Chloe for Everybody: How Charity Shops Make Designer Accessible to All
Written for Oxfam – http://www.oxfam.org.uk/fashion-blog/2017/05/chloe-for-everybody
It’s extremely rare for me to go on too much about my favourite designers or brands, but Chloe is one of the few fashion houses with the ability to make me go weak at the knees and definitely knows how to get my overtly sentimental heart racing, every damn time.
So when I clamped my peepers on these black Chloe trews a few weeks ago for a mere £20 in the Drury Lane Oxfam, I knew they were coming home with me. With an almost satiny shine to the exterior, they encapsulate just the right balance of smart/casual and would be equally well paired with ballet flats and a plain white tee (whatever happened to that band?! *sigh*). I teamed them with a pale grey Gant knit jumper and Zara blazer (both charity shops finds), to keep the outfit conducive with my typical go to uniform – Parisian wannabe (!)
Thank you again to Oxfam charity shops all over, for making high end brands accessible to everyone, not just the minted.
Thank you again to charity shops all over, for making high end brands accessible to everyone, not just the minted.
Wearing: Blazer, Zara. Grey jumper, Gant. Trousers, Chloe.
Elizabeth Miles @elizabethmiles_
Photos by David Jarre
LOVE IS THE DRUG
Evidently, I’m still more than capable of chanelling my inner got. These images were shot almost a year ago. March to be exact. I’m somewhat ashamed they’ve taken me so long to post, but sometimes pictures get lost in the ehter and rediscovering them is always a joyous moment for me. I had been bloody excited about them and wanted to submit them somewhere as I was obsessed with the lighting and feel to the pictures, but it just never happened. Looking back at them, it’s funny (and sometimes cringe), the phases of makeup donning we go through. I can’t quite fathom the amount of makeup that is spread all over my visage in these images, comparably to how much I wear now. (basically none). Hey ho, we live and we learn. Thank you pale goth woman for teaching me a year on, that less, is definitely more.
Shot at Holborn Grind.
Photographed by Will Millar.
Wearing: Vintage silk blouse – Charity shop, Blue trousers: Charity shop. Boots: Zara. Sunglasses: Camden market.
Sorry my shit ain’t designer. I will always feel like i’m letting myself down a little on the fashion forward front when ocassionally asked where I got the new jacket I’m wearing, or new boots or bag. It’s very seldom that I buy anything designer or even high street (bar obligs Zara, obvs). Probably 90% of my wardrobe is charity shop bought and I’m sorry that that may sound boring as fuck when you ask me where I got this awesome silk shirt from. (It was a charity shop, by the way.)
I must admit, I’m usually quite fortunate with the weather conditions when it comes to shooting my blog. When I decide to shoot an outfit, the weather man, (Yes, cue having ‘Blame it on the Weather Man’ by B*Witched ringing round your noggin, now ) is very kind to me – So thank you, weather Gods. Blogging against the elements is a bummer.
On this particular day, however, the weather Gods were not feeling so kind (Fuck you weather Gods) and decided to let it rip upon our merry heads.
I think we made the best out of a shit and wet situation here, so thank you to my total mega babe, Omar for shooting this. Despite it pissing down, you never fail to make me laugh uncontrollably, all the while, looking like a soggy biscuit.
I’m wearing: Denim dress: Zara, Leopard print shirt: Charity shop, Black concertina detail blazer: Charity shop from a million moons ago.
Elizabeth Miles Instagram: @elizabethmiles_
I’m wearing: Black Topshop skinnies, Office suede Chelsea boots, Cos white tee, Zara denim shirt and vintage tan suede tassel jacket from Hanks Vintage on eBay.
From the whimsical 1920’s flappers dresses, to the 50’s Rock and Roll revolution, prompted by none other than the King himself, native American fringe-wearing wanderers, and the 70’s Woodstock boho beauties – the tassel trend has been dinging high on the fashion radar for over a century, and for good reason, too.
