Mary's living and giving shop

It will probably come as no surprise to you to learn that while I was in London I wanted to visit one of the 22 prime charity shops in the capital, aka Mary's Living and Giving shops. The one in Bermondsey Street was conveniently located just across the road from The Fashion and Textile Museum which I featured here on Monday. I'm a huge fan of Mary Portas in general, but her work with these charity shops in aid of Save the Children captures my interest in particular. I was very keen to see the shop, see how it was set up and find out if it was a success story.

The shop resembles a boutique rather than a charity shop, is well lit and on entering there's no fuggy smell to remind you that the wares are all second hand. The clothes are beautifully displayed, nay curated, to blend from shade to shade across the entire colour spectrum and almost every third or fourth label is designer, which then has a realistic price to reflect the status of the piece. I could namedrop some of the (very elite) designers, but I fancy if you planned to go racing off across the city to find said bargain that it would be gone no sooner than you had grabbed your purse and dashed out the door! I soon forgot that I was in a charity shop as it felt more like an intimate boutique experience with engaging staff to help as I needed it.

Read here to find out more about Mary's Living and Giving shops across the capital. 

There's surely no better motivation for clearing out your old clothes than this hashtag of #fashionsaveslives!

Hidden in this section, amidst the citrus shades was the gem of a find that I succumbed to. Since my my own massive clothes clear out (see here) I've made a deal with myself that all clothes purchases, be they new or preloved, must be made because I love them; no more will I be buying those things that come in under the category of "these might be useful". Love it or leave it has to be my new mantra.

And here it is being wrapped and packed...

...and here they are - these yellow slacks are by Zara, in pristine condition meaning I was more than happy to pay the £20 asking price. In addition, I also bought two necklaces.

As you can see this is brand new and retailing at £6.

The hand carved animal necklace was £5. If I'm to consider myself an average customer, then my spending £30 means that the daily takings must be a healthy sum indeed. A successful business model for the savvy Mary indeed, proving that charity shops can pull their weight and save lives!

I've styled up the Zara slacks with this fabulous vintage top from Out of the Closet in Penryn. This quirky little vintage store is to be found en route to my dentist and as such has a great lure to assist with my recovery after the treatment of the day. I tend to pop in both on the way to the surgery and then stop to try things on (and maybe purchase) on the way back. This is a wonderful pastime while the pain relief is still working!

I've embraced the 60's vibe of the hippy chick shirt with these pop art courts by Chockers (preloved, but still with the labels on) which I bought at the St Michael's Hospice shop in Harrogate in April. I love that the entire outfit comes from some of my favourite charity shops and yet is fresh and immaculate in its quality. And best of all, the look is unique which is the most pleasing feature of any of my outfits. Lately I've discovered a real joy in giving high street brands my own style by simply adding the right accessories. The best example of this was my recent post of a Windsmoor dress which previously would have been far too staid for me. However, just adding that punch of pink by way of the stretch belt along with that cute handbag and gold sandals, and hey presto. the look was all mine!

The two tone belt came from Benetton in Truro a couple of years ago, is the softest suede and looks as if it has been holding its breath for this showcasing moment to come. The huge pink rose resin ring was a present from my dear friend Maggie, and oh how it works so well here today too!

The multicolour ring was another charity shop scoop. The long turquoise silver necklace is so old that I've forgotten from whence it came, and the cross, turquoise and gemstone necklace is by Charlie Dodge

Last of all, I forgot to mention that my sunglasses are from River Island, although that was over a year ago and will undoubtedly be out of stock. If I were one of those terribly efficient bloggers I would be showing you those little photos with links through to similar items. Unfortunately time never allows for such helpful gestures from me!

Before I go, let me show you a couple more shots from my London trip. Ann and I had been to see a movie (The Book Club, which had me in stitches for most of the screening so do please ignore the critics who have given this mixed reviews) and on exiting, we discovered this little set up within the Picture House offering fans of Game of Thrones the opportunity to have their photo taken sitting on (surely not the real?) throne. Anyhoo, here I am, looking like the cat who's got the cream!

I'll sign off with some tips from my most favourite of stylists, Mary Portas herself. These words and images are taken from the May edition of Good Housekeeping.

I've never been happy masquerading as the fount of all knowledge fashion wise and therefore don't often offer you my own advice. But I'm more confident that these wise words from the Queen of Style can't be far wrong!

I'm sure we're both exhausted after such a lengthy post, so I'll give you a chance to recover and will be back again on Wednesday. Until then, take care!

This week I'll be linking with -
Catherine of Not Dressed As Lamb
Jacqui of Mummabstylish

Anna x

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