Category Archives: charity shop

Popping Tags at Goodwill

Vintage paisley shirtI’ve had a wee obsession with Macklemore’s Thrift Shop song since it came out a couple of years ago*, and every time I’ve stepped inside a thrift shop since, it plays on a continuous loop inside my head. We’ve been busy kitting out our new apartment (more on that soon!) so I’ve spent hours scouring thrift shops and Goodwills (the main charity shop they seem to have out here) for furniture.

Naturally I did have a little blouse, sorry, browse, in the vintage section of our local Goodwill, which is when I spotted this fabulous 80s number. Garish gold buttons, an elasticated waist, shoulder pads and that Paisley pattern – on paper it really shouldn’t work, but I kind of like it.

These photos were taken after another long day of Getting Stuff Done, notably getting rid of a family of ants who were demanding squatters rights in our new apartment (blurgh!) but now we’ve moved in I’m hopeful that GSD weekends will be replaced by fun Let’s Explore San Francisco weekends. Oh, and Christmas. Mustn’t forget about Christmas…

Paisley shirt and floral skirtPaisley shirt – Goodwill / Floral pencil skirt – Topshop / Red satchel  – c/o Dr Martens / Tan Chelsea boots – c/o Topshop, Cabot Circus

Goodwill vintage blouse and Topshop skirtSan Francisco OOTDFairy lights on the porchPink house detailingPaisley Goodwill shirt*I promise I won’t mention this every time I feature something from a thrift shop, honest!

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Oxfam Fashion Blogger Meet

Oxfam Fashion lookbooks

Oxfam Fashion lookbooks

It feels like ages ago now, but a few weeks ago I ventured to Oxford for the Oxfam Fashion Blogger Meet. Sometimes I find it weird to think that all the people you’re emailing/tweeting/blogging with are actually all ‘real people’, and not just living in the virtual world.

It was great to put a tweet to a face, as it were, and meet Kelly and Tanya, who run Oxfam’s dedicated fashion blog. I’ve only been a member of the team, writing regular posts, for a few months, so it was great to meet seasoned Oxfam bloggers such as Theresa and Rupy.

After a meet-and-greet we got down to business and discussed what blogs we love to read and how we could work to improve the Oxfam Fashion blog. I soon got chatting to Ron about cameras and quized Fran on what it was like to run the Festival Shops at the likes of Kendal Calling and Bestival (hard work but amazing fun, from the sounds of things).

After venturing into town for lunch, Kelly and Tanya organised a visit to the local Oxfam shop on Cowley Road where we set about creating new window displays in two teams. I’d never been into the back of a charity shop before and got far too excited thumbing through donated books and boxes full of handbags.

The shop was packed and I’m sure shoppers must have thought we were mad as ten us raced through the shop to find outfits of our mannequins. I also got a bit sidetracked by a peach knitted dress that made it’s way home with me, but more on that later.

Shop manager Nicoletta declared the contest a draw, though it wasn’t long before shoppers were snapping up our display. The shoppers of Oxford will also get a treat this month as ASOS have donated several boxes of stock to the local stores, and I’m pretty confident that if you wanted to pick up an Olympic souvenir or two, you might find it at Cowley Road…

It was a fun day out and it was lovely to meet the team and discuss our ideas for how the blog could progress. Kelly and Tanya would like to conduct a survey to find out what readers think of the site, so more info on that soon.

Thank you to Kelly and Tanya for the warm welcome and a shout out to Theresa, Rupi, Ron, Hattie, Emma, Fran, Laila, Lydia and Amelia – it was a pleasure to meet you. Here’s to the next one!

Oxfam Fashion A/W12 lookbook

Oxfam Fashion A/W12 lookbook

Piles of Penguin books in the charity shop store room

Piles of Penguin books in the charity shop store room

Our Oxfam outfits for the Cowley Road window

Our Oxfam outfits for the Cowley Road window

Fran, Amelia and Hattie dress their mannequin

Fran, Amelia and Hattie dress their mannequin

Theresa and Laila with their styled looks

Theresa and Laila with their styled looks

The Oxfam window on Cowley Road

The Oxfam window on Cowley Road

Fix Up Look Sharp launch at CLIC Sargent’s Shop on Gloucester Road

CLIC Sargent's Fix Up Look Sharp launch

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the Fix Up Look Sharp launch party at ClIC Sargent’s awesome vintage empire, Shop on Gloucester Road.

The new range of upcycled clothes has been designed and created by the charity shop’s Deputy Manager, Ruth, and her design partner Gemma. Working from a studio in Stokes Croft, the design duo have created a range of cute bralets, backless tops and body con dresses, with plenty more to follow.

As charity shops in Bristol go, Shop on Gloucester Road is up there with the best, thanks to its quirky window displays, focus on vintage and a fantastic selection of preloved homewares and crockery. I blogged about Shop when it first opened last year, and in this time it has become a much loved addition to Gloucester Road’s quirky, mostly independent high street.

The shop is the first dedicated CLIC Sargent vintage store, and last night it was buzzing with Bristol’s best dressed, not to mention DJs, live illustrations and scrumptious smiley face cupcakes, which hit the spot nicely!

