Clothes Clearout: Spring Clean Your Wardbrobe

Written by: Hattie Peacock  // @peacocks_hat //

Spring is approaching, although you wouldn’t know it judging by the recent snow in the UK, but it’s never too early to start thinking about clearing out your wardrobe.  One of the best ways to keep your clothing organised is to do regular seasonal sort-throughs. Not only does it remove all of the pieces you no longer wear, it also redirects you to those long-lost pieces you used to love. At this time of year, after receiving Christmas gifts or treating ourselves to a few sale items, our wardrobes are more in need of a sort out than ever.

Having a good reshuffling session allows you to see lots of potential outfit possibilities. Far too often, we pair the same items over and over again- try lying out a few skirts or trousers and seeing how they look with tops you wouldn’t normally team them with. Reacquainting yourself with the contents of your wardrobe also allows you to assess what new season items you need to buy. There will no doubt be a few ‘on trend’ items to invest in, but you will have the basis for most of the season already
in your wardrobe. It’s always good to remind yourself of what you do have when planning your purchases for the approaching months.

Thinking ahead in terms of weather appropriate clothing is also a great way to save on storage space. Consider carrying out a ‘wardrobe swap’, around September and then again in March, and pack away items from the past few months and get out those for the approaching season.  You can store these items in compressed vacuum bags to free up more space in your wardrobe leaving room for you to properly consider all your clothes. 

A well organised wardrobe not only saves you time in the mornings but it will also save you money because you will have a real understanding of what clothing you already have. Whilst you’re sorting through, keep Oxfam in mind for all those items in the unwanted pile. You can either drop them into an Oxfam shop, or deposit them in a Shwopping box at your local Marks and Spencer. Let those clothes take a well-deserved spot in someone else’s wardrobe rather
than a neglected one in yours.

Oxfam and Marks & Spencer Shwop Shop Highlights

It was only a few days ago that Oxfam’s team fash were perched behind the Shwop Shop cash box for the Oxfam and Marks & Spencer pop-up shop but we’re reminiscing already!

The two-day event was a massive success in raising awareness about the Shwopping campaign whilst giving our visitors the chance to get their hands on some unique, quality garments and celebrity clothes – with all money raised going to support Oxfam’s work.

Here are a few of our Shwop Shop highlights…

Prepping the Shwop Shop

After months of planning, the Oxfam team gathered at the Marks & Spencer Marble Arch store. Facing hundreds of empty hangers and bags of stock, it was finally time to bring the Shwop Shop to life. Sorting, hanging, steaming and pricing the stock was very exciting as we could now see all the fabulous Shwopped items that had been selected for the shop as well as a first glimpse of the clothes celebrities had donated.

Joanna Lumley at the Shwop Shop till

On the Thursday morning our Shwopping ambassador, Joanna Lumley, cut the orange ribbon to declare the Shwop Shop open. Spending a few hours chatting to press, exploring the rails and donating her own jacket, Joanna was keen to get behind the till and issue the first few customer purchases.

Super Shwoppers

As well as offering previously Shwopped stock to purchase, the Shwop Shop encouraged people to bring in donations on the day. We had a staggering response and a few overflowing Shwop Drop bins meaning lots of new items for Oxfam. Thank you!

Brix & Grace

Star stylists Brix Smith-Start and Grace Woodward attended the Shwop Shop opening, styling some garments and offering top charity shopping advice. To see what they said, visit our blog post here. Both donated some fantastic items to the shop too.

Statement style

We had some really exquisite, statement items for sale last week which team fash were definitely lusting after… 

Vintage M&S 

The Shwop Shop housed a fine array of vintage M&S from throughout the decades from psychedelic shirts to brightly patterned tea dresses it was a welcome trip down memory lane with this iconic high street brand. We also had some lovely vintage M&S donations into our Shwop Drop bins including this dress…

Percy Pigs

These sugary household favourites were a lifesaver for team fash at the Shwop Shop. So much so, we are all now suffering Percy Pig withdrawals! 

The Lumley jacket

Joanna Lumley donated a striking reversible jacket to the Shwop Shop which took pride of place and it couldn’t have found a better new owner. The lucky buyer was on route to audition for the BBC One TV show Pointless. The show requests its contestants have an interesting fact about themselves and Joanna’s jacket became this lovely lady’s talking point. Keep an eye out for it on the show!

We had a fantastic flow of customers throughout the two days. Thanks for anyone who popped in and we hope you enjoy your bargains and keep on Shwopping!

For more information on Oxfam and Shwopping, visit our website here.

