Pre-loving your style

12 Dec

Can’t find what you like on the high street?  With a bit of patience and imagination – second-hand could be the answer.

When occasionally someone at work says they like something I’m wearing, it’s normally met with “oh thanks, my friend/my mum/my friend’s mum (!) gave it to me”.  It’s lovely to be given clothes, particularly things you may not have thought to buy yourself.  It makes you more imaginative, more likely to try out new looks and outfits.

The other common response to a complimented item of clothing is “thanks, charity shop find!” or “thank you – eBay! “.  Yes there’s a trend here – that is, I rarely buy anything new these days.  And it’s not from want of trying, believe me.  I do love a traipse around town and a trawl of the internet, but when you’ve managed to bag a Christian Lacroix dress for under a tenner, a Karl Lagerfeld skirt for less than £20 and saved tens of pounds on nearly-new items by Ted Baker, Coast and Monsoon from charity and second-hand shops, waxing £60 on a new-in-store, run of the mill and copied to death dress just doesn’t measure up.

Then there’s the quality issue.  High street stores stock high fashion items that have a quick turn around, which generally means that the quality of the fabric and manufacturing is poor.  If it’s clean, fresh, not overly worn and stylish – what matter if it’s new or pre-loved?  Plus of course you’re doing your bit for recycling.

So, my pre-loved shopping tips:

  1. Feel the quality. Check for moth damage – the little blighters get everywhere – and check designer labels are genuine.
  2. Smell – With a heavy heart I had to throw away a gorgeous Mochino jacket which was repugnant with BO; I tried every trick in the book to freshen it up and failed.  Quick sniff before you buy and remember that most smells can be eliminated.
  3. Get creative – Don’t necessarily be put off by odd or unwanted details on clothes – can you make it more ‘you’ by changing the buttons?  shortening? adding a collar? wearing with a belt?
  4. Research – We all know you have to work at being stylish.  Even Kate Moss has off days (surely).  Get ahead of the game with checking next season’s catwalks (try Style.com) and browsing magazines – all in the name of research!
  5. Mix and match – We’re not all Paloma Faith (thank goodness) – avoid looking like you’re going to a fancy dress party.  It’s about mixing new and old, buying some high-fashion accessories and mixing with a seriously good second-hand find.
  6. Seek out the red tags – When I do buy new I love a bargain – rummage the sale rails and subscribe to the brilliant Shop Style app which tells you when an item you like has gone on sale.
  7. Finally – patience is a virtue.  The very best things come to those who wait – and rummage.

Happy style hunting!

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