Friday, 13 October 2017

Brought To Book - First Hand Thoughts, Second Hand Clothes

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.
Glossy illustrations? That's all, folks

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. 
WEARING: Vintage Dollyrockers gauzy cotton maxi (eBay), 1970s velvet jacket (Liebchen Vintage), Leopard ankle boots (swapped with a customer), vintage tooled leather bag (car boot sale), Indian tribal jewellery
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:

Clockwise from top right: 1950s petit point evening bag by Michael Myers of London (wasn't he the baddie in Halloween?); Vintage polka dot mini by Diolen Loft; Handmade waistcoat; 1970s deadstock Permanent Press shirt; 1980s Luigi Rossi shirt; black velvet kaftan with braided trim; 1970s deadstock dagger collar shirt; 1960s beaded shoulder bag; 1960s red vinyl framed handbag

Clockwise from top left: 1960s Peter Baron wool midi (Jon wanted me to keep this but it's too big); 1970s C&A fake fur jacket; 1970s leather bomber jacket, made in Kettering; 1980s West German casual shirt; 1980s Wrangler cowboy shirt; 1950s Crombie overcoat; 1960s Jaeger courtelle polo neck; 1970s Fight Club style metallic leather jacket, made in Brazil; Groovy shirt by Replay.
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.

WEARING: Vintage Jon Adam teenage maxi (£2.99, charity shop), Printed velvet ankle boots (£7, TopShop end of season sale), Great-Grandma's carpet bag, charity shopped wool felt hat worn with early 20th Century Liberty, London silk scarf (car boot sale)
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!

92 comments:

  1. Love the short velvet jacket and the groovy cat print!!!!!! The asian jacket on the front of the book is dope! I can relate to not fitting in clothes and having stains lmaooooooo, but that's it!

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  2. I was wondering when you were going to start looking from your next india fix and i have never been to the tip shop , Don't know where it is , I wish all the tips would have one its shameful what gets tipped away there , The book looks and sounds really disappointing , I am not doing any stock collecting or selling this weekend , I am looking forward to the rest ,loving the last outfit xxx

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    1. Every time Jon goes to the Walsall tip with gardening rubbish he always comes back with something else - last week it was a guitar case! xxx

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  3. do not send me that book, ok? Thanks. You dress yourself? And do your own home decorating? But you're putting all those professionals out of work. Thank you! Love the Dollyrockers outfit. I have a couple of those bracelets, had no clue where they were made.

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  4. Have a restful weekend! Hoping to see you next weekend in Bath... I need to add a few more vintage pieces to my wardrobe... you can never have enough can you?

    Have you heard that Cornbury is back on next year too? I was dead chuffed when I found out!...Hope you will be trading too. It wouldn't be the same without you and Jon.

    Right...now I'm off to get out of my work uniform (boring polo shirt and jeans) and into something vintage for the weekend!

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    1. Oh and I definitely don't want that book either!

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    2. I was beside myself with excitement when I read Hugh's announcement on Facebook last week, I hope they have us back!
      Hope you had a fantastic, vintage wearing weekend, can't wait to catch up with you in Bath! xxx

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  5. Hello dear Vix!!!!
    I lovey love your style. It suits you so well. I've yet to see you looking frumpy or misplaced :)
    The kitty image looks much like the cartoon drawings that were done for Schoolhouse Rock in the US. back in the seventies!!

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    1. Hello, Reva! So lovely to hear from you!!
      I've just Googled Schoolhouse Rock and you're right, they are very similar. xxx

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  6. I think I'll survive without the book, I enjoyed your review though.

    I have those Topshop velvet boots too!

