Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (16-23 July)

 

This Week's Thrifty Finds via secondhandtales.wordpress.comHow was your week? The kids broke up for the summer on Friday and, beforehand, I was really busy finishing off my end of school year jobs list. However I did manage to find some time to myself and go on a very successful Thrifty Finds shopping trip:

  1. I bought a few more items on my summer holidays clothes list: a pair of navy shorts and khaki vest top for just £1.99 each from the British Heart Foundation shop; this brand new blue dress for £8.49 from the same shop:

 secondhand, charity shop, navy dress, British Heart Foundation

I think I will wear this to work with leggings, as well as taking on holiday.

I also fell in love with this Henry Holland/Debenhams print dress, which was £8.50 from the Julian House shop:

charity shop Thrifty Find secondhand dress

You know when you see something on a rail and you have to have it? This was how I felt about this dress. Every so often on my secondhand shopping trips I get a real emotional response to an item of clothing and am reminded why I love charity shopping: amidst all the ill fitting Primark and Tesco cast offs there will be a unique outfit that I know no one else will be wearing. What I love about this dress is the style (Tea Dress, just above the knee so perfect for holidays), and the 80s style pattern: geometric blocks and – for some reason – horses and carriages!

2. As well as my successful clothing haul I also found some activity books for the kids to take on holiday. I’m not a big fan of comic books (especially when they have plastic tat stuck to the covers). I often find unused activity books in charity shops which are a cheaper alternative.

3.The children broke up from school on Friday and I completely failed at bringing in any Thank You presents. Instead, the Teachers and Teaching Assistants received personalised thank you cards from the girls.

4. My husband and I went on a weekend trip to London to catch up with old university friends. It wasn’t particularly cheap but I did reduce our train fare costs by buying single, instead of return tickets.

5. I also took my trusty zero waste essentials with me – reusable coffee cup and water bottle. However, once more I failed on the plastic straw front. I didn’t even think to ask for ‘no straw’ when ordering a glass of lemonade at a restaurant. However I did refuse their disposable handwipes.

 

 

I’d love to hear about your Thrifty Finds too! Please  share your Thrifty Finds on my facebook page, or use #thriftyfinds on Twitter or instagram

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Green…

Last year I posted here about my love of orange and yellow (in particular my second-hand orange coat). As we are approaching the end of Spring and everything is lush and verdant I thought I’d jot down some of my thoughts about the colour green.

green tea caddy and tea cup

Many many years ago I picked up this Liptons tea caddy in a jumble sale. It came with me to university, lived in four houses and, nearly thirty years later, is still a much used household item. I can’t imagine putting my teabags in anything else! Pictured alongside is a cute second-hand teacup and saucer that my best friend bought for me a couple of years ago.

I do, of course, have some green clothing – but not as much as I’d like. This jumper was picked up from the school jumble sale earlier this year.

green jumper

I really loved this skirt but it is now too tight for me and, as I write, is being used to make a new upcycled skirt (made from an old pair of jeans)

green skirt

I also have these two gorgeous fifties dresses. They were bought from jumble sales when I was in my teens but, alas, don’t fit me any more.

But my absolute favourite item of green clothing is this dress that I bought from the Julian House charity shop in Bath two years ago. It’s a 1970s original, is warm and comfy and I just love it!

Green 1970s dress

Charity Shops or Vintage Boutiques?

I wrote here about whether vintage has become an overused word. I believe there has been an increase in the use of this word over the past few years. It now seems to mean something old, precious and – ironically – fashionable. I still don’t know whether to refer to the clothes I wear as Charity Shop Bargains or Vintage Finds!

What I do find interesting is that when applying the word ‘vintage’ to an item the price tag can really rise.

Last month I went shopping for a 1970s inspired outfit for our annual party. I attempted to try on a couple of dresses that were seventies originals (I got the sizing wrong: old style size 12 means modern size 8/10).

vintage shopping for 1970s dress

Once upon a time these dresses would have been piled high on a jumble sale table, or hanging on a rail in a musty charity shop. Now they were on sale for £15 each and positioned in the dedicated vintage section of the local Julian House charity shop in Bath.

