical and uncomfortable!). I don’t have to worry about my dress dropping down, because it has proper sleeves and I don’t have to worry about eating too much, because the dress is loose on the bottom. I’m also hoping this dress will last me for some time, because it can fit so many sizes. So even if I gain weight, I’ll still be able to fit into this dress quite easily!
I also really like the back on this dress. It’s not only pretty, but the stretch on the back is comfortable and makes it possible for different sized people to wear this.
And thank you to my friend Dunja for the lovely hair! It’s a miracle she could get my short hair up.
This dress I bought for a ball last year. It only cost 50€ at Ruutu Rouva. This is really easy to accessorise with belts or jewellery, because it’s such a simple dress. That means that I can wear it to many events and make it look a bit like a new dress each time.
The bag is second-hand, probably from UFF. I’ve had it for so long I don’t even remember where it’s from, but I am sure it’s second-hand. The gloves are also from Ruutu Rouva. I bought them already five years ago (wow time flies…) for the Finnish equivalent of prom, Vanhojen tanssit. My dress for Vanhat wasn’t second-hand, but at least it was rather ethically put together… aka. my mom made it for me. And I at least didn’t hear her complain about bad working conditions or too long work hours! I love you, mom!
Even my wedding dress was used, and I could have written about it in this post, but I think our wedding deserves it’s own post, because there were so many recycled things that I used. (Yes, singular ‘I’, because, come on, my husband didn’t really work on the decorations or anything…)
Photos: Valtteri Lehti