Wednesday, 23 January 2013

What To Wear

For about 10 years I worked in various charity shops, both paid as a manager then later as a volunteer. Obviously the temptation is huge, every day bags and boxes came through the door and the game of nice or nasty roulette began. I had to make a very deliberate decision to only buy something that I'd never see again or was in such amazing condition that it would be crazy not to buy. So I'd have my eye on something and hold my breath as it sat in the shop for at least one day before I could buy it. Sometimes I missed out sometimes the item was still there so I could go for it. 

I loved my charity shop bargains, friends would always ask me about where I'd bought things and I'd be happy to tell them all about how great charity shops are and I thought that was that. So I was pretty surprised when I did a wardrobe audit last year. My wardrobe in the new house (I say new, we've been here for two years) is tiny compared to the huge bank of wardrobes we had in the old house. I set about creating my capsule and was shocked to see that all the stuff on the "donate" pile was the stuff I'd bought at the charity shop. Now I was out of the charity environment, or maybe because we were in  a new place and I wanted a new look who can say but of the bags of things that went out the majority of it was either bought in a sale or from the charity shop.

I kept 3 items - a wool coat I bought for £1, a new stripy Gap scarf that the manager gave me as it was going into the rag pen and a Betty Barclay skirt. The jeans, the jumpers, the tops, the bags and the beads all went back to where they came from. It was a lesson for me.

I wasn't aiming to do Project 333 but it just ended up that way. I now own 48 items of clothing not including coats and shoes so it turns out I only wear around that amount each season of the year. It makes things really simple, I always thought I was a maximalist but not having too much choice is great for me. It has been tested with this chilly weather and I'm impressed. I now have a deeper love of my leggings and snood. I love my snood for on the beach in the summer but in the winter it's great for keeping my neck warm and adds a bit of colour. Leggings are genius - with a tunic, dress or skirt, I can even wear my thermals underneath and you can't tell - far better than tights for that! Polo neck jumpers with dresses or trousers. It just makes sense and it works for me which is the first time I can say that about my clothing.

This autumn I bought something from a charity shop for the first time for two years. WOW it was expensive! I had been spoilt for many years with bargain prices living in a deprived area and spoilt for getting a staff discount. That took the sting out of the £25 I paid for my new winter coat. With the recent weather would I have paid £50, almost certainly.

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