Sunday, 19 June 2016

Charity shop haul

 My local charity shops had been delivering slim pickings before I went away, and I'd started to think that they simply weren't going to have anything decent any more, but this week I felt the real urge to have a good trawl round them and it paid off.


I seem to be finding more and more St Michael garments. For non-Brits (or very young Brits), this was a brand from Marks and Spencer that ran from the 1920s to 2000, so if you find anything with that label in, it has to be 20th century. More importantly for me, it means the garment dates from when Marks still produced really good-quality clothing.  In recent years they seem to have taken the standard high street approach of making cheap things that won't last and plastering them with pointless embellishments. Yesterday I found a St Michael brown floral skirt, probably best described as 'semi-pleated' - it's pleated at the top but falls into soft folds - with the original tag still on it - for £3.50. Another charity shop delivered a navy Edinburgh Woollen Mill pleated skirt for £1.99, and a third yielded a pale pistachio green sleeveless blouse from BHS for £2. I'm afraid the colours haven't quite come through in the photo.

I don't think any of these items are really old, but they are classics. The sleeveless shirt will be brilliant as part of a 1950s/1960s look, as will the pleated skirt. I'm not so convinced by the floral skirt, though my husband thought it would suit me, so I thought I might as well buy it and see how I felt when I got it home. It strikes me as the sort of thing that can very easily look the wrong sort of frumpy - accidentally frumpy rather than deliberately frumpy - but I hope with things like my Burmese agate beads, and my steampunky brown heels it will be fine. I'm not very good at accessorising, being naturally minimalist by inclination, but I am starting to understand how one or two really eyecatching pieces can make an outfit.

Mr Robot made the best purchase, however. In addition to a book of essays by Alistair Cooke (who did 'Letter from America' on BBC radio from 1946 to 2004), he found three plates he liked and a rather splendid brown leather jacket. I think it's very Life On Mars, but in a good way.

22 comments :

  1. Great buys! Sometimes a break from the shops yields more when you return. X

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    1. It certainly seems to have done. I don't think my local chazzas have caught on to the actual age of St Michael stuff, or they'd be sending it all to the overpriced 'vintage' chazzas in Bath.

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  2. I know what you mean about charity shops, they can be a bit like buses as far as finding lovely vintage things. What lovely buys though, and what a bargain.I like the floral and think that the colours will be great for you but I know what you mean about "the wrong side of frumpy". I have a green tartan pleated 60's skirt that I bought for £1 and I don't know if it looks a bit deliberately frumpy or just makes me look like I live in a house full of junk with many cats..... erm, actually I do but that is not the point. Mr Robots jacket is very nice. What a lovely colour and very stylish indeed. Xx

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    1. Hehehe, I love a bit of tartan. Paired with a nice jumper and a big diamante brooch, that's me sorted for winter. Tartan is timeless, florals age more identifiably.

      The more I look at the floral skirt, the more I'm convinced it's *too* 1990s for someone who was in her 20s then. I used to work with a lovely lady who was clearly hot stuff in the 80s and so hadn't changed her style much since; I don't want to look like I've fallen into that trap! The floral skirt will need careful pairing if I'm to avoid that one.

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  3. Fight Club! That's where I've seen Mr Robot's jacket before. It's fabulous.
    Your haul looks very interesting and three quality (well, they used to be) British makes, too.
    The print on that skirt is lovely but yes, wearing something like that can be tricky. I think it would work well with something unexpected, like a lady-like blouse, ankle boots and a denim jacket. Those Burmese agate beads sound wonderful, I'm off to Google them.
    Alistair Cooke - loved listening to him with my Grandpa. xxx

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    1. He was very chuffed with the Fight Club description.

      I tend to veer towards the polite and ladylike, which can be a shortcut to Accidental Frumpsville if I'm not careful. I'm thinking the best thing to do would be to head straight to Frumpsville Central, and pair it with my brown tweed 1970s jacket. If I'm going to be a frump, I'm going to be Queen Frump!