It’s really important to keep these wearable and diverse trends relevant and alive, not only because they look effing awesome, but because it makes it that much more alluring when you uncover a gem, (like this little tan beauty I’m wearing from an eBay vintage store) from an era that precedes a current trend mania – Which then means we don’t have to bop along to the high street and attempt to replicate an original trend, by buying new.
It can be tricky to be a curator of quality and style in a somewhat disposable world. A lot of clothes being made on the hight street right now are, unfortunately, not constructed with durability in mind – And in fear of sounding like someone’s monotonous Grandmother, they just don’t make clothes like they used to.
It’s always worth going down the vintage route for investment pieces such as jackets, as they’ve undoubtedly been made with love and care and designed to last a lifetime. From generation X, to bikers, to aged rockers – the perennial fringe et tassel are a staple statement, and, I hope, will continue to be so for many generations to come.
The positives of recycling trends:
1. You’ll look far more unique and inspiring than anyone else wearing the current high street ‘trend’, if you nab something of the same trend, but from way back when.
2. Anything vintage always looks effortlessly cool regardless of era.
3. Buying investment pieces that have already stood the test of time, and continue to stand a lot longer, will keep the pennies safe.
4. Being a purveyor of quality and vintage is a positive for the environment and you know you’re contributing, even on a smaller scale – it all counts.
Elizabeth Miles Instagram: @elizabethmiles_
How much second hand, is too much second hand?
It’s come to my attention of late that the majority of my outfit posts typically include: 1 vintage piece, sometimes 1 high street piece (very seldom), and the rest are always charity shop finds. I appreciate that the point of blogging is often to promote new brands and quirky, artisan, boutique shops, to drive traffic to their site. But for me, a die-hard-charity-shop advocate, this remains to be something for me to explore.
I undoubtedly enter in to charity shops everyday, if I can. Most charity shops replenish their stock daily and there is always such a plethora of delights available – but you’ve got to want to find them. I remember a friend would always moan to me whenever I passed a charity shop and the compulsion to go in was too much to ignore, so she would be dragged in with me by her hair (not her hair or any other bodily part for that matter, but what a fun idea). “But I can never find anything and nothing is laid out properly”, she would always lament. “What, you mean like Topshop?” I responded.
Some people just won’t find the hassle and hours of rummaging in the depths of BO ridden, mystery stained garments (and this is a sweeping generalisation here, guys), worth it. And who can blame some people? For me, the excitement of the unknown that somewhere in that shop, could be the coat of my dreams is palpable; it’s like I’m accepting a Charity-Shop-Challenge in which to find the best bit of clobber in there. And if it needs a little spruce, then it gets a little spruce. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED, ALWAYS. Although I do need to stop buying clothes that have a little nick at the hem, or a rip in the collar, in the hope (no hope) that I will someday sew it up and replace that extra missing button and return it to it’s natural glory. Sometimes this happens, but sometimes clothes I buy in that state get relegated to a pile and put on my ‘to-do’ list.
What are the benefits of shopping charity shops?
Not only are the pluses of charity shops being fiscally kind to your pockets and the environment, whilst heightening your chances of finding something unique, but you are giving back to charity AND recycling. At a time where up-cycling and ‘refashioning’ are at the forefront of the ethical fashion frontiers minds, charity shops are the perfect place to tick off so many ethically sartorial shaped boxes.
Don’t be scared to shop charity. There is literally something for everyone and if it’s not clothes you fancy, then guaranteed you’ll find something weird and wonderful for your bedroom that you don’t need but can’t live without.
