Reuse, Recycle, Relove – Sustainable Fashion

Vintage Gap jumpsuit bought on Vinted

My lovely vintage Gap jumpsuit bought on Vinted. Photo credit: Yi Ling Huang

Vintage dresser for my vintage clothes and accesories

My vintage dresser to house some of my vintage clothing and accessory finds

I have always been a bit of a hoarder, particularly when it comes to fashion. I keep clothes and accessories for years and years, and often wear a mixture of old and new pieces, lovingly matched and coordinated. I do love to be “matchy-matchy” with coordinating colours across all my clothes and accessories! I have luckily not really changed size too much since my late teens, meaning I have been able to keep and continue using old favourites and bring them back to life with some new additions to the wardrobe.

 

I also love vintage fashion and buy a lot of it online, from like-minded ladies on Twitter, where a group of us meet up every wednesday at 8pm for #vintagefindhour, organised by the lovely Sarah-Jane Hosegood (find her on Twitter at @vintagefindhour or @vintagehomeshop), through using handy apps such as Vinted and Etsy, and regularly combing charity shops, vintage and secondhand designer clothes stores for vintage bargains.

I also love a nod to vintage styles, such as historical fabrics and prints from Liberty or the V&A. I was very excited to see that the V&A had recently collaborated with Oasis, one of my favourite high street shops, on a range of stunning clothes and accessories with vintage prints. I bought a number of pretty tops – my favourite is this silky electric blue number, which I have worn and worn!

Lovely blue top from V and A and Oasis collaboration

My favourite top from the beautiful V and A and Oasis collaboration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is something that has been passed down to me through the generations: I have a very glamorous grandmother who always has beautifully matched and coordinated outfits, as well as a very impressive shoe and handbag collection – including a pair of shoes with Wedgewood heels from the 70s – with many items dating back through the years. My mum, also glamorous and youthful, also keeps her good quality items for many years and, like me, matches with new items or vintage treasures that she has a particularly good eye in seeking out.

1980s YSL jacket from a charity shop

Fab charity shop vintage find – a 1980s YSL jacket

While I love shopping and browsing fashion magazines, keeping and reusing my clothes and accessories has always been important to me. I’m a firm believer in reloving and reusing classic items and mixing fashions from different eras. And it’s stood me in good stead – everything comes back into fashion again (I knew I shouldn’t part with my super-flattering 90s flared jeans when skinnies took over – and I was right!)

These days, it is more important than ever to be eco conscious, so by reusing, recycling and reloving your clothing and accessories, this is a a real and easy way to be able to make a difference and contribute to the sustainable fashion movement. Certain high street shops are also now doing their part – H&M gives a £5 voucher for every bag donated to their textile recycling bin, where you can also – very usefully – recycle your unwanted household textiles. Marks & Spencer has a similar donation box and scheme to take your unwanted clothes. Both H&M and Marks & Spencer also offer Earth friendly ranges made from sustainable and organic fabrics.

I was recently interviewed as a case study for a national newspaper about using Vinted and some of the fabulous items I have purchased on there, taking some pictures and sharing some of my fab fashion finds – another post to follow once it’s been published! I also sell a number of items of clothing and accessories on there – adding some items every few weeks. I even managed to pay for our removals last time we moved house with the proceeds of my sales so far. There is a real sense of community among “Vinties”, and I have found it very enjoyable both hunting for bargains and selling a few of my own.

I also love the camaraderie within the vintage community. The lovely people who join #vintagefindhour each week are vintage enthusiasts across the spectrum – they all sell or buy vintage items, from antiques and upcycled furniture, to vintage clothes from the 1920s-1980s, to vintage china, crockery and homewares. I discovered this wonderful group a couple of years ago now – and, as well as finding a number of fabulous vintage bargains, have found some lovely, likeminded friends. We even try to meet together when we can for an in-person meet up, but I have yet to be able to make one of those with a pretty hectic schedule. Definitely next time, though!

