Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Style Vs Fashion - No Contest!


Isn't it great to look different? A fellow charity shopper said to me as we rummaged side-by-side through the rails this morning and it really is. Having individual style makes us memorable. Strangers strike up conversations and my appearance commented upon everywhere from the dentist's waiting room to the self checkout in the supermarket. I love that charity shop bosses keep things aside for me while other shoppers will pick out clothes they think will suit me and shyly pass them my way.

WEARING: Vintage 1970s Afghan dress (eBay), Russian folklore belt (Cancer UK), 1960s Edwardian-style lace-up leather & suede boots (Car boot sale, 2012)

My blog is ten years old this week so I thought I'd go back to basics with an outfit post and share my thoughts on personal style that I'd written for a friend's blog and still hold true almost a decade later..... 

To own your style you'll have to find it first. For me this came about by ditching buying retail completely and only shopping second-hand. Buying from fashion stores limits your choice to what the professional buyers consider fashionable (the same shaped trousers and skirts, in-season colours or "it" prints)  whereas second-hand shops are a hotch-potch of absolutely everything and you just have to learn to trust your eye and instinct. After six months of limiting yourself to second-hand shopping you'll soon get a taste of what you're attracted to.


Regularly cull your wardrobe and give away/donate/sell anything that doesn't make you feel fabulous.

 If you have to ask others whether something suits you then it needs to go.


Never allow an item of clothing to "wear" you, own it by adding tried and trusted pieces so that the real you shines through.  A necklace fiercely haggled over in an Indian village, a 20-year old denim waistcoat roughly patched together, a tote bag hand-made from a curtain salvaged from a relative's rag bag or a top remade from your boyfriend's old band tee shirt add personality, substance & texture to any outfit I dress in.

My trademark style includes statement pieces of tribal jewellery, vintage suede, dresses in bold colours with interesting prints and a wide-brimmed floppy hat (thanks for the reminder, Sarah!) Including just one of these elements to any outfit means that everything I wear always looks and feels like me. 

I've worn that lapis lazuli ring since my Dad bought it me for passing my Eleven-Plus in 1977, the agate bracelet was a 21st present (almost 32 years ago!)

Fashion? Forget it! All that means is following what is currently popular and who wants to be part of a herd? Finding your own style means you'll never feel inadequate, out-dated or boring ever again. As Quentin Crisp once said, Fashion is what you adopt when you don't know who you are

New to me! Huge stylised snake earrings made by the Hmong tribe of Vietnam, a lucky eBay find

 Over the last ten years I've met some incredible fellow bloggers, many of whom I've met in real life and can now call friends. Some have vanished without a trace while others defected to the dark side, preferring the ease of Instagram. I'm sure I've pissed off many more with my endless tales of festivals, foreign adventures and my uncompromising vintage lifestyle. Huge love to the women that remain in the blogosphere, entertaining me with great writing, gorgeous photos and inspirational secondhand outfits.  

Here's to the next ten years!

Big love to Tracey who no longer blogs but sent me some Iris corms from her garden - along with a photo of them in full bloom - after I'd admired some when I posted about out trip to Tewkesbury back in the Summer (HERE). Tracey, the email address I have for you no longer works but thanks so much for your kindness!

70 comments:

  1. I love that outfit ,I have never followed fashion always choose clothes that i like , When somebody has said over the years , Ooh that's nice its very in at the moment , it usually puts me off wearing it lol , As you know i have gone over to the dark side , Only reason really is i keep bloody miss typing and its more about the photos on IG , I don't have to write much text lol xx

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    1. Ha! I'm the same as you, who wants to be "in"?
      I'm absolutely useless at typing on that tablet thing but luckily Jon found a blue tooth keyboard in the charity shop earlier for £1 and it works perfectly! xxx

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  2. You look sensational in that dress! I think it's fun being more 'visible' by the way we dress. Hats seem to get me the most attention. Congratulations on a decade of blogging, that really is commendable! Xx

