What do you think about charity shop pricing?

Laura Ashley cord shift dress bought in local charity shop for £6.50

Retro handbag bought in local charity shop for £3.99

Faux fur coat bought in local charity shop for about £15

Charity shop haul including French Connection and linea dress and Coast cardigan for £21

I would definitely class myself as something of a charity shop addict. I find it very difficult to pass one by without popping in to see if I can find myself a bargain. Lately I have also discovered online charity shopping which has put even more temptation in my way, now I can even charity shop from my desk when I am supposed to be working!

I have noticed quite a few fashion bloggers who also love charity shopping, actually there are loads of us. It is a fantastic way to constantly refresh your wardrobe and find unique and individual pieces to style whilst helping a good cause and without having much of an impact on the environment or spending too much money, what’s not to love?

But there has been a bit of an ongoing debate as to the pricing of charity shops and whether they are getting too expensive. Following the Mary Queen of Charity Shops series a few years back, Gemma at Retro Chic wrote an interesting post summing up some  of the changes that were going on back then. Since then I think things have moved on significantly, prices are definitely on the up and I am struggling to get much change from a tenner when buying something from my local charity shops recently. You can check out one of the  previous debates on the subject at Vintage Brighton.

I thought it was about time I added my two peneth to the subject of pricing in charity shops and would also love to know what you think too.

In some ways I am glad that the prices in charity shops has gone up and can definitely see justification for why even though it is costing me more money. This is why…

 Although a charity shops are run with very little financial cost (compared to conventional retailers) because they sell donated items and rely on the goodwill of volunteers, these things are not without value. They are given to people wanting to help the charity not give shoppers something for nothing. I regularly donate clothing to charity shops but would not feel happy about donating good stuff if I knew they were going to sell it at ridiculously low prices.

The increased prices of charity shops has caused me pause and think slightly more about what I buy in instead of filling my arms with loads of stuff that I will never end up wearing. As I said before charity shop clothing has a value and should be priced accordingly to encourage recycling and avoid it being wasted. There is also often a perception that because something costs more, it is more desirable. Can charity shops be blamed for hiking their prices to make their products more sought after, luxury brands have being doing for years ?

Charity shops must be governed to a certain extent by supply and demand. It seems like there is quite a lot of demand for quality second hand clothing at the moment, particularly with the current economic climate. With so much poor quality fast fashion around the supply of good quality charity shop pieces must be getting more difficult. Charities seem to be investing in more innovative ways of getting donations including bag collections and schemes with retailers. This is all great news as it keeps the shops stocked with goodies for us to buy but also must increase costs which will need to be passed on.

On the other hand I can see that for those that have very little money and have relied on charity shops as a low cost option, this price increases make life more difficult. Not sure I really know the answer to this but many charity shops have some lower cost alternatives and some shops clearly have higher prices than others so if you want a bargain, it is worth shopping around.

There are also  plenty of times when I have seen charity shop pieces that have been ridiculously overpriced. £30 for a Next dress which would probably not have cost much more than £40 or £50 when new, seems a bit much! But we have to bear in mind that those that price items are volunteers and not neccesarily experts so might not always get it right and some times when they get it wrong it could work in our favour.

My personal opinion is that on the whole most charity shops are asking a fair price for most of the items that they are selling. Some of the cheaper fast fashion pieces are disproportionately priced considering how much they cost new but as I rarely look to buy this sort of clothing from charity shops, it doesn’t really bother me. But I do think that if prices continue rise to much above what they are now, I would have to consider very carefully whether to shop in charity shops anymore. Whilst I want to support charities, if I can buy second hand much cheaper on Ebay or elsewhere then I may have to do so.

So over to you, what do you think, are the charity shops pricing themselves out of the market or asking a fair price?

With warmest wishes

Ceri X

Ethical Outfit Competition – The Winners!

I have been absolutely amazed by the response to my ethical outfit competition. Not only did we have some amazing outfits but it was also great to see how much discussion there was about ethical outfits and sustainable fashion along the way. I really didn’t realise quite how many bloggers were already wearing ethical and sustainable fashion in their own unique way and it is also great to see those who aren’t making a special effort for the competition. A massive thank you to all those who have entered. It has been so difficult to pick just 8 winners and I wish I could have given prizes to everyone.

