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Thursday, 5 March 2015

FOUND - Anchored to Coastline Style

I found this skirt at Anchors Aweigh Vintage on my 48-hour whirl through Whitstable. It's from Selfridges, not as old as it looks, I'd say 1980s (after 1950s). In mint condition, it is quite simply my dream skirt. Tartan, taffeta and full of swirly twirl-ablity, I can't wait to style this stunner. To keep it from looking like a full-on 50s costume, I'll pair it with a dark, fitted denim shirt and creamy vintage heels. Add an armload of bracelets (naturally) and a tanned leather Gucci clutch, and I'll have an outfit that floats my boat.  

My delight in this skirt is buoyed by the tiny shop where I found it. Located at 65 Harbor Street in the town centre, Anchors Aweigh is a collection of perfectly curated home and fashion pieces - small but neat as a pin.

The owner is chatty, welcoming and helpful. She informed me that once a week she completely changes out the stock - I get the sense she's got stacks of stylish stuff. And according to the marketing flyer, Anchors Aweigh Vintage "buys and sells vintage clothing, accessories and homeware by the sea!" No visit to wonderful Whitstable would be complete without calling in at Anchors Aweigh.

My new favourite skirt was £35 - a vintage bargain at twice the price. The shop is open Monday to Sunday, closed on Wednesday. 

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

TRY THIS - Branch Out by Wearing Wood

I found this wooden big-bead bracelet at the Barnardo's charity shop in Whitstable on the Kent Coast. It happily joins similar bangles I've collected over the years. Today's contemporary women's style requires mismatching, pattern clashing and competing textures - opposites attract it seems. So to "toughen-up" a feminine look, professional stylists perpetually add biker boots or a black leather jacket to frilly frocks. Frankly it's a choice that's becoming all too typical and to be honest, I've never been able to make biker boots work. But thankfully there are alternatives for ensuring your feminine style-turn stays strong. I like pairing natural materials - like wood - with my girly gear. The rich colour, grainy pattern and over-sized shape of these bangles add an air of "Modern Art" or "Nature's Power" to any womanly wear I pull on. Solid style, courtesy of a beaded bracelet, was just 49p.

Monday, 2 March 2015

TRY THIS - Oysters Fine & Donuts Free

I found my first visit to Whitstable in Kent a 2-day delight. Traveling with my mate Susan (the 'Tramp Poet' above), we luxuriated in the winter sun and sea air. Full marks to The Apartment, where we happily hung our hats CLICK HERE. This top floor flat kitted out in cozy Art Deco flourishes overlooks lovely little Whitstable Castle as well as boasting sea views. Owners Mark and Frances are welcoming, relaxed and helpful. The continental breakfast they sent up to our quarters after our peaceful night's sleep was fresh and filling. Dinner at the Oyster & Fishery Company CLICK HERE, an institution that traces its origins back to the 1400s, offered a warm, comfortable atmosphere along with first class fish dishes. Whitstable's buzzing high street kept us busy with several vintage shops and at least 6 charming charity shops. But surely the highlight of the visit was dockside coffee and FREE donut. The stall owner told me he'd started offering free donuts as a way of thanking the local community for their support. In 16 weeks he had given away 7,000 ring and jelly-filled, doubling his already thriving business. I salute this seaside statesman, making the world a better place through the distribution of free fried, sugary dough.  

Whitstable Week at Huntress London
Fab 2nd-Hand Finds to Follow

Friday, 27 February 2015

FOUND - Boy That Husband Can Hunt

I find my husband's become a superb 2nd-hand hunter. He senses my need for big bright bangles is rivaled only by my desire for fascinating fashion books. Observing Huntress in action, he's seen her pass over Gok Wan's literary musings on style and politely ignore Trinny and Susannah's warnings on What Not To Wear - book shelf stalwarts in any self-respecting charity shop. Mr. Hunter understands I'm picky when it comes to publica-tions. Armed with informed but realistic style targets, his hunting is proving exceptionally fruitful. Look, he's never going to spot the mint vintage handbag or ideal slouchy 2nd-hand trousers - and hey that's my job anyway! But when it comes to a bangle or book he's Top Dog, as this spectacular paperback from the British Heart Foundation in Streatham beautifully illustrates. Keep 'em coming Big Man -    


CLICK HERE for more stylish reads
from Huntress over on the Oxfam Fashion Blog 

Thursday, 26 February 2015

FOUND - Cashmere For Mere Cash


I found this cashmere sweater at the Scope charity shop in Ruislip, north west London. According to Nina Garcia, author of The One Hundred, A Guide to the Pieces Every Woman Must Own, we "first began craving cashmere in 1937, when Lana Turner wore her tight cashmere sweater in the film They Won't Forget." And I think this very berry pullover paired with slouchy black trousers and white brogues will indeed sparkle with casual Hollywood glamour. As Spring in London seeks to make her debut, colourful short-sleeved knitwear won't go amiss. I'm a fan of popping hot pink that's soft, woolly and warm, but who isn't? And it cost me less than a ticket to the pictures - just £5.

Lana Turner in They Won't Forget

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

FOUND - Red Rises from The Ashes

I found this wool, fully-lined dress at the Fara charity shop in Chiswick, near the Turnham Green tube station. It's from Boden, a UK clothier that launched in 1991 with 8 menswear products. A year later they began offering women's wear, now the more substantial of the two ranges CLICK HERE. I have a love/hate relationship with Boden - can't live with it, can't live without it. Clothes on offer are well-made but about half Boden's styles miss the mark in terms of cut and colour. Even this gorgeous red dress will need a bit of tweaking. The odd sleeve length - just above the elbow - is wonky (technical term). In fact, I suspect it's why this frock was donated to Fara - it's hardly been worn. Time and time again, I think the previous owner popped it on only to find it wasn't quite right. The red sleeves align with the bust creating a wadge of uninterrupted colour from shoulder to elbow. Shorter sleeves will transform the dress. Don't dismiss quality clothing with defects - use your sewing skills or a tailor to stitch a winner. My problematic but promising frock was £12. 

Monday, 23 February 2015

TRY THIS - Make a Date with Paste

I find myself longing to sew, paint and draw, but sadly I'm unskilled when it comes to manual crafts. I'm tempted to say I've two left hands but aren't southpaws well-known for their artistic dexterity? While I can turn a phrase, turning-up a trouser leg is well and truly beyond me. 

However, it is possible for the craft-less to conjure a project. Glue stick at the ready, I cobbled together these party invitations all by myself. Old black & white postcards spotted at Oxfam in Ealing are my foundation. Interesting bits and pieces cut from magazines and free catalogs are added. Place, paste and like magic it seems even I'm crafty.

Party details - date, time, place - are simply handwritten on the back of the cards. Popping with personality, I think these rival any store-bought variety. The 12 old postcards were 10p apiece and the glue stick a pound. The feeling of DIY pride - priceless.

These unique little mementos remind everyone that we're off to Zedel's CLICK HERE in March to celebrate my friend Susan's 70th birthday - paper scene stealers that perfectly suit the stylish septuagenarian tucked in our handbags.