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    1. Boot twins!! They were so cheap it would have been madness not to buy them!! xxx

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  7. please do NOT send that book to me!!!
    hahahah!!!!!! what a waste of paper. even the target group - the middle class mums - will be bored to dead from this book. everyone knows that one need excitement and joy to try out new habits.
    i recommend your blog to everyone who wants to dive into 2.hand and vintage styles!!
    you look fabulous in this dresses with hats and fine bags and cool boots - and is the tiger sweet!!
    xxxxx

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    1. That book just seemed like a wasted opportunity. The exciting thing about buying clothes secondhand is that there are no rules, you just play with mixing your latest find with what you already own - simple and fun. xxx

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  8. I love that black velvet kaftan, great finds again this week. Someone should write a book about you and your lifestyle, that would actually sell well

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    1. Isn't that kaftan a beauty? I can't believe anyone would donate something so lovely (but I'm glad they did!) xxx

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  9. Have you still got the beaded shoulder bag? I would love that.

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  10. I'm reading this waiting to hit happy hour in Brighton after an afternoon browsing vintage, bliss. So this made me laugh, how ridiculous to write a book about something that's clearly not your subject and then send it for review to an expert vintage seller and owner of the fabulous Kinky Melon, bonkers.
    You illustrated the post beautifully though, in perfectly gorgeous vintage style.
    Have a lovely weekend xxx

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    1. A vintage browsing weekend in Brighton, that does indeed sound like bliss! xxx

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  11. The harried mum covered in baby sick is getting to be a tired trope that writers drag out as some sort of badge of honour giving them street cred. I can only speak for myself, but no matter how tired I was I always managed to comb my hair, shop for clothes, and clean off any messes from the baby with wipes. Mostly, he just covered himself in puke. Anyway, Yeah-I don't need assistance dressing myself.

    I love that velvet jacket of yours-THAT'S the sort of thing that you's put on the cover of a book. What I'd give to go shopping with you!

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    1. Totally agree with you, Goody along with the "Mummy needs gin", it's so insulting to women. xxx

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  12. Oh dear...!! Joyless indeed to use pie charts as the only illustration in a book about second-hand clothes. Ah well, carry on being fabulous!! Xx

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  13. I too had my hopes up when you mentioned the book, and I totally understand your disappointment. And you're so right about that jacket on the cover too! Even I would have ironed the jacket ;-) And how can there be no photos? Really! Any mention of Marie Kondo would have had me throw down the book in horror ... What a relief to see your colourful photos pop up. That hat was such a bargain, and I love your papier maché bangles. You found some seriously fantastic stuff for the Kinky rails, too! xxx

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    1. I was really disappointed, the idea behind it sounded so good but the execution was a bit of a let down. Oh well! xxx

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  14. ooooh bangle love!
    ewwwwww book of tripe!

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    1. Got to love a bangle (or ten!) xxx

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  15. Bloody hell that book sounds tedious in the extreme. No takers so far I note.
    Does Maria Kondo bless her belongings??? Jesus, she's got an exciting life hasn't she? Heard of her and the book of course but I'm far too messy to bother with it. Wish we had a shop at our tip, I love that Trendy Animals print.
    xxx

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    1. Apparently she gives some great advice about folding your clothes - personally I'm quite happy to have drawers that resemble jumble sales, it makes getting dressed far more fun when you find stuff at the bottom you'd completely forgotten about! xxx

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  16. Oh dear, that's a shame that the book didn't live up to expectations. I think if anyone wants advice on second hand shopping they should read your blog instead! X

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    1. It was a shame about the book, I really wanted to like it but I just couldn't relate to it. xxx

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  17. Finally! An honest review!!! LOL

    Good grief on the pie chart. With all of the incredible vintage and secondhand pieces in the world I would have expected some amazing examples of treasures found in her book.

    She clearly is not a true secondhand enthusiast if she is put off by the things you mentioned.

    I also get mad when people say "they can't do vintage". It's clothes people!!! Sure they can't do vintage but they can go and buy total rip-offs of every single era passed from H&M and Zara. Givemeabreak.

    LOVE the hats and maxis and I'm so jealous of your carpet bag. Those velvet booties are darn sweet too. I've been obsessed with velvet boots going on three years now.

    Enjoy your weekend off!

