I recently read this article about a woman called Caroline who has set herself the challenge of wearing charity shop clothes for a whole year. Her project is called Knickers, Model’s Own (in reference to those captions in magazines where they say things like “necklace, model’s own). Over the next year, she is only wearing charity shop clothes from Cancer Research UK, alongside her existing charity shop wardrobe – she’s not buying anything new. This is in homage to her mum who sadly died from cancer last year and used to volunteer in the local CRUK shop. Check out her facebook page here – she posts pictures every day of her outfits, and she has a justgiving fundraising page too.I think this is such a sweet idea, and she seems to have been drumming up some extra business for her local CRUK store with her own rail of specially selected items (shown above). I love charity shops and always have a nose around to find a bargain. I finally know what shape of clothes suits me, and therefore what to look for, and will always check out the dresses, tops and jeans first. I’ll then move onto skirts and other trousers. A lot of my books and craft stash comes from charity shops too. Here are some of my favourite charity shop purchases!
My mustard yellow jumpers and blazer – I LOVE mustard yellow clothes. They’re so bright and sunny to wear.
My stripy dress – pretty much every time I wear this dress, which cost me about £3, I get complemented how polished and put together I look.Bird print dress and jumper – anything with a pattern is good, especially if it is birds! The dress has a kind of robin print to it and the vintage jumper has a sequinned flying bird appliqué.My elephant print dress – I really love this vintage elephant print dress. The elastic waist has gone though, so I need to do some work on it to make it more wearable again. In the meantime, I have to rely on a belt to take it in a bit.and I’ve also has some great practical items, including a brand new running body warmer and my warm and waterproof Superdry ski coat.
What do you look out for in charity shops?
As I mentioned the other day, I have been given a big bag of fabrics, including this rather nice tulip print cotton.
I got some Simplicity “Jiffy” dress patterns from Habithat. The patterns were on sale, and they were posted very quickly – the whole website is worth a look, as there is so much choice! The “Jiffy” patterns are modern reworkings of vintage patterns, and I got a 1960s shift and a 1970s wrap. I think I’m going to use the tulips for the shift dress, and I should have enough left for a skirt as well.
I like vintage shape dresses, as they seem to suit my body shape, but I was particularly attracted to these patterns as they are supposed to be really simple. I’ll let you know how I get on with them! Does anyone have any other recommendation for easy dress or skirt patterns they have made successfully?
Last week I had to go to London for 2 days on a training course (hence over 4 hours of uninterrupted reading of Mrs Pettigrew). Since my training was in South Kensington, just round the corner from all the museums, I decided to treat myself to a trip to the V&A museum, which is my favourite museum in London. I had a nose around the glassware section and then ended up in the fashion section, where they have some new bits and pieces since the last time I visited. The best item was this beautiful polka dot dress, which was made in Paris in 1957. I first saw this dress at an exhibition a few years ago called “The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947–1957.” The exhibition had room after room of beautiful dresses, shoes, bags, underwear and accessories, and was absolutely fabulous. They even had a room full of the Queens couture outfits from the period. You can find out a bit more on the V&A website about the exhibition.
Another dress which I loved was this Charles James dress from 1938 – beautiful and slinky and marking the end of the glamorous decade before the war. Brighton Museum has a small section dedicated to clothing, including some lovely Regency outfits, as befitting the Pavilion. If you are ever in the area, it is a great little museum to check out!
I got this 1970s dress from the charity shop for £3 at the end of last year. While it is nice, it is a bit fancy dress on its own, and I wasn’t entirely sure what to do with it. It is also see-through, so it definitely needs a slip underneath! When I went to the library the other day, I got a book called Recycled Chic which has some great ideas, including altering a long-sleeved dress to short sleeved.
To start with I unpicked both of the sleeves from my dress. Once unpicked, I found out that the armholes didn’t really need any hemming, as the dress is made from the 1970s staple of polyester. I trimmed some excess fabric off the armholes to shape it a bit more, and then on both sides I ruched a section together, as you can see in the picture below. I also unpicked some of the v to make it a little bit deeper.
With the left over arm material, I made some rosettes to cover the ruched sections. This is the final dress, complete with rosettes – all I need now is a slip to go underneath!
I like it much better now, and will be wearing it if and when it every gets sunny and warm here…