Wovember: about 100% wool & being green, fashionable and thrifty

Had I not had the flu big time earlier this month, I would have made this post earlier in the month. How I love Wovember: a whole month of celebrating and promoting 100% wool. So much to read, enjoy and learn! And I see the nicest post too everywhere in the blogosphere, especially amongst the knitters and weavers, crocheters.

Well, I am finally joining in. Not about knitting this time. But about 100% wool clothes. I love clothes and I love to have a lot of clothes so I can dress properly for every occasion. I do not necessarily follow the latest fashions but I do like to express myself, my style through my clothes.  And I love good quality clothes, and 100% wool garments make me very happy. When taken care of with TLC, they practically last forever.

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To create a wardrobe to my desire is a delightful challenge since I measure a generous 6 foot+  and I prefer skirts and dresses. So I am always on the look out for new additions to my wardrobe because the rule is: if it fits, it’s mine!  “And it will cost a pretty penny! ” you might add. What is a frugal Dutch girl to do? A simple solution: she shops second hand!

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When I was a student, living on a tight budget and faced with a diminishing  wardrobe ( oh horror)  I discovered the noble art of second hand shopping. My fellow frugal fashionistas took me by the hand and taught me how to sniff out the quality garments in mint condition at flea markets, thrift stores, consignment stores etc. And I have never stopped doing this.

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There is also another component to this. To shop second hand is green! Textile waste is a serious matter. In the US alone a shocking 25 million pound of textile waste is produced each year and only 15% is reused or recycled. And I am so happy with all the women who were bored with their outfits, sold or donated them instead of throwing them out!

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So all the clothes you see here, showed by Sally, my faithful 1960 dress doll, are 100% wool, in perfect condition bought second hand. Two tweed skirts, two jumper dresses, a turtle neck , a jacket and a coat, all 100%wool, for about $100.- (including dry cleaning for the jacket , coat and the grey jumper dress) Not bad, right?

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The red coat has a funny story to it. It was brought in at a church sale, the tickets were still on it, it was never worn. All the ladies who organized the sale tried it on but alas nobody was a match. “You have to be skinny giantess for this one, does a woman like that exist?” One of them exclaimed. And at exactly that moment I walked in and got everybody laughing…and they sold the coat to me for a ridiculous $3.- ( I did leave a generous extra for their fundraiser..)

The coat is from the 1980’s so you see that indeed 100% wool will last forever. I made new buttons, took the shoulder fillings out and shortened it. Tadaa….


And with all that frugalness I could afford these cute boots and the delightful 100% merino tights that will keep my legs nice and warm when hiking in winter!

Wovember viert en promoot elk jaar de hele maand November alles wat met 100% wol te maken heeft. Ik geniet daar bijzonder van en ook van alle posts die mede bloggers maken. Ik had al eerder ingehaakt als ik maar niet geveld was door een hele gemene griep! Maar goed, hier zijn we dan: al deze kleren zijn 100% wol en gekocht tweedehands voor pietluttige prijzen ;o) En dat is heerlijk voor iemand zoals ik die heel veel van kleren houdt, het is een fantastische manier van hergebruik!

Love and Liefs, Johanna

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91 thoughts on “Wovember: about 100% wool & being green, fashionable and thrifty

    • We are all beautiful women!!! I see your face and it is beautiful!! Tall, short, skinny, voluptueus..we all have our beauty. I do not care for the standard model and the way we are supposed to ‘obbey the rules’. But I do love your compliment on my coat ;o) xoxoxox Johanna

    • Excellent, more for me I’d say ;0) Thrifts stores, flea markets…my hunting grounds! For furniture, kitchenalia, clothes…but I am not a hoarder. When something comes into the house, something goes out again! And well…buy 100% wool the next time, and you never wear rags again! xo Johanna

  1. My dogs always get in my selfies too. I love your wardrobe and its nice simplicity. I’m a clothes horse too, not quite as tall and slender as you, but my motto is if I love it and it fits well, buy it. Especially if it’s on sale. N.

  2. Such beautiful clothes, Johanna! Very inspiring. For quite a while, I have wanted to check out a Goodwill Store in a “Fat Cat” town. I’ve heard there are wonderful clothes there. After reading your post, I just might do so in a couple of weeks.

    • Oh I wish I was in Maine…we could have gone together. I do hope, you like it. It’s not everybody’s cup of tea but I like to do ‘my rounds’ from time to time. Sometimes I come home happy…sometimes empty handed. But that counts for any kind of shopping right? My youngest always says:” it is 90% useless stuff, but mom manages to fish out the pretty 10%” ..doesn” mean he wants to join me;0)

  3. Back in 2008 when the stock market fell through the floor, local consignment shops popped up everywhere. at that time, Goodwill and Salvation Army donation and resale stores were not very nice places. After the downturn, both Goodwill and Salvation Army built new stores and they now resemble a nice, clean discount store. When you stop there to donate or look around, there are usually more cars in the lot than at other stores. People have figured out what you have – it is good to recycle and repurpose AND there are some wonderful bargains to be had. You made a haul. 🙂

    • I have always loved shopping second hand…for clothes, furniture, kitchenalia. I collect certain kind of Royal Copley and Haeger…which you can buy plenty of Ebay. But that’s no fun! It is the hunt, to unearth the one piece amongst the (wrong) kitch. I do agree that thrift stores and the likes have become nicer. Crisis and an interest in recycling/reusing has done that indeed. And I ma sure happy with my haul ;o)

  4. Oh I wish I had the patience! But I do buy wool and you are right. It ames hard wear. You told me the story of your coat and I love the way you updated it! It is fabulous! And so is your selfie!

