Day 74/366: charity shopping is fun

So, my resolution not to buy clothes this year was not buying clothes anywhere apart from in charity shops. This means I have now become an avid charity shopper, popping into the shops in Kendal most weeks and whenever I visit a different town, I look out for the charity shops. This website http://www.charityretail.org.uk/find-a-charity-shop/ is a wonderful tool for finding charity shops and I discovered three new ones in Penrith that I hadn’t come across before as they are in a back street.

These are two of my first three buys this year a Laura Ashley shrug and a purple sweater from M+S.  The third is a 100% cashmere jumper which is not at all smart but very warm so is great for slobbing out at home.  All of these three came from the Salvation Army shop in Kendal.

 Kendal has an Oxfam, British Heart Foundation, Scope, Salvation Army, Barnardos, a tiny Age Concern, RSPCA shop and a tiny Age Concern.  I have had the most success in Oxfam, Scope and Salvation Army and have yet to ever buy clothing in Barnardos as the choice there is truly awful (although they do have a good range of books and DVDs).

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Per Una brown cord coat

This coat is fab. It’s a little small for me, but as I’m wanting to wear it in the spring, I won’t necessarily need to do it up and it fits well everywhere else.  I altered the button position and also took the top button off and sewed up the button hole as it just wouldn’t fit across my bust. Also took up the sleeves, but I have to do this on every single coat I ever buy.

So far, Penrith has afforded the most spoils at the lowest prices, the charity shops in Kendal do seem to be more expensive – they are happy to charge £10 for a dress which I do think is a bit over the top to be honest.  I went to a number of charity shops in Islington when I was in London a couple of weeks ago and was horrified at the prices, and even more horrified that the largest item of clothing was a size 16 (and that there was only one of them).  Obviously charity shopping is not for the poor or fat in the capital.

Some of my Penrith charity shop finds

 

I paid too much for these too dresses (£10  for the Monsoon dress and £8 for the Tu dress), although I do like them both

This cardigan isn’t necessarily my style, but it’s lambswool and has the most amazing decorative cuffs!

One of the things I have made sure I do is actually wear the clothes I purchase from the charity shops as I have in the past been known to buy items and then not wear them, so I have really been trying hard to get them all worn.

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Brand New AXParis Curve dress – I love this the most of everything I’ve bought so far

One of the things I love the most about charity shop shopping is the thrill of the chase, will I find something amazing that someone else has discarded that I can take and make my own, and love and give a new lease of life to.  I really have had some successes this year, and I’m hugely enjoying the challenge as it’s making shopping exciting for me, and it also means that I’m not buying new, I’m helping to reuse clothes that are still very wearable, and that I’m donating to charity at the same time.  There is nothing not to like about this!

So my top tips for charity shopping are:

  • Try on things that aren’t in your size.  My finds above include a size 14 dress and a size 20 dress, both of which fit really well
  • Look for good quality fabrics – I’ve had real luck finding woolly jumpers and cardigans.  I rarely buy acrylic/polyester jumpers though unless they look brand new as they are generally bobbly
  • Be prepared to take things up or take them in.  I will need to take in the Monsoon dress as it’s a bit too big on me, but should be able to do this with no problem
  • There are almost always fantastic coats available
  • Dresses are hit and miss, you really have to look carefully to find anything nice and often there isn’t anything appealing
  • Go into your local charity shops every week or so as new things come in all the time
  • I’ve had no luck finding shoes, but I do hear of people who have scored pretty much brand new pairs for not much money
  • Take stuff to donate to charity shops if you’re not wearing it

 

 

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Day 65/366: wardrobe (3) weekly

Have had rather a lot going on recently what with a snotty cold, an excruciatingly bad back and the arrival of a new doggy (see first pic!) which has mean that I’ve been feeling (and looking) terrible and really haven’t felt like taking pictures as much as usual.  However, I have still been attempting to remix my wardrobe and so far, have succeeded in wearing something different every day.