    Suzanne

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    1. I had to be honest! I can't be doing with those bland posts that start "those lovely people at..." ramble on and never express an opinion. Tell it like it is, bloggers!
      You're so right about people "not doing vintage" yet buying high street stuff that's a blatant copy of another era (like my hat!!)
      Those velvet boots were indecently cheap in the sales here, I just HAD to have them! xxx

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  18. I think you’re going to have to donate that book as none of us want it, ha! Love your dresses, especially the second one! :)

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    1. I've rescued it from the charity shop bag, I've got a taker! xxx

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  19. Yeah, never mind on the book - I'm guessing the peeps that "don't do vintage" have 20 or 30 year old pieces in their closet.

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    1. You're so right, Tami! I think a lot of people don't even know what the term "vintage" means, maybe some twee 1950s frock or a fox fur? xxx

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  20. Love the velvet and leopard boots! You have such great footwear. The velvet caftan you found is gorgeous.
    Maybe you should write a book!

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    1. Thanks, Bobbi! I loved that kaftan - lucky for the stockroom I've got one already so I can't keep it. xxx

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  21. What a shocker. So disappointing. It needs to be buried. - don't burn books that is what hitler did - .
    Especially love your first photo with hat and jacket. ❤️ the cat print. You could get all your blogs into a book. What a fun colourful book that would be.

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    1. It was going to be donated but I've found a taker!
      Isn't that cat print cute? I can't believe that it was going to be binned! xxx

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  22. not sorry I didn't win the book, looks like drivvel - I can get all the styling inspiration I need from you - I love that you checked this lady's EBay page out! I wish you would write a book on vintage and how to spot it, and when you have written that one, could you please write a book about your travels in India??? The cat print is right up my street - it's my Amber!

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    1. It was readable enough (if you like all that harassed mummy chat) but it didn't tell me anything I didn't already know and there's no way I'd recommend people spent their hard earned cash on a book I couldn't get behind.
      That kitty cat is like your Amber! xxx

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  23. Dont you think its time you and John did a book ?

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    1. If we did I can guarantee it wouldn't contain a single pie chart! xxx

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  24. May I join the others in saying that I don't want this book either! That tiger print is smashing! Andy still has a painting he did as a child with a similar tiger! xxx

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    1. I bet Andy's painting is cute! How sweet that he still owns it! xxx

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  25. I would like the book if it's still available please, just out of interest. But I agree a book by you would be a fabulous read - you'd probably have to do 7 volumes! Cathy

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    1. Hi Cathy! Email me with your address to goanmad (at) hotmail (dot) com and I'll happily forward you the book. xxx

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  26. NO thanks for the book, dear Vix, but I do like that groovy tiger print! As for "instructions for dressing for lifestyle", do please continue to show us what you pack for specific events. It's so much fun to snoop inside your bag for India -- and the train festival. (Love those dresses you make from curtains! Does this Kondo person have anything to say about clothes made from towels and curtains?)

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    1. Ha! I dread to think what that Kondo woman writes about, the extracts I've read on other blogs seem to be all about folding things up. Like I need to lose an hour of my life folding my tights! xxx

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  27. I see the book has found a recipient! I didn't really want it though as it sounds like it would not tell me anything I didn't know or had an alternative for anyway plus I'm not one for non-fiction anyway. Love your fedora and recent charity shop finds!

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    1. All that info is readily available for free, isn't it?
      I do love a non-fiction book. I've just got my hands on a vintage Anglo-Indian dictionary which I'll be pouring over later. xxx

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  28. Ooh! Love that dollyrockers dress! Clever of you to swap with a customer for those leopard print boots. I would much rather see your fabulous thrifty finds on a coffee table book than someone who regularly shops on eBay (and who doesn't wear vintage).

    Happy thrifting ;)

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    1. Thanks, TP! I'm such an unconventional businesswoman, i'm always up for improving my wardrobe at the expense of profit! xxx

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  29. This quote just confirms to me that you're a woman after my own heart: "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."

