Wednesday, 7 November 2012

The Secrets of Stylish Thrifting

How have you been? Is the weather in your part of the world turning wintery or are you heading for warmer days?

In Sheffield we're watching the leaves turning to beautiful fiery shades and feeling a chill in the air. I have to confess to enjoying this time of year - the anticipation of Christmas and the guilt-free evenings spent at home in front of a DVD with a mug if hot chocolate ; D x

With Christmas approaching, like most families at the moment, we're managing a pretty tight budget on half our old income, but I also know we have it better than an awful lot of people. I still love flicking through magazines and getting inspired by some of my favourite fashion and interiors blogs, but I also know all to acutely what it feels like to not be able to afford any of the things on the pages. 

Today's post is something from my heart that I feel very strongly about so bear with me if I'm climbing on my soap box. Style doesn't have to mean spending a lot of money - honestly. If you're a successful business woman with pots of cash to spend - those designer bags are perfect payback for the long hours and hard work, but the reality for most families is very different. I cringe a little inside when I read my favourite magazines promoting shoes for two even three or four hundred pounds. For the average family [including us], this is a huge amount of money - several weeks worth of food, a new sofa or bed, imagine what you would do with that amount of cash?

But we shouldn't have to compromise on style for our pursuit of the inexpensive, my approach to thrifty shopping is looking for quality without the hefty designer price-tags, which I think is definitely possible with a little time and patience. 

Second hand shopping for me is not about ironic 80s jumpers [god forbid I did those the first time around], but digging out the gems hidden in a mountain of duds. I have the same approach to my wardrobe as I do to our home; I invest in great classic basics that are essentially the building blocks on which everything else is built, then the character and individuality is added with those vintage or designer pieces found on my travels. I've blogged before about boot sales which are a favourite way to wile away a couple of hours on a sunday morning here [we have a Noah-shaped alarm clock that wakes us up at the crack of sparrows so why not!].

So for the next few weeks I'll be offering you simple ideas to shop smart and get the best deals on your budget. This week I'm starting with charity shops.

Here are some of my favourite thrifty finds - you'll find the Hoss shoes on ebay - waiting for a good home. 

Simple Style Tips for Charity Shopping:

  1. Seek out the charity shops in the best areas, this may seem contrived but it's true; the best things are discarded in the best areas.
  2. Look for quality labels or vintage pieces, don't be tempted by the high street on-trend items that stuff the rails, you're looking for quality fabrics and cut, and something that you will want to keep for a long time. 
  3. The main piece of advice if you're on a budget is to buy things that will last, whether that's in your home or for your wardrobe. I really believe the days of throw-away fashion are over and we need a more ethical approach to shopping.
  4. A little bit like dating - you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince, don't be disheartened if you come away empty handed, as with everything in life persistence is the key.
  5. Choose your time - early morning during the week is best before other people have had a chance to rummage. Saturday afternoons will be a busy time and to get the best deals you don't want to feel hassled. 
  6. Depending on your size and shape don't be afraid to look on the men's or even kids rails. A men's cashmere jumper can be a great investment piece - worn with skinny jeans and boots perfect for the colder weather.
  7. Jewellery can also be a good investment buy from charity shops. Look out for older antique pieces rather than cheap modern costume jewellery. If you have kids this is also the perfect hunting ground for their costume box - in this case the brighter and more plastic the better!
If you enjoy second hand shopping check out my friend Fleur's blog - she has a distinctive sartorial eye and writes with a wry smile about vintage fashion: Glossary. Happy hunting!

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