Vintage shops: The island upon which this aspiring minimalist crashed her ship

My shopping ban had left allowances for things that ran out or broke. With a few exceptions (jeans, undies, socks), I usually don’t wear out clothes. As until recently, I acquired new clothes at a rather constant pace, I hadn’t really noticed major signs of wear on most of my garments before moving onto something shiny and new.

However, with my strict packing for Stockholm (my two-week outfit rotation), I have become very familiar with each item I own here, and there were a few items that were starting to get a little worse for wear.


  1. My favourite cardigan has sprung a leak. I loved the dorky elbow patch design, but apparently, I have been not aligning the elbow patches correctly, as there is now a hole right beside the patch. Tragic.
  2. A relatively recent purchase – a staple navy and white striped tee that unfortunately absorbed a lot of the wine that I was carrying in my luggage from Italy to Sweden. My attempts at saving it proved no match for the ferocity of the red wine.
  3. My eyeball shirt. A fancy-ish silk shirt I would wear, famous for being my go-to first date shirt, but also a standard work top. It has seen many wears (and I realize it should have only handwashed/dry cleaned, but it definitely has gone for more than one spin around the washing machine. It has taken on a greying, pilling look that I can no longer ignore, and is now being re-purposed as some embroidery backing (sassy crafts coming up!).

To deal with these three resignations from my wardrobe, I decided I would try to find these things in vintage shops, which aligns with my desires to create less waste by buying secondhand and trying to skew towards well-made garments instead of fast-fashion fixes.

I had almost forgotten what wonderfully dangerous places second-hand stores can be. They are the most frustrating when you are looking for something really specific (for example, a dark tan cardigan) but on the flip side, there are so many strange and wonderful things that my brain explodes with delight. So many options! So many colours! [Weeeeeeee! Sensory overload!]

The Awkward Yeti: Brain and Heart

After a very frustrating time trying to focus specifically on getting a tan cardigan with no luck, I decided I could purchase a new cardi, as this sort of staple is not what vintage shops excel in, and focus on getting something strange, beautiful, and well-made to replace my tops.  And I found two GEMS! These beauties are lovely fabric, well made, have SHOULDER PADS (although, one might be too generous in the shoulder pad endowment and I may end up removing them. Still undecided). In short, they are everything I could have dreamed of.


I nearly made it through the wilderness without falling prey to the allure of old-man sweater crop tops or the metallic jewel-toned fanny packs. However, the danger of a vintage store is that despite your firm resolve, a beguiling voice may beacon you to the island of Anthemoessa, where you crash your minimalist ships on the rocky shore. From the corner of the shop, I could hear an enchanting siren call of a purple and mustard wool cape. It is a total babe, and as I hopped on my Stockholm-style cruiser bike, I knew that even if I broke my shopping ban a bit, I was living my best possible Nordic life. And I happily rode off into the sunset, cape beautifully fluttering in the wind, heart full of joy. dsc_9876As I am 1/2 way through my zero(ish) waste challenge, and my shopping ban is plodding along, I will do a more fulsome update soon.




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