There are 8 prizes which I have listed at the bottom of the post and the winners each get to choose their prize with the first choosing first followed by each subsequent winner. I will be contacting you all individually in turn so it may take a little time, don’t worry if I don’t get in touch today, I will be in touch asap and I haven’t forgotton you!

1. Vicky of #GollyGosh – I loved the thrifted jacket and the way Vicky has styled blouse and DIY cutoffs.

2. Second prize goes to Vintage Passions Just Like Mine– Such a bold and colourful outfit, I am definitely inspired by the leopard skin/ floral pattern mix.

 

3. Sophie of Story of My Life – A very pretty orange dress (secondhand from ebay) and the vintage handbag and scarf are the perfect finishing touch to the outfit.

4. Franca of Oranges and Apples – an amazing effort with a 100% thrifted outfit including shoes! I love the skirt and the pretty accessories.

5. Rachel of Cold Knees – another completely thrifted outfit. I love the jumper for adding a bit of sparkle to a cold winters day.

6. Nicole of nicoleymoo.blogspot.com –  I am a big fan of thrifted pencil skirts and this one looks fabulous on Nicole.

7. Vix of Vintage Vixen – another 100% vintage and thrifted outfit, The skirt is so beautiful and unique and the Vix has some fabulous accessories. Even her make up is second hand and nail varnish cruelty free!

8. Cait of Sailing to Nowhere – if you read my blog, you will know I am partial to a bit of floral print. This dress is so pretty and I love the way that Cait has shortened it so it is just right and contrasted it with a neutral coat – all thrifted!

Photobucket 

If you would like to see further photographs and close ups of accessories for each of the outfits, I would definitely recommend that you follow the links to each of the blogs.

The Prizes

£100 of Spartoo Vouchers

£50 People Tree Vouchers

Lilygrace Originals Earrings

£50 voucher for Daisy Hill (when you spend £100)

A pair of Simple Shoes

3 X Posh Swaps goody bags

Please check out the original competition post here for further details of each of the prizes and the competition sponsors.Once again a massive thank you to all those that have entered and helped to promote this competition and the companies that have donated such fabulous prizes.

Tomorrow, I will be launching a new series for December – 30 Days of Ethical Fashion, I will be showcasing a different ethical or sustainable fashion brand every day in December except for Christmas day when I will be far too busy opening pressies and eating turkey.

With warmest wishes

Ceri X

 

Tuesday Treats – Ethical Knitwear

Yesterday it was so cold I had to give in and put the heating on. I usually try and last as long as possible by layering as many knits as I can. Mr Style Eyes likes to have a good laugh at me wrapped up in my scruffy old Grandad cardigan and has suggested perhaps I ought to get something a little more stylish. So here are just a few of the most stylish pieces of ethical knitwear that I have spotted recently that also look like they would keep me extra toasty warm.

Fair trade ethical cardigan

 Fair Trade Shaggy Cardigan Coat by Gringo

 Pixel Fairtrade Wool Stripe Dress by Komodo

ethical bamboo draped front sweater

Bamboo Cashmere Silk Drape Front Sweater by Viridis Luxe

 

Fair Trade Multi Coloured Grandad Style Cardigan By  Natural Collection

Rekindle Jumper by Seasalt

Monsoon Vanilla Soft Lambswool Blended Knitted Jumper at Oxfam

People Tree also have some amazing Fair Trade knitwear like this pretty flower cardigan with up to 40% off knitwear until midnight Friday.

What do you think? do you like any of these ethical knitwear pieces?

Tommorrow I will be announcing the winners of my ethical outfit competition – I have some very tough decisions choosing the winners.

With warmest wishes

Ceri X

[DFR:Category List?c=1373996]

Ethical Fashion Updates and a Sparkly Vintage Maxi Dress

I keep hearing about new ethical and sustainable fashion developments, collections and labels and I wanted to share them with you. There seems to be so much happening with ethical fashion at the moment, it is difficult to keep up so if you like this kind of post (?), I might make Friday a regular spot for a quick catch up.

