ONE GIRL’S GARBAGE IS ANOTHER ONE’S GOLD

ONE GIRL’S GARBAGE IS ANOTHER ONE’S GOLD

Reading Time: 4 minutes

 

A second hand clothes shop in the mid-nineties, location – Primrose Hill, London.  A female, late twenties enthusiastically sorting through racks of pre-owned clothes, which have been immaculately cleaned and well ironed.  Her mother, a prim woman in her late fifties looking on with scornfully, silent and disapproving.  She suddenly bursts into dialogue with an accent resembling Hyacinth Bucket from the nineties TV show Keeping up Appearances, ‘can we please leave’ she spouts ‘this shop is making me feel quite sick’.

I am sure many of us have encountered the occasional Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced Bouquet) in our own lives, including the snobbish character within ourselves.  But as the majority of us are trying to do our bit to save the planet, the recycling of clothes is now becoming the norm, and in fact a respected way forward.

The past few years have seen the approval from celebrities and the wealthy who not only donate their garments to Charity Shops but also buy from them as well, just to keep the recycling circle going.  Also, as one famously said ‘one girl’s garbage is another one’s gold’.  This is often the case, and has happened time and time again with acquaintances who have boasted huge savings and acquisitions from their Charity Shop rummages.

My own mother Sylvia Anderson, a pioneer for women in television, who was one of the first women to make it to University from a working class family, because of her high level of intellect (but with very low funds), couldn’t afford to buy any new clothes.  But through her own ingenuity purchased a very high quality second hand tweed coat in London in the fifties – a garment she hung onto for years.  She adored the classic line and high quality of the material, even though she paid a fraction of its value.  So I was well rehearsed into recycling my clothes from an early age, as I remember her still wearing it when I was a child.

In fact moving on from this legacy, I was one of the pioneers of the home ‘clothes swap’ way back in the eighties when friends were encouraged to gather at each other’s houses, eat, drink and try on each of our pre-loved outfits.  Such fun, and often very fortuitous.

The environmental charity WRAP states that £30bn of unworn clothing lies hanging in UK wardrobes, and 11m goes to landfill.   So now the World has caught up, and rather than hiding our second hand acquisitions under a bushel, we are now encouraged to recycle our wardrobes as often as possible and restock from the ever giving pile of clothes donated from enthusiastic givers like ourselves.  After all there is nothing more satisfying than a bargain, especially when you are also contributing to the planet we inhabit whilst making a killing – metaphorically of course!

 

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LET’S GET BACK ON THE STREETS – THE RETURNS ARE TREMENDOUS

LET’S GET BACK ON THE STREETS – THE RETURNS ARE TREMENDOUS

Reading Time: 5 minutes

 

Just over 20 years ago, when I lived with my family in South London, I was lucky enough to experience the wondrous ‘corner shop’ in all its glory before they virtually disappeared from our streets for good. My daughter was just two years old when we moved to ‘The Borough’, and that was before it had become Yuppie Central. We lived in a fabulous square, inhabited by actors, artists, writers and the original South Londoners who had inherited the flats and houses from their families.

It was a fantastic time for us all – mainly due to the corner shop which was run by an Italian couple who treated us all like their own offspring. It was a meeting place for us to link up with the other inhabitants of the Square, an emotional support centre when you had a problem and a crèche when any one of us parents had to dash across town to a meeting or audition. On several occasions they delivered soup to my door when we had a bug and couldn’t go out, and even fed our cats when we were away. More like a family than a grocery store, and they managed to keep the food at a reasonable price in spite of the Supermarket being down the road and even ran a ‘tab’ for elderly residents who were struggling to meet their food bill until they received their monthly allowance.

Like so many of these spectacular places, they eventually had to close because of the extortionate rates that were raised by the greedy commercial landlords, and this was in spite of a huge petition from us all and a plea to maintain some sort of heritage in the area.

I am telling you this because I feel passionate about our High Street, and really don’t want the same thing to happen to so many shops and outlets throughout the UK that are being affected by our lack of support through the convenience of the online purchasing that is becoming the norm.

