Coming Soon: The Oxfam Fashion Hack with Love Your Clothes

Watch this space for further information about our free Super Crafter events as part of Oxfam’s Fashion Hack with Love Your Clothes. Follow @OxfamFashion to stay up to date with the latest information.

JOIN THE OXFAM FASHION HACK

Breathe new life into denim. Turn an old jumper into a snuggly poncho. Transform a simple tee into a statement top. Anything’s possible with some upcycling know-how. And we’ve got all the know-how and pre-loved clothing you need.

The Oxfam Fashion Hack with love your clothes

In partnership with our friends at Love Your Clothes, we’ve launched the first ever Oxfam Fashion Hack and we want you to be part of it. Because when you upcycle with Oxfam, you won’t just transform your wardrobe, you’ll help beat poverty too. You’ll also reduce waste, stopping yet more jeans, jackets and tees going to landfill.

Dates and activities will be released soon.

Follow @OxfamFashion or search for #OxfamFashionHack for the most up to date information about the Fashion Hack

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Simplicity in Silk – How to Style a Silk Blouse

Recently I found a beautiful pure silk blouse in my local Oxfam store on Bold Street in Liverpool. I instantly knew how I would wear it – my incredibly comfortable cropped straight jeans and loafers. The simplicity of this outfit is perfect for a casual day at home. The first time I wore this I was at home studying…cat by my side and fire warming my feet (thinking about aesthetics here). The pure silk falls beautifully and is so soft. I would say I felt pretty smart – the buttoned-up style and collar with
the elegant material creates the illusion of being dressed up (even when you replace the jeans for flared black trousers and you’re giving off a classic casual ’70s look which is always a yes from me).

Another look you could go for is pairing the blouse and cropped jeans with skinny ankle boots and some tights – I am constantly considering layers with this sharp winter weather. I love layering in winter as it not only looks great but it means it is easier to reuse your favourite pieces throughout the year.

Whilst writing this article I was planning social media for a Clothes Swap event run by Just Love Liverpool, a branch of the NGO Just Love UK. This organisation aims to spread awareness about social injustices such as slavery, sex trafficking and homelessness as well as raising awareness of how to be more ethical and sustainable, including when it comes to thinking about what we wear. I was reflecting on the incredible way in which reusing clothes is not only helping our environment – did you know that ‘UK households binned 300,000 tonnes of clothing in 2016‘?  but it is also causing us the evaluate questions such as how are our clothes being made? Where are they coming from? These questions I have found are being asked more and more as we have seen an increase in the number of social media pages now devoted to ending fast fashion and believing in
alternative ethical and sustainable ways.

If someone asks me where I bought this blouse and I say a charity shop, immediately I’ve got a conversation starter in which to spread awareness of the injustice of slavery. Simply buying a blouse from a charity shop is making a statement that fast fashion is out of hand and there are alternative ways to shop. Charity shopping is fun (how many times have you found the oddest and most random things that probably haven’t seen the light in decades?). But at the same time, we can be activists for so many issues!

A devastating issue that I am passionate about is tackling the gender inequality and utter lack of women rights when we look at the unethical practices of factories focused on producing the cheap t-shirts for example we can purchase on the high streets. “A recent report  by the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO), and the India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN) revealed that recruiters in southern India convince parents in impoverished rural areas to send their daughters to spinning mills with promises of a well-paid job, comfortable accommodation, three nutritious meals a day and opportunities for training and schooling, as well as a lump sum payment at the end of three years. Their field research shows that “in reality, they are working under appalling conditions that amount to modern day slavery and the worst forms of child labour“.

Isn’t it unfathomable that we are still living in a world where slavery is still a major issue? Over 40 million people are trapped in slavery right now.

Furthermore, with their 12 partners across the world Oxfam interviewed ‘hundreds of women workers and many farm and factory managers, supply chain agents, retail and brand company staff, unions and government officials’. They discovered that ‘Fewer than half of the women employed in Bangladesh’s textile and garment export sector have a contract, and the vast majority get no maternity or health coverage – but 80 per cent fear dismissal if they complain.’