Firstly, if you haven’t already done so, you can still enter my ethical outfit competition (closes Monday). There are some great prizes including £100 of shoe vouchers. All you need to do is put together an outfit including at least one ethical piece which could include anything vintage, second hand or upcycled as well as by an ethical brand. You can find out more details of prizes and how to enter here.

It really is now cool to be eco fabulous. The latest designer to get in on the act (in case you haven’t heard) is Manolo Blahnik. His first foray into the world of sustainable shoes with Marcia Patmos will be a collection made from discarded tilapia skins(I think that’s a fish, isn’t it? and a by product of the food industry), cork and raffia. The 2 styles  a double strap, open-toe flat and a strappy, high-heeled sandal will be available in electric blue, black, nude and yellow and will be available from Manolo Blahnik stores in the spring.

Also from the Spring, we will be seeing more eco fashion on the high street in the form of sustainable fashion brand Seasalt at John Lewis. The collection, which is inspired by spired by the artists and potters of St. Ives and exclusively designed for John Lewis, will be available in the Spring. If you can’t wait until then, you can always pop over to the Seasalt website for some of their signature west Country style in sustainable textiles including organic cotton and bamboo. They have some great knitwear and accessories which would make lovely Christmas pressies.

Henrietta Ludgate, eco designer and favourite of Livia Firth has just opened a new shop which will also double as her London studio. Her collections which are shown at the LFW Estethica exhibition are architectural and minimal but with a vibrant palette. Henrietta who is Scottish, commits aims to showcase  Scottish craftsmanship. She also helps to provide skills, training and employment for local communities and uses fabrics that are upcycled from British fabric mills. She will also be running fashion Illustration  and  ‘How to make a dress in a day.’courses and offering customised clothes with personalised linings with inscriptions. The shop is at Whitleley’s in London’s Queensway. If you do stop by I would love to know what you think. You can also buy Henrietta Ludgate from Yoox.

I have always loved the designs by sustainable fashion label Tara Starlet and was really interested to hear that they have now launched a lingerie collection. I was disappointed to miss out on the launch party last night which sounded like great fun, but think the collection is great, definitely one for the Christmas list!

The photograph above shows my latest charity shop find a sparkly seventies maxi dress. I deliberately haven’t shortened it because as much as I love it, my wardrobe is just getting too full and I have decided to use it as the first piece for a vintage fashion online store that I have decided to open. I am not really sure where I am going to sell yet but am considering ASOS marketplace. I would be really grateful any tips or advice from those with experience of selling vintage.

I have a fun packed weekend with the family planned, are you doing anything fun?

With warmest wishes

Ceri X

 

A Frugal Girl’s Guide to Sustainable Fashion

Image credit

Since deciding to try and be more sustainable with my fashion and style choices, surprisingly I have managed to save loads of money. This has the added bonus of meaning that I can afford to work less and spend more time with family and friends, making my life much happier for me. I used to avoid ethical fashion on the basis that it was going to cost me more but ethical and sustainable clothing has come on in leaps and bounds over the last year and I now firmly believe that it is possible to look stylish whilst wearing sustainable fashion and sticking to a budget. Here are my tips on how (some maybe a bit obvious, but sometimes a little reminder/ refresher is a good thing):

Buy Less

Very obvious really, if you buy less, you will spend less and you will be having less of an impact on the environment. But buying less doesn’t mean that you have to miss out. You can still look on trend, stylish, elegant, whatever you like. Just consider your purchases carefully.

If you develop your own style (rather than being a slave to fashion), there will be no need to keep replacing your wardrobe as your clothes won’t ever go out of fashion. By buying less you can afford to invest in something high quality perhaps from an ethical brand. In the long run this will pay off as the clothes will last better and many ethical brands design timeless styles. If you are unsure of where to look check out my post on 50 places to buy affordable ethical fashion online.

Image credit

Also think about how you store your clothes. The easier it is for you to see what you already have, the more likely you will be to wear it and the less likely to buy more of the same. I like to hang my necklaces on hooks on the wall, keep rings and brooches in a teacup on my dressing table and hand scarves on a scarf hanger.