    And I fully intend to carry on following this sage advice! :)

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    1. Hello, Fran! Glad you liked that bit, I surprise myself with my writing sometimes!
      Shouldn't adorning our bodies be a joyous thing rather than a rule strewn minefield? There's enough laws we have to follow in real life without inflicting them on our wardrobes! xxx

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  30. I loved your book review! I want a book: the one YOU write. I'll wait until then. And it would be jammed with groovy photos, with photos of real pie maybe, or curry dishes, not pie charts. Have a great weekend.

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    1. Thanks, Melanie! Pies definitely over pie charts! xxx

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  31. You can keep the book but I'd be very happy if you would send me the cat picture! ;-)

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  32. Excellent review of what sounds like a very boring book, which I have no interest in reading. The cover is enough to put me off - really, a wrinkled jacket on a hanger?? You could write a fascinating book on shopping and wearing secondhand clothing and I'm sure there would be lots of photos! Love the dollyrockers and velvet outfit.

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    1. Thank you! From a distance the cover looked okay, I was most upset when I saw it up close! xxx

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  33. I always think of your advice... Dress for the life you'd like rather than the one you have. I sometimes tell my friends about clothing advice and they think I'm a genius! Of course, I let them know I learn them from your blog, can't take credit for some of your golden advice. Xxx

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    1. Yes, yes, yes! Who wants a wardrobe full of practical, dull stuff? Fabulous clothes are always appropriate! xxx

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  34. Looove the first outfit - the velvet jacket, the dollyrockers maxi, and the hat! gorgeous autumn colours. Really suit you.

    Book sounds boring so I'll not volunteer to take it off your hands ;-)

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    1. Thank you, Maria! You've been spared the book! xxx

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  35. Vix, you look gorgeous in your outfits and your wonderful hat is a steal. I love the glorious rich colours in your top outfit and that gorgeous bag in the second. How lucky to find that fab pic in the Tip Shop. I hate the idea of perfectly useable stuff ending up in landfill too. This book sounds like a bit of a contender though. Like Goody I also made sure that I was put together and baby-sick free when out and about with baby Sprogzilla but then again I have never bought anything out of Next in my life. Not much joy in *not* getting stuck in at Car Booties and Jumbles to unearth some treasures and how can you buy second-hand and not wear vintage, even inadvertently? I have found joy however in your clothes wearing mantra and ethos. I would also buy your book if you ever wrote one. :) Xx

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    1. I remember The Guardian describing Next as the place you visit when you're too old for TopShop! If I inadvertently pick up something with a Next label in a chazza it gets treated in the same way as Per Una, I shriek with horror and think I've subliminally turned middle aged over night (50's far too young for those labels!) xxx

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  36. YOU should be the one writing books about this! I want your leopard boots and the hat = gorgeous. As soon as I see the words capsule wardrobe in any article or blog post etc I click right out. xx

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    1. You are kind! Those boots are by Jones The Bootmaker, I'd forgotten how comfy they are - might be worth a search on Ebay, i think they're a couple of years old! xxx

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  37. LOLOL...I loved the book review. Well done you!

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  38. Oh the 'trendy animals'! It's amazing, so glad you saved it from the tip shop :)

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    1. Thanks, Susie! I love the trendy ginger cat! xxx

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  39. Like others, I thin you should write a book! My favorite style read in book form is "Alligators, Old Mink & New Money" -- which I found at a thrift store! I will lend it out but will never give it away. Alas, here in the states, true vintage is very hard to find. But I will always look... and live vicariously through your blog!

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    1. I know that book, I enjoyed it immensely! xxx

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  40. How thoroughly disappointing the book sounds, the title and byline held such promise.
    I have read the Marie Kondo book, I did find it useful for throwing away some things but I don't bless, or thank, my clothes and she can sod off my favourite items that only get worn once in a blue moon. As with anything like this, I took from it what was helpful and forgot the rest.

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    1. You sound like you've got it just right, Hazel, taking some tip from the Kondo woman but not following her words to the letter! Fabulous clothes are made for keeping, no matter how seldom they're worn. xxx

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  41. "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?"
    Bless you Vix! Your words are life affirming music to my ears! I read the Kondo book - handy folding tips but the woman is clearly barking mad. Joyless, limiting and dull indeed. Thank you for the frank and honest review, I shall be avoiding this book.

