I cannot speak for Europe, but North America is cultivating a disposable society that I find sickening. If something breaks then we throw it out. If something gets a tear in it, we throw it out. A stain? Toss it or maybe donate it to the Salvation Army if we think they won’t notice. If anything (except our car) seems to develop a problem, we are less interested in investing the time and effort to fix what we have than we are in finding a place to dump it and getting a replacement.
The disposable society.
I am not sure where the mindset ‘new is better’ came from, but I was most certainly raised with that thought pattern and I know many people who were. However, I was not a child who got new. Most of my toys and clothing came from garage sales or Goodwill because that is what we could afford until I hit my teenage years. Anything new was to be treasured: it was an unusual and rare item.
It is hard not to buy into new is better. Even now, I find myself slipping into that mentality on occasion. Why buy a used CD when I can purchase the new one (for just a few more dollars), and no one has used it? There is an undertone of greed in the desire for new. It is not just the desire for something that does not require effort to fix; it is the desire for something that no one else has ever owned. It is all mine, my precious. It becomes very Gollum in a hurry. New and greed seem like pretty close relatives when I watch people become obsessed with the newest and often the best. If a friend recoils at the thought of buying a gently used shirt or iPad, I wonder if we are back in the sandbox and someone is yelling COOTIES at the top of their lungs. Seriously, what exactly is wrong with buying used? So you are not the first, the #1, the supreme owner of that item. So they have had another before you. If you are the type of person who must have everything new, then are you also the type of person that expects all your girlfriends/boyfriends to be virgins?
I know all the counter arguments to buying used as well. It could be damaged. They could be lying about condition. If they are getting rid of it, there must be something wrong. Someone could have been murdered in it! The reasons not to buy used are all based on lack of trust. I have read many articles about the undermining of trust based societies and how we can take steps to restore trust. One of those ways is to both buy, and sell, used goods in an honest manner. Yes, do your due diligence when buying used items and yes, get all the information you can to make an informed decision and yes, do your own research. However, not participating in societal interactions that require a certain amount of trust is not going to help increase the level of trust within society. You cannot just remove yourself from the equation and say “I hope people become more trustworthy” when you, yourself, refuse to participate in that. Trustworthy people necessitate people to trust them: it is a circle.
This post is somewhat about two things when I think of it:
- We need to fix what we have as long as it is viable to do so and still serves a purpose in our lives. This is what I like to call good stewardship.
- We need to be willing to buy used goods in order to give them a second life and keep them out of landfills. Many used items have a lot of life left in them; they just need a new home.
Here I am blathering on about a disposable society on a lingerie blog: how does this all relate? I actually consider the disposable nature of lingerie each day. Because women’s bodies change so often, bra size can change frequently and form fitting lingerie like bodysuits and such may no longer be wearable. I also, often, consider the most disposable piece of lingerie of all: underwear. While little can be done for the millions of underwear thrown into landfills, we can do something about the rest of the lingerie.
I highly recommend finding a good tailor if you have no sewing skills of your own. In the end, it might be cheaper to take a course on sewing and buy a sewing machine, but that depends upon your success in the course. Upon finding a tailor, you will want to test their skills on a few pieces before they work on your more delicate pieces. With a good tailor, you can get lingerie taken in, straps fixed, and seams repaired. Other alterations and repairs may be possible as well. While many tailors will work with leather, you may want to seek out a leather worker specifically to alter body harnesses or other leather pieces. Most leather is repairable if damaged, so seeking out someone knowledgeable with leather would be ideal if you have several pieces.
A stain, ah, these are the bane of my existence. I really suck at getting stains out of my clothing (and I have an ink stain on a purse that is driving me batty right now) so I am NOT the one to ask for this advice. I have a stain removing stick that does well on blood but with pen and oil stains, I am still at a loss. Help?
If you have bras that you no longer wear in good condition, then I suggest contacting Free The Girls. Through them, you can donate your old bras. You can also sell or trade your bras through various avenues available in your specific country. In Canada I suggest:
I have never tried Bratabase, but I have heard about it. For those looking to buy, I also suggest shopping on Etsy (vintage), eBay, Bratabase, TrendTrunk, and the sale pages of your favourite bloggers. I was inspired by Undiegamer’s sale page to create my own, which you can find here. If you have any other suggestions for buying used or pre-owned, I would love to hear them! If you also have a lingerie blog sale page, feel free to add it in the comments!
One of my greatest pet peeves is throwing something out. Whether it is food gone bad (how I hate that), clothing, or a broken cup. Most goods are mass-produced these days and I refuse to be a mass consumer that just inhales sales and shits out stained shirts, ill-fitting bras, electronic cables, used batteries, and spoiled food.
I want what I buy to MATTER to me.
I want to take care of it BECAUSE it matters to me.
I want it to last a long time because I TAKE CARE OF IT.
I think that sounds good.