Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Vix's Clothes Roadshow

 Gok's Clothes Roadshow is a weekly British TV show where a professional stylist creates catwalk-worthy outfits using items each costing less than £50. Whilst I adore Gok Wan and both his enthusiasm and premise of showing than women can look stylish without spending a fortune I'm less enamoured with the promotion of fast fashion, worrying about how ethically the clothes shown were produced and what'll happen to them once they've passed their fashion sell-by date.

So forget the supermarkets and chain stores, here's my tips for affordable, greener and groovy outfits on a shoestring.

Swinging Sixties - Total cost £6.09
Vintage 1960s dress (£4.99, eBay), 1960s Saxone suede shoes (40p, jumble sale), Plastic bangle (20p, Salvation Army), Glass choker (50p, Walsall Hospice), Vintage Chelsea Girl tights (Courtesy of Alex)  
My first stop for a bargain is always eBay. I select Vintage Clothing and in the side bar input a maximum price of £3 and select UK only to keep postage costs down. I watch anything I like the look of and use a sniping tool to place a proxy bid at the last minute. 

You'll find more eBay tips here.

1970s Style - Total cost £6.75

1970s Richard Shops maxi (£1.25, Salvation Army), suedette platforms (£5, retail), Pendant (courtesy of Kitty), vintage felt hat (50p, car boot sale)
Charity shops can be a great source of fabulous clothing. If your local ones are a tad pricey visit the Association Of Charity Shops website to find out which other towns have an abundance of chazzas and make a day of it.
Luckily for me our local shops are cheap and cheerful but if I'm venturing further afield I'll choose equally less affluent areas where the locals don't know their Giorgio Armani from their George at Asda and as there's less money around all donations are gratefully accepted and make it to the shop floor no matter how tatty or old.
The staff in the shops are my friends, I make sure I know everyone's names, I'll chat, regularly donate and if I buy something fabulous make a point of wearing it next time I visit and saying how much I love it. I never haggle and if I feel the price is fair I'll pop my spare change in the collection box on the counter.
As the managers in the shops know me they'll keep suitable stuff aside for me.

More charity shop tips here.

Navajo - Total Cost £4 

Lee Bender kimono blouse (£2, Cancer Research clearance), 1960s suede skirt (£1, car boot sale) and 1960s suede go-go boots (£1, car boot sale)

Car boots, don't you just love them? I'm selective when I'm out trawling fields for bargains. Forget the fashionable young things selling last month's New Look and trying to convince you that a 1990's dress is "vintage" and therefore worth £10. I head for the house clearance lorries, where the merchandise is piled in cardboard boxes and tea chests and you have to sort through greasy saucepans and old dentures to find hidden gems. Haggle hard, these guys make a good living from antiques and the stuff they're selling is what they consider the dross. If you don't buy it it'll end up in landfill so be cheeky and if they won't come down walk away, most of the time they'll back down and chase you for your money. Find your local UK one here.

More car booting tips here and here.

Psychedelic - Total Cost £5.35

Psychedelic maxi (40p, jumble sale), 1960s Saxone knee-high boots (£3.95, PDSA), Scarab pendant (£1, car boot sale)

Jumble sales are the cheapest source of clothing. As a rule they are held on Thursday & Friday evenings and daytime on Saturdays and you'll find them advertised in the classified section of your local newspaper, in local shop windows or outside the venue itself.
You'll need to get there at least 30 minutes before the doors open, taking plenty of small change, carrier bags and loads of stamina. Once inside grab anything that looks interesting and carry it around until you've finished rummaging. If you can, find a quiet spot to inspect what you've found, disregarding anything unappealing. Pay the helper and have another look around.
Ask the person in charge when the next jumble is, never haggle over prices and if the final total is cheap enough tell them to keep the change. Being polite makes you stand out and if you're lucky you may get invited to a sneak preview before the next sale.

More rules of the jumble? Try here and here.

Phew, hope that wasn't too long a read for you!

Happy shopping.


  1. That was some great advice Vix. I have to say our local charity shops are not the best. I always keep an eye out for old books or sewing items. But if I ask (nicely of course) they always look a little surprised and no they dont have anything like that in. Either the old folk of my town were not that creative in the day or the good stuff gets swiped early! lol.

    Just loving that black maxi dress. Its gorgeous. I have to admit I love colour everywhere except on me. So that dress just rocks as far as I am concerned!

    Thanks for an interesting and informative post. (And lots of nice pics of your super cool clothes.)

