Tag Archives: charity shop

The $20 Wedding Outfit

Spinning aroundYep, you read that right – this outfit (minus the shoes, which were also a bargain at the US equivalent of $10) cost less than a one hour yoga class.

If you’re anything like me, the thought of picking out an outfit to wear for a wedding is akin to offering a vampire a basket of garlic bread. I love fashion, but weddings permanently leave me stumped. ‘Should I wear florals (again)?’, ‘is it socially acceptable to wear a white dress if it has pineapples on?’ and ‘do I have to wear heels even though I can’t dance in them?’ are just some of the questions that float around in my head when wedding season hits.

Now that more and more of our friends are tying the knot, the issue of wearing the same dress several times has started to crop up. Clearly that logic applied to any other outfit is ridiculous, but I’ve been brainwashed into thinking that new wedding = new outfit. For S&A’s nuptials (who got married in a beautiful Gloucestershire barn last month), I’d cycled through the three wedding-friendly dresses I own before I remembered this little vintage number that I found in a charity shop last year .

My decision-making process was made even easier when a week later I found the holy grail in a thrift shop on Polk Street – a cornflower blue tulle-tastic underskirt. I have been looking for one of these in vintage stores for the longest time, admittedly in black or white, but this was too good to pass up, especially as it cost just $2.50!

Outfit aside, this wedding was the reason we came back to the UK this summer. Mr Ship-Shape was one of the groomsmen, we’ve known S&A for years and I cannot think of two people more suited to one another. The day was perfect, with blue skies and sunshine presiding over a ceremony conducted by the bride’s brother, and an afternoon serenaded by The Cadbury Sisters. There was archery, juggling lessons, giant Jenga (a wedding classic among our friends) and lots of cheese and dancing – resulting in lots of spinning around in this dress!

I still have a mountain of photos to edit from the big day, but here are a few snippets and obligatory ‘this skirt demands to be spun in’ snaps…

Vintage lilac dress –  charity shop / Cornflower blue underskirt – thrift shop / Silver brogues – OfficeYet more spinning

Wedding buntingThrift shop wedding outfitCornflower blue underskirt and silver broguesWedding tressel tables ready for dinnerLilac dress and milkmaid braidsThe happy coupleWild wedding flowersSpinning dressesCheap as chips vintage wedding outfitStaring across the lakeBloglovin |Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

LA’s Griffith Observatory at Sunset

Posing outside the Griffith ObservatoryHappy Tuesday! I’m back from LA now and even though it’s warm and sunny here in San Francisco, I’m relieved to be somewhere 10 degrees cooler – LA was amazing but too hot for this English rose to handle!

We packed a lot in while we were there (photo diary coming soon) and these photos were taken at the impressive Griffith Observatory. Sitting in Griffith Park next to the Hollywood hills, it’s an iconic LA building and has served as a backdrop for lots of films and TV shows – though the only one I can ever think of is Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, which goes to show what kind of critically acclaimed films I like to watch on Netflix…

Anywho, the observatory is a beautifully designed art deco building that looks out across the whole of LA, and has a great museum and planetarium inside. We decided to go up there as the sun was setting and it was a wonderful, if slightly crowded, way to take in the city.

The plan was to head straight out for dinner afterwards, so in an attempt to try my hand at LA style, I wore my new leather pencil skirt. After trying and failing to get on the leather trousers bandwagon, I’ve been on the hunt for just the right kind of leather skirt for months, and found this vintage black one in Goodwill for just $12. I paired it with my favourite brogues and a plain white t-shirt which is probably a little too big on me, but it did help hide the food baby I was nursing after our delicious dinner at Bäco Mercat.

Next up on my leather quest is a search for the perfect leather jacket. Have you braved leather trousers or skirts before? Let me know how you like to wear ‘em!

White t-shirt – Zara / Black leather pencil skirt  – Goodwill / Quilted green bag – River Island / Silver brogues – Office / Sunglasses – a pound shop (!)

Griffith ObservatoryLA style vintage black leather skirt and white t-shirtGriffith Park LATelescope sign at Griffith ObservatoryLooking out across LALA Observatory architectureSunset over west LALA outfit outside Griffith ObservatoryT-shirt and sunglasses at sunsetGriffith Observatory after sunset

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Something Old, Something New, Something Mustard, Something Blue

Goodwill vintage dressPerhaps this is another one of those so-wrong-it’s-right finds, but I have a bit of a thing for this cornflower blue and white patterned 1970s dress. I found it in a Goodwill (surprise, surprise) and although it’s my dress size, I think it’s actually a petite version, as when the sleeves are rolled down they only just reach my wrists. But it’s such a fun pattern and it has pockets – how could anyone say no to a dress with pockets?

I didn’t initially follow my instincts when it came to styling this vintage dress – do you ever get that way with an outfit before you leave the house? We were going for a stroll into town and I knew that I wanted to pair it with my silver brogues, mustard yellow tights and a bright pink lip, but part of my brain was telling me ‘that’s too loud. You’ll stick out too much’. I then spent the next half an hour trying on more modest shoes and different, less shouty lipstick before going back to the original plan.

