After handing my son my phone so he could get busy with Angry Birds and leave me to my digging, I was ready for action. I'd had lunch, been to the toilet, done some stretches, I was ready to hit the designer clothing section. In my past trips to Recycle Boutique, I have snubbed the designer section, thinking 'Why should I pay so much for something that is second hand?' But if you do the math, it actually works out to be a better bargain than buying non label items second hand. Designer clothes are usually very well made. So if you can pick up a designer dress for $40.00 that is in good condition, you are doing much better than paying $20.00 for a poorly made no label dress.
After a good amount of rummaging I hadn't quite found what I was after: A classic dress, tidy and sleek, with a bit of a twist.
I started flicking through a stack of black dresses. Now I used to be all about the black. Yep, I must admit to being a teenage goth. Don't worry I have fully recovered from that affliction and can now confess to being a colour junkie. These days I rarely go for black. Especially with dresses. I am all about crazy candy colours that make you want to skip and giggle. But this time I thought, why not?
I ushered my Son into a change room and got to work. I quickly weeded out the good from bad and surprisingly managed to have quite a few goods and not many bads. It’s so bitter sweet when stuff looks good. Good for the self-esteem, bad for the wallet. Soon it came time to try on the Karen Walker number. On she went. And DAMN! She looked great. $60.00 though? Isn't that too much? I ummed and ahhed and then asked my Son what he thought. “You look gorgeous, Mum,” he said looking up from his game of angry birds. Oooh, I thought, he’s so sweet. Then my phone died, cutting short his game. All hell was about to break loose. I had to decide, and quick! So I bought the dress. And a few others, just to be safe.
I must say though. I purchased five designer items for $130.00. Not bad if you ask me! I was pretty thrilled with my loot. That was until the day before the fashion week party.
I pulled out my black Karen Walker dress to get it all ready for the night out. I flipped it inside out to find the washing instructions. This took me a while cus I couldn't seem to find them. Finally I found them on the back of the neck tag. That’s when I saw the three words that nobody ever likes to see. DRY CLEAN ONLY. Worst words ever. Okay maybe not ever. But worst words to read on an item of clothing anyway.
Thanks to my local drycleaner, my dress was cleaned and ready to wear within less than 24 hours. That’s what I call service!
The moral of the story is: When buying second hand designer clothing, read the label! If it is rayon or viscose it will usually need to be dry cleaned. It should say on the washing instructions. Don’t be tempted to hand wash your dry clean only items. Especially not viscose. I was tempted to, but after doing a bit of research I discovered that these items are likely to warp, shrink, run, or crease. So they will basically be ruined. If an item is dry clean only, you'll really want to calculate that into the equation when deciding whether to purchase it or not. $20.00 per clean is a lot of money. Especially if it’s a dress you’d go and dance up a storm in. Sweat stinks and stains.