Sometime buying less can force you to be more creative with your wardrobe with the end result being a unique and very stylish you. If you don’t believe me, check out The Uniform Project for proof of how many ways (365 to be precise) you can wear a black dress. There are countless other challenges where fashion bloggers have created a variety of different outfits from a limited wardrobe. Trust me, this really works, why not start with a 2 month shopping ban – just seeing how much money you save!

It is worth thinking about why you shop. If you are just looking for the feel good factor of buying something new, find another way to get this feeling perhaps coffee with friends, a DIY pamper session or baking cakes.

Look after your clothes well

If you are investing in  high quality well made clothes, it is worth looking after them as they will last you for years. Valuing what you have is the easiest way to buy less and the best way to save money and be more sustainable. Always read the labels before you wash your clothes. Handwash delicate items and store them carefully. My biggest problem is tights getting laddered. I tuck them inside a sock to wash so that they don’t get damaged. You can also wash delicate clothing inside an old pillow case. Polish and reheel your shoes regularly and store in boxes to keep them in good as new condition. I also like to keep my handbags in dust bags which you can run up from old clothes and pieces of fabric.

Watch out for moths especially with cashmere. I once had a £200 cashmere jumper ruined when one ate a great big hole right in the middle. I now scatter lots of cedar wood balls in my knitwear drawer. There are countless articles on the internet on how to care for your clothes, if you have any great tips, please share them in the comments below.

Choose carefully

How many times have you made a mistake buy buying something that you never wear or only wear once? These mistakes are costly to you and  the environment so choose carefully to avoid them. Some say that most people only wear 20% of their wardrobe for 80% of the time, you should try and make sure that any new purchases increase that 20% not the 80%, this will mean you will need to buy less clothes in the future.  Common mistakes are buying clothes that don’t fit properly, don’t suit you body shape or colouring or which are another version of something you already have lots of or are just not right for your life style. Do a wardrobe check before you go shopping and think about what clothes suit you and your lifestyle. No good buying yet more party dresses, if you never go to any parties!

Recycle

Image credit

There are lots of ways that recycling can  save you money. Firstly, you can upcycle clothes to give them a new lease of life. So you are really bored with that maxi dress,  why not shorten it and make a mini dress? Plain tops can be customised in countless ways including by bleaching, dying, shredding, cropping, applique and embroidery. Upcycling is a huge trend at the moment and there is certainly no shortage of places to go for inspiration. Try Threadbanger, Ethical Fashion Bloggers and Outsapop.com.

Sell or swap your clothes

Even with the best will in the world, you will sometimes have clothes that you no longer want or need. A frugal girl will make the most of these clothes by selling or swapping them. Ebay is the usual port of call for those wanting to sell something but you can also list and swap or sell them for free on Posh-swaps.com. If you have clothing of a high value, you could try selling through a local dress agency. Check our www.swishing.com for swap parties in your area. I also have a sort of informal arrangement with my friends that we let each other have a look through any unwanted clothes before they go in the charity bag.

Cash your clothes in

Some brands and retailers now collect old clothes and give you a voucher to spend in exchange. With M & S, you can recycle your old clothes at Oxfam in exchange for a voucher. Monsoon have a similar scheme clothes for life where you get £10 off a new item.   

Buy second hand

Buying second hand is a great way to get more for your money. Charity shops, ebay and carboot sales are packed with bargains often that have hardly or never been worn. I actually tend to wear my second hand charity shop clothes more often than some of the new clothes that I have bought, perhaps because when you take away the marketing, trends etc that persuade you to buy new clothes, it is much easier to focus on what you want and what will look good on you. if you don’t have time to trawl charity shops Oxfam have a great selection including vintage and Cancer Research have some great designer finds.

Look out for ethical bargains

Even with all of the affordable ethical brands out there, you may still find ethical fashion a bit more expensive than the really low priced fast fashion retailers. If you wait until the sales though you can get yourself something amazing for a great price. Many ethical brands and retailers run year round promotions and sales, you can follow me on Twitter to keep up with them. People Tree and Fashion Conscience always have great offers and sales.

