Valentine’s DIY 2: Beaded Heart Collar

Go to the Oxfam Online Shop

If wearing your heart on your sleeve isn’t your style, how about around your neck? There are endless ways to individualise and customise the sophisticated shirt collar. One of Oxfam’s fashion favourites, and especially seasonal, is this delicate beaded love heart design. Surprisingly simple and elegantly effective, this particular DIY used salvaged beads from an old, broken Oxfam bracelet partnered with a charity shopped denim shirt.  


Heart Template
Needle and thread
Selection of beads (you could also use sequins to fill your heart shape)

Place your heart template on the corner points of your shirt collar, with the straight sides in line with the seam, and draw around. Repeat on the other side of the collar too.

Thread needle and do a couple of small anchor stitches at your starting point on your outline. Stitch up through the collar and thread through one of your beads and then stitch back in again close to your entry stitch, pulling tight.

Continue with this simple running stitch beading all around your outline keeping the beads as close together as possible.

Repeat on the other side of the collar

You can get experimental with colour, size and materials with this collar craft. We added a few golden beads to the middle of our heart. You could fill it completely with more beads, sequins or buttons. 

Have you see our other Valentine’s DIY?Comment or tweet us your photos if you try either of these crafts at home.
The Oxfam Online Shop have a fantastic array of shirts with their collars just waiting to be customised.

Wild DIY Leopard Print

Go to the Oxfam Online Shop

Leopard print is an old favourite, having resurfaced in the fashion trends of many a season. There can be a fine line between it looking tacky and looking fabulous but it’s safe to say most ladies own something featuring this wild pattern. I certainly can’t get enough of leopard print, so I decided to jazz up a plain sweater with the help of a bit of fabric paint.


plain item of clothing
fabric paints (two colours)
tea towel

Firstly, you need a plain item of clothing. I’ve chosen an old school sweater that I found recently on a charity shop pound rail – if I’d known how popular burgundy would be in 2013, I may have felt less bitter about wearing this uniform for three years of my life. 

Take the lighter coloured fabric paint and paint circles on the area you want to be covered in leopard print. These do not have to be neat at all, in fact, the more uneven the better! Leave this to dry.

Take the darker coloured fabric paint and outline the circles, leaving small gaps in between lines. Again, the messier the better and leave to dry. Place an old tea towel over the area you’ve painted and iron to set the fabric paint. This will stop it running when you wash it.

There you go – your very own leopard print item. You don’t have to stick to sweaters, this can work well with jackets and t-shirts too.

Visit the Oxfam Online Shop to buy your customisable clothing…

Oxfam Online Shop: Valentine’s Day

Go to the Oxfam Online Shop

Written by: Fran, Emma and Leslie

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and, if Cupid’s arrow has struck, you may already be preparing your special date night outfit. The Oxfam Online Shop has put together a range of romantic outfits that will make you feel like a million dollars. From a funky hot pink jacket to some cute little heart socks, all areas are covered so you are sure to find the perfect look for whatever you have planned.

Outfit 1

This first outfit has been created to be wearable from day into night. To make a statement we’ve gone for an M&S Deep Purple Cocktail Dress which has a neat bow detail on the front. This has been teamed with a cropped Vintage Fendi Black Jacket which pulls the outfit together and adds a hint
of sophistication. Accessorise with a feminine flowery scarf to tie all of the colours together. This outfit would be perfect with any black heels or boots but we’ve gone for a pair of patent kitten heels. Check out the online shoe collection here.

Outfit 2

Keep it fun and flirty by teaming feminine knits such as this Autograph Coral Cashmere Cardigan with a silky scarf like the Flowers and Polka Dots Silk Scarf we have online. Parisian chic as if straight from the city of love.

Outfit 3

In this outfit we have gone for statement contrasts of bright pinks with black. The short length of this tartan mini skirt allows you to subtly show off those gorgeous legs. A bright jacket adds impact and livens up a neutral outfit so we have chosen this Nicole Fahri for Stephen Marks Hot Pink Jacket to add for some colour and warmth. This M&S Hot Pink and Black Geometric Print  Silk Scarf compliments this outfit with on-trend clashing patterns. If you’re feeling bold add a bowler hat or trilby to inject a unique touch, see for yourself online.


Outfit 4

Keeping with the pink theme, this next outfit is the ideal smart/casual combo. The high quality Suchita Hot Pink Angora Cowel Neck Jumper is lovely and soft and perfect for keeping you warm. We have paired this with a black body con skirt but to keep on trend try wearing a ¾ length pencil tube skirt like these listed online here. Finally, we found some cute
heart print socks making this outfit one of our favourites. Wear them with some shoe boots with the top of the socks peeking out.