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    1. I've amended my post to include hats - when I'm not wearing one Jon often gets asked by the charity shop ladies where I am, they don't recognise me without one! xxx

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  3. I love how you paired that vintage Russian belt with an Afghan dress. Gorgeous boots and accessories to match. I love your unique sense of style and I do agree with what you said about how shopping second hand can help us build our style because it teaches us to resist trends. I like reading about trends and I enjoy following them at times ( those I like and that resonate with my personal style), but I hate that feeling of pressure of looking like somebody else (that also means constantly buying something just for sake of buying - the worst kind of consumerism if you ask me). I don't do much shopping these days and I was never a shopping addict, I was always on a lookout for unique pieces, never liked looking like everyone else. I'm at a stage when I prefer to shop my closet. There aren't many second hand shops here, but retail doesn't attract me at all. If I do buy something new, I try to shop from local or independent brands and artisans. Life is too short to look like everyone else. Plus, one does get to meet more interesting people when one dresses uniquely.I think that when we find pleasure in anything, it makes us more happy. If we love the clothes we wear, we feel better. Just the other day, I was approached by one lady who said she loved by outfit and she asked me whether I was Croatian, so we got talking and it turns out her parents are originally from the same island as my mother (they immigrated to the states long time ago, so she doesn't speak the language). We might even be related, who knows. If she hasn't noticed my outfit, we would have probably never met. So, yes standing out does pay off. Happy blogging anniversary btw. I'm close to seven years blogging, time flies by so fast.

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    1. I love your tale about meeting that lady who originated from your Mum's island. That's what it's all about, first impressions are everything and looking a little different from the crowd can lead to all kinds of adventures - interesting conversations being just one of them.
      I was listening to an interview with the writer, Zadie Smith, this morning and she was talking about how Social Media often nudged us into making decisions we wouldn't take if we switched off once in a while, there's too many people with a hidden agenda, trying to sell us stuff and slyly trying to convince us to dress in a certain way or buy into brands and labels. It's hard to be a free spirit! xxx

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  4. Amen! I actually feel sorry for people who constantly keep having their style defined by what's "in fashion". Most of the time, I don't even know if something is "trendy" or "trending" (how I HATE that word). Like you, over the years I've developed my own personal style, which keeps evolving all the time. Happy blogoversary by the way. I'm so glad you started blogging and are still going strong after all these years. Otherwise I would never have met you and my life would have been the poorer because of it. xxx

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    1. Gah! I hate that term "trending", another of those horrible non-words that have insidiously crept into our language (not yours or mine, thank goodness!)
      I agree, I feel sorry for women who feel that they need to be in fashion. You hear them in charity shops liking things but saying to their friends that it's not in so they'll look silly wearing it.
      I'm thrilled to call you a real life friend, can't wait to see you & Jos again! xxx

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  5. how lovely to send you irises!
    congrats to 10 years of blogging! you are a big inspiration for me since my first steps into the blogland - you encouraged me to write about my longlife love for vintage clothes and lifestyle - opposite to most of the bloggers i knewed, who always focus on "trend" and the newest sh**.....
    your afghan dress stopped me breathing the moment the first photo opened!! such a beautiful piece - and you look wonderful in it - this colors suit you so well.
    thank you for being here!!!
    xxxxx

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    1. I know, they were a lovely surprise through the post!
      When I first started blogging I felt like I was alone in the virtual world, if it wasn't those hateful haul posts it was women my age telling other women how to dress or trying to flog mainstream fashion - thank god we all managed to find each other and develop our own fabulous tribe of supportive women who couldn't give a damn about fast fashion, expensive beauty treatments or any of that crap! xxx

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  6. how on earth did you manage to get so lucky on EBay! I visited the blinkin Hmong tribe in Vietnam last year and they didn't offer up any earrings for sale! they were keeping their jewellery for themselves and trying to flog tapestry bags... lucky you, they are fabulous.

