Wake me up when September ends…
It’s a few months since my last Charity Shop Fashion haul – a combination of ethical lingerie expense and the lack of someone to take pictures of me in my fabulous finds has made me a little shy of putting forward a full edit. However the monthly style view from the #Ethical366 is back – with my very own photographic tribute to Mumblecore Cinema – lo fi selfie style.
I tripped over a Laura Ashley AW 16 picture story on Facebook which had a nod to the 70s and Victoriana which I absolutely loved. I loved the looks and it was inspirational. High collars, gorgeous detailing, luxe fabrics and rich dark colours temporarily stunned me out of summer and made me look forward to winter. I longed for a cosy but chic Curiosity Shop style. So with that image in mind I set out into the local charity shop to see if I could recreate it under budget and second hand.
It’s a common belief that the only things you will find in charity shops are last season’s cast offs. This can be, to some extent, true. It’s also becoming a bit tedious as, due to the ephemeral nature of fast fashion, the racks of many charity shops is filling up fast with last season’s Primark rejects. This thrift shopping malarkey is not necessarily easy. There’s never the option to try something on in a different size and the racks are often bafflingly overstuffed with things of low quality that you might not be interested in.
I’ve managed to bring together my own technique for dealing with the rack problem. I’m never going to spend large amounts of my precious time sifting through each item in considered evaluation, I simply don’t have it. I have a two step system – touch and taste…
Now this does not EVER involve me licking, chewing or in any other way masticating my way through donated apparel. The two step system works because I literally feel my way through racks – I run my fingers along the tops of hangars and through the drop of garments until I find something I like the sensation of against my skin. When my touchy-feely instincts are activated – most often it has to be said by silk (pro tip – there is an actual crapload of silk in almost every charity shop) I grab the item and move onto stage two – taste.
Again this is not the point that my tongue gets involved, licking has no place in shopping (barring the French idiom for window shopping – lèche-vitrines – literally to lick windows). This test is – do I like it, would I wear it, is it my style? Any of these are a no then it’s not happening, back in the rack. The whole test takes mere seconds – I don’t spend hours in charity shops believe me – and I’m still able to cream the best from them.
This month definitely benefited from this practiced skill – and there is silk, lace and wonderment.
First up – I’ve missed my skinny jeans for so long – they needed replacing. Imagine how delighted I was to find a pair of black Biba skinny jeans in the RSPCA (Chiltern Branch) for just £1.75 – hilariously reduced from £3.50! The RSPCA also offered up a £5 Country Casuals jacket in a sort of tweedy-velour, with a stunning lining. Rifling through I also found the perfect Victoriana style Per Una black lace detailed blouse for a mere £4.75.
I then popped into Oxfam where I felt my way through to my find of the month – the stunning and luxurious green silk LK Bennett top featured in the picture at the top of the piece. Worth every penny of the £7.99 I paid for it.
The one gripe about this month was that I found nothing inspiring in the charity shops to pop on my pads. With my ethical principles in mind I popped into my favourite, friendly local vintage store – Curious Minds Vintage – and was thrilled to find a pair of sparkly, brand new Fiore boots for a tiny £3. Admittedly these bad boys are not going to see me through the winter but they are a bit of fun and are getting a second chance to be worn. I also treated myself to a £5 pair of awesome snake earrings ( although as accessories they don’t form part of my £26 a month #Ethical366 budget – see The Ground Rules here).
So what’s the damage this month? £22.49 – £3.51 under budget to roll forward into October!!
- Do you like what you see? Any style theme ideas for the October edit? Any tips about charity shopping you need to know? Comment or tweet me up at @RubiesB4Swine