The clothing industry is clearly intertwined with issues of gender inequality. Women are severely devalued and frankly it would seem dehumanised. By charity/vintage shopping and raising awareness at the same time, we can create a huge impact on the clothing industry.

So, this silk blouse from an Oxfam store on a small corner of the world sure can do a lot of loud talking…

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How to Upcycle Using Embroidery – A Denim Jacket Transformation

Some of you may already know that I am an embroidery nerd. I taught myself needlepoint and cross-stitch way back during my Fine Art degree and have been stitching pretty much every day since. Stitching by hand can be incredibly time consuming, and working full-time means there’s little time left in the day to complete lots of projects.

Thankfully, I’ve found a way around this and a way of combining two of my favourite things – charity shopping and needlepoint. For the past couple of years I have been scouring the charity shops for abandoned embroidery projects, with the hope of finishing them off or unpicking areas of stitches and reworking them into something else entirely. The perk of this is that most of the stitching has already been done for me, and all that’s left is for me to put my own spin on it.

One of my first reworking attempts was a completed needlepoint piece of a large ship at sea, to which I added some ginormous sea monster tentacles attacking the ship. The next was a small landscape piece that someone had completed but not bothered to frame, which I decided to add the Instagram ‘Like’ icon to the bottom corner and finish into a small cushion complete with a pom-pom trim.

While trawling the charity shops in Halifax (spoiler alert: they’re great and I always find something) I came across a small, completed, swan needlepoint in a frame for just £1.00! Of course I bought it. Initially, I didn’t have plans for this piece, but on a whim, I removed it from its frame and pinned it to the back panel of my denim jacket. I decided to keep things deliberately ‘rough’ and really simple; I pinned the piece to my jacket, and simply hand-stitched it in place, leaving the edges frayed and loose.

 

 

My next project? Well, I have an embarrassingly large collection of completed needlepoint pieces I’ve found in charity shops now, so I really need to start to work my way through them all, but I have my eye on reworking this tiger I found in my local Oxfam in Oldham…

 

 

As much as I’d love to hog all of the embroidery pieces in the world for myself, should you come across some, there are many things you could do with it. If you’re feeling handy with a needle and thread, you could follow suit, and rework areas of it. Confident using a sewing machine? Make it into a bag or cushion. Or, you could simply display it just as it is and appreciate the time someone put into making it for you.

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My Top Tips for Newbie Fashion Charity Shoppers

I have been charity shopping for years now, and for a long time I would avoid the clothing rails altogether. It seems ludicrous now, but I never had much luck finding anything I liked, or perhaps I wasn’t as open minded back then. These days, I make sure I check every part of the shop and consequently I’ve come away with some great finds!

My first rule of thumb is to skim past all of the ex-Primark, supermarket brands – my reasoning being that these pieces were cheap to begin with, so why pay the same price for secondhand? Secondly, check all areas – that’s right, men’s and women’s clothing. All items can be altered relatively cheaply, buttons can be replaced, holes darned and zips fixed. What you’re looking for is well made pieces (you can’t go wrong with 100% cotton, wool or leather if you wear it…) in prints that you love with no dodgy stains or marks that you’ll never be able to
get out.

Finally, bonus points if you have items in mind that you’d love to find so that you have some focus when you go shopping. Pinterest is perfect for saving images of different looks and items of clothing you like, and I keep a fantasy shopping list in the notes on my phone. Of course, with charity shopping you never know what you’ll find, but persevere and go in every charity shop you come across. I have a thing for coats and jackets so I always look for those. My collection is growing a little out of hand, but I have now ticked-off all of the styles I was looking for.

Unfortunately, while most women my age are taking their styling inspiration from Kate Moss and Alexa Chung, it occurred to me that I look like I’ve been watching one too many episodes of Only Fools and Horses and have every coat and jacket as seen on Del-Boy and Rodney Trotter.

 

 

Credit picture 1: Daily Mail / Credit Picture 2:  Birmingham Mail



It began with the flannel shirt. Plaid shirts are another growing collection of mine, and I love this particular shirt as it’s thick enough to wear as a lightweight jacket and I love the bison logo on the label! A steal for £3. What I thought was a nineties grunge staple á la Judd Nelson punching the air at the end of The Breakfast Club, turned out to be reminiscent of Rodney’s lumberjack coat.

