Designer style

second hand fashion

I’ve been gazing covetously at the pictures of pink coats, penny loafers and all the other gorgeous outfits that the London Fashion Week ( gurus have labelled “Must-Have”. But I’m also a little relieved it’s over and the little gilt chairs have been stacked up again for another year. Like most of us, I live in the real world, and sometimes I don’t want to be reminded that the only labels I’m likely to be riffling through this Autumn (or do I mean AW13) are school name tags.

So hip hip hooray to the original queen of punk, Vivienne Westwood, who yesterday came out of the fashion cupboard to declare that we should all buy fewer clothes. What seemed, at first to be a fashionista shooting herself in the Louboutins was actually a canny – but no less sensible – call to buy quality not quantity.

What she actually said was, “Buy less, choose well. Quality not quantity. We’re all buying far too many clothes.”

And as someone who blogged about the joy of my fabulous, but lone, $100 bra earlier this summer, I completely agree with La Westwood. Without going into too many details, my bra of bras has been in and out of the washing machine on a daily basis since I bought it. Now I have touched lace and loveliness I cannot go back. I have banished my washed out, cheapo, over-the-shoulder boulder holders to the back of the drawer until I can summon up the dosh to replace them with a handful (maybe two handfuls) of equally luxurious lingerie.

As Westwood says, being choosy doesn’t have to mean spending huge amounts of dosh. I did a quick wardrobe sort out yesterday (you can always tell when I have a deadline looming – anything to avoid sitting down and getting on with it) and realised that the vast majority of my “work clothes” are from charity shops, eBay or dress agencies (remember them?).

I do have a couple of genuinely vintage outfits, including a grey 1940’s suit that I bought for about a fiver from a Sue Ryder shop in Suffolk when I was about 18 and a Victorian silk nightie bought from a junk shop in Wangford (yes, home of Hank) at about the same time. The rest are – not to put too fine a point on it – lucky jumble.

I used to keep quiet about my love of second-hand clothes, but this year second-hand Roses are blooming everywhere. Even the Archers are swishing (swapping your fashion mistakes for someone else’s in the hope that at least one of you gets a better deal). So I was mightily cheered that Oxfam teamed up with styling team Back of the Wardrobe ( to reproduce the London Fashion Week designer looks within hours of their runway show just using the stock from one London Oxfam shop. And rather fabulous they look too.

Now must run – I’m off to the Designer Jumble Sale (@designerjumble) in London in aid of, the charity that provides legal representation for children. While I’m out let me know what your favourite charity shop buy is – you can leave a comment here or Tweet it @AmandaAtCandis or upload it on to the Candis Facebook Fans page. We’d love to see it…

Posted by Amanda Blinkhorn

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