Oxfam’s Second Hand September Challenge

We’re almost at the end of September and I’ve pledged not to buy any new clothes for a month as part of the Second Hand September challenge.

It’s not the first time I’ve done a “no new clothes” challenge, I did one way back in 2014 and when I was doing my Master’s, I didn’t buy any new clothes for several months as I was broke!

This year, I’ve seen a lot of people doing No Buy July and I almost made it through the month until I caved and bought a little top from Bershka.

I decided to stick to Second Hand September but I had one small problem – going on holidays!

Last year, I didn’t buy any new clothes for my holidays in Barcelona but I picked up a few high street pieces while I was there. Now, I’m not going to guilt-trip myself over that as it was just two things which are still in my wardrobe.

Wearing an all second-hand outfit in Lisbon

This year, I again refrained from buying new holiday clothes but I freshened up my holiday wardrobe with pieces such as this Beatles t-shirt which I got for €3 in the Irish Cancer Society charity shop with my denim shorts from the Kilo Store in Amsterdam.

My belt is also second-hand, €1 from the Respect shop in Stoneybatter.

Beatles t-shirt and vintage shorts

Another outfit I rewore on holidays was my green River Island dress, also a second-hand bargain from the Irish Deaf Society shop in Phibsborough.

Ignore the crazy hair

While in Lisbon this year, I initially avoided going into the shops but eventually I went for a look around.

There was a t-shirt I was obsessed with in Brandy Melville (a shop for teens really, everything was a size 0) but I tried it on and although it was nice, it didn’t fit great so I no longer wanted it after that!

Green River Island dress from a charity shop

To my credit, I managed to browse all of the high street stores without buying anything other than some jewellery.

I was going to buy some bras which I really needed but the store’s card machine was down as were all the nearby ATMs so I took that as a sign!

But I still managed to find some new wardrobe additions as I’d researched the vintage and secondhand options before visiting Lisbon.

My best find was probably this lovely scarf print skirt for €15 in the Feira Da Ladra flea market.

I probably could have gotten it for less by haggling but tbh, I’m not much of a haggler, especially if I have to do it in Portuguese!

Scarf print skirt
Scarf print skirt

When I got home, the weather was still lovely so I paired it with my white Reeboks, a white crop top and a real suede Mango jacket that I found in the Debra Ireland charity shop in Phibsborough for about €10.

I’m a big fan of scarf print and I’d been tempted to buy similar skirts from Zara or Aliexpress earlier this year.

The best thing about this skirt is it’s really versatile and can be worn to a special occasion, work or a casual day out.


Scarf print skirt from the Feira Da Ladra market
My scarf print skirt

I also picked up a vintage dress in Retro City Lisboa, a renowned vintage shop that was very close to our Airbnb.

This is a size 12 dress but fits more like a 10. It’s really pretty and I may wear it to an upcoming wedding.

It was marked €20 but they only charged €18.

I also discovered a chain of charity shops called Humana where I thrifted a patchwork denim Zara skirt. This was €10 but still had a Zara tag for €19.99 on it.

The stock in Humana was very summery and not as cheap as you’d find at home, a lot of stuff was under €10 but not as much around the €5 mark.

I did spot a really cool Lacoste bag for €20 but I don’t need any more bags right now! If you are in Lisbon, it’s well worth checking out the Humana stores and they are in other European cities also.

Aside from Belgium, I’ve never actually found a charity shop abroad until now (I clearly hadn’t been looking that hard!)

With just two days left, I’m confident of making it through Second Hand September and I’m proud of myself for taking on this small challenge. There were times when I really wanted to buy new items but I managed to remind myself of how much stuff I already own and also the fact that I’ll be moving house in a few months.

Wearing my suede thrifted jacket and scarf print skirt

One month without buying fast fashion is really not a big sacrifice and I would encourage anyone to give it a go.

And even though September is nearly over, you can still take part by signing up here.

Oxfam will email you some tips and inspiration along the way if you’re struggling!

Have you taken part in Second Hand September or a similar challenge? I’d love to hear your thoughts, drop me a comment below by clicking on the grey speech bubble icon below on the right.

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