By Charlotte McCollum
Photography by Manjot Arora
Charlotte is a student from the UK passionate about sustainable fashion who runs @bloggingwithbinks - a sustainable fashion page on Instagram.
If I’ve learnt anything from charity shopping, it's to buy the item's that you want as soon as you see them- because they won’t be there for long.
This zebra print puffer confirmed my unhealthy relationship with clothes. I've always known I have had a problem with buying clothes, but it was when I started dreaming about coats that I knew I had to address this.
I first saw the zebra print coat when browsing local charity shops in town. I locked eyes with the print and instantly fell in love with it, and it was mine until… I saw the price. It was £10! Now you may be thinking £10 is really not much and I’m aware that it isn’t … but as a student, every penny counts, and I didn’t need it anyways. I already had a puffer coat, it had a bold print that might not go with much in my wardrobe, and again, I didn’t need it. I walked away with my head held high, along with a newfound sense of self control.
This didn't last long.
I thought to myself: £10 is a good price for a puffer coat- and the money goes to charity! It would also look SO good with my black boots. Not only did I realize I need to work on the intensely materialistic part of me, but also that I needed that coat. Luckily, I was meeting my friend in town the next day. I confessed my fixation to her and raced to the charity shop, desperate to be reunited with the perfect zebra print coat. It was closed, and my heart sank. I genuinely could not stop thinking about this coat and had even told multiple people about my obsession. It was mine! No one else could have this coat but me.
This has happened to me so many times: the blessing of the charity shop is a curse in disguise. My favorite thing about charity shopping is finding items that no one else has, one offs that I can give a second chance and style into something unique to me. However, this means the good stuff GOES. I can’t count how many times I have told myself "no" only to go back and to discover it’s been snapped up. This was exactly the fate that I had feared for my zebra print coat. I should have just bought it when I saw it and saved myself rumination.
To make a long story short, I heard my housemate was in town, so I called her up and asked her to buy it for me before anyone else got their hands on it. (Thank you again Immie!) Yes, I am ashamed of this. It’s a coat. A COAT. But no one else could have it. I wanted to be unique, and to turn heads.
I saw two people in that same coat one week later. I had failed to consider is how trendy animal print is these days. It is originally from H&M and is currently on sale if any of you reading are interested, but just know that I got it for £13 less than the sale price.