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    1. Lady V!!! Good to see you! You're not the first to say that the Kondo woman isn't all there, another book to avoid. xxx

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  42. Haha!! Bringing a smile to my face as always. My biggest challenge seems to be collecting things that aren't great for really hot weather. I love coats, boots, wooly things etc. The window of opportunity to wear them is quite small. Every year I dutifully dust off my "seasonal" favorites, only to have them languish for another two or three months. I also read the book by Ms. Kondo and while aspects of it were intriguing (I have a minimalist streak that pops up every now and then), there's simply no way I could say goodbye to the things I've made and thrifted. I haven't gotten around to selling stuff either. I frequently give things away, usually with the caveat that I can ask for them back, which never happens. I'm LOVING the print boots, BTW. They're officially on my thrift store radar. xoxoxoxoxo

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    1. I'm the opposite, I collect strappy, thin cotton vintage maxi dresses like a woman possessed and invariably end up disappointed in not being able to wear them each summer. Honestly, after half a century living in the UK you'd think I'd have learnt to embrace something useful...like knitwear! Love you! xxx

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  43. I love your passion, Vicky! I love that you don't take life for granted and make the most out of what you've got and live so genuinely from your heart! THAT is what makes you so unique, NOT your love of secondhand/vintage. And your philosophy of style is born out of this genuine heart curious about life, no wonder that average advice on style does not resonate with you, even if it's covered in secondhand/vintage on the surface. It reminds me very much of my outlook on fairy tales. Most of them are the same old story told over and over again. Hero, villain, bad fight good and good fights back, blablabla. Very little imagination in it!

    I hope to see your book some time. Maybe more than one.

    You look like Autumn personified, it doesn't get any better. Love!

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    1. Natalia, thank you so much! You always leave such encouraging and heartwarming comments.
      Aren't most fairy tales, like folk tales, derived from a just a handful of formulae? It's all about the telling of the story which, I know, you'd make exciting and readable. xxx

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  44. That book does sound disappointing - and tedious.

    Love the velvet jacket; the sleeves are so gorgeous; the hat is fab and I love your boots. The second maxi is lovely and what about your great grandma's carpet bag? Fabulous. You know what I think about your papier mache bracelets; love. love, love.

    Two questions for you - what the heck is a tip shop; I think I know what it is but is it really called that? And what is deadstock?

    xxxxx

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    1. I really wanted to like that book but it let me down.

      Deadstock is unworn vintage with the original maker's or manufacturer's labels still attached. We used to have a thriving clothing industory locally and we'll often come across baskets of shirts still in their original packaging.

      A tip shop is a shop next to the council tip, often run by a charity and selling stuff that was taken to dump as landfill. They're pretty good for half tins of paint, window frames and bathroom & kitchen fittings as well as clothes, homewares, toys and bicycles. It really is mind blowing what people throw away! xxx

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    2. They used to have one of these at the Kettering tip and our Bedford one would let you buy things they stashed away. I have a small table on wheels with a drawer that I bought there years ago for 3.00. Would you believe that they have stopped selling things now - 'council rules' apparently.

      I rarely go to the tip on my own anymore as I am forever 'rescuing' discarded items! Last two finds were a small Brabantia pedal bin and a standing toilet roll holder.
      xxx

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  45. That tiger picture is *excellent*. Unlike the sound of the book. I'm probably the most conventional of all the vintage bloggers I know - someone has to be the boring one! - and don't have masses of space, so I can see how the pie charts might be useful, and without masses of space Kondo-style arranging of clothes so everything's visible ensures nothing gets stuffed to the bottom of the drawer and overlooked, but the book sounds terribly joyless. A bit 'How to keep up with the Joneses when you don't have the Joneses income', when it could be 'Embrace the serendipity of secondhand shopping and be your best self.'

    See you on Sunday!

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    1. Very excited to see you on Sunday!!
      The £1 trendy Animals picture gave me a lot more pleasure than the book did. Clothes should be fun, not homework! xxx

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