A very good example of a successful remaining retail outlet, I am happy to say, is a local boutique which is still being supported by customers in the flesh, who need to try on their fabulous clothing – a big ‘shout out’ for The Forge in Gerrards Cross www.theforgeboutique.com. This is similar to the corner shop concept as a meeting and greeting place – and I was amazed when I moved to the area two years ago, and found someone being comforted in the boutique just before Christmas. The poor lady had a melt down because it had all got too much for her with the demands of the time of year with the food and present buying shopping, preparing the house for a large number of people – do I need to go on!

But I was delighted to witness that with some TLC from the customers, and a hug from the shop keeper, she went away feeling she had the strength to cope.

This is why we have to take responsibility and somehow build into our schedule the time to go out and hit our High Street. It doesn’t mean we have to spend lots of money, but you will be surprised how much you can save when you search for a bargain in some of the local stores, and the satisfaction and pleasure it will give you knowing you are contributing to keeping the heritage of the High Street alive.

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UNIQUE CONCIERGE SERVICE PROVIDES HIGH END FASHION

UNIQUE CONCIERGE SERVICE PROVIDES HIGH END FASHION

Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Ann Snapes has been an avid follower of fashion for a number of years, and has an extremely stylish wardrobe of stunning designer clothes, shoes and handbags.  Ann is now bringing her passion centre stage, and has set up a unique designer outlet DressXchange, to lend her experience to all women who are in need of a fashion ‘makeover’ or looking to buy and sell their clothes on a regular basis.

DressXchange is an excellent concept where women can experiment in the art of ‘dressing up’ with Ann’s diverse collection of ‘preloved’ fashion items, sourced from women, who similar to Ann, like to update and recycle their designer wardrobe regularly, and share Ann’s passion for fashion. You can also sell your clothes through Ann’s company, which facilitates an online ‘shop window’ to buy and sell fashion items at the press of a button.

I visited Ann at one of her pop-ups in Beaconsfield and browsed the vast variety of designer labels and items from ball gowns to handbags and jewellery, and she then visited me in my office at Pinewood Studios.

Ann has created a service where you can send her your products to sell and then she will evaluate them and give you an idea of what cost she believes they should be marketed at. The concierge service is that she will have your items professionally photographed and then put onto her website this is all free of charge. When your items sell she will then give you a percentage of the sale.

Ann can be reached at www.dressxchange.co.uk and you can also browse her website as it is being constantly updated.

 

HAVING AN AFFAIR WITH SHOES

HAVING AN AFFAIR WITH SHOES

Reading Time: 5 minutes

 

Wallis Simpson famously said, ‘a girl can never be too rich or too thin’ – well I don’t agree with that, but my motto is ‘A Girl Can’t have too many shoes’!!

Imelda Marcos allegedly had 3000 pairs of shoes in her ever expanding wardrobe.  Can you really blame her, as she had so many functions to go to and certainly had to match the different outfits, besides which it was a bit of a passion for her too.

We have learned in recent years with reflexology that our feet represent different areas of our entire body, so why not nurture them.  Shoes should be added to our list of psychological wellbeing ‘must haves’ for the sheer bliss of wearing comfortable but beautiful adornments on our feet.

I have found as I get older, I am struggling to wear the shoes I proudly donned in my teens and early twenties, and would never be seen dead in a pair of Clarks or wider fit shoes.  But then to be fair, these brands have upped their game and made their designs far more elegant and catwalk friendly.

If you are struggling with wearing heels, invest in a pair of Dr Scholls party heels at only £4.49, and wear shoes around the house days before the party to break them in and get used to the height and balance, you so that you can enjoy them to the full.  I recently spotted a gorgeous pair of stilettos and wanted to buy them anyway, in spite of the fact I knew they would probably kill me.  The shop assistant just flung me a throwaway line as I walked out the door – ‘don’t forget to practise’.  It made a big difference.

