Whilst I disregard 99.9% of the plug my product emails I get, I'm always up for a good book and the premise of In The Jumble, The Joys of Finding, Buying and Wearing Second Hand Clothes sounded right up my street.
|Why couldn't they iron that jacket, untwist the sleeve & use a better coat hanger?|
After I'd torn open the package Izzy, our postie, handed over on Wednesday lunchtime I have to admit that I was disappointed, I'd expected a glossy coffee table book packed with photos of the author's, Victoria Lochhead, fabulous jumble sale finds but instead I received a flimsy paperback illustrated with a couple of black & white pie charts defining the lifestyle of a client (the author's a trained personal stylist), although the handwritten letter from Victoria herself was a nice touch.
Oh well, I'll give it a go, I thought and so I poured myself a rum and diet cola and read it in forty minutes.
Although an engaging writer, I found it hard to identify with Victoria. I couldn't empathise with her having to trundle along to Next in a baby sick stained t-shirt unable to fit into her pre-baby wardrobe and I've certainly never felt the need (or had the available cash) to employ the services of a image consultant to help sort me out, like she had. I get the impression that the book is aimed at affluent middle-class mums and definitely not women like me.
The title of the book, In The Jumble, seems a bit of a misnomer as Victoria appears to buy mostly from eBay and charity shops apart from camisole tops, vest tops, t-shirts, leggings which she claims aren't readily available from second hand sources. Victoria's jumble sale successes are listed in a single paragraph Hobbs cardigan, a White Stuff top, a lovely floral M&S skirt , a designer merino wrap and a red leather M&S handbag which, although hardly thrilling, surely would have been the perfect opportunity for a few photos?
Victoria claims that she's not into vintage as it doesn't suit me which instantly got my hackles up, as you well know, I'm a woman who sells vintage clothes for a living. How can she dismiss the past two thousand years of clothing so readily? Maybe she's unaware that her beloved charity shopped jacket featured on the cover is vintage*. She also suggests that car boot sales offer slim pickings for clothes, that they're not ironed or sorted, or have prices on and that sometimes clothes can be thrown on a tarpaulin which, considering the author claims to be a jumble sale aficionado I find a bit curious.
*When I followed the link to her eBay shop she'd recently sold a Jean Varon dress which hadn't been listed as vintage so maybe she's just a bit clueless with regards to what vintage clothes actually are.
The book then transcends into well-intentioned but, to me, the same old tedious advice you'll find for free on many a self-proclaimed style expert's blog - capsule wardrobes, colour analysis, dressing for your shape, assessing your lifestyle needs and even references that bloody Maria Kondo - all folding up your clothes and blessing your belongings. Joyless, limiting & dull.
In short, Victoria's advice is completely at odds with mine - I'm all about wearing what the heck you like, regardless of your shape, colouring or lifestyle and, if you only wear it once every couple of years, but it still brings you infinite joy then so be it. If you can afford to and it makes you happy then why can't you fill your wardrobe with vintage ballgowns, platform boots and crazy 1970s dresses? And, if you need guidance when you're shopping, take along a brutally honest mate (like me) and spend the money you'd pay a professional stylist on getting bladdered in the pub afterwards.
The one thing I do agree with Victoria on is lessening waste and reducing landfill so, if you want my copy of In The Jumble, I'll happily send it to the first person who expresses an interest in the comments section (now claimed by Cathy) and, when you've read it, I'd be curious to know what you thought.
So, on to my secondhand wardrobe, chosen all by myself.This what I wore yesterday to meet up with festival trading pals Gaz & Claire, visit Legacies, the JMW Turner and contemporary art exhibit currently running at Walsall's New Art Gallery followed, of course, by a boozy lunch in 'Spoons. After all, Thursday is Curry Club.
I found my hat in a charity shop on Wednesday. It still had the £25 Aldo price tag attached (and I'm so unused to new stuff I accidentally left the tag on when I wore it).
You've already seen the £1.29 beaded curtain and may have noticed my Kashmiri papier mache bangles (£1.49 for eight, I bought two for 50p a few weeks ago). Here's what else we found on our trawls around the Black Country chazzas this week:
This morning we visited the tip shop and saved a half a kilo of other people's trash from going into landfill, Jon got a guitar stand and at £1 I couldn't resist this 1960s framed Boots print labelled "Trendy Animals". Grrrrroovy, baby!
This is what I'm wearing today.
It's a good thing that I haven't done a pie chart to represent my lifestyle needs and the contents of my wardrobe. If I dressed in clothes appropriate to the life I lead I'd spend most of it in an apron and rubber gloves (and how depressing would that be?)
We've got no fairs booked for this weekend, we're doubling up next week instead. I might try and get our next trip to India sorted although it's already threatening to send me a bit mad.
See you soon!