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So, be prepared for an image heavy post – have added details of clothes in each photo

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Primark swing dress 2014
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Monsoon skirt 2011, M+S top via Salvation Army charity shop this year
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Per Una cord coat via Oxfam, January
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Nomads Clothing pinafore 2014
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George skirt probably 2007, Clockhouse jumper 2014
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Monsoon dress 2014, White Stuff cardie 2014
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Monsoon dress 2011 or 2012
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George denim skirt 2009-ish Fat Face top 2013
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Peacocks dress 2013, George cardie 2012
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Wrap London skirt 2010, Laura Ashley zip top 2014
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White Stuff cardie 2015, George dress via Mind charity shop this year
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Dorothy Perkins top via Ebay, Fat Face skirt probably 2009
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Pink Clove dress 2013, Beth Ditto for Evans cardie 2009.  This was worn for a birthday party and is totally one of my most favourite outfits ever!
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George denim skirt (again), wool M+S jumper via charity shop 2015
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Dorothy Perkins swing top/dress. This doesn’t fit well so will be going to the charity shop I think

Day 33/366: clothing catharsis

I went through my wardrobe this weekend and pulled out some clothes to sell on Ebay, and a lot more to take to a charity shop.  Things I haven’t worn for YEARS like some bright pink linen baggy combat-style trousers and some nasty cropped cargo-pants.  Ugh.  What was I thinking?

There is also a pile of 10 bras to go to the Smalls for All charity.

If you’re interestes in looking at the Ebay listing, it can be found here and I’ve posted pics of a few of the dresses etc below.

 

Day 24/366: weekly wardrobe roundup

Another week with meetings, so a chance to break out the smart dresses.  The one issue I have at the moment is that I’m having to cycle to work every day as so many bridges are closed after flooding in December that the traffic is a complete nightmare and a ten minute car journey takes an hour.  So everything I wear has to be suitable to do a half hour cycle in.  Jersey dresses are fine as I can tuck them into waterproof trousers, but anything long or creaseable is not an option.

On with the clothes.

This is one of my favourite dresses.  I got it from New Look Inspire in autumn 2014 and I have worn it loads.  It’s sleeveless, but in the winter I stick a layering top underneath which I think looks fine.  The cardigan here is from Fat Face and I got it second hand off Ebay probably four years ago.  It’s got a high wool content and it good and warm.  I really like the fact it’s cropped which means that I can wear it with skater style dresses.Capture Mon

This is a Monsoon wool skirt, probably five or six years old and a Marks and Spencers wool jumper which I picked up from a charity shop last year.  It’s in really good condition, no bobbling or anything.Capture Tues

This is another favourite dress which has seen a lot of wear.  I bought it from Joules in the summer sale last year after having had my eye on it since I first saw it in February last year.  This style is so easy to wear and flattering, and IT’S GOT POCKETS, totally love this.Capture Weds

I gave a presentation on Thursday so really needed to give it my best “smart” appearence which includes wearing a brooch that my parents gave me when I got my degree.  The dress is from George at Asda and was purchased in the tag end of the winter sale last year for something ridiclous like £6.  I have worn this for meetings, interviewing and now presenting.  It’s really smart.  The jacket/cardigan was a sale purchase from Per Una  years ago.  It had a hideously huge corsage sewed onto the lapel and I hardly wore it because of this, so decided to remove the corsage and I’ve worn it loads since.Capture Thurs

No outfit for Friday, I had a hideous migraine and didn’t get round to taking photos.

Saturday’s outfit was to wear to a Burn’s Night fundraising Ceilidh for the Cumbria Landscape Fund which is raising money for repairing flood damage in The Lake District and Cumbria.  I had a fun evening, and this dress was fabulous for dancing in as it has a circle skirt which is good for twirling in.

Dress was from Asos Curve via Ebay in 2014.  I altered it significantly at the neckline and the waist and it looks an awful lot better for it.  Not my neatest job ever as it was complicated by the lining, but not too noticeable.Capture Sat

A gratuituous picture of a haggis and men in kilts from last night….