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    1. How funny about the Hmong tribe! Judging by the price of those earrings on eBay they probably don't make enough money from the tourists selling those. I'm so glad you've found the seller and can have a pair of your own! xxx

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  7. Ten years!! Can’t believe it’s been so long. Yours was one of the first blogs I found and even though my blogging is quite sporadic these days, I always have a good read of yours. thank you for being such an inspiration. Chazzer finds forever! Xxxx

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    1. Yay! So good to hear from you, Amie! xxx

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  8. Congratulations on 10 years of blogging! Welcome to the Decade Club! :)

    I agree with so much of what you've written here. I enjoy that I look different than everyone else, that I stand out in the crowd. I know my own style, and it's constantly changing and evolving as I try out new things. I'm also 95% second-hand shopping, so that has driven me to try out new looks and silhouettes, and also to dig into fashion history more and learn about what I find.

    I love that you know your own style so well - I think I could recognize you in a crowd anywhere in the world! What a fabulous silver collection you have!

    Happy Blogoversary, Vix!

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    1. We started blogging at around the same time but it's taken us years to find each other, how on earth did that happen?
      I'm thrilled to have found you in the end, I love your blog and your individual super cool style! xxx

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  9. OH! Happy Anniversary Vix! I can't believe it's 10 years! Thank you so much for all the wonderful blogs and the hours of delight you have given. Your generosity of time and effort is still very much appreciated I'm so glad you still blog and haven't gone completely to Insta but it is nice to have daily pics as well as the lovely blogs which we can savour with a cuup and a smile, or a nod of agreement. Looking forward to the next 10. XX

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    1. You are kind, Shelagh! Thank you so much for your support and kind comments. It was a real pleasure meeting you at Moseley that day! xxx

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  10. I love that you refer to Instagram as the dark side. LOL That's exactly how I feel about it.

    Your dress choice and personal style are always 100% Vix. To be so singular in your choices demonstrates a powerful level of confidence lacking in most.

    Happy Blogversary!

    I always look forward to reading your posts and I'm grateful you continue to write and share.

    I started blogging in 2006. There have been so many times I felt like giving it up. It is the connections with people like you that keep me blogging.

    Suzanne
    http://www.suzannecarillo.com

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    1. Don't ever give up blogging, Suzanne. I love your blog and all you have to say.
      I know it's discouraging when the comments fall off but I'd rather have fewer, more meaningful messages than those vapid "Great shoes! Follow me!!" comments we used to be inundated with.
      Instagram is okay - it's very flattering to get loads of like but at the end of the day, it's like junk food, it's great at the time but after half an hour you feel empty again! xxx

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  11. Beautiful! I am still observing slow fashion - zero brand new clothing purchases since the beginning of June. I am probably good to go until the end of the year. Lots of great 2nd hand finds :) I detest "new" fashion, don't even stop to look.

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    1. Thanks so much! I hate new fashion, too - the quality is appalling. I'd rather spend my cash on a great quality secondhand piece than a brand new piece of tat that'll disintegrate after a couple of outings.. xxx

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  12. I commented using my phone and it's not appeared so I'm trying again! First of all congratulations on 10 years in blogland. You were one of the first bloggers to offer me encouragement and feedback when I first started blogging (getting on for 4 years now) and I will always be both grateful and thankful to you for that.

    Of course I agree with you 100%; even if most of the chazzas have a lot of tat there are always different and vintage preloved items to be found if you look carefully. Then there's the environmental benefits of disencouraging fast fashion and textile wastage. Then the benefit to the charity itself of our custom and finally the sheer pleasure of finding and wearing what treasures we find and receiving compliments! And I haven't mentioned all the other things you can and enjoy secondhand; jewellery, books, pictures, magazines, household goods,linens etc,etc. It beats me why people buy new, frankly!

    I love your dress, fab boots and wonderful accessories. The Vietnamese earrings are superb.

