I’ve loved charity shopping for as long as I can remember, my local Oxfam is an Aladdin’s cave of sartorial treasures. If I go to a new city I always make a b-line for their local Oxfam shop, getting lost amongst the racks. I visit my local shop weekly, more often if I can. I get withdrawal symptoms when I don’t, wondering what delights I’m missing out on. This is a love I’m not alone in feeling: Kate Moss recently modelled looks for Oxfam’s 75th anniversary, telling The Guardian she “got all her clothes from Oxfam from the ages of 14 to 18” and now donates to her local shop in Highgate.
Shopping second hand is an affordable way to experiment with style and nod to the latest trends without breaking the bank. It opens up my wardrobe to include one-off, eclectic pieces I might not have usually bought. I enjoy knowing that with every purchase, my money is going to a fantastic cause. Buying one item really does have the power to change lives with an £8 dress being enough to feed a family during a crisis. I always come away from shopping feeling pretty smug about my fashion finds. I nostalgically wonder about the items former life, even if it hasn’t come far, in my imagination it could have been owned by an eccentric Dame, travelling far and wide to be mine.
I’m so passionate about Oxfam’s work to fight poverty, in Britain and across the world. I particularly admire its work with women, as the majority of people living in poverty are female. By buying from Oxfam you are supporting their fight to help women claim their rights, get an education and get into work.
As if you needed another reason to head to your local branch, Oxfam shops are doing wonders for the environment. The consequences fast fashion is having on our planet is staggering. But, shopping from charity shops can help – each shop diverts an average of 30 tonnes of textiles from landfills every year. Plus, UK charity shops’ reuse and recycling activity helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 6.8m tonnes per year.
I reject the notion that fashion is an exclusive club, reserved only for designer clothes and huge budgets. Style is universal, doesn’t discriminate and is open to all. In my experience, it’s often those that experiment with their outfits, mixing a high street piece with a second hand treasure that are the best dressed. It’s amazing that in a visit to only one shop you can emerge with a vintage item, an piece from a high end high street retailer you might not have afforded otherwise and if you’re lucky maybe even something designer.
Check out my eight spring looks below to get some inspiration of how to style this season’s trends with clothes you’ve #foundinoxfam. Delve into the delights of your local Oxfam or Oxfam Online Shop and I promise you won’t come out empty handed.
Look 1: The skirt and tee combo
One of my favourite styling tricks is to pair a casual tee with a jazzier skirt. There’s something so fashion-it-girl-cool about wearing a vintage t-shirt with sparkly embellishment. The look gives off an ultimate air of ease – a classic ‘oh this old thing’ moment. I had been pining after a similar skirt by No.21 which was way out of my price range. At just £5.50, this skirt was a great find and could be worn with numerous outfits, casual and dressy alike. Adding a pair of bold earrings (bought for a bargainous £2) finishes off the look.
T-shirt £2.50, Skirt £5.50, Earrings £2 all #foundinoxfam
Look 2: The Holiday Dress
It may only be March but I’m already thinking ahead to my summer holiday. I love the relaxed yet romantic feel of this lace maxi dress – you’d be forgiven for thinking it was designer as the Dior and Emporio Armani’s S/S 18 runways were full of white lace gowns just like this.
Dress #foundinoxfam £5.50 , Bag £3, Earrings £2all #foundinoxfam
Look 3: Relaxed Layering
A well-fitting white t-shirt is a real failsafe wardrobe staple. To show how you can style it up, I layered it under this striped Jaeger shirt and made a nod to the nineties by adding a black corset over the top. Sticking to a co-ordinating colour palette makes layering a doddle. Plus, preppy navy stripes never go out of style, so this shirt will look great at any time of year.
Shirt – £4, Trousers – £5, Sunglasses – £1 (sale) all #foundinoxfam
Look 4: The Leopard Dress
I think this button up dress may be my favourite Oxfam find ever. Leopard print never goes out of style and as far as I’m concerned is a neutral! If the Gucci S/S 18 catwalk is anything to go by (and it usually is) leopard is the print to buy now. Luckily you can find an abundance of it in your local Oxfam, Gucci price tag omitting.
Dress – £9.99, Earrings – £2 both #foundinoxfam
Look 5: The Occasion Dress
If you have a wedding or occasion coming up, as well as already forking out for travel, accommodation and a gift, you may think ‘I’ve got to spend £100 on an outfit.’ Right? Wrong! Case in point this 100% silk champagne maxi. Minimal, effortless and very 90s Calvin Klein. It looks brand new and is originally from Monsoon but I snapped it up for just £9.99 in Oxfam. Need I say more?
Dress £9.99 #foundinoxfam
Look 6: Fashionable Florals
If it’s not quite warm enough to wear a summer dress solo, why not layer it over a plain white tee and add a denim jacket to finish? A bold floral print like this one is a favourite of designers Erdem, Balenciaga and Marques’ Almeida. If pink and flowers are too much for you, why not opt for a darker floral print? Or add a leather biker jacket to toughen up the look.
Dress £8 #foundinoxfam
Look 7: The Embroidered top
The intricate floral embroidery on this shirt far surpasses its £4.50 price tag. Millennial pink + embroidery is a winning style combo for Spring/Summer 18 and this top has both. Keep an eye out in Oxfam for classic Levi’s to pair a top like this with, or head over to the online shop to browse the latest styles. It’s even worth checking out the men’s section – remember you can always add a belt or turn up the hems.
Shirt £4.50, Earrings £2.00 both #foundinoxfam
Look 8: The Midi Skirt
Pink has been given a real fashion revival of late and is now the ultimate colour in modern cool. This skirt will slot into your spring wardrobe perfectly, giving you an abundance of outfit options. This midi was a steal at £5 – that’s less than your daily coffee and breakfast bar! We offset the girly skirt with a sleek black roll neck but I think it would look perfect paired with the striped Jaeger shirt. Or, you could embrace head to toe pink and wear with our embroidered shirt, for a chi co-ord.
Skirt – £5 #foundinoxfam
Stylist and photographer: Jenny Brownlees
Model: Jasmine at Savalas Models
Make-up Artist: Louise Brownlees
Jenny Brownlees is a Fashion Journalist and Stylist, a charity shop devotee and firm believer that style doesn’t have to come with an
expensive price tag. When she got in touch to share photos she’d taken with Jasmine we knew we had to feature them on our blog. With all the looks coming in for £10 or less she proves that you can stay on trend on a budget whilst still supporting your favourite cause. Shop in your local Oxfam or at Oxfam Online Shop to find your own poverty fighting bargains and don’t forget to share your looks with #foundinoxfam.
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