Gemma and Ruth, Fix Up Look Sharp design duo

I had the opportunity to catch up with Ruth and Gemma, fashion graduates from Bath Spa and Bournemouth respectively, and find out a bit more about the collection.

Ruth explained that all the fabric used in the making of the collection has been sourced from CLIC Sargent donations; “The backless shirts were originally skirts, and we’ve even used old duvet covers too.” Both the girls were buzzing with excitement, though it took long days at their studio to get the collection together; “When I’m not [working] here, I’m and the studio, and when I’m not there, I’m here!” says Ruth.

One of the best things about the collection is that all the fabric comes from donated clothes that wouldn’t necessarily make it onto the shop floor, and every penny from each garment goes straight back to the charity. Prices vary – the first sale of the night went on a £25 denim bralet – but thanks to the duo’s design back ground, each garment is finished to a high standard.

The evening was great fun and I suggest to you check out the new Fix Up Look Sharp collection soon, as it won’t stay on the shelves for long! Even if the collection isn’t your cup of tea – as much as I love bralets they just don’t suit my figure – there is a wealth of vintage treats here – check out the photos below if you don’t believe me…

Fashion by Hugo GoodFix Up Look Sharp at Shop on Gloucester RoadLive illustrationFix Up Look Sharp braletSmiley cupcakes

Above: Fashion artwork by Hugo Good / The Fix Up Look Sharp window display / Live illustration inside the shop / A Fix Up Look Sharp denim bralet – the first sale of the night! / Tasty CLIC Sargent smiley cupcakes

Clothes Swap: Topshop, florals & denim delights

Next floral trousers

I mentioned on a recent RTW post that my friend, S, hosted a clothes swap last month. I’m a big fan of clothes swapping for several reasons; aside from giving once-loved clothes a new home, doing your bit for the environment, and usually consuming a few glasses of wine and half a bag of kettle chips into the bargain, there is the complete randomness of it.

Attend a clothes swap at a friends house, the local church hall or at an established boutique and you will be confronted with a wealth of clothes and accessories you wouldn’t normally look for on the high street. You can delve into the personal taste of others and (hopefully) find some fab new clothes to add to your wardrobe.

At S’s event there were beaded peter pan collar blouses, floral print dresses and everything in between. Anything that didn’t come home with us was taken to a local charity shop so we weren’t the only ones to benefit, plus I think we all felt a lot better for clearing out our overloaded wardrobes.

So, what did I take home? Take a look…

Denim smock dress

Denim smock dress, no label, perfect for summer

Topshop feather effect skirt

Feather-effect layered skirt, Topshop

Next floral harem pants

Floral harem pants, Next. Granted, these don't look much on the hanger, but they'll look great with my white Converse and a plain tee

As well as this I also came away with a tan coloured waist-cinching belt (you can never have too many) and a pair of grey cable knit leggings, which I wore on my recent jolly to Manchester.

What’s been your best clothes swap find? Let me know by commenting below…

Vintage Charity on Gloucester Road

Clic Shop on Gloucester Road

When I was younger and first discovered the joy of charity shops, I fantasised that one day I would open my own and instead of a dull interior and lifeless, mismatched garments, I would have vibrant window displays, an area for customising clothes and generally make this (imaginary) shop look like the complete opposite of its friends further along the high street. When I first walked in to the newly opened CLIC Sargent Shop on Gloucester Road, it felt as if my dream had been realised.

Once home to cafe-cum-bar Hatters, the retail space had been deserted over the winter months but the location, in the heart of Gloucester Road, has proved perfect for CLIC Sargent’s first ever dedicated vintage shop. A lot of thought has gone in to the visual merchandising of the store, which opened officially a few weeks ago on 5th February. In many charity shops it is a given that it takes a certain amount of rummaging to find a a vintage gem but here kitsch crockery, costume jewellery, decades worth of dresses and old vinyal records are par for the course. The rail of fake fur coats and artwork by local artist Hugo Good adds to the boutique feel of Shop.

When I popped in a couple of weeks ago Shop’s deputy manager Helen Bowden even remarked that “many customers don’t even realise we are a charity shop – passers by are curious and looking for vintage clothes or accesories”. Although the work the shop does is paramount (as the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people CLIC Sargent support and fundraise for families and individuals across the nation) the fact that they are capitalising on the current trend for all things vintage will be key to it’s success. Along with Cotham Hill and Clifton Village, Gloucester Road is a hotspot for some of the city’s best charity shops and it is fantastic that CLIC Sargent have identified what savvy shoppers want from charity shops.

CLIC Sargent already have eight charity shops in Bristol but Shop on Gloucester Road is their first dedicated vintage clothing shop. The staff are young and stylish, though this isn’t a prerequisite for volunteering, and the stock is regularly updated, and promoted via their Facebook page. There are knitted jumpers, strings of acrylic beads and furniture too, as well as handmade goods by local Bristol craft makers, all at reasonable prices.

If Shop proves to be a success CLIC Sargent may well roll dedicated vintage stores out across the country so make sure you check it out next time you take a wander along Gloucester Road.

Clic vintage on Gloucester RoadAccesories galore at Clic ShopGilt mirrors and vintage hats at Clic ShopWindow display Clic Shopvintage stock at Clic Shop