Shwop Shop: Brix Smith-Start & Grace Woodward styling tips

We were lucky enough to have two esteemed fashion stylists in attendance to our Shwop Shop grand opening this week. Brix Smith-Start and Grace Woodward donated items from their own enviable wardrobes as well as styling some fantastic outfit ensembles from Shwopped stock and Oxfam fashion managed to grab them for a quick chat.

brix smith start and grace woodward

Fabulously flamboyant style guru Brix Smith-Start was a serial donator to this Shwop Shop offering a barrage of designer goodies. Grabbing vibrant cashmere sweaters from the left and colourful patterned midi skirts from the right, she was in her element exclaiming: “this Shwop Shop is beyond inspiring me, I keep looking at things thinking how many great outfits there are in here!”

As a stylist, charity shops are treasure troves for last minute or unique additions to a fashion story. To charity shop the Smith-Start way she advises to: “find a single item that you like and walk around the shop with it holding it up against things it would look good with. Sometimes you can go to charity shops and see something that just resonates with you straight away.”

Brix Smith Start

Brix is a firm Shwopping supporter and said: “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure and it’s as simple as that. It’s just human nature and it’s so positive.”

grace woodward

Sporting some fantastic sequin striped trousers, was former fashion stylist of the year, Grace Woodward. Having built her career on tending to the fashion needs of the famous and dressing the pages of the glossies, Grace champions individuality and the Shwop Shop has plenty of that!

“This is my heaven, everything here is really individual and special. The list of designer labels here is ridiculous too, there’s Magiela, Marni, Marc Jacobs and then there’s all the fantastic M&S dresses,” she said.

When it comes to charity shopping, Grace defines two approaches: “Either shop for individuality or literally go for the trends. Think what is hot on the catwalk right now and you can have a designer looking wardrobe for next to no money. Go with your gut feeling.”

Having bargain hunted in charity shops for years, her stylist secret lies with her tailor: “the one thing you’re going to find in charity shops is individuality and just because something doesn’t fit doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have it. If you like the fabric and the colour then the fit can be sorted out and you’d be amazed at what a tailor can do for less than £10.”

As the supporter of numerous sustainable fashion campaigns as well as Shwopping, Grace said: “being a stylish person is about being cool and considerate and not leaving a trail of destruction. It’s not just about what you’re wearing on the outside. To be a truly fabulous and stylish person, that comes from within.”

Thanks for Shwopping and talking to Oxfam fashion Grace and Brix!

Marks & Spencer and Oxfam Shwop Shop

The doors of the Marks & Spencer and Oxfam Shwop Shop opened to the public yesterday for a two -day extravaganza filled with hundreds of uniquely shwopped garments and celebrity donations.

The delicious array of items adorning the rails were handpicked by the festival shop team at Wastesaver, Oxfam’s recycling and sorting facility in Huddersfield.  Shwopped items from all over the country were included in the Shwop Shop, with an exciting selection of vintage M&S pieces. The pop-up shop also housed one-off donations from celebrities including Plan B, Gary Barlow, Gemma Cairney, Caroline Flack, Tali Lennox and Peaches Geldof.

The face of Shwopping, Joanna Lumley opened the event to press and headed the till for the first of the public purchases.  She also donated her own ‘absolutely fabulous’ jacket.

Super stylists Brix Smith-Start and Grace Woodward also attended the opening offering their fashion expertise and putting together a selection of top looks from the Shwop stock (more to come on this from team fash…)

Speaking to Joanna Lumley, Shwopping ambassador, she said: ‘Shwopping does nothing but good. It saves landfill sites from being filled with perfectly good clothes and it respects the clothes we’re dealing with made from cottons, silks, wools, nylons and many more. It does absolute immeasurable good through Oxfam for the people it supports in developing countries.’

She admitted to being a seasoned fan of charity shops herself, she said: ‘A lot of charity shops, particularly Oxfam, get the really, really good clothes which are then knocked down to a fraction of the price. I have no qualms about wearing other people’s clothes, it never troubles me!’

After a successful first day of Shwopping, it’s lucky the Oxfam stock room holds many more hidden treasures ready for the Friday sales!                                                                                                                        

If you can’t make it to the Shwop Shop, the Oxfam Online Shop has plenty of vintage and fashion items for you to browse. 

Shwop Shop: Celebrity Donations

  The Oxfam and Marks & Spencer Shwop Shop has had a mass of top quality shwopped clothing and accessories to offer over the last two days and, in among the vintage M&S, we’ve had some extra special items.

Running through the heart of the shop is a collection of garments donated from the wardrobes of our generous celebrity supporters. Below is just a small taster of some of the statement pieces we’ve had on our rails.











M&S and Oxfam launch two-day shwop shop

Marks & Spencer and Oxfam are holding a two-day pop-up shwop shop this week at the flagship M&S Marble Arch store.