What do you think? is it easy to be frugal and sustainable with your style?

With warmest wishes

Ceri X

 

Charity Shop Faux Fur Outfits

I can’t seem to get enough of faux fur at the moment. Here the outfits that I wore this weekend including some of my faux fur charity shop finds. The funny thing is when I wear faux fur my girls just want to cuddle up to me and stroke the fur all the time, they have nicknamed the coat my teddy bear coat.

Faux fur jacket – Oxfam
skirt – ASOS Africa
Boots – Dream on Green
Necklace and bracelet – Swarovski Crystallised
Bag – Spartoo

On Saturday, I popped into Bath for a little bit of shopping and lunch in ASK with the girls. I had some Tesco vouchers that needed using up so naturally we had to use them all up with plenty of icecream.

Coat – Blue Cross charity shop
Tunic/ dress – Blue cross charity shop (originally Linea)
Leggings – People Tree
Shoes – given to me by a friend as she didn’t want them!
Belt- Next

Saturday night, Mr Style Eyes and I went for food at the pub followed by a beer or two. I love this fur coat for a night out it is really warm and also a size too big so I can fit an extra cardigan underneath if needed.

Dress – over 15 years old,  upcycled
Jacket and necklace – as above
Shoes – Nine West

This dress is the DIY project that I have been working on this weekend. You can read more about it on my recycled fashion post for Oxfam fashion to be published soon.

Check out Oxfam for Cancer Research for some great charity shop faux fur and  fur trimmed coats. 

Do you have any faux fur? how do you wear yours?

With warmest wishes

Ceri X

Tuesday Treats – Vintage Christmas Party Dresses

I can’t wait until Christmas and have already got a vintage dress to wear to the one and only Christmas party that I will be going to this year. But I have seen so many other beautiful dresses and I thought that I would share some with you. The great thing about these dresses is that they make a change to the standard little black dress or long black evening dress but as so many of these vintage styles are on trend, you won’t look out of place. I also love the idea of wearing bright colours at Christmas.

vintage seventies red linen dress

Vintage Seventies Red Linen Dress – Oxfam

vintage mod dress

Vintage sixties mod dress– Rock  My Vintage

Vintage seventies lavender blue dress – Oxfam Vintage yellow shift dress

Vintage seventies yellow satin shift dress – Oxfam

vintage sixties shift dress

Sixties Vintage Shift Dress – Rock My Vintage

Vintage Fifties Dress – Posh Swaps

 

Laura Ashley – Prom Style Dress – Oxfam

vintage sixties prom dress

Vintage Sixties Prom Dress – Rock My Vintage

vintage green leather

 Vintage Sixties Green Leather Dress – Oxfam

Vintage Ruby Red Taffeta Prom Dress – Oxfam

Vintage Seventies Beige Evening Dress – Oxfam

vintage maxi dress

Vintage Seventies Maxi – Oxfam

If you are feeling a bit fed up with blogging or struggling to get motivated at the moment, please check out my post for IFB on 10 tips for  maintaining your blogger mojo.

If you love upcycling or DIY, you might be interested in joining in the monthly post round up on Ethical Fashion Bloggers. You can find out more here.

Have a good week!

With warmest wishes

Ceri X

The Pencil Skirt

Top – Zara (found in the loft)
Cardigan – Next (found in the loft)
Pencil Skirt (originally Autograph at M&S) – second hand shop
Shoes – Irregular Choice
Handbag – charity shop
Necklace – Swarovski Crystal
Ring – Margie Hearts Vintage

Todays outfit is made up of a few pieces that I found in the loft, which must have been up there for at least 6 or 7 years and a pencil skirt that I bought in a second hand shop in my local town for about £4. I don’t really have a uniform as I tend to wear quite random and different outfits every day but if I am in a rush and don’t have time to fuss over what I am wearing I often turn to the trusty pencil skirt or shift dress. I love both because they are fairly flattering for me being quite short and never really go out of fashion. A pencil skirt is one of those easy charity shop buys. There are usually plenty to choose from and they are classic. I always think a pencil skirt needs a pair of heels to look just right.