    Hope your week is going well.
    xxx

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    1. You've been blogging for four years? Goodness me, that's flown by! What a joy it was to meet your lovely self, Monica and Fig back in the Summer. I do hope we can repeat that again before too long.
      On first glance most of our chazzas are full of tat but there's always a decent paperback or something interesting on the bric-a-brac shelf even if the clothes are all washed to death Primarni and, to those who say there's nothing, I just tell them to keep trying, there is a knack to charity shopping and once you get it you'll never have to buy new again. xxxx

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  13. Happy 10th blogiversary, Vix. And thanks again for all you do and cover--the personal style, the festivals, the travels, and all the rest of it. As I've said before, I get a lot of vicarious delight out of your adventures.

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    1. Thank you so much for all your support and kindness, A.Marie. xxx

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  14. Happy 10th Anniversary Vix.
    I love your blog.
    Hugs-x-

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    1. Thanks so much, Sheila. You're always so lovely. xxx

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  15. 10 years? Here's to 10 more! I was shopping for underwear yesterday, if I see one more piece of clothing in mustard yellow, I will scream!

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    1. I hope so!!
      I know, talk about overkill. Mustard was nowhere a couple or years ago and now it's taken over the planet.
      I always say that when it's in the window of Primark it's already passed its sell-by date. xxx

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  16. Only 10 years!??!! I feel like you've been blogging forever! Congratulations to the Decade PLus club!!! It's sad how many no longer blog- I have people I long to blog again but they don't -so sad!! It's fun to do this and I hope you never give it up! I've managed to continue with the IG and the blog and I like each for different reasons but my blog will always be my favourite! Sorry to hear your IG has gone rogue on you! Grr to that!
    I agree about owning your own style - I instantly know what I like in a Chazzer- it's great because you can make a beeline for it immediately!!!x

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    1. Ha! You've definitely been around much longer than I have, that's blogging-wise as opposed to being on planet Earth!
      It is sad when people give up blogging. Someone said to me on IG the other day that they don't do it because people don't have time to read it. Much as I love getting thoughtful comments I mostly blog because I adore the whole process, even if nobody ever visited.
      Isn't it fab to go charity shopping and spot the right thing straight away? I don't ever bother trying stuff on, I just know. xxx

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  17. 10 years blogging!:) That is a mammoth achievement, congratulations. I have to say that your blog is always a visual feast and a great read. You are a rara avis, Vix in that you really do have your own unique style. Thank you for the sage advice up top. I certainly lost my mojo when I couldn't fit into vintage anymore. Here's to another 10 years. Xx

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    1. Thanks so much, Kelly!! I can't believe it's been a whole decade. I absolutely love sharing photos and blathering on about nothing, it's kept me sane through some dark times over the years. xxx

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  18. I love the Hmong tribe earrings. You do manage to make everything you wear look like you and your jewellery is so characteristic of you and just perfect.
    I have had a real dark night of the soul with social media over the last year, to the point where I have avoided it as much as possible really, I do IG, mainly to show what I've been making but I have rested my blog. It's still there and I've been thinking about writing on and off for the past month or so but I haven't got my mojo back yet. I still love reading the very few I follow and I did love meeting you briefly!
    Big congratulations on your 10 year blog anniversary. It's an achievement and I always enjoy reading it. I'm so glad you keep doing what you're doing and looking fab whilst you're doing it. xxx

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    1. I loved meeting you and Philip in Cambridge a couple of years ago and really hope that we get to do it again before too long.

      I completely understand your need to showcase your amazing makes on IG but as a platform I find it exhausting. I can't keep up with it especially when some people I follow seem to share every second of their life on there - life's for living, not for condensing into squares with a catchy hashtag!

