My Complicated Relationship with Hand-Me-Downs



Let’s talk about hand-me-downs…Do you have older siblings? Or older friends that used to give you their used clothes? I have two older brothers, and growing up, it seemed like I never got any girl clothing items of my own. Instead, I always received “gifts” that consisted of old gross boy items. Obviously I did have some girl clothes, but it sure didn’t feel like it…and I loved being dramatic about how much I hated hand-me-downs. Sound familiar?


I went to a private middle school and wore a uniform for years. Not just any uniform, but the old khaki pants and navy polos of my brothers, which were entirely too big for me. Looking back I get it; even then I understood it, I just didn’t want to admit it—obviously there was no reason for my parents to buy me a new uniform when my brothers’ old ones were perfectly wearable, albeit for males. Don’t tell my parents though, I can’t admit they were right. 😉

Every Friday at school, we were allowed to wear jeans and a school spirit t-shirt. There was a lot of scandal revolving around girls wearing too tight of skinny jeans, and the school tried to find a way to end this licentious practice. I guess they didn’t have a better way to spend their time! Haha. Anyway, I strolled into my health class one Friday with every other girl, but I was wearing male Levis whereas my peers wore painted-on navy jeggings from Forever 21. I kid you not when I say I could fit three of my legs into one of my own denim pant legs. I was bringing back mom jeans before it was even a trend. 

Our health teacher was quite the character, and she enjoyed being a stickler for the rules. So when she called all of the girls out into the hall that day, we knew something was up. She guided us to the nearby staircase. She asked us all to take a seat on the steps, using her soft yet serious voice, and then began speaking about the jean situation. However, she didn’t get very far before taking one look at me and examining my pants. After what seemed like a light chuckle, she said, “Grace, you can go back inside.”

I went back to the classroom and was bombarded by questions from the boys: “What’s happening out there?” “Are they in trouble?” “What’s she saying?” All I knew was that I was comfy in the classroom not being reprimanded, instead chilling with the boys in my baggy boy pants, without a care in the world.


Believe it or not, that’s not the only amusing hand-me-down story in my bank (and they’re all certainly much better when I deliver them in person). I’ll save those anecdotes for another day, though.

Fortunately things turned around for me in high school. A dress code versus a uniform at my new school meant my mom finally had to take me shopping! I felt beyond ecstatic. I like to think that’s when my true fashion sense was born and why I’m so into it now. It was suppressed for so many years, buried in oversized clothes that I hated wearing. When I could finally wear my own clothes, my style blossomed like a spring flower (and yes, I wrote that with a dramatic, sarcastic voice).

The summer I started this blog, my brother’s girlfriend decided to clean out her closet and brought a bunch of the items to me. Man, was I excited! Hand-me-downs had a whole new meaning when they came from a girl. It was like going shopping without having to pay! Who doesn’t love free clothes?! Now, when you see me list an item as a hand-me-down on the blog, it probably came from that magical gift bag of my brother’s girlfriend. With one exception: the summery orange tank top I’m wearing today. This top is actually a hand-me-down from my mom, vintage Victoria’s Secret. If you know me then you know I love polka-dots, so I naturally love this shirt. Maybe hand-me-downs aren’t so bad after all. I guess it all comes full circle. 🙂


What do you think about hand-me-downs? Still hate them or starting to see the light? I’m super curious to hear your thoughts (and funny stories).

Hope you’re having a great start to your week!


Miles of smiles,



Polka-Dot Camisole: hand-me-down, originally form Victoria’s Secret // Green Military Jacket: Nordstrom Rack, $30 // Grey Maxi Skirt: Nordstrom Rack, $20 // Brown Bedazzled Sandals: DSW, $19 

6 comments on “My Complicated Relationship with Hand-Me-Downs”

  1. I remember that! The one of two years we were in the same class. Mrs. G’s such a legend😂

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