I started writing my blog last November and for the first time I have struggled with the subject matter. It has to be the weather as the normal subjects for this time of year just don’t apply – Hot Weather Dressing, The best Summer Maxis or Cool Comfort, will have to wait until we stop having inches of rain every day!
So after a sleepless night, (I started writing this at 3.26am) when a hot flush woke me up, I felt inspired to tell you about a favourite pastime, that my 17 year old daughter and I now love to do together,…..a few hours charity shop shopping. And yesterday we had a good one.
For teenagers, this is a great pastime. It gives them an affordable wardrobe, an eye for fashion outside the high street and a sense of their own style. My daughter is beginning to find her creativeness by trying on new ideas and daring herself to wear something different (not dictated just from Top Shop or Urban Outfitters) I love to see that. Yesterday she found, (and I paid for…) a yellow knit, £4.99, Zara dress, £6.99, and a long Warehouse skirt, £5.99. I also found a beautiful Noa Noa silk skirt to wear or create something, £4.99, so all for just over £20, from British Heart Foundation.
Over the years I have collected some real gems that I just haven’t found in stores, my favourite Hobbs Crombie style jacket, (£8) my adorable C&A vintage stripe maxi dress, (£15) and a Whistles silk printed dress, (£12), some worn a lot, some for specific parties. I recently found a Ghost silk lined dress, (£15) that I wore to an afternoon anniversary party. I love it…thank you to whoever passed it on.
Vintage fairs are also a great source of inspiration. I love this cotton skirt by 70’s label Miss Jeannie, £5, jersey shirt dress I found in the Lyme Regis beach front antique store, £12 and a stretch belt that I wear with everything.
Below are some of my second hand finds all under £15 each; a Paul Smith cardigan, silk Whistles dress and LK Bennett silk blouse. Obviously I love florals!
I know a lot of people struggle with buying second hand, and I understand it doesn’t work for all. I actually love the sense of past that an item has… I like the fact that it has history and a story to tell, and I would prefer buying this way than brand new from an over-sized store, as it’s off-trend and unlikely to be worn by someone else, making it more unique in my mind. I think that’s it, the item feels like an exclusive boutique buy as there was only one in the store, not multiples on a rail.
Jackets are also my passion; leather jacket was £20, Lyme Regis again, camel oversized coat (love) £15 and Jeager grey boxy number around £10.
Top tips to shopping in Charity, Pre loved, Second Hand establishments and Thrift Stores –
Patience. You do need to allow a good few hours. A slow meander over the rails will pay you back.
Don’t be specific. Be open to find something you like instead of a very specific item.
Go for better brands. It’s an easy way to buy higher priced brands that would add up full priced.
Selective. Sometimes it is easy to pick up a great item, but you still have to know you will wear it.
Feel for great fabrics. A great fabric usually means a better quality, check the label and wash instructions.
Check it over. Avoid anything with little holes, rips, broken zips.
Creative thinking. If I love a fabric, I will buy it to make into a cushion or clutch bag (at some point!).
Don’t be put off. Yes sometimes there is a musty smell, move past that, as easily washed out.
Unique homes items. Great places to find unique cocktail glasses and fun china plates.
Obviously saying all this, selectiveness is key. Blending items with high street and independent boutiques is all important, and yes that takes time. But when I find the opportunity, a few hours searching for a gem has become a real joy and time I really love spending with my daughter. We both get a little buzz from it.
If you find the time and want to explore your creativeness, just see what you can discover. You might get the bug.
Most of these images are from my Instagram account here.