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Wednesday, 20 August 2014

TRY THIS - Ditch Pulp for Publication

I found these books at Oxfam; Bags at Oxfam Richmond and Shoes at Oxfam Marylebone. They're inspiring additions to my growing fashion library. Outlining our historical obsessions with shoes and bags, books like these offer a look into the past as a way of illuminating the present. Understanding the rise, growth, evolution and even decline of fashionable pieces provides a new and exciting foundation for my personal style. With facts and history in mind, I shop in a more mindful manner. The photos in books like these are exceptional, allowing easy comparisons with my own collection of clothing and accessories. I find fashion magazines increasingly unsatisfying, pulp fiction that fails to turn on my sartorial light bulb. But fashion books! They're providing me with style inspiration and practical provocation. No more expensive than a few magazines, Bags was £2.99 and Shoes was £6.99. These are heavy weight winners in my book. 

BREAKING NEWS: Huntress London will join the Oxfam Fashion Team in September, posting on their blog several times a month. We're thrilled to be partnering with this great charity shop tradition.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

TRY THIS - Dotty Ditty Rethink...

I found this silk bow tie at The Children's Society charity shop on Pitshanger Lane in Ealing. I cannot resist lovely slashes of silk so men's ties, simple and beautifully made, challenge my sartorial creativity. I want them, but how do I wear them? I could style this in the same manner a man would but frankly a red bow tie under my chin is not a look that suits me. It's too done-up, too stiff, too Bozo the Clown. Instead, onto the silk I'll pin my gorgeous, but unlikely cameo brooch - a piece spotted in an old jewellery shop in Harare Zimbabwe. Then I'll knot the tie at the nape of my neck and allow the ends to hang down my back. A masculine accessory made functionally feminine. Was I potty to buy this dotty ditty? No, it was just £4.59. 
Backdrop for photo, David Hockney poster from book found in Oxfam charity shop. 

Monday, 18 August 2014

FOUND - Bagging A Little Italian Luxury

I found this Frette silk fringed bag at Traid charity shop in Shepherds Bush ( over the weekend. Traid is relatively new to the charity shop scene; their shop in Shepherds Bush is large, well-stocked and maintained, boasting a friendly staff who were creating a particularly effective window display the day I was in. Frette on the other hand is an Italian textile company that's been knocking about since 1860. In 1894 Frette created the Holy Virgin table cloth for the alter at St Peter's in Rome; however, they may be best known for the luxury linens they've supplied to the likes of The Savoy in London, The Ritz in Paris and The Plaza in NYC. Today a Frette queen-size bed set costs in excess of £300 and their men's pyjamas the same. This company is all about luxury, classic products elevated by their incredible craftsmanship. They are, after all, the firm that originally supplied linens to the famed Orient Express. This silk Frette bag was just £4.99.

Friday, 15 August 2014

TRY THIS - Separate Your Separates

I found this Tory Burch skirt at Oxfam in Ealing, a place that over the summer has been the site of some spectacular finds. This is what the fashion world refers to as a 'separate' or 'coordinate.' More than likely it had a matching piece - a jacket, blouse or cardigan by the same designer made specifically to 'go with' the skirt. If the coordinating piece had been available I would have bought it however, I almost never wear my matching separates together. I find the matchy-matchy look too predictable, too dependant on decisions made by the manufacture. I want to decide how I'll wear a piece. Styling your clothes should be fun, an adventure, a creative dance. Enjoy, even relish stamping YOUR style on YOUR wardrobe. I'll wear this skirt with a crisp white blouse, wide black belt and black wedge espadrilles, and finish it off with an armload of mismatched bangles. I wonder how you'd style this skirt? It was just $6.99.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

FOUND - Trendy With Vintage Pricetag

I found these Bally trainers at the Octavia Foundation charity shop in Putney. There's a common misconception that charity shops are full of musty-smelling vintage and straight up junk. Granny gear and chipped teacups. Okay, sometimes, but there's style gold as well. Week after week, I find high-end, big brand fashions at a fraction of their original price. Last week I found a Mulberry belt for £3, this week Bally trainers that retailed when new for £250. High-end style finds bring a smile to my face. So do quirky vintage pieces. What about that musty smell, I hear you sniff. Here's the trick; spray the offending item with white vinegar, then just let it air out. The vinegar will evaporate quite quickly and with it the pong. Wash as normal. You may need to apply and dry more than once, but I assure you this eliminates eau de vintage. But never mind vintage, today I'm bang on trend - call me Mrs Current - in these all-leather kicks from the famous Swiss shoemaker. Nearly new but sporting a vintage price tag, they were just £15. 

Tweet a pic of your best charity shop find to
@annielistening #best2ndever 

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

FOUND - Her Head on a Plate

I found this plate - what I call a fashion curio - at Oxfam in Ealing. The little lady immediately reminded me of charms on my mother's bracelet, a lovely piece she passed on to me a few years ago. The bracelet features no less than 3 silvery silhouettes; one for me, and one for both my siblings. I can even remember little framed black silhouette cut-outs of us kids that hung in our sitting room when I was growing up. The craft of creating silhouettes fell out of favour for a time but has made a welcome return; contemporary artist Kara Walker's thought-provoking use of silhouette cutting to comment on race and identity has been exhibited world-wide for example. This statement plate - a fashion curio - is a perfect resting place for jewellery. It was a charming £1.99.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

FOUND - Paris Bright Under My Nose

I found this vintage souvenir scarf at the Trinity Hospice charity shop in Putney, SW15. Now a popular collectible, these holiday keepsakes are akin to postcards on fabric. Mobile phones chronicle every waking moment of our hols these days but there was a time when cameras were a luxury. A little ditty like this scarf was the best way to recall sights seen while travelling. Souvenir scarves won't keep you especially warm but they will light up your complexion, a little colour around the face should always be welcomed. Tucked into a light-weight coat or the neckline of my Droopy and Brown waistcoat, this elegant accessory adds Parisian flair to any outfit. A bit of vintage that goes a long way. It was £4.