    MBB x

  2. Nice outfits...love the statement necklace in the first pic, and of COURSE the fringe skirt!!! I stalked last year looking for a fringe jacket...I had no luck..maybe this year Ill find one:)

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  3. This is a killer post Vix, so much good advice. You have made an impact on how I shop for sure. I am convinced that I need not buy new ever again. Your Swinging 60's outfit is so soft and pretty on you the shoes are sweet! I also think the Navajo look is to die for. I can't thank you enough for changing the way I think and feel about clothes! I wanna go shopping with you!!!!

    Love you!!!!!!!!~

  4. Inspiring post Vix. I never knew there was a Charity Shops Association - that'll broaden my days out locations!

    Love that Richard Shops dress - gawd, do you remember their tv jingle? And those go-go boots are brill! xx

  5. whouu, so clever words and so expert advice!, I like charity shops, but they're unfrequent here in Spain, so Ebay is my one bargains source!, and I'm also a huge fan of closing-down sales and popular flea markets!
    And you look fabulous in every outfit!, love that psychedelic frock!

  6. Amazing post Vix - thanks so much for sharing your expertise. I've not had much luck with vintage on Ebay but I'm hopeful my luck is about to change now.

    Totally agree about Gok, he's great at styling and budget ideas, but is far from green or ethical in the way he shops. On the other hand he did make me laugh when he was doing his DIY glitter shoes tutorial - he put the glue on, and then said "wait until it's tacky" before adding the glitter fabric. I thought that was what made them tacky!

  7. Inspirational, both looks and costs
    love those saxone shoes

  8. great looks - sniping tool for ebay, eh ? Must get that - am fed up being sniped when bidding for something for Sonshine. To see his wee face falling when he's outbid in the last second of an auction!

    Love your looks - and fantastic total prices for each outfit!

    Ali x

  9. I find I shout fruity things (like 'bollocks') at the telly if I watch the likes of Gok or Portas or whoever.

    One particularly heinous example the other day was giving all kinds of nonsensical advice about what to wear if you're a particular shape/size. All of it was wrong and just full of pointless superlatives and platitudes. Makes me very angry.

  10. What a fantastic post Vix. This should be featured in every style guide on the planet!
    You can only look unique if you mix a little bit of second-hand in with the new clothes.
    You have achieved more with this post than Gok could in a decade. I'm no fan of Gok's, I find him disingenuous and narsissistic.
    I'm desperate to get to a jumble sale, in fact I think I'd like to do an 'around Britain in 100 charity shops (or jumble sales)' tour.

  11. Dearest Vix,
    what a brilliant post!
    I went High Street shopping with Mark a few weeks back, he was hoping to buy some stuff for his friend's eleven-year-old daughter in Bulgaria...a couple of dresses, some boots and a winter coat.
    Both of us were disgusted with the quality of the garb in places like H&M, Primark, New Look & Peacocks. Poorly constructed garments, made with flimsy & flopsy fabrics, that don't even manage to look good when pinned on a shop mannequin.
    I'm still at a loss as to why people shop in these places when you can get great quality for much less when sourcing your garb from markets, boot sales, charity shops & eBay.
    You've proven with this post that a bang on trend style can be achieved on a shoestring & even with completely cutting the High Street out of the loop...well done!
    Lot's of love,

  12. I really appreciate these tips, Vix. I love vintage and thrift shopping and I'll take any advice I can get on finding cool little gems, like you do! ;)

  13. Hi Vix - hope you had a nice weekend! You are lucky in your part of the world, so many places to find bargains, i could go on E-Bay and select Canada only, i guess - But here the best places are churches's bazaar this where you get the good stuff cheap!

    Nice outfits again - Lots of love Ariane xxxx

  14. Bargains aplenty! I have to admit i'm a pretty hot charity shopper myself! south london has a fair share of fantastic caves of treasure!

  15. Thanks for this post Vix! There is a lot of neat tips here!

    I never haggle in a charity shop and I always let them have my change at the end of a transaction as they could do more with a little change than I can!

    I'm definitely going to check out that Charityretail website!

    My favourite outfit has to be that 70s style one. The dress is gorgeous! I love the sleeves and the lacy hem! Beautiful!

