I saw this dress in a charity shop and fell in love with the embroidered pattern. I bought it for £3.25 but when I tried it on it was too short (no-one needs to see my knees). Normally I would re-donate but this time I was desperate to hold onto it for the fabric. Then I had this brainwave – I could cover this old footstool that was gathering dust in my office.
My dad was an upholsterer so luckily I have inherited a whole load of upholstery tacks. All I needed to do was cut up the dress and tack it on to the foot stool pad. Et voila! A pretty boho stool for my living room!
It really is worth charity shopping with an open mind as you never know what you might end up with.
We’ve just spent a blissful few days in Bardolino on Lake Garda, Italy. No sightseeing, just getting away from it all. On Tuesday night we went to the opera so I chose a pretty frock from Debenhams Collection and my trusty white linen jacket from M&S. The weather was scorching, so the jacket was surplus to requirements really.
The dress is one of my charity shop buys – it cost me a fiver and no doubt after a couple of wears it will go back for someone else to stumble across it. That’s the beauty of charity shops. You can shop guilt free, have lots of different outfits, then give them all back at the end of it to make room for more! I never tire of it and happily spend hours browsing. I also don’t give a monkey’s about who owned it before, or any potential stigma attached to second hand. To me, a charity shop is like a dressing up box: just full of sartorial opportunity! This dress actually came with matching green strappy shoes, but no way I was walking more than a mile in them, so they stayed at home for a more suitable occasion.
By the time we get into our fifties, most of have developed our own sense of style and know what works and what doesn’t. The danger with this, is that you can sleepwalk through your wardrobe buys, getting the same thing over and over, so that when you look back at your holiday photos you might as well have been wearing the same outfit for twenty years.
I like to try new shapes and styles, but I do have a basic set of rules in my head to avoid too many mistakes.
- My wardrobe basics are: Black patent good quality leather boots, black leather jacket, Breton stripes, cashmere in pretty colours, black cigarette pants, bright tees with long or 3/4 sleeves, silver sandals, dark jeans, silver clutch, oversize tote, mini shoulder bag. These take me almost anywhere and I add accessories to put my stamp on them.
- Wear some colour. Pure monochrome does me no favours any more and a pop of colour lifts any outfit.
- Worn or boyfriend jeans just don’t work any more – I look more ‘allotment’ than ‘catwalk’ in them, so dark denim or white jeans look smarter. The cut matters. Nothing low rise, but equally, not too high waisted if you want to avoid the granny look. Very skinny skinnies just look ridiculous, so a bootleg, flare or straight works better.
- Printed pants now equal PJs. I bought some this year, thought I looked great ’til I saw the photos – I looked like I’d just popped downstairs for my shredded wheat.
- I love a boho vibe, but don’t overdo it (with the exception of holidays when I indulge big style). One boho piece per outfit is enough then keep the rest simple.
- Demure is now a good look, so no boobs and legs, but on the other hand, don’t want to be twinset and pearls either, so have one edgy thing per outfit.
- Accessorise with maybe one huge ring or necklace, but not loads all at once. I feel that this is my time to wear fabulous statement jewellery.
- Only wear shoes you can walk in. I have so many pretty shoes in my wardrobe, but they go nowhere. Nothing looks more ridiculous than teetering in stupid shoes. Good quality and comfort matter.
- Sequins and sparkle – I love them and will never give them up, but as with boho, not too much at once and keep jewellery to the minimum when wearing sparkle.
- Buy quality handbags – even if they come from a charity shop!
- Cashmere – if I see it on sale, I buy it. I’m building a cashmere collection and so far I still have every piece I ever owned. Handwashing and proper care means they will last and get softer with time. Most of mine comes from M&S.
- Prints-I accept that they have a short lifespan and move them onto the charity shop after a few wears. Nothing looks sadder than a washed out print that you’ve had for donkey’s years.
- Dresses – I love the simplicity of a dress and for an occasion you can’t go wrong with Phase Eight.
- Gym wear – stays in the gym. Leggings serve no useful purpose outside of Zumba, yoga or Pilates.
- Charity shops – I search them for stylish classic pieces and give back by donating once I’m fed up with something.
I love reading style rules, so if anyone has any, please share.
Last weekend we were at the fabulous Cheshire wedding of my God daughter Gemma and her new husband Craig. The setting was the sumptuous Rowton Hall and we partied all day and stayed overnight to enjoy the fab hotel.
So, what to wear for a wedding? I went for one of my ‘go to’ labels for dressing up, Phase Eight. I have a few Phase Eight pieces in my wardrobe, but, confession time, this one came from a charity shop for a tenner. The cream linen jacket is from M&S and the shoes are Gina, also from a charity shop. I love the grey clutch which I bought in Century 21 when in New York last year. I’m a bit shy of hats, so instead, had an ‘up do’ with this fab comb from Boots.
The mother of the bride. Linda, my best friend, is looking amazing here in a John Charles designer outfit, from Imagination, a boutique in Tarvin, Chester. Linda’s outfit is beautifully matched with daughter Louise in a peachy bridesmaid dress, from Debut at Debenhams.
Now, I guess you want to see the bride? Gemma looked radiant and swished her way through the day in this beautiful dress from the Ivory Lounge in Chester.
This is a sneaky peek at our bedroom in the hotel. Lovely squashy bed and Aromatherapy Associates products in the bathroom. Heaven!
Who doesn’t love a wedding?