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Second Hand Stylings - Day One

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

A little while ago I challenged Vix to blog a century of style, a decade a day. If you haven't already, go and check out how amazingly well she's doing it. In return, she suggested that I try incorporating an item of second hand clothing or accessory into each outfit for a fortnight. I've been planning a blog post about second hand stuff for a while and this will tie in with it nicely, so Vix, consider it challenge accepted!

I love second hand things. Anything with a story behind it is far more interesting to me than something sterile and brand new. I work in a 16th century building full of antiques and it's bliss. Modern minimalism is just not for me. And while I'm on the subject, I like calling things second hand. I'm not knocking anyone who does use the term but why is everything suddenly classed as "thrifted" now? I like to say the word (all together now - thrrrrriffffffted) but it's not very descriptive. I like to know if someone has rummaged in a jumble sale for that vintage scarf, or if they've found it in a tiny little charity shop, or if they got up at the crack of dawn to beat the queue at a car boot sale. And Antipodean readers, do satisfy my curiousity - what exactly is an opshop? It seems like the term second hand doesn't get used very much any more and it saddens me a tad. Perhaps it's just me. After all, the quickest way to make me giddy with excitement is to say "Look, Alex - a second hand bookshop!"

I don't consider myself much of a second hand success story though. I have nothing but admiration for people like Vix, Helga and Jem who wear fab vintage stuff all the time and make it look so stylish and funky, but I never quite seem to find nice vintage clothes when I look for them. I'll touch more on this in a future outfit post I think - don't want to write a giant essay tonight!

I love charity shops but mainly for books. It's rare that I actually buy clothing from them as I find that it tends to fall into 3 categories. 1) lovely but not in my size. 2) awful, just awful. 3) Nice but hugely overpriced. Yes Oxfam, I mean you. That Primark dress was never more than a tenner brand new so don't try and charge me £14.99 for it now, ok? I'm finding that the more of a "normal" dress size I approach, the more bits I do find and I've got a few bargains recently so I'm sure they'll feature soon.

Car boot sales? I've got some lovely stuff from there this year, mainly courtesy of the very nice lady who has mountains of clothes in my size and charges 50p for everything. But even then, I only go to the car boot sale because it's within walking distance and starts at a reasonable hour for a Saturday morning. I'm not dedicated enough to get up at stupid o'clock and hunt down things.

And I don't have huge amounts of luck with ebay either. But having said all of that, if I can find a bargain or two then anyone can! Hopefully you'll admire a few of the things you see over the next fortnight.

Today's featured item is a rather delightful pair of Irregular Choice heels. I can only indulge my love for IC shoes with the help of ebay as they're a little pricey for my budget to buy brand new as a general rule. I got this pair for about the £20 mark which I was really pleased with as they're in very good nick. And just look at them. Aren't they amazing? Even the men at work (not known for noticing footwear) complimented me on them.

Top - Dorothy Perkins
Skirt - Tesco sale
Shoes - Irregular Choice via ebay
Necklace - ancient, can't remember
Ring - New Look

And seeing as I have an enormous collection of second hand books, here's what I'm reading today (99p from a charity shop btw) It's a lot better than the last one of hers that I read. No great shakes but enjoyable froth nontheless.

I will warn you all that I'm away this weekend visiting pals and then next weekend at my cousin's wedding so the blog entries may incorporate more than one outfit but I will do my best to keep the updates nice and regular. I'm looking forward to this challenge!