    Sandy xxx

  16. Fabulous! Oh and i can offer a great charity shop tip :) Penge High St, SE London - my best was a dickens and jones model suit from the 60's, pale grey with an olive green line thru it,AND - the olive green silk short sleeved, round necked, shell buttons up the back top to go with. I found the olive green stilletos the following week in the same shop :) oh that was joyous! the whole lot came to less than £10

  17. Hi my dear- wow, totally excellent post and really wonderful tips for those who do not boot sale or charity shop as much as we do,lol!!
    Gorgeous outfits and proof it doesn't cost tens of pounds to look good and there are always bargains and gems to be found, my latest post is testament to that. I get more pleasure in rooting out a treasure than I ever did trawling the high street stores-something I stopped many moons ago. Well done on a fabulous post, most inspirational and lovely outfits as usual xxxx

  18. I totally agree with your feelings on the Gok Show - I felt exactly the same and had to stop watching it because I was getting angry. Yes, that dress cost £24 and a lot of skill and work has evidently gone into its creation so ASK WHY it is so cheap!!
    As ever Vix, your outfits are fabulous and I love your shopping philosophy x

  19. Such great outfits Vix, I love all your looks and your tips are really good.
    One thing that sucks is for some reason my town does not ever have (Jumble/Rummage) sales.

    I only ever go to
    *Garage sales (Peoples Saturday or Sunday morning sales at their home.)

    *Flea Market ( Where a bunch of different sellers pull their cars into a mall parking lot. Fill a table with items and sell for about 4-5 hours on a Sunday morning.) These have started getting more and more pricey I barely bother going anymore.

    *Estate sales (We have one or two a month here)

    I want to rummage sale!! I suppose I will have to move to a different town. =p

  20. You are my kind of shopper Vix! I enjoy the hunt just as much as the purchase and wearing of my find. A reminder to everyone to go often and don't be afraid to go away with nothing. -T

  21. Great tips and great outfits. You're a true professional, sustainable shopper with, of course, great style. Bring back the sixties!
    Love from Mum

  22. dear vix, this is absolutely amazing! you are truely the bargain queen - for sure!
    I think thrifting is a much bigger thing in the uk than anywhere else!

    people here tend to buy new things only and prefer cheap stuff from discount clothing retailers and would never ever buy something second hand. In my opinion, this is a bid ridiculous.

    on the other hand it was a bid confusing for me to see how many cancer care shops and salvetion army branches there are in the gb. I heared that most of the staff works there as honorary office, is that right?

    we don't have something similar with that high amount of stores here in germany, only some oxfam stores and some stores that collect money to contribute it to poorer countries. so it's much harder to get your hands on a bargain.

    but thankfully, ebay grows and there are a lot of good, valueable online stores. I personnaly buy all my bags and shoes second hand as I don't like the cheap pvc bags and don't want to spend a fortune on a new leather bag.

    thanks for this really nice post! This causes wordy comments like this one ;)


  23. What a great post Vix - lots of great advice for shopping on an extreme budget!



  24. Good tips as always Vix! Our chazzas are overpriced and they always claim not to have vintage items when asked - though I have spotted a few pieces on the rails from time to time. Jumbles are few and far between here (sad face), but I always give them a go.

    I think that Gok and co (usually) have good intentions, but let's face it - they're paid (directly or indirectly) to peddle the latest look, whether it's Prada or Primark. I do like Gok's suggestions on having the courage to customise, though. I would dearly love to see him style a vintage fan. Maybe the next series could feature you vs Gok on the catwalk?

  25. Amoricto,
    I love your thirty tips! Your roadshow way better than Goks's he is annoying.
    love the 60's dress so much, your have great legs. Navajo outfit is so pretty. love the fringe combo with kimono top.
    I been meaning to tell you,I have followed your Ebay tips and payed way less for my dresses.
    I never haggle at a Charity. Your right the boot sale sellers with boxes and rummaging are where I find the best deals.I didnt know about charityretail webstie.
    You are the Quee of all Thrift!
    love ya.

  26. Absolutely spot on fantastic advice.I truly do not know how people can even afford new clothing anyways,in these days of mortgages etc,let alone why they would even WANT to buy the same old shittily made crap everyone else is wearing.Fools!
    You'reoriginal,you shop inexpensively and ethically, and you look frigging AMAZING!
    I adore oyu,and can't see how anyone could fail to be inspired by you and your lifestyle!
    Love you!!
    Helga xxxXXXxxx

  27. Oh Vix, thank you for this post, you always manage to reassure me and inspire me and that is what I will always be thankful to you for. Your style is so completely unique in every way possible and your enthusiasm for second-hand is so admirable xxx

  28. you give the best advice, Vix. we can save and find beautiful stuff and yet keep groovy. It´s always such a pleasure to read what you write and mainly to admire your beautiful closet. I swear you are a constant inspiration. I can´t choose one item cause i love them all! you look like a 60´s queen. I missed a few posts these days but know that i LOVED THEM ALL, as usual. much love, darling.