      I do find that the longer you leave it between posts, the harder it is to post a blog. I love seeing what you've made, where you've been, what you've been wearing and, of course, lovely Ziggy! xxx

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  19. Happy blog'versary, dear friend!. Love your afghan dress and how gorgeous you look in it!, you totally rock your dresses, your fab accessories and your glorious style and attitude!. I totally agree that finding your own style is more rewarding than usual pursuing of latest trend! and the best way to find your style is creating it with second hand clothes!. Love to read your wise words!
    Ten years feel like a short time when sharing them with such a Fabulous lady! You Rock!
    besos

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    1. Thanks so much, Monica! I'm thrilled to have met you this year after almost a decade of being virtual friends. Your colourful style, remakes and amazingly funky jewellery remain a constant source of joy! xxx

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  20. Happy birthday! I was attracted to your blog by your travel adventures and stayed for your lovely writing style. I have practically no interest in fashion, but I love seeing what you wear and the stories behind the clothes. You have inspired me to make do and mend and go charity shop browsing when I wanted something to wear for a party. Here's to many more fabulous outfits, festivals and far off places to explore.

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    1. Thank you so much for your support! I popped over to your blog and noticed that we're fellow hip replacement recipients and like yours, mine has been a life changer. xxx

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  21. Congratulations Vix! You find the most amazing outfits in unusual places and can wear anything so well.

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    1. Thanks so much, Jan! thank you for your support and regular updates, I'm always happy to see your name pop up in my in-box! xxx

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  22. Happy ten years of blogging,Vix. Having your own personal style is more fun than dressing on trend. I like to look like myself rather than a clone.

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    1. Amen to that, Shell! Who wants to be a clone? Thanks for your virtual support over the years. xx

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  23. Happy Blogiversary! You're so right about style being an ice-breaker, and as a bonus most of the people that comment are the sort of people you'd want to talk to.

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    1. Yes!! People who approach strangers and discuss clothing are exactly the type we want to chat to. xxx

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  24. My blog (such as it is at the moment) is ten years old this year too! I am very impressed by how often you post, and I thoroughly enjoy reading about your festivals, vacations, and charity shopping. I've always admired your style - for me, this outfit is the epitome of what I consider "Vix style". It suits you beautifully, and the cool thing is, I would never wear the things you wear, but I think they look amazing on you. One of the best things about blogging has been finding people who you know you would have great fun hanging out with, but who have a completely different personal style. I hope we get to meet in person sometime during this next decade. Hugs!

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    1. Yay! Happy 10 year blogoversary to you, Shelley!
      I loved our Skype chat a few years ago, we got on brilliantly and I sincerely hope we meet for real before too long.
      I think that's one of the joys of our blogging world, we don't necessarily want to dress like our virtual pals but we embrace one another's individuality, something sadly lacking in the real world - or certainly in Walsall where everyone dresses in grey! xxx

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  25. Congratulations on your ten years of blogging. I agree it is a shame so many have bloggers have fallen by the wayside or crossed to the other side. I enjoy your blog for many reasons , an insight into festival season, your travels and your own inimitable style.It is so much more enjoyable to enjoy your own style than simply buy what is supposed fashxion of the moment. I do hope one day we will get to meet in person. x x

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    1. I really do hope we get to meet sooner or later, Jill! Yours is one of the blogs I always recommend to friends for your incredible style, travel photos and snippets of gorgeous Australian beauty spots. xxx

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  26. Aha... I can comment if I use web version rather than mobile version.
    Always stylish Vix and always wonderful! I love your outlook on life, it’s inspirational. I think I’ve been following you for about 9 years... doesn’t time fly. XX

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    1. Nine years? It doesn't half! Thanks so much for the kind words and virtual friendship. xxx

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  27. You're welcome doll, and happy 10th, still looking fabulous.

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  28. Happy 10th anniversary celebration of so many colorful images worth thousands of inspiring words! It is a marvelous 21st C phenomenon, this: that I spot a dress in a thrift and smile, "Oh, Vix would wear that!", or see a British newscast and frown, "Hard on Walsall…". Thank you, dear Vix, for expanding the boundaries of my closet and my worldview!