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Sunday’s outfit when I finally dragged my carcass out of bed is something I haven’t worn for over a year.  It’s a tunic dress from Evans with pockets which I got three or so years ago (in the sale, think it was a tenner – I love a bargain)

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So that’s my wardrobe weekly round-up.

Day 12/366: unworn and unloved no more

A quck update, today I wore one of the dresses in my wardrobe that I acquired last year but hadn’t had an opportunity to wear. I bought it from Georgina of She Might Be Loved in an internet sale. I took the waist in slightly as it was a little too big, but it fits perfectly everywhere else. It was brilliant for today’s meeting, and I got loads of complements on it.

Another win for Wearing My Wardrobe in 2016!

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Day 5/366: unworn and unloved

In light of the Telegraph article I posted yesterday, I decided to look at how many dresses I own that I had worn less than three times (not including my final purchases of 2015).  It turns out, rather a lot….

So to start with, these dresses have only been worn once or twice.

My Scarlett & Jo shame can be seen above….

Below, a selection of Simply Be and other dresses. Was gutted that the Boombands Em peacock dress doesn’t suit me very well.

Why do I bother buying maxi-dresses?  I’m so short that they make me look incredibly frumpy.  And Lady Voluptuous dresses are so gorgeous, but I’m seriously lacking places to wear them to.

And now on to the lovelies that I’ve never worn.

 

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All of the dresses in the bottom two photos were purchased second hand off Ebay, Depop or Instagram. Some of them I’ve not had the occasion to wear them, but others I’m just never going to wear because they don’t work e.g. the blue skater dress with black embossed pattern in the left hand picture just doesn’t fit right and the neckline on the body-con dress on the right is so low that it shows my bra which makes it impractical to wear.

So that’s most of the dresses I own which I’ve only worn a couple of times or not at all.  At least six of the unworn ones will be going to friends or Ebay, and I think that quite a few of the others will also end up on Ebay as they obviously don’t work for me.

I suppose that when buying off Ebay/Depop etc, you have to be prepared for the fact that some things won’t fit and/or won’t suit.  I have had many successful Ebay purchases, and by buying on Ebay have managed to get hold of dresses that I’ve seen on bloggers and loved, but can’t afford.  Looking through my bank statements it seems that most of my clothes purchases last year were online and second hand which means that on one hand, I have saved money, but on the other, I’ve ended up with things that don’t necessarily work for me.

The scary thing about looking at my dresses like this is that I acquired the majority of them last year.  I think this increase in my spending can be directly linked to being active on Instagram which I joined in November 2014.

Seeing other plus sized women wearing gorgeous clothes on the internet has been a catalyst for my spending to get out of control as I want to look as gorgeous as so many of them do.  But owning the same dress is not the same as looking like someone else and I think has been a source of dissatisfaction with my life and appearance.

I’m glad that I’m ruminating on my (bad) clothes buying habits as it’s actively addressing the issue for me and showing me that I have a compulsion to buy because I think it will make me happy when really, it doesn’t.

It’s not good for my self esteem, it’s not good for my bank account and it’s not good for the planet.

 

Day 3/365: welcome to my wardrobe

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I currently have 6 wardrobes plus two chests of drawers in two rooms crammed full of clothes.  This is frankly embarrassing.  I wonder why I have no money left at the end of the month, but looking at these pictures, it’s pretty obvious!

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I’m off work this week, so will be going through the clothes, looking at what I haven’t worn for ages, what just doesn’t suit me and what is too big or too small.  These I’ll pass on to friends or sell on Ebay.  I will also get rid of threadbare/stained/worn-out clothes.

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There are good reasons for my desire to purchase more and more clothes which I will discuss later on: a lot to do with self validation and my upbringing.  But whilst I love a gorgeously printed, beautifully cut dress, I don’t think it is bringing me the happiness that I subconsciously think it should.

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I suppose it’s a sort of life re-evaluation along with a wardrobe clear-out.  Wish me luck!