  29. You beat Gok hands down any day!
    That dentures line cracked me up. Also your Navajo look is the best I've seen, your inner Cher with lady like chic xx

  30. I really like the way you think Vix. And the way you shop! You do seem to get some terrific bargains, although you do have an enviable figure, so can make the most of them.

    I agree about Gok and wish he would consider why those items are so cheap to begin with. We all know why handmade couture is expensive, but he doesn't dwell on why bottom end high street is priced so low.

    From the first time I started selling vintage I have been delighted to find that browsers and customers alike seem to appreciate the quality of the fabric and the construction of the garments. I always try show them how to look inside at the seams and the way the fabric is cut and attention paid to matching the pattern. And understand/accept price v quality. How even relatively cheap clothes in their day, could be very well made compared to their modern equivalents. Though surprisingly early Biba and Bus Stop and similar 'swinging sixties' boutique labels were often very badly cut and hastily stitched together. (I ran up basic '60s shifts for a Hampstead boutique when a pal who didn't even know how to insert a sleeve went on holiday.) Btw I love your pretty printed '60s dress, tights and shoes - wonderful!

  31. Great tips and advice as usual Vix. Amazing what you can find if your willing to look.

    X x

    ps. hope your dad is doing well.

  32. I buy charity shop high street- so many 'vintage' bloggers moan about it, but I keep the items well and wear them, so I don't see why I should hold out for a Chanel unless I happen to find one! I'm such a chazza tart, meh, it saves me money and it's recycling.

  33. All of these are AMAZING but my Favorite is the mini dress!

  34. Great post and tips Vix, I also adore checking out your bargain outfits (while im am currently watching gok on tv)! Scarlett x

  35. lovely post... thrifting and flea market shopping is slightly different in germany... things seem to be a little bit more expensive here.

    love this fringe skirt... hehehe, because it has a lot of fringes, hehehe... and this black dress is so romantically gorgeous. lovelove...

  36. You are such a star, Vix, but we knew that already!
    All your looks are fabulous, of course, and your approach to clothes and style is truly inspirational.

    I'm not sure I can be doing with Gok anymore; I liked him at first, after the hideously awful Trinny and Susannah, it was refreshing to watch someone dealing with women who actually seems to LIKE them. But he unquestioningly accepts the whole idea of "rules" and cheap high street shopping, which worries me. And I wish he would STOP calling women's breasts "bangers"!
    A fabulous post from my favourite style icon! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  37. Vix, this is such a useful post. Love your advice. And agree with you on the fast fashion front.
    I've recently been (as you know!) finding ways to customise what I've got and ebay is fast becoming a new way to get some fab bargains.

  38. Great tips! I am a seasoned car booter, charity shopper and flea market-er house clearance box-rummager, but I still haven't had an elbow fight with some old ladies at a local jumble....must try that soon!! :)x

  39. I feel exactly the same, it makes me cringe all this fast fashion. We should write to Gok and challenge him, you can do the vintage bargains and I could do the designer ones! x

  40. What great tips, I only wish we still had jumble sales round here.

    I love your psychedelic dress!

  41. Wonderful advice, thank you Vix! I especially love the beautiful black maxi and the psychedelic maxi. You are so beautiful! I wish we had all of these bargainous options over here!

    Sarah xxx

  42. You are a VISION and a master at recycling. I do estate sales here in Denver, and have for years. I enjoy the hunt as much as the find.

  43. What a great post and such fantastic outfits - everything looks so good on you. I particularly adore that fringed skirt and boots - so cool! xxx

  44. What a great post and such fantastic outfits - everything looks so good on you. I particularly adore that fringed skirt and boots - so cool! xxx

  45. beautiful!!i'm following you!!!

  46. That was a great post. I'm still regularly checking local papers for jumble sales, just so happens everytime I find one I'm not around for it. Great looks, the 1960s one is my favourite. Xx

  47. wonderful post! very very nice!!!
    i wait you for my last outfit on my blog!

  48. As always, good, solid advice. I love the psychedelic maxi!

  49. excellent advice vix. esp about being kind. kindness goes a long way no matter where you are at.

    oh and you look beyond fab in all these outfits. you are amazing!

  50. That fringed skirt is mad crazy style! Really like the 70s maxi, too and the tips but... did I mention how wild I am about that skirt? Of course you make it look fashionable at any price.

  51. Another brilliant post full of your great tips that are actually realistic and usable!

    I love that black dress on you, it is very dramatic!

  52. Even as a seasoned op-shopper and bargain-finder, I still have plenty to learn from you, Vix! I remember you saying that you don't dress down for jumble sales because when people see what you're into and bring out the special stuff for you and that has stuck with me! I love all of those outfits, you are a goddess!