  1. OMG,those SHOES!! Toooo adorable!!
    Opshop is short for Opportunity Shop,and is the same as a charity shop.Thrifting is an American term,thier opshops are called thrift shops,generally,and I don't like it when other Antipodeans call opshopping thrifting,as we opshop,not thrift,always have.I think they are just sucking up to or trying to get onside with the Yanks-you know the ones,the clones.I use the term second hand a lot,and adore second hand bookshops too!Ecstasy! Our Trade Me is like Ebay,but NZ only,and frequently overpriced.I try and spot bargains,and usually manage it.Car boot sales-I think they happen,but not sure where!
    Over & out! xxx

  2. O,fab idea for Vix,by the way. It's been amazing!x

  3. Those shoes are way too cool! I love the print on them. :) and thrifting is super fun, yesterday I found a leather Fossil belt for two bucks!~ every now and then you can find something really cool. Good luck!~

  4. Yay! Well done on taking up the challenge, Alex. Day one is fabulous, I love those shoes! Combined with that sexy pencil skirt you look amazing.
    I'm so with you on the "thrifted" word, fine for our American sisters but we're Brits and it's "second-hand" all the way.
    Oh yes, synthetic fabric is actually wonderful. The old-school variety (Rayon, tricel, dicel, crimplene, orlon) is hardwearing, wrinkle resistant and when travelling I can wash it in the sink and it's dry in less than an hour. I swear they stopped producing it because clothes never wore out and women weren't buying enough. Modern day viscose and acrylic is a limp and shoddy affair and best avoided.

  5. Adorable shoes, great buying. I'm with you on the second-hand books, can't walk past a store without buying something. Thank god we don't go 'thrifting' for books.

  6. This challenge is right up my street. I love second-hand shopping, and I too have noticed the sudden surge on the word 'thrift'

    I think we share a similar thing for books. I can't go past a charity shop without hunting down a book. And I often tell myself its okay to buy so many because there (substantially) cheaper than buying brand new.

    The shoes are fabulous, I am much an Irregular Choice admirer, although I have only ever owned 2 pairs, and one I later sold on eBay. But I guess one day for a special occasion it would be lovely to be able to go and buy a pair.
    The ribbon detailing is lovely x

  7. What a great challenge. Those shoes are amazing, i love the ribbons. I've been in a charity shop today buying books, 4 books for £3 :)

  8. You look utterly fabulous in these pictures and the shoes are just glorious!

  9. those shoes are faaaaabulous!

  10. Those shoes are amazing! I never have much luck with ebay, I must try harder!Looking forward to seeing the rest of your challenge!

  11. Those shoes are fab!!!

    I've not had any second hand bargains on the clothes front recently. I use green metropolis for books, it's a great way of recycling them.


  12. Great challenge :)

    Those shoes are utterly fab - & if even the men noticed then you're obviously onto a winner!

    I'm a bit funny about second-hand clothes.. I don't even know why. I can't help it, & I'm trying to be less so.. & since having started blogging I'm definitely more open to the idea.. however, everything I've ever bought on eBay (& that's a hell of a lot!) has been 'brand new with tags'.. although I suppose it still counts as second-hand, being that someone else bought it first..!?

    I recently bought 4 second-hand books from my local library (which is moving premises so therefore selling off a load of books) for the grand total of.. wait for it.. £1.70! Now that seriously is a bargain, right!? I was rather proud of that. 30p each for 3 paperbacks & then 80p for a hardback - can't go wrong! & they're all in decent nick - two of them look pretty much brand new!

    Looking forward to seeing more of this challenge :)

  13. Gorgeous shoes! Quite excited to see the rest of this challenge xx

  14. thank you to vix for introducing you! great challenge you gave her. she went above and beyond. i will peep in to see what you come up with. i do love a kitten heel with kittens too. kitten babootin. love from the arizona desert!

  15. For some stupid reason your blog doesn't come up on my dashboard thingy. :(
    I love those shoes, so cute, and well done taking up the challenge!


  16. Those shoes suit you so well. I too love "second hand" stuff though I agree that it is easier to find lovely stuff in the smaller sizes, I was having a wander round the charity shops yesterday and there was loads of fab stuff in size 10, but I only managed a cardigan for myself in my somewhat larger size. I really enjoyed the challenge you gave to Vix and am looking forward to following your challenge

  17. Ooooh, I love these kitty shoes! I'm sure Miss Trexes and tiaras has these and I loved them! And what's the book like? It looks good!


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