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  4. It's great when the charity shops finally offer up a treasure trove. Makes you remember why you do it. I like the look of the blue checked skirt. I'm sure if you style it funky the other one would be fine too. I like the sound of steampunk heels. I think they call that style of skirt 'dirndl'. I can see it's not trachten, but in the old patterns that's how they describe it. Anyhoo...Mr Robot, your jacket is mighty fine! Xxx

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    1. If I keep the faith, the Gods of Charity Shops will reward me!

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  5. Good haul, Mim!

    I quite often find the 'St. Michael' label on things but I've yet to like anything I've found so far to buy it!

    Love Mr. Robot's jacket.

    Have a great week.

    Veronica
    vronni60s.blogspot.com

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    1. I still have some St Michael stuff that I bought new! Erk.

      It's harder to find good stuff in fatgirl sizes, but I keep on looking...

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  6. Finding a 70's leather jacket in good condition is indeed lucky-and it suits Mr. Robot.

    I have a few floral skirts like that, and I go all crazy and pattern mix, but try to keep the same hues and overall size of the pattern. The colours are good, and should be easy enough to match. I like Vix's idea of a denim jacket.

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    1. I think it's a fairly modern jacket, but it has a 70s look.

      I was thinking brown checked tweed jacket with the skirt. (That's dangerous levels of pattern mixing for me.)

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  7. Awesome jacket! God I buy quite a lot of 'wrong side of frumpy' things that on someone else would look cool or chic but on me just look like a sack.

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    1. I'm going to go all-out frumpy. If frump is going to happen, it's going to be the frumpiest damn frump there is. Nantastic!

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  8. Splendid finds, both of you. I hear you regarding the lack of action on the thrift store front. I've become rather concerned as of late about the epic lack of not only genuine vintage (that's been the case, by and large, for ages now), but even nicer pieces from that twenty or so years that I've been encountering (or not!) in recent months. Such is all the more of an eyebrow raiser at present because we're knee deep in yard sale season and that usually means a lot of donations from things that folks don't sell. No bother though. I love thrifting and will keep at 'er no matter what. It's all about the the thrill of the hunt after all, isn't it? :)

    Have a marvelous first week of summer!
    ♥ Jessica

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    1. I suppose there are any number of reasons for the lack of decent stuff, but I do wonder if the recession coupled with the rise of fast fashion is responsible - fewer people are buying the good modern stuff, and the cheap stuff doesn't last.

      It seems tremendously difficult to buy good-quality basics nowadays.

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  9. You did well! Our charity shops are full of very modern things, not sure if that's because we also have a vintage shop here too. Can't wait to see you modelling your buys. Love Mr Robot's jacket xxx

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    1. I haven't found anything 'proper vintage' in ages - even 70s seems hard to come by. I keep looking, though. I suspect it's all getting shipped out to the dedicated vintage charity shops, or possibly people have got canny and now put nan's old clothes on eBay!

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  10. O what a lovely set of Autumnal finds!
    I think Mr Robot's jacket looks 70's Superfly.
    I get stuck in frump sometimes too but in a rather "Indian housewife wearing Bollywood colors & curtain print tunics" sort of way.

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  11. Good set of finds. My charity shops have been very poor for clothes recently too though I did have a brilliant find of vintage knitting patterns the other week. I like deliberate frump, sounds good to me!

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  12. Cheers to Charity shops!
    Over here, we don't have those, but we do have used-clothes shops. I recon that is quite similar. As to your "searching" situation, the hunt is always excising, right? Some days there is just nothing out there, and then there are days you hit Jack-Pot.
    (to be precise, Mr.Robot hit Jack-pot, since he has gotten himself an amazing jacket)

    Hope you're having some good weather.

    Marija

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  13. That's a rather good haul, Mim and I'm simply loving Mr. Robot's leather jacket! I sometimes find St. Michael's items here in Belgium too. Haven't found anything worthy in our charity shops lately, hope things have improved while I was away but somehow I think not. xxx

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