Tag Archives: vintage

Why clutter can be good

Every year around this time I make a list of resolutions to keep, spend the first few days of January attempting to abide by them until I’m persuaded off the holy trail and out to the pub with friends.

One goal I usually try is clearing out my life, starting with the hoards of clutter I seem to build up each year, which mainly consists of clothes, shoes and bags I’ve bought, but I find it impossible to part with some things.

However, news this week has comforted my squirrel side.  John Lennon’s white suit, worn on the infamous cover of the Beatles’ Abbey Road album, is up for auction alongside some of Lennon’s other outfits and the auction house in Connecticut says the clothes epitomise ‘the ultimate in rock and roll collectibles’.

The suit has already generated a lot of money, selling previously at auction for $120,000 in 2005. It was custom-made in Paris in 1969 by designer Ted Lapidus and Lennon wore it with white plimsolls for the cover shot.

Although my wardrobe contains few items to be compared, there are things of personal value I find hard to throw away and the history student inside me remembers everything (pretty much) comes into fashion again so it is worth hanging onto a few items.

I seem to have inherited this habit for holding onto things from my parents and now as maxi dresses once again become the key item of spring, my Mum reminds me how popular they were back in the 1970s and that those wise enough to hang onto them will now be laughing.

Another Rutt family fashion item are my Dad’s vintage, white, leather platforms from the seventies. These sleek shoes are still in mint condition and those brave enough to slip them on can literally step back in time.

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How to handle charity shops

Many shoppers shudder at the thought of entering a charity shop. The dingy light, mouldy smell, and stacks of rejected clothes in no order can be off-putting – not to mention the annoyingly over friendly volunteers who run these treasure troves.

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The disorder can be alarming but look a little harder and those Chanel sunglasses hiding under a pile of Primark’s finest can be yours. Charity shopping is hard work and you have to be prepared to rummage but the thrill of finding that Dior dress amongst the tat is priceless.

Many a celebrity has stepped out in a charity shop number. From Jarvis Cocker’s brown tweed Glastonbury suit to Kate Nash’s chiffon dress in the video for Foundations celebs love the combination of being both charitable and fashionable.

Recently Mary Porter’s BBC programme, Mary Queen of Charity Shops, saw the retail guru transform an Orpington Save the Children shop into a high-end fashion boutique. With endorsements from the likes of Peaches Geldof (ugh), profits soared and scenesters migrated to the small shop in Kent to find their very own second-hand beauties.

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Charity shops do not need to be reworked. The reason they are great for finding one-off treasures is because they are not high street shops. Mary’s mission to sex up these shops has alienated the staff and charity shop lovers alike who have treasured and cultivated these Aladdin’s Caves over the years.

When I lived in San Francisco I would regularly visit the thrift stores. Unlike charity shops in the UK, thrift stores will either let you swap your unwanted clothes for something in the store or they will pay you for them. This ensures that the quality of the clothes is high but the prices are still dirt cheap.

My advice for charity shopping is go alone. If your best friend spots every gem before you – clothing envy will ensue.  Secondly try it on, don’t buy it just because it’s cheap as it will only sit unloved in your wardrobe for the next 10 years. Always check the jewellery cabinets, amongst the fake gold you can usually find glinting trinkets and always, always, always check the fabric – wade through the polyester and you will find silk (if you look hard enough).

In my early Cardiff days I have discovered many lovely charity shops, laden with delights waiting to be found and loved. Whitchurch high street and Albany Road have proved most successful but the city centre shops are also worth a quick browse.

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City Style

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Hugh’s deathly style is sleek and well balanced, managing to mix costume flair with a trendy boutique look.

Fur Coat: Oxfam, Leeds festival

Shirt: Next

Waist-coat: Topman

Striped, drain pipe jeans: boutique in Brighton

Tie: borrowed from his Dad

Boots: Office

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Hugh describes his style as a mod/emo blend.  He occasionally reads fashion magazines like Esquire but makes his own style and doesn’t really like to follow trends, preferring to shop in vintage boutiques rather than on the high street.

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Placebo singer-songwriter Brian Molko is a big inspiration to Hugh’s fashion as well as well dressed bands and djs.

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City Style

Ella is a vintage-a-holic and has created a chiq and stylish outfit mixing charity finds with high street trends:

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Shoes: New Look

Black dress: Topshop

Beaded necklace: Oxfam

Coat: Primark

Flowery Belt: borrowed from another dress

Bag: free with Elle Magazine

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Ella is a magazine journalism student at Cardiff and her fashion is inspired by, Elle Magazine, Vogue and Dazed and Confused.

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Ella’s style icons are Alexa Chung and Scarlett Johansson.

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City Style

Fiona poses on the University Campus in a colourful, casual number….

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Dress: Gap sale

Pink shoes: Topshop sale

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Bangle: Found in a market in Madagascar

Rings:  A rare treasure from a market in France

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Bag: Lovely Laura Ashley

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Fi is not a huge fan of fashion magazines or following the latest trends, she prefers to shop around and find individual beauties and mix them with high street staples.

A regular reader of the Times Fashion supplement, Fi creates a uniquely stylish look and loves to wear men’s clothes.

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