Vintage patterns

Lovely vintage inspired patterns from Oasis

Vintage Chanel shoes and Oasis patterned trousers

Vintage Chanel shoes with brightly patterned trousers from Oasis

 

Until next time, why not embrace the joys of reusing and recycling your own wardrobe? It’s really good fun to rummage through your own clothes, bags, shoes, jewellery and scarves, and to rediscover past favourites or items that have come back into style. Even if you’re not interested in collecting or buying vintage clothes and accessories, by making the most of the wardrobe you already have, you may well find some undiscovered treasures, some fab new outfits, and who knows – perhaps the vintage of the future?

Wearing my blue V and A and Oasis top in London

Me wearing my favourite blue top out and about in London

Tea and vintage

Enjoying a nice cup of tea in my vintage Gap jumpsuit, bought on Vinted

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have fun!

Rachael xx

Personal Shopper – add a rainbow to your wardrobe

The sun was shining today – hooray!  

Despite a big thunderstorm this afternoon, I really enjoyed having some time off in the (intermittent) sunshine and made the most of a full day of shopping!

Bringing another little ray of sunshine to your life at the moment, there are plenty of lovely, colourful clothes in the shops.  Here’s my edit of what I think are the nicest splashes of colour on the high street, ready to update your wardrobe for Spring/Summer 2012:

Yellow – conjuring up thoughts of sunshine, sunflowers, lemons, the Mediterranean…

There are lovely bags, both large and small to be found in LK Bennett (in shades of green and other bright colours as well as yellow), H&M, Boden, to name but just a few…  

The picture below is of a lovely big tote in the LK Bennett window in Kingston, Surrey:

(Note the cute LK Bennett pastel slingback shoes in the window too – pastels are of course another big trend, to be explored in another post!)

They also have some shiny patent belts in yellow (and the red version is in the sale!)  

Boden has a lovely sunflower-yellow bag and a “must-have bag” in a range of colours, including tomato red (which we’ll come on to later…)

H&M currently has some nice satchel-style bags – I saw a bag in a lovely lemony shade of yellow today for £24.99 and there’s a zingy orange messenger bag available online – a vibrant, citrus-like shade.

Which brings me on to the next sunny colour – orange…

There are lots of bright orange clothes and accessories about too – I particularly like the Next orange cotton jacket, which is also available in Petite sizes for petite people like me!   Would look great with black trousers or skirt, or jeans.

And the tuxedo-style jacket in Miss Selfridge is fun and affordable – would look great with some slim black trousers and a black vest top.

And for a special occasion (perfect for weddings, Christenings and other summery events), I am completely in love with this beautiful orange lace pleated dress (called “Butterfly” – how appropriate!) from Reiss.   

Red – traditionally the colour of power, confidence, and my favourite food – tomatoes!

Boden has some great choices in red too, depending on your chosen shade and size of bag – there are more traditional satchel styles and I also really like the Classic Colourful Tote.

Vivienne Westwood, as always, has some fantastic red bags like this beauty I was eyeing up today, and I fell head over heels (pun intended!) in love with a far less practical but oh-so fabulous pair of shoes today – Melissa for Vivienne Westwood Anglomania Skyscraper – 5-inch round-toed heels in beautiful, bright red!  Ah, trying not to drool into my tea…!

For high street bargains, head to New Look – they have a lovely 20s-inspired clutch (ticking the boxes for yet another trend…) for only £6.99 (yes, you did read that correctly!), and even that all-important iPad case by Fiorelli (available online). 

Please don’t step on my blue suede shoes…

Electric blue and turquoise are my favourite colours – have been ever since my teens – and I already have a lot of clothes and accessories in varying shades.  

There are lots of electric blue jeans, blouses etc on the high street, so you’re really spoiled for choice is this is your chosen colour.  Gap, TopShop and Warehouse all have good ranges and there’s something to suit all styles, shapes and sizes.  It’s a colour that pretty much suits everyone, too.

I used to love my electric blue patent leather Kurt Geiger court shoes that lasted for many years, and haven’t yet found a pair I like as much to buy as a replacement.  At long last, I spotted these blue suede shoes on ASOS that may well fit the bill…

Happy shopping everyone! 

Rachael XX