Monday, 14 May 2012

Make do and mend

As the economic downturn continues along with perpetual weight loss there comes a time when you really do have to buy some clothes. The work wardrobe looks better on a clothes horse at the moment and if one more person asks where has my ass gone I might just shove it in their face. (If you had told me 10 years ago that  I would be eating for England to try and put weight on I would have laughed in their face; before you ask it's a stress diet, anxiety is great for tearing up the calories apparently.)

So we have a work wardrobe to sort, a wedding to go to and attendance of milestone birthday of mega celebratory proportions. So far I had saved- yes actually physically saved cold hard cash for this purpose, a staggering £60. This was not going to go far. In fact this could not even stretch to one frock, a trouser leg never mind accessories. Dilemma!

As a teenager you could always find me foraging in a charity shop. I even have a couple of items today tucked away in my wardrobe that I cant bear to give away. They don't make 'em like they used to. Fortunately I am blessed with the best charity shops on my door step. Where ladies that lunch ( and shop ) drop off their wares for souls like me to pounce on and treasure. But would they rise to occasion and provide me with what I needed? Or would they fail and leave me with that horrible empty unfulfilled shopping feeling? The working wardrobe was becoming the biggest problem. Having got 5 suits and only 1 that you could say fits this was my most urgent need. With this is mind I managed the following

1 dress by Reiss - £6.99! This will do for both wedding and work
1 shift dress by Florence & Fred £3.99 - love a good shift dress - work attire number 2
Brand new never worn bright orange linen skirt M&S £ 3.99 - I love it!
1 Nougat top long sleeve in caramel colour £4.99 -  Too good for work
1 skirt Autograph M&S - 3.99 - patterned and perfect for work summer wardrobe
1 Wonderwoman Tee - £3.99 - by this time I was feeling like wonder woman and was embracing frivolous shopping mode
A staggering £27.94!
I then did the purchase of a pair of new tees and a black cardi from M&S along with a much coveted green one £9.99 from H&M & I think I'm done. I love my charity shops and over the past couple of years have got some brilliant bargains and resisted temptation for  a Joseph cream skirt suit, LK Bennett dresses to name but a few.

As a self confessed shoeaholic I'd love to buy a new pair of work shoes and in fact did but took them back as they weren't quite right. A pair of nude suede wedges perfect for my Reiss dress were calling my name like the sirens they are. I have so far managed to resist but I may not be able to resist their pull any longer. I have to run a gauntlet of Moda in Pelle, Dune, Kurt Geiger and numerous boutique shops to get through town.  I must not buy, I must not buy.

The suits are on stand by waiting for my newly discovered lady that sews to take them in and I think I can hold my head up high again and my ass will be no longer hidden. My wedgie sandals so loved will have the elasticated bit where you fasten them, mended. A regular frequenter of helps me along and I've been savvy with some things and not so with others. I read the online stylist with envy as she describes things as being an affordable luxury and then reel beck in horror when I see the price such as a tee for £125! I have a good job but on single income and 2 teens there's not enough to go round and I'm not sure I would ever spend that on a tee and don't begrudge those that can. But please dont use the word affordable and three figures in the same sentence. Affordable is 2 for a tenner in this day and age. You'll be telling me people pay more than monkey for handbag next!

India Knight's "The Thrift Book " sits with pride on my shelf and many of  her ideas from porridge oats body scrubs, cheaper make up and holidays have been taken on board. Learning to sew is my next challenge and if successful I may even create my own label. Aiming high.

PS If I could I would have bought this from Mint Velvet for wedding but then would have needed shoes too. No change out of 200 quid there then


  1. Is that you in the top pic? you are very tiny. You have done well in the charity shops - I will be going on Thursday for a rummage. Desperately looking for a few workwear items. I currently rely on Primark £5 trousers but would like to air my legs if we get any sun. My investment buys this year were a blue embroidered skirt from White stuff and a navy gillet from Next - everything else will have to be for pennies - I am sitting quaking in my boots as my mechanic takes the car for its service and mot and suspect there will be no change from £200 if things go well, if they go badly, I dread to think!

  2. Sorry that you are dropping pounds through stress..but you look great in the picture. Your bargains sound fab....I have shopped in Charity shops for years and hardly ever buy new...keep up the good work.

  3. you really did get the bargains! I know totally what you mean about the weight loss. I have an auto immune disease and takes meds to keep weight on. People think I'm so 'lucky' to be thin. They would never comment on someone gaining weight but think its ok to do it when you lose it.

  4. Betty - yes that's me! I'm not that small! Hope the car bill isn't too bad. I know that feeling all too well
    Libby - I have since discovered a few well heeled folk who get their work clothes VIA charity shops
    Mum of all trades - I hear you. It's like man vs food here

  5. I rarely get a bargain in a charry - or else where for that matter - I've a ridiculous sized bust and shirts and dresses that fit my top half can be baggy round the middle!

    Nice pics!

  6. Where is your bottom dear Sister? You are shrinking ... nice dress ... I doubt my bottom would fit in it! xxx