I’ve never been one of those people who finds good stuff in charity shops. Or maybe it’s just that I don’t have the stones to make second hand stuff work. Like a moth to a paisley patterned flame, I am automatically drawn to the wacky so-bad-it’s-good racks and I suspect that is my downfall. You have to commit to that shit. As a student (when I had the legs to really work it too), I spent months lusting after an orange nylon playsuit that slouched sassily in the local vintage shop window. I used to walk up and down outside the shop, mooning like a teenager over their first crush. But I never quite made it inside to buy. Considering some of the stuff I used to wear out clubbing in those days, shyness wasn’t the issue. I can only conclude I was scared of making a statement.
On the rare occasion that I do find something I love, it generally doesn’t love me. Those 60s femmes were pretty tiny, eh? Or take this purchase from a few years ago:
Look at it! Isn’t it awesome? I bought it from a vintage fair in Leicester because I just couldn’t resist that print, also I harboured some notion that I would look like a coltish runway model striding down the city street in my boxy shift dress. But I am short and well rounded all over and when I put it on, it becomes a lifeless sack. It is also too long, but to alter it would be to ruin the impact of the print. Thus it has lived a sorry half-life, moving from wardrobe to wardrobe, ever since I handed over my tenner.
So given my historic bad decision-making and my refusal to pay £8.99 for a Primark top that probably cost £3 new, charity shops don’t often yield up their goodies to me. Yet still they draw me in with the promise that today might be the day that I find an unbelievable bargain, and in fact one day last week that promise finally came good.
This black skirt from Topshop is made of a silky cotton, falls in perfect pleats from a wide and comfortable waistband, and only cost me £5.49. Something about it reminds me of the illustrations from my childhood copy of A Little Princess. Oh, the hours I spent lost in description of her rainbow of beautiful frocks…even ending up with the servant’s outfit makes me smile a little more.