I have also just invested in a new pencil skirt from the local charity shop with a blue and black abstract pattern and can’t wait to wear it.

My charity shop haul for this week also includes a star print dress by Linea, a jersey dress by French Connection and a coral cardi by Coast. All very wearable and comfy pieces that I hope I will get loads of wear from. I think I need to try and avoid charity shops for a while as my wardrobe is about to burst.

Have you had any charity shop finds this week?

I have been having a think about presents for my homemade and vintage Christmas and quite like the idea of making flavoured vodkas amongst other things. So far my ideas include Christmas vodka with spices like cinnamon and cloves and toffee vodka. I am also wondering whether chocolate vodka is possible. I guess the possibilities are endless. Do you have any ideas for homemade flavoured vodkas?

 With warmest wishes

Ceri X

Pattern Mixing – Animal Print Blouse and Statement Skirt

Blouse- charity shop
Skirts- ASOS Africa
Shoes – Dream in Green
Necklace – Etsy

I love pattern mixing but have in the past tended to stick to fairly safe choices of different florals or polka dots or stripes. For today I decided to try something a little more adventurous by combining a statement skirt with an animal print blouse and  bright tights. I am not sure if this was taking things a step too far, I am sure I got a few strange looks when I popped into town, but then again I don’t usually bother too much about stuff like that plus it is Halloween, so slightly scary outfits are allowed aren’t they?

I hope you have had  a lovely weekend. Despite looking forward to an extra hour in bed on Sunnday, I ended up getting up a 5.30am with my daughter who hasn’t yet grasped the concept of clocks going back or having a lie in on the weekend. I did get to spend a leisurely Sunday afternoon wandering around a vintage fair in Bath (more on that very soon) followed by a delicious roast dinner made by Mr Style Eyes. What did you get up to?

For those that have haven’t read my previous post, I have started a new group/ platform/ community – Ethical Fashion Bloggers. It is for any fashion bloggers with an interest in ethical fashion including vintage, charity shopping and DIY. I am really pleased that some of my favourite Fashion Bloggers have already joined. If you would like to join, you can find out more on www.ethicalfashionbloggers.com. I will be publishing full details of our first outfit challenge very soon.

November is the fourth birthday of Style Eyes Fashion Blog, I can’t quite believe that I have been blogging this long, but I have really enjoyed myself and hope that my blogging has improved a bit over the years. To celebrate, I will be holding a competition with some great ethical fashion prizes, the competition will launch next Monday so please stop by and check it out.

Finally, I have had some good news! I have been accepted as a Fashion Blogger for Oxfam. I think my first post will be posted quite soon, I will share it with you once it is live. Those who read this blog regularly will know that I love Oxfam for buying clothes so I am really excited to get involved.  

Happy Halloween – Are you doing anything fun (or scary)?

With warmest wishes

Ceri X 

 

 

 

The Launch of Ethical Fashion Bloggers!

Unfortunately yesterday I missed out my Tuesday treats post, sorry about that but I do have an excuse. I have been busy working on my latest ickle project.

Today I am launching Ethical Fashion Bloggers. It is a platform for fashion bloggers to become part of a community that cares about the impact of fashion. I welcome you all to join and hope that you will find it useful for networking, making new friends, promoting and growing your blogs and working with ethical brands.

It is not just for those who only blog about ethical fashion. It is for any fashion bloggers with an interest in ethical fashion or concerns about the impact of the fashion industry. Vintage enthusiasts, charity shop addicts, DIYers and upcyclers, we welcome you all. If we all join together perhaps we can help to drive the change that is needed in the fashion industry and have great fun at the same time.

We will be running link exchanges, outfit challenges, DIY round ups, meet ups, clothes swaps and a media alerts service for ethical brands.

If you want to get involved visit Ethical Fashion Bloggers to find out more and join. You can also like us on Facebook. For brands who want to keep up with what is going on at Ethical Fashion Bloggers, please subscribe to our newsletter here.

What do you think? will you be joining Ethical Fashion Bloggers? any feedback or ideas gratefully received.

With warmest wishes

Ceri X