In an article I wrote for Native Magazine last week, I reflected on how the greatest compliment I’ve ever received was being told by a complete stranger passing me in the street that she loved my style. The fact that we were outside Vogue House in London only added to the magnitude of my pleasure at hearing this!
I was also thrilled because what the kind stranger particularly liked was my skirt, which I’d bought for £2 from a Scope charity shop in Coventry the previous day. Since that January day, I’ve worn the skirt innumerable times in all kinds of weathers and I always feel good in it.
We all have these kinds of treasures in our wardrobes. The items that whenever we pull them on, we instantly get a confidence boost. The garments that we know will get us through the day (and night too) feeling that bit more pulled together.
Yet as my skirt suggests, our fashion favourites aren’t necessarily the most expensive things that we own. On the contrary, sometimes it’s the bargain finds that bring us the most happiness! My friend Catherine over at Midlands Minimalist shares this view; she found that a cream and black Jean Muir skirt that she picked up in a dress agency fitted her perfectly and lasted for years.
Sartorial scrimping doesn’t mean sacrificing style.
Choose to make-do-and-mend, whether for financial or ethical reasons, can drive ingenuity. Not being able to chuck money at wardrobe crisis forces us to come up with more creative solutions.
I admit that this is a lesson that I’ve had to learn over and over again. I’ve made expensive mistakes, like limited edition trainers in a colour I loved but that I only wore once or twice because at the time I always wore heels. In contrast, some maroon canvas pumps that I got for 20p from a jumble sale had a happy life on my feet last summer. When I then wore out another pair of second hand trainers, I figured maybe it was time to invest in some brand new ones.
Last week I forgot to take a clutch bag on an overnight trip. Given half a chance, I’d have purchased another but as that wasn’t possible I ended up using my small washbag instead. I got several compliments on it and afterwards was glad to not have impulse purchase guilt.
Changing the buttons
Changing the buttons seems to have particularly magic powers in the realm of make-do-and-mend. Over the years I’ve had two gorgeous second hand coats (one from a rail at the back of an ice cream parlour in the Cotswolds) that just needed replacement buttons to bring them back to life. If you’re a bit uncertain about how to do this, Jen Gale of My Make Do and Mend Life has a straightforward guide to this entry level repair job.
It isn’t just our wardrobes that can flourish when opt to make-do-and-mend. It can benefit our spaces too. Recently one of the sun loungers broke beyond repair, prompting a search for some new garden furniture. Determined to continue the thrift theme, I dug two cream kitchen chairs that we no longer use out of the garage (purchased at the tip shop for £3) and found a butcher’s block in a local charity warehouse. I added two bright cushions from John Lewis in the sale, and that little corner is now a new seating area. And I feel inordinately proud of what £20 can do!
Scrimping with style
I’m now a bit obsessed with this idea of scrimping with style, looking around wondering what I can tackle next!
To help scratch my new itch, share your scrimping with style stories. Tell your thrift treasure tales!
Reworked, reused, recycled – whatever it is, I’d love to hear about times when you’ve scrimped but the results have seemed anything but cheap.
You can comment below or on social media. And if you’ve enjoyed reading this post, then please do share – it really does make a huge difference!
Thank you for reading 🙂