Outfit 5 

If you want to ooze sophistication then this outfit is for you. The J Crew Merlot Red Silk Halter Neck Top is the staple item which stands out against the figure enhancing shape created by the pencil skirt and jacket.The deep red silk radiates romance, passion and femininity whilst teamed with powerful tailoring such as a black pencil skirt and blazer. This ensemble will command attention on any dinner and drinks date.

The Oxfam Online Shop is a treasure trove of vintage, high street and designer gems for you to create your perfect Valentine’s Day date night outfit.

Who Made Your Pants?

I have several problems when it comes to underwear. The first is design – knickers are invariably tiny slips of things with little in the way of coverage or comfort. The second is sourcing them. Although I’m happy to spend hours at a time browsing and buying clothes in charity shops, I draw the line at second hand pants, certain things are best purchased new and squeaky clean. However, not having the budget for high-end lingerie, I’m left with a conundrum: how can I buy underwear that is genuinely flattering and pleasing to wear, whilst not breaking either my morals or my bank

Go to the Oxfam Online Shop

Luckily, I think that Who Made Your Pants might have the solution. This company was set up by Becky John, a former Oxfam volunteer, who aims to produce pants that are “a little bit of gorgeous, just for you, every day”. Better still, the rather delicious lace and Lycra creations are made using discarded factory offcuts, with all production taking place in the UK. 

Becky John, Who Made Your Pants? Founder 

Becky has always adored underwear with a “ridiculous passion”, but realised the ethical impact of this voracious love for lingerie after working with a local charity group. “I didn’t know how many countries my pants had been through, how many hands had held them”, she said. Alongside an increased awareness of the production methods, there was particular emphasis on the women who were marginalised and isolated without jobs or education. For Becky, these two discoveries coincided with something she describes as a “personal epiphany” during counselling at a rape crisis centre. She said: “I could do whatever I wanted and there was more happiness, and more choices, available to me than I had realised.”

One of these choices was to set up a business that could make “ethical, bright pink pants.” She talks about her business being a social one formed specifically to empower women through work. This win-win situation benefits both consumer and creator whilst providing a working environment in which these women can feel completely safe, while learning new skills and socializing with others. 

Who Made You Pants? Underwear

Ethics play a huge part in the Who Made Your Pants ethos. Becky describes Building in as much ethical and environmentally responsible behaviour as they can, Becky describes: “Our packaging is recycled and recyclable, our fabrics, furniture, gift wrap, (most) computers and office equipment are all up-cycled plus my colleagues and I travel mostly by bike, legs or public transport.”  She is also well aware of the environmental impact of her own clothes purchases. “I’ve been shopping in charity shops, second hand and vintage shops and markets since I was a teenager and hate waste in any form,” she said, “the idea of buying new every season has always struck me as bonkers.” It’s fitting that her fabrics are leftovers sold on by big underwear factories at the end of each season. The results, with whimsical names like ‘Bonfire of the Panities’ and ‘Elephant Free Ivory’, are highly desirable. 

A pair of pants from Becky’s company is a bit of a luxury, but still an affordable luxury. It’s an ideal way to dip a toe into the concept of clothes with a conscience whilst buying something, in the words of Becky, “comfortable, practical, gorgeous and just for YOU.” I’m particularly thrilled by the Who Made Your Pants message of underwear “made by women, for women”, especially when compared to lingerie marketed as being attractive to ‘your man’. Now I just need to choose between a pair of delectable ‘Rosalind’ shorts or the equally enticing ‘Welsh Green’ pants. I know either will be cherished.  

Valentine’s DIY: Heart Elbow Patch

Go to the Oxfam Online Shop

Wear your heart on your sleeve, literally, this Valentine’s Day with Oxfam Fashion’s DIY elbow patch. Whether single or coupled, love is unavoidably in the air and a hand-made item can make a really personal gift or simply be worn in seasonal spirit. Visit the Oxfam Online Shop for a selection of jumpers, shirts, sweaters and cardigans to customise with this craft.


A shirt, sweater or cardigan
Scrap material (big enough to cut two heart patches from)
Thread (either in matching or contrasting colour to your fabric)
Heart template (we drew around a heart cookie cutter but you could use a paper template)

Draw around the heart template onto your scrap of material twice to outline your patches.

Carefully cut out the two lovely heart shapes.

Now you need to put on your chosen item so you can work out the positioning of your patches. This can be a bit fiddly but we’ve found it’s helpful to bend your elbows then mark where they sit in your item with a piece of tape. It can be handy to grab an extra pair of hands to help with this.

Pin your patches where your tape markers are. Try your item on again to check the positioning and shift around where necessary.