  5. Glad to hear you have recovered from the flu and you are keeping warm in wool. Wovember is a brilliant idea. Love your style! I don’t wear much wool anymore but if I do it is New Zealand merino, from an outlet store or a thrift shop. 🙂

  6. I’ve never had a red coat but YOUR red coat is fabulous. Shortening it made so much difference, from dumpy to devine!

    I grew up buying from second-hand shops, so this is not new to me. (No pun intended.) I also wore a lot of hand-me-downs from both older sisters AND brothers. Once I grew up and could afford new clothes, I mostly bought new. But I don’t have anything against used — the gloves I wear most often now are horrible, ugly, stretchy black gloves with football plays designed on the palms. They were my son’s when he was little, and I get a kick out of wearing them when going for a walk or to the grocery.

    Thanks for the Wovember pictures and for reminding us of all the clothing waste that goes into landfills. This is a really big story and I’ve read quite a lot about it.

    • I am the youngest, so yes hand me downs galore ;0) I do buy new clothes as well…but since I like good clothes and a lot of clothes ..I can have more within my budget ;o) And I never had a red coat before either..might not thought about it but since it was a marvelous fit and only $3.-…..

      • I am also the youngest! And yes, familiar with hand-me-downs as well. 🙂 My mom taught me how to shop for quality second-hand items from a young age. I sometimes buy new as well (and so does my mom, actually), but it’s good to have both options. I have to say, the second-hand habit has really helped the adult me get ahead. Take care!

  7. Hi Johanna, sorry to hear you’ve been down with the flue. Sounded like a dosie. I’m really loving all your stylish and classic bargains, especially the red coat. What a great story! $3.00 !! Omgosh, talk about ‘the right place at the right time’. You look stunning in it! I also love seeing Miss Charley in the background too, I’ve been missing you both.

    I’ve never been able to wear wool well. I had a ‘cool’ wool suit that was very posh. I could only wear it on the coldest days because if I got even a wee bit hot, it was unbearable. It’s not too lady like to scratch yourself silly at the office.

    Work is very busy, as it is for most retail folks during the holiday shopping season. I hope I can come back soon to read all your news. xo love and hugs K

    • Hey Dear Kelly, thank you for your kind compliments. Charley was actually insulted because I forgot she has a red coat too…i will have Mr. walker take a proper photo of us;0) And yes..the fun gets out of a posh wool suit when hot and scratchy: too bad!!!
      take care my dear, it is indeed the busy time of the year for you. I hope, you will have plenty of time for tea with your feet up ( in those pretty new shoes;o)) xo Johanna

  8. We’re great fans of both 100% wool and second hand shopping. The thrill of snaffling a bargain ($3 for your gorgeous coat!!!) is unbeatable and you don’t have to go around looking like everyone else. 🙂

    • Fat chance to look like everyone else when measuring 6 feet+ ;0) however, I never minded one bit. except when I had my mandatory ballroom dance lessons at 14 years old…I refused stubbornly to dance with a boy shorter than me! In the Walker household btw, I am the shortest…my sons actually call me shorty;0) I hope, that one day, you and I will go shopping together! xo Johanna

      • Would love to ! And best of all, there’s no way we’d squabble over the same bargains: at just over 5 ft I’m pretty sure we’d be looking on different racks 🙂 x

  9. Your are adorable in your selfie! I love how you altered your coat and it has a hood! In fact I love that you are a fan of second hand, I am too. It affords me things that I could not buy the first time around. You did really well and Sally does a great job posing for you!

  10. So glad you’re well. Amazing thrifty wool finds. Bravo. I took apart a woolly jumper and handmade two handbags and hats. I love thrifting for textiles. We waste so much in the fashion area. Reclaiming textiles can help in many ways. Thank you for sharing~cheers 😀

  11. I always feel so sorry for the people who say they can’t wear wool because it’s too itchy or they are allergic. Wool is absolutely one of the reasons I love living in the northeast! And of the clothing items I remember over my life that I haveloved and lost–they are all wool. I miss the Harris tweed jacket, the Pendleton coat, that first Irish fisherman knit . . . Hold on tight to that perfect red wool coat (and sweet Charley!)

    • You are so right Kerry, I could not live in a place without winters and the warm winter clothes is one of those reasons. Just the feel of snuggling up in lovely sweater or a good coat indeed. And I know the feeling..I am safekeeping a number of clothes that have special meaning to me: my sweater I wore for 15 years in night shifts as a nurse, a dress my husband bought for me and indeed a Harris Tweed vest, already 25 years old…still perfect. As you can see, the rule: “something in, something goes out” does not apply to my wardrobe ;0) Hugs and kisses from Charley too!