I’m wearing: Afghan waistcoat: Wow Retro, Polo neck and belt: Charity shop, Flares: Mango, Shoes; Topshop
Elizabeth Miles Instagram: @elizabethmiles_
There are gorgeous hues aplenty floating around in the sky at the moment. Autumn urges you to whack on an oversized, baggy, knit jumper and gad about in the crunchy leaves listening to The Kinks, ‘Autumn Almanac’ and you find yourself jumping around on fast forward like something out of a kooky 90’s Blur music video, if you have time for that sort of thing…
We all faithfully adhere to the whims of the Autumn/Winter Fashion Gods, but what does Autumnal fashion really represent? Is it the magical transition from a luke-warm summer to piss-freezing winter? Yes. Minus the magic. Does it suggest we must all adorn ourselves in burgundies, magentas and maroons? Sure, if you want people to almost register that you look like you’re trying to recreate a Monet landscape, but ultimately the pay-off here is questionable.
Perhaps it’s about gripping on to the warmth of your vanilla chai tea or pumpkin spiced latte cup through your gloves and trying to manage drinking it whilst not looking like a total retard in the latest snood? Perhaps for some. Don’t get me wrong, I bloody love a good Harvest Festival Songs of Praise sing a long, as much as the next person – which you could view as an indirect way of saying I think they’re dry as hell – but what I’m not sure I subscribe to is the hype surrounding a season shift.
Yes, the orangey reddy glows are nice, but let’s face it: the cold sucks, and that’s what’s happening here. It’s getting cold. So we have to try to cope with it as best we can. Reality check; winter is coming, and it is brutal, so wrap up warm, don’t catch a cold, start booking in the soups, parsnips and hot pots, whatever you need to do to survive, but let’s draw a line under all this “isn’t it wonderful” bollocks once and for all shall we?
I’m wearing: Yellow fedora: My Granny’s (vintage), Leopard print shirt: Charity shop, Cable knit jumper: Charity shop, Leaves & roses: My garden’s own.
The bandana is back! (for my neck at least)
I’m at an age now where I can recount being an ’emo’, with mixed emotions, (touches of embarrassment, hints of fondness and lashings of nostalgia). During the early-mid naughties it was in part, a socially accepted norm, to be an ’emo.’
One fundamental part of my uniform during those heady times, was my red bandana. I swore by my red bandana. It was always round my neck worn like a cowboy/wannabe gangster, or folded over and donned round my noggin, a la 50’s pin-up style. Sometimes, even tied to another bandanna and worn as a belt! How kooky(!) *sigh*
ANYWAY, I visited my parents last weekend and stumbled upon the forgotten, dusty gem of a neckerchief and decided to bring it back to life once more, and tie this simple outfit together with a pop of colour at the neck and striking orange woollen coat that I unearthed in a small town (always the best kind) charity shop for nine whole English pounds and 50 pence.
Not forgetting my new Mango black jean flares which I absolutely adore and have worn 4 days in a row this week already. I’m starting to think my work colleagues may think I binned all my other trousers and have since sworn to wear these forever and ever amen. (Maybe I might just do that?!)
What will be your next rediscover?
I’m wearing: T-shirt: Cos, (similar here) Flares: Mango, Cowboy boots: Rokit Vintage, (selection at Rokit here) Coat: Charity Shop, Satchel: Vintage, Belt: Vintage, Sunglasses: Camden Market cheapies, Bandana: Old school emo shop.
So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, good night.
Yes, it’s happened. The Summer -> Autumn transition is truly in full swing and there is nothing you can do about it! Whether you’re a Summer sun worshipper, or an Autumnal Angel, there is no denying the leafy months have a lot to offer on the fashion front.
I am in love with the Autumnal hues of this vintage 70’s leaf print bikini, which I feel is an homage and very direct nod to the leafier months that are slinking in. It marries perfectly with the deep purple tones of the crochet knit; both from my new favourite vintage store, Pop, in Covent Garden. Both being firm favourites of mine in the colour department, I will undoubtedly be carrying them both through to the leafier, cooler months.
I’m wearing: Vintage 70’s bikini from Pop Vintage in Covent Garden, Purple crochet knit waistcoat: Pop Vintage, also, Sandals: Birkenstocks, Hat: Store in New York I can’t quite remember the name of!
Elizabeth Miles Instagram: @elizabethmiles_