I guess that’s the thing about moving somewhere new; I could be anyone I want to be but perhaps the scariest thing of all is being myself, which sartorially translates to clashing floral prints, wearing several contrasting colours at once and generally involves either no make-up or blindingly bold lips.

Carrie touched on it in her alter egos post, but it can be a tricky thing when your personal style embodies not one set in stone ‘look’ but several in one week, or sometimes all in one outfit! I guess the fun thing about fashion is that picking a person to be for a day, from 1930s librarian to a 60s inspired lady-who-lunches doesn’t change who I am *cringe* inside.

Blue and white patterned dress – Goodwill / Mustard tights – Primark / Oak ‘Effie’ bag  – Mulberry / Silver brogues – Office

Milkmaid braids and a bold lipVintage dress and mustard tightsSilver brogues and mustard tightsGoodwill blue dress

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How to De-Clutter Your Wardrobe in 5 Easy Steps

How to De-Clutter Your WardrobeJanuary is a month of reinvention for many – from starting a new fitness regime to trying to eat better, it’s the month of the detox, the goal setting and plan making. If this time of year is making you think about spring cleaning your closet and tackle your ever expanding floordrobe, then here are my tried and tested tips for de-cluttering your clothes.

Empty Everything

Drawers, wardrobe, rail – the lot. Instead of trying to take unwanted items out, start with an empty space and that way, when you’ve finished organising your outfits, you’ll only be putting clothes back in that you really love and want to wear.

Phone a Friend

If you’re anything like me, you might need to call in the cavalry for a serious de-cluttering session. Before I moved to the States two of my best girls came over for the evening and helped me suss out what I really needed to take. We ate chocolate, tried on multiple different outfits and they offered brutally honest opinions on what suited me and what didn’t.  Make sure to pick a friend/s that you trust and who will give you an honest opinion on that burnt orange and black feather pencil skirt…

Bag It Up

I find it useful to have different reusable carrier bags at the ready – one headed for the charity shop, one for the recycling bin and one for clothes swaps. Sorting out your clothes and separating them immediately will curb your desire to go rummaging back into the cast-offs pile as soon as the coast is clear. If there are some items that you haven’t worn in ages but aren’t sure that you want to part with, place them in a box or bag at the back of your wardrobe for six months – if you don’t take anything out once six months have passed, take the bag straight to a charity shop – without looking inside!

Organise Like a Pro

Find a system that will help you to pick out your outfit quickly – this could be organising your clothes into colours, splitting them into type (dresses, shirts, trousers etc) or grouping together in different categories, such as smart, evening-wear, casual, work etc. Personally I like to organise my wardrobe by type of garment, then colour-code it. Yep, I’m that geeky.

One In, One Out

You’ve finally gotten to a point where your wardrobe or closet isn’t bursting at the seams (woo-hoo!) so don’t spoil it by over-stuffing it with new clothes. To keep unnecessary clothing clutter at bay, use the one in, one out method. It’s easy to do – every time you buy  a new item of clothing, get rid of an old one to make space for it. You could donate it to charity, take it to a clothes swap or if it’s too far gone then put it in your recycling bin.

Additional tips:
It wouldn’t hurt to give the inside of your wardrobe a clean while it’s empty, so grab a duster and some polish before you place any clothes back inside
Make the most of what storage you have – under-bed boxes are great for storing shoes and bags
Aim to de-clutter twice a year – once in January and then again in autumn, ready for winter

So that’s it – a few (hopefully helpful) tips on de-cluttering your clothes to start the year afresh. How often do you detox your wardrobe?

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Vintage Lilac Dress and Milkmaid Braids

Vintage dress and black peep toe shoesHere it is, my last Bristol-based outfit shoot. So far I’m not missing home too much, but then it has only been a couple of weeks since we were last there.

I was so happy to be able to work with Charlene again and for our final shoot together we picked a spot overlooking the river. If I have to get to the train station I always walk along the river instead of marching up Victoria Street – it’s a lot quieter and infinitely more interesting for people-watching.

I found this unworn vintage lilac dress in the Cancer Research UK charity shop on Gloucester Road, complete with tags still attached, for just £12. It’s such a beautiful cut, with 3/4 sleeves and large bow at the neckline, that I couldn’t resist taking it home with me.  Speaking of charity shops, I’ve been scooping out a number local ones near where we’re staying, and this little 80s number may have ended up in my shopping basket…

Vintage lilac dress with bow detailVintage lilac dress – charity shop / Russian doll shoulder bag – Accessorize / Frilly ankle socks  – Matalan / Black peep-toe heels – c/o Grandma Ship-Shape

Bristol's Temple QuayVintage lilac charity shop dressVintage black peep toe shoes and frilly socksVintage bow dress and Russian Doll bagRussian doll bag from Accessorize

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