  12. A selfie without Charley,it would be no selfie … What a beautiful red coat for the beautiful lady who has a lovely dog.It is not only Anton Chekhov who wrote stories :”The Lady with the Dog” by Anton Chekhov.Glad the flu has gone,dear Johanna!Hugs,Doda xxx

    • Charley agrees, Doda!! And thank goodness, I do not resemble Anna in any way…I am very happy with Mr. Walker and always walk Charley with him and only him ;o) But both Charley and I love your compliments, my ears are still flapping with joy;o) xo Johanna

      • Oh,silly me,I thought it was you,probably in an older photo,I must have read your post rather superficially;who is Anna?I am confused now,dear Johanna,sorry about it my friend.

      • Haha, Doda, too much confusion indeed! let me explain: you referred to “The Lady With The Dog” by Chekhov…That Lady her name is Anna and she starts an adulterous affair with Dmitri since both feel so unhappy in their own marriages. I feel fortunate to be indeed a Lady with Dog without resembling the unhappy Anna but instead lovingly walking with my own Mr. Walker. Do not be sorry..you are Greek ,speaking English, I am Dutch speaking English…the world is already confusing enough without all those different languages. Best have a sense of humor about it. With all my love and a big cuddle from Charley, xo Johanna

  13. Great finds Johanna! I also love hunting through second hand shops and especially car boot sales for bargains. It’s amazing the amount of good quality things people want to get rid of. I always like to recycle my unwanted clothes at charity shops too (unless they have worn through…). The other benefit of second hand clothes is that you are less likely to be wearing the same stuff as everyone else. You and Charley look great by the way.

    • Thank you Sarah, great to meet a kindred spirit in second hand shopping! And you are right, it is easier to pursuit a personal style when shopping second hand because I am more focused on finding the things ‘on my list’ instead of of just browsing (I suspect this is how it works ;))) Or maybe, shopping ‘green’ makes me more critical if what I buy, is indeed something I need ( but I always need clothes…) And thank for your nice compliment for both Charley and myself xo Johanna

  14. Lovely post Johanna! I love pure wool but I can’t wear it next to my skin – I have non-wool scarves to wear with my purple wool coat. I laughed at your story of how you got your beautiful red coat. The ladies hoping a skinny giantess would walk in and there you were! You have altered it so well – you are so talented!

  15. Hi Johanna. I used to shop thrift stores regularly. Haven’t in a couple years, but you’ve inspired me to go thrifting again.
    I like ALL of he garments that you shared with us! They all have that timeless quality. You could wear them in ten years and they would still look smart. I especially love that beautiful coat. (Must’ve been costly even in the 80’s) And all the wool!!! Love all the wool, but unfortunately I can’t wear it because it makes me so itchy.
    Next time I must shop with you!

  16. Thank you so much for the clarification and for your reference to the characters of Chekhov’s story.All is sorted out,loved that big cuddle from Charley and I send right away back many warm hugs 🙂 Happy Friday & weekend,dear Johanna ~ Many thanks for your friendship 🙂 xxx

  17. You look so cute and gorgeous in your red coat! And I love your passion for wool. I think one of the joys of winter is having real wool sweaters and skirts. Wool is so warm and natural. As a child I always wore woollen tights and clothes and had a woollen coat for winter. Now not so many people seem to care or even look at the labels in their clothes to read the fabric content.
    Like you, I grew up buying clothes from charity shops. I started when I was at school and carried on! I have a big collection of vintage dresses, which I wear often.
    It was so lovely of you to take the time to share your beautiful clothes with us all. Thank you so much. Karen x

  18. What a fun, fun post!
    The style of these clothes appeals to me; your surely found some beautiful things.
    And that red coat! ❤
    (red is my favorite)

  19. Fabulous, Johanna. I really like those clothes. A good item bought second hand is worth much more than a new cheap one. I still have the beautiful blue blazer I bought more than two decades ago at the Oxfam store in London.

  20. Delightful post! Like you, I do most of my shopping second hand and will search high and low for quality fabrics like wool. I also like cotton, which is pretty scarce these days. Recently my dad went on ahead to heaven, leaving me to go through his things. One of the things I will cherish is a wool shirt he had for as long as I can remember. I’m 52, so that shirt is really old! Only a little frayed at the cuff, I expect it will out live me as well.

    • Thank you for your kind comment. I am sorry to hear about your father. I have a few clothing items myself that keep and cherish because of the memories connected with it. wishing you a wonderful weekend, xo Johanna

  21. Lookin’ good, Johanna… both you and Sally! So fun to hear you were in the right place at the right time to get just the right coat! Cute idea to pose for a proper red coat portrait of you and Charley and hope to see that, sometime 🙂 ♥ ❤

  22. Very nice wardrobe indeed! I love charity shops and… eBay! Everything I buy is second hand 🙂 even Xmas pressies 🙂 hand made or second hand! Although when I find 100 % wool clothes it’s like finding a treasure! I don’t always find 100% wool garments that easily second hand… I often have to compromised with mixed fibres …

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