I don’t begrudge charity shops making money from older, vintage pieces. I find it sad that I can buy a dress from H&M, Primark and others for less than this price. But as I have written before these clothes are badly made (by garment workers earning a small wage), and will not have the history or care invested in them that older pieces possess.

Over the past few years I’ve noticed a rise in the number of charity shops that have been turned into vintage style stores. As I mentioned the Julian House shop in Bath has a dedicated vintage area, filled with crockery, magazines, suitcases, accessories and clothing.

Vintage Charity Shops: Julian House, Bath

Vintage Charity Shops: Julian House, Bath

We’ve also visited this brilliant ‘Vintage and Retro’ Thames Hospice charity shop in Windsor on a couple of occasions:

The latest addition to these style of shops in Bath is the Dorothy House vintage boutique and cafe, called ’76’ on Bridge Street. The shop is called ’76’ after the year that the hospice charity was founded and, I imagine, is also a nod to the date of some of the period pieces on sale in store.

 

The shop and cafe was opened last year by local resident, Midge Ure. The fact that a celebrated, and much respected, musician is happy to open a charity shop shows how far this sector has risen in popular esteem. The forerunner of this vintage shop was the Dorothy House shop on Broad Street (which has now become the charity’s record and book store). However with the addition of a coffee house ’76’ has taken charity retail therapy to a new level. I personally enjoyed browsing this shop and, as mentioned in this post, picked up a great 1970s style flared jumpsuit for our party. At £12 the price tag was slightly cheaper as well.

Sadly not all these charity to vintage shop transformations have a happy ending. The   Mercy in Action chain of charity shops opened a dedicated vintage store in the Widcombe area of Bath.  But sadly it stopped trading earlier this year (thankfully this charity still has other shops in the city). Perhaps there are so only so many Vintage Charity Boutiques that a city can take.

The £10 jeans

Today I purchased a pair of jeans for £10. No, they weren’t from H&M or Primark (although the latter does sell jeans for £10). They were originally from TOAST and I bought them second-hand from a charity shop in Bath.

My existing jeans have been falling apart for ages and, despite numerous repairs, I realised it was time to say goodbye. But I really wanted to buy a pair of second-hand jeans because:

– they are cheaper? Well I know I could have walked into Primark and bought brand new jeans for £10, £12 or £15. Instead I paid a wacking £10 for a second-hand pair. However after some quick internet research I discovered that these jeans retail for £95 brand new. They are made in Turkey and I had assumed the working conditions and pay would be better there than in Bangladesh. However a report from the group Clean Clothes Campaign indicates this is not necessarily true.

– they are supporting a charity? I bought the jeans from the Julian House charity shop in Bath. This locally based charity works with homeless people. It has four retail shops in the area which, last year, raised £100,000 for the organisation. There has been recent talk among some of the blogs I follow about charity shop donations being sent directly overseas to be sold, rather than being displayed in the shops. There’s an interesting article here from last month’s Guardian newspaper about the second-hand clothing market in Africa. I’m not sure what percentage, if any, of the clothes donated to Julian House are sold onto overseas traders. I know they were certainly asking for clothing donations at the shop today.

– they are being re-used? I’ve been shopping second-hand for so many years I sometimes forget that it’s also the greener thing to do. Re-using someone else’s clothing means the clothing is not going to landfill and it extends the life of the garment. I personally couldn’t see what was wrong with these jeans as they still seem to be in the current TOAST catalogue here. Buying second-hand is also sticking your fingers up to fast fashion where trends come and go within a few weeks as you are choosing to buy and wear someone else’s castoffs.

– they are easier to wear? I personally prefer second-hand jeans. They have been ‘worn in’. In the case of the ones I bought today, I can ignore the warning to “keep your new denim away from light coloured fabrics and upholstery” because they’ve already been washed a few times. So my new (to me) jeans can replace the old ones while still adhering to my Project 333 wardrobe (update to come soon). I also have exciting plans to upcycle the old pair as I can’t completely say goodbye to them.