Here are some party ‘must haves’ for you in the shoe department:

Clarks – Ellis Ruby – Rose Gold Leather party shoe, lovely to look at and easy to wear.  £69.
https://www.clarks.co.uk/c/Ellis-Ruby/p/26135282

Shoe Embassy – hand crafted shoes are an investment – blissfully comfortable and made from comfy leather, one review said ‘I’m having an affair – this is my second pair’ I spotted this gorgeous shoe aptly entitled ‘Exotic’ now only £47.50.
https://www.shoeembassy.com/exotic

New Look have some amazing bargains as always, and one I thought you would like is this sexy black faux snake pointed court for only £19.99.
https://www.newlook.com/uk/womens/footwear/shoes/black-faux-snake-pointed-court-shoes/p/571703709

Very.co.uk have a multitude of wonderful choices, and I just fell in love with this unique pair of ‘Irregular choice Nick of Time party heel shoe’.  Yes, that is its name and well worth considering for its sheer style and comfort at £82.
https://www.very.co.uk/irregular-choice-irregular-choice-nick-of-time-party-heel-shoe/1600276538.prd

So get in there girls, and start practising!

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PARTY TIME IS HERE AGAIN

PARTY TIME IS HERE AGAIN

Reading Time: 1 minute
 

Thought I would be ahead of the game this year, and recommend some stunning party outfits if you are looking to celebrate over the festive season.  We are all at various stages of our lives, and may decide stay at home and celebrate with our children or grandkids, or have invitations from friends or colleagues.  Hopefully you will find ideas for most occasions.

Quiz has a delightful Berry velvet bardot knot front fishtail maxi dress at only £39.99 – see on our front page.  This is very flattering for us curvy types, and easy to wear as well as being utterly glamorous.

Coast has produced a forest green ‘monroe’ lurex maxi dress which is well worth the £179.00 because this style and colour never dates.  In fact I remember window shopping as a kid, and dreaming about a green evening dress I had spotted in the window of Debenhams whilst shopping with my Mum.  I was far too young to wear it, but I am tempted to do so now as it is rather special and will suit a number of events I have coming up.

Girls on Film have produced a sassy red bibi tiered shift dress for only £42.  If you want to go shorter this season, this could be the one for you, especially if you are hoping to make an impact, and are thinking ‘outside the box’.

Reiss Sandie Long Sleeve Drop Waist Dress in black, is a smart but comfortable dress, immensely flattering and covers up the arms if you are like me and prefer to do so.  This is definitely one that will come out season after season so well worth the investment at £195.

Hush Glitter Easy Dress in Metallic gold which is exclusive to John Lewis and Hush, is really as it says on the tin, an easy dress and very stylish and flattering.  Especially if you are entertaining at home and don’t want any restrictions in the kitchen.  Only £59.

 

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TWEEDING THE TREND – FOR STRENGTH AND STYLE

TWEEDING THE TREND – FOR STRENGTH AND STYLE

Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Tweed has always been a rather classic addition to our wardrobe, and always remains in mode, merely by its established stance in British fashion for both men and women.

We used to joke that tweed and brogues were a united front for the traditionalists and the upper-class hunting set, because of its durable nature, and so tweed has always carried the air of sophistication and conformity.

I remember my Mother taking me to John Lewis in the early 90s and ‘forcing’ me to try on a ‘sensible’ tweed coat, which she purchased with great pride.  I wore it reluctantly for several years, when it came into its own when I went to work in the creative sector several years later, as more of an early ‘vintage’ piece due to its style which had come back into fashion – again!

In recent years tweed has been sown into avant-garde jewellery, as part of high end designer costumes combined with traditionalism.  So it is already crossing generations and gender by its sheer determination to remain in situ in our wardrobe.

We can hardly say that tweed is making a comeback as it never really goes away, but it certainly has an eminence on the catwalk as we edge toward Winter.

Here are some great Tweed buys for Winter

French Connection £195

 

Stella McCartney tweed jacket – £995

 

Kate Spade – £375

 

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