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    1. Bless ya, Beth! Thanks for your support and always brilliant comments over the years! xxx

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  29. Happy 10th anniversary! And how appropriate to share your tips to finding one's personal style. Your words are so inspiring and would be a great read for any newbies who may be confused or searching for their look. I very much admire your commitment to your own style as it truly reflects your skill for harmony. I'm so much more intrigued by a style that seems to flow with balance. It's wonderful that it's often a conversation starter with strangers. I would certainly stop you in your tracks to pay you a compliment, as I have also done with lots of other delightfully dressed people. What a great way to meet people! As for myself, I follow where my heart leads, and nowadays it ponders more towards secondhand, thanks to the encouragement of my girls and also because it offers a lot more variety. The truth is, however, that I am very fond of treasure hunting, and am ecstatic when I find a little jewel. Anyway, you look stunning in your dress, the colour is very flattering on you. And I'm swooning for those jewels!!!!

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    1. Thanks so much, Suzy. It sounds like you've raised some incredible, free-thinking girls and it's wonderful that their love of secondhand has rubbed off on you.
      I love seeing individually dressed people when I'm out, I always make an effort to compliment them and it inevitably leads to a conversation about towns with great charity shops as all the best dressed people inevitably shop secondhand!
      I think we're all magpies at heart. I worry when we do a vintage fair and the organiser has pitched us opposite a jewellery trader, I can't concentrate! xxx

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  30. Here's to the next ten years! I often see things and think, "Oh, that's so Vix!" It's been good getting to know more fiercely individual bloggers like you, Goody, Ann and so on too - I don't want an 'influencer' to follow, I just need people to remind me it's okay to be myself when so much of the world seems to want us all to look (and buy) the same.

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    1. Thanks, Mim! that's it, isn't it? We don't necessarily want to dress like the bloggers we admire, we just need like-minded women doing their own thing to remind us that it's okay not to be the same as everyone else.
      Influencers are so dull, I've yet to find one in the least bit interesting - all that free stuff, no style, no taste. xxx

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  31. Happy anniversary!! I«m so happy to find someone so inspired. Love how you paired those traditional garments!! It's okay to be different and to have different tastes, we just need to be ourselves!!
    xoxo

    marisasclosetblog.com

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    1. So true, we need to be ourselves, it's the only way we can be truly free. Thank you. xxx

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  32. I love what you have to say about style and fashion.

    I remember reading your blog years ago and you inspired me to love and appreciate secondhand and vintage clothing.

    Happy 10 years! I've only been blogging for a year and a half and I know the time that goes into a blog post, so well done on your effort and your continued dedication to it. X

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    1. Thanks so much, I'm so happy to hear that my passion has rubbed off on you and that you're a dedicated secondhand shopper, too! xxx

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  33. The agatha bracelet is stunning! i love your jewelry, I have the same taste about it and I love to go around flea markets rummaging for this stuff! And when I found some, I feel happy!
    Greetings from Madrid...

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  34. The agatha bracelet is stunning! i love your jewelry, I have the same taste about it and I love to go around flea markets rummaging for this stuff! I feel happy when I found something good!

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    1. Thank you! I love these big, bold tribal pieces. They are starting to get very expensive here as they've become fashionable - argh!! Keep hunting at the flea markets and get to the treasures before the hipsters! xxx

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  35. Congrata on 10 years of blogging, that's an awesome mile stone to reach! I only make it 8 years of blogging this year :) I like your advise on shopping too - I'm trying to do more second hand shopping although it's hard finding the time with two toddlers haha!

    Hope that you are having a great weekend! I went out to a fashion show last night, it was a lot of fun :)

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    1. 8 years is pretty good going!
      You should do like most of the mothers around here do, strap the kids in a pushchair and park it right in front of the rails so nobody can get close - one way to bag a bargain! xx

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  36. How I missed your blog birtday I have no idea! Thanks for your style tips. There is NO one whose fashion I admire more than yours. But truly, it is your kind, generous heart and incredible hustle that I admire even more!

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