When your patches are in the right place, blanket stitch (see below) around the edges of your heart to secure it in place.

Repeat on the other patch and voila, you have a unique item made with love.


– Anchor your thread by doing a couple of stitches underneath the patch and near where you’re going to begin stitching.

– Push the needle through the garment and your patch approximately ½ – 1cm in from its edge.

– Pull thread through tight and push needle back through over the edge of the patch, back through the garment.

– Bring needle back through right next to where you just exited the last stitch.

– Approx ½-1cm along from and level with where the first stitch began, enter back through the patch and garment but don’t pull the thread too tight so it leaves loop.

– Keeping it vertically in line with the entry hole, bring the needle back though the garment at the edge of the patch making sure you pass it through the loop of thread and pull tight. 

– Enter back through the patch and garment at ½-1cm along from the previous stitch, leaving a loop, and then bring back though at the edge of the patch again passing through the loop. Continue this pattern all along the edge of the patch.

Vintage Fashion: 90s Style Revived

Written by: Emma Stephenson // @emmastephenson 

Go to the Oxfam Online Shop

My mum once told me that style never goes out of fashion, and most of the time she is right. Today, being a young and trendy girl raised in the nineties, I would look back and cringe at old photos of some of the outfits I was dressed up in. Those homemade waistcoats created from old curtains, shrunk t-shirts I pulled off as crop tops and slogan peddle-pushers all painted me as the ultimate 90’s girl. This season I have the chance to revisit my youth and pull out those gems hidden in my girl band inspired wardrobe.

Dungarees  // Sneakers  //  Leather Rucksack

At last the comic-loving, scrunchie-wearing, print-clashing style is reborn. With slogan tops inspired by pop artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, the trend of the nineties is now undergoing an update. Sweatshirts, dungarees, crop tops, oversized tees, sneakers and print leggings are all making a comeback and here are some second hand finds stashed away in the Oxfam Online Shop.

 Yellow T-Shirt     //  Monochrome Print Hoodie  //  Green Cropped Sweatshirt  //  Bead Necklace 

With style icons of this era including Will Smith and the Fresh Prince of Bel Air and The Spice Girls, creating this look should be fun and easy. Clashing prints, bright colours, slogans and baggy fits are key to this trend. Pair socks with trainers and roll tight fit joggers up at the leg and you’ve got the 90’s down to a tee. Blast out some pop, grunge or house music on your cassette player and it’ll be like stepping back in time.

Oxfam Online Shop: Designer Special

Christmas is a distant memory and we are left with only traces of glitter and some impossible resolutions to keep. My resolution involved a serious argument with my wardrobe.  Working at Oxfam means that I am surrounded by great second hand clothes everyday and I spend a lot of my free time in charity shops which has resulted in a bit of a messy wardrobe.  I have a very good selection of high street items and exciting vintage but, as I tearfully send some items back to my local Oxfam, I realise a gap in my newly neat wardrobe.  I have no designer clothes,
investment pieces or anything high end and, when I take a tea break and flick through the latest glossy magazine, I remember why I have no designer items – they cost more than I earn in a year! So, how am I going to afford pieces of fashion history without having to sell everything I own?

To the rescue is the Oxfam Online Shop


After spending 15 minutes entering some current designers from my fashion magazine, I found a wonderful selection of second hand, high end items. Here are my favourites –




  1.  Roberto Cavalli Silk Blouse This Cavalli silk blouse has gold snake buttons on and a pattern that will keep you occupied for hours. A bright, ornate item for only £60 – has a baggy fit, easy to wear such as with leggings
  2. Gucci Floral Silk Scarf A scarf – a fantastic way to have a high end designer item that never goes out of fashion.  For £85 an unusual Gucci floral yellow and pink silk scarf that is a multi-use piece of luxury:  headscarf, neck scarf, tied around bags.
  3. Zadig & Voltaire Cashmere Cardigan Cashmere is my favourite fabric but can be very expensive. For only £39.99 this is a really high quality cashmere cardigan – very soft and warm for the winter with beautiful details from Zadig & Voltaire
  4. Mulberry Ankle Boots Boots – for £150 (which is what you can pay in some high street stores) get some brand new suede boots from classic British luxury brand, Mulberry. These are beautiful with gold studding – much the same as some appearing in their current spring/ summer ads.
  5. Moschino Jeans Playsuit  Wow. I think this is my favourite – it is like nothing else (except 90s Madonna) I have ever seen. For £60 this playsuit from Moschino will definitely stand out from the crowd – not a high street copy in sight!


So those are my favourites on the Oxfam Online Shop at the moment – why not have a look and see if any of your favourite designer labels are on there.

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!

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’