Shwoppers can snap up designer bargains donated by Britain’s top contemporary style icons including Alexa Chung, Daisy Lowe, Jo Wood and Zandra Rhodes – as well as the best items shwopped at M&S from the public.


Caroline Flack and Daisy Lowe

Running on the 24th and 25th January, the celebrity shop will be staffed by a host of famous faces including shwopping guru Joanna Lumley, who said:

“By opening your hearts, minds and your wardrobe and going shwopping, you can not only bag an outfit worn on the red carpet or to a glitzy awards evening, but help the environment too. Fashion with a conscience, it is perfect isn’t it? By shwopping all we want you to do is give your unwanted items stuffed in the back of your wardrobe a future. Simply bring an old item back every time you buy a new outfit, shwop and shop! Come to the shwop shop, shwop and shop and leave with a smile – the world will then feel a better place!”

M&S and Oxfam’s shwopping collaboration urges shoppers to donate – or ‘shwop’ – an unwanted item of clothing that will go on to be re-sold, re-used or recycled by Oxfam, cutting waste while raising much-needed funds.

All money raised by the shop will be used to support Oxfam’s projects around the world working to alleviate poverty.

Dozens of famous faces including model and artist Tali Lennox, TV presenter Caroline Flack, model Erin O’Connor, Downton Abbey star Joanne Froggatt, singer Ellie Goulding, Radio 1 star Gemma Cairney and Style Bubble blogger Susie Lau have already donated items ranging from evening dresses to red carpet frocks to designer denims.

Ellie Goulding and Gemma Cairney

Every celeb item in the pop up store has an A-list history behind them, including Flack’s X Factor dress and Jo Wood’s vintage Susan Small dress bought whilst on tour in America.

Tali Lennox and Gizzi Erskine

There will also be a chance for shoppers to own a piece of fashion history as the shwop shop will have a selection of coveted M&S vintage items.


M&s vintage

Sarah Farquhar, Head of Retail Brand for Oxfam, said: “Oxfam shops are full of hidden treasures and we have regular shoppers who turn up week in week out to get their hands on the latest donations. But this time we are doing the rummaging for them; bringing the best of the shwopped items we have received over the last few months plus exciting celebrity donations straight to the public instead. It will be really exciting to see people browsing Oxfam clothing in the middle of an M&S store.”

Shwop shop is open from 10.30am – 9pm on Thursday 24th & 8am-9pm on Friday 25th January 2013.

Address: Ground Floor, Marks & Spencer, 458 Oxford Street. London. W1C 1AP

Follow @Oxfamfashion and @Shwopping for updates from the event

Charity Shopping for Your Best Colours

A helpful guide to finding your best colours when shopping.

When I am shopping, whether it be in charity shops or otherwise, colour is one of the key factors that determines how successful a purchase will be. There are some colours that look good on me. These are the colours that I feel great wearing, that make my skin glow and that I just can’t help wearing all the time. There are other colours that no matter how much I want to like them, never look quite right, they make me look pale and drained.

I have made countless mistake purchases in colours that don’t suit me including pale pink, turquoise and purple. These colours would look beautiful on someone else but just don’t do me any favours and usually end up designed to be scrunched up in the back of the wardrobe,  never to see the light of day.

So I have resolved to learn from these colour mistakes, donate them to Oxfam so that someone else can look amazing in them and try and buy clothes in colours that look great from now on. My favourite charity shop buys are those that I wear day in, day out, simple pieces of clothing in my ‘best colours’, a bright red cardigan, a black and white striped top and a mustard yellow tunic top.

Many people will instinctively know which colours look great on them but if you don’t , here are a few tips to help you find your best colours:-

• Generally, if you have a cool skin tone (undertones of pink, blue and purple), you will look best in pinks, blues and purples, if you have a warm skin tone with undertones of yellow, olive and brown ) you will look best in beiges, reds, yellows and oranges.
• The greater the contrast between your hair and skin colour, the bolder and brighter the colours that will suit you. e.g is your hair and skin are a light brown colour, you will look best in muted or pastel tones, if your hair is dark and your skin very pale, you will look best in bright colours.
• You will usually look good in any of the colours that you can see when you look into the iris of your eye when you look at it in natural light.
• The easiest way to see if a colour suits you is by holding it against your face. You should also aim to wear your ‘best colours’ near your face for maximum effect.
• The impact of a colour will change depending on what colours it is worn with. Black or a contrasting colour will tend to make it look more intense or bold, whilst white or a complimentary colour will make it more subtle or muted. 
• You could also find a celebrity with a similar colour to yours and see what colours they wear on the red carpet. They are likely to have a very well paid stylist help them choose which colours to wear.

‘I can’t believe I found this amazing vintage jacket in yellow, one of my best colours’