  53. I never knew you could put in a cost limit! I will SO be using that from now on. Thanks :)
    Love that long black dress on you btw!

  54. Excellent Vix. I wish yu were on the telly..I love Gok, but he couldn't do this!
    I'm absolutely with you on the car boot clearence lorry men. Too right they make a profit on their big stuff and what they take to boot sales are the bits and pieces. And I love a good haggle!

  55. Great tips and a stunning array of frocks!

    I do love Gok but this whole "fast fashion" thing is a bit of a worry. I noticed a lot of the "fashionable" stores here aimed at trendy young things are making items from such low quality fabrics - cheap and nasty stuff. More stuff to fill up landfills I fear - and also who knows what the conditions will be for the people who make it.

    Second hand is best :D

    PS - 90's isn't vintage yet is it?

  56. Thanks for the great photos and excellent tips, Vix. I'm a jumble sale go-er of many years experience but I'd never thought of asking the helpers when the next one will be - doh!!

    I wholeheartedly agree with you about the ethics of cheap fast-fashion manufacture and it's another reason why I prefer to buy second-hand whenever possible.

  57. i'm really not a fan of gok and his logic, but i love this post ! you are bargain-huntress extraordinaire! :)

  58. Great advice Vix, and a fab array of outfits! Not that that's surprising, you always look so elegant and well turned out.xx.

  59. Fab tips. I love Goks cheery attitude, but can't agree with his obsession with dodgy cheap clothing. I would much prefer to see you on telly any day xx

  60. ...items each costing less than £50 - and that's a bargain? LMAO! Preserve us all from people telling us what to wear - mind you, Gok is the least corrosive of them :)

    Viva la forage-istas!

  61. Oh Vix, can you please be the next Gok? I need someone to show me how to do 60s and 70s like a pro! The 70s black ensemble is amazing!

  62. Great tips Vix.

    Watching Gok last night really annoyed me cos they had that woman who was 41 and looked fab and they cut hair to make her look more grown up and I thought she looked younger with the long hair and they said she wore clothes which were too young for her...such rubbish she had a fab figure...it really annoyed me its like saying anyone over the age of 35 cannot have long hair...I used to work with a woman who used to say things like that and she really annoyed me.

    I like Gok but I do find him a bit annoying as sometimes I feel he does lie to people do you know what I mean?

  63. I love your outfits for such amazing prices. Perhaps I should shop on ebay more often. The sheer volume of stuff on there scares me a bit though. I too love Gok but think I might write him a letter about his blatant promotion of fast fashion!

  64. You have so much good advice, I wonder if there is a magazine or daily with focus's on vintage and thrift shopping. You could totally be the editor of that!

    I love the psychedelic dress!

    ♡ from © tanvii.com

  65. The lace black dress looks stunning on you. Glad I stumbled across your blog!


  66. I have yet to find a single jumble sale in the town I live in! It's madness - there's lots of old dears here, so therefore there MUST be jumbles... Lots of charity shops though, which other people whinge about, but I'd rather there was a charity shop than an empty shop. Plus, where would I buy half my clothes from if they disappeared?! Fab idea for a post - love the psychedelic look best! Emma :)

  67. Fantabulous tips Viv! thanks for sharing :)

  68. i wish we had jumble sales and boot sales here :( but i will live vicariously through you! i love your tips, thanks for sharing. and i especially love your emphasis on being nice and polite to the employees! i see so many other thrift store/charity shop customers being incredibly rude, and trying to get discounts, and guess what-it doesn't work that way!! ;)

  69. I love this post. You are far more inspiring and individual then anything to come from Gok's programme. I've not bothered watching this series x

  70. Move over Gok! Your version is so much better...

  71. Brilliant advice! I nominate you for a regular magazine article!!

  72. You are such an amazing resource of info! I loved this post and all your looks - especially the beautifully black seventies one. I'm with you on Gok - love him what don't agree with him pulling women up for shopping in charity shops. As you continously show - there are plenty of gems to be found, you'll be original and its economical and ethical to boot.

  73. thanks for sharing your fab tips....I had an eBay addiction 10 years ago but in my medicated haze a few weeks ago I have signed up again, lol I have'nt found anything so I will try your vintage tip & limit to see what comes up.....I was so surprised at what they have now.... so much stuff!

  74. Thanks Vix

    This post inspired me to pop down to Ebay and look for a vintage gem myself. I'm so excited with what I've bought that I'm showing it off in the post on my own blog today! x

  75. I just fell over looking at those grey shoes. Drooooool!


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