 



Then along came the £10 shearling wool coat. I had been hunting for one for years but every one I came across previously was far too big or far too expensive.  What I thought was the perfect seventies winter coat, is actually perfect for channelling your inner Del Boy selling wind-up barking dogs out of a suitcase on the high-streets of Peckham.

 



Finally, the £7 camo jacket. I thought a camo jacket would be a great “Oh, this old thing?!” jacket to throw on over a t-shirt, and would look great with a pop of colour worn underneath (think Mickey with her bright red swimsuit and camo combo in Netflix’s Love) but it turns out it’s another Rodney Trotter go-to.

I may have left the south-east to live in Manchester, but sartorially I’ll always be a Trotter. But please remember, my name’s not Rodney, it’s Sarah.

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Oxfam Halloween Pop-up shop in London!

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How to make a terrifying cushion for Halloween

By Cassie of cassiefairy.com

Bring a touch of Halloween fun into every room of the house this October by adding some custom-made soft furnishings. This project will help you to turn a t-shirt with a spooky design into a throw pillow to make your sofa look spooky or your bedroom more bonkers.

Pick up a tee at a charity shop or, if your little ones have outgrown last year’s Halloween costume, you could recycle the fabric. This ghoulish cushion will bring a touch of scariness to your autumn décor or can be used to create a gothic look in your home all year round.

You will need: A t-shirt with spooky design, scissors, matching thread, needle or sewing machine, pins, cushion pad.



  1. Iron the t-shirt flat and lay your cushion pad on top of the design.

 

  1. Use the edges of the cushion pad as a guide to cut up one side of the t-shirt.

 

  1. Fold the t-shirt in half down the centre and then cut along the other side in line with the first cut.

 

  1. Unfold and use the cushion pad to determine the top line of the fabric and trim across

 

  1. Fold in half width-wise and trim across the bottom – this piece will be the front of your cushion

How to make a cushion case

  1. Create an ‘envelope’ opening for the back of the cushion by using fabric from the back of the t-shirt.

 

  1. Use the hemmed bottom edge as the top envelope flap and cut a piece that’s half he width of the front piece.
  1. Use the rest of the fabric to cut a piece that’s 2/3rds of the front piece.

 

  1. Layer the fabric pieces with the design facing up, then the smaller hemmed piece (with hem across the centre of the design), with the 2/3rds piece on top.

 

  1. Pin around all the edges then straight-stitch around the edges with matching thread. You could use a sewing machine or hand-stitch the three layers together.

 

  1. Turn the cushion cover right-side out and stuff with the cushion pad.

 


You can make a few cushions in a variety of colours and designs to create a soft-yet-scary corner on your sofa, or throw one onto your guest bed to scare visitors when they come to stay over Halloween!

Have a go and share your creations with us @OxfamFashion #foundinoxfam

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How to Use Preloved Style to Stay On-Trend in the Workplace

The Daily Mail recently challenged its readers to identify the preloved Oxfam outfit from the high-street outfit. So I wanted to see whether work outfits exclusively from Oxfam Online Shop could live up to the latest styles. The way you dress in the workplace says a lot about your work attitude and, according to Rudi Dalman, “we all often think about impressing our boss,” but can you
impress them with your thrifted wardrobe?

Whether you’re a recent graduate or a seasoned professional it’s easy to be too busy to keep up to date with the latest fashion and styles. I’ve come up with my list of must-have items to keep an eye out for on your next charity shop crawl to get the perfect on trend work wardrobe for less.

 
  • A Go-To Blazer

Wear it with a comfortable denim or as a part of the two-piece, it will make you look extraordinary in both cases. Stash it on the back of your office chair to combat the office.

  • Button Down Cotton Shirts

Wearing cotton button down shirts at work is great but having too many white cotton button down shirts gets boring. Go for different but classy colours and pair with classic slacks for a Jenna Lyons look!

Smart Casual from Oxfam Online Shop: Jeans (Levi, Size 32″, £14.99) / Jacket (Next, Size 12, £9.99) / Blouse (Reiss, Size 8, £6.99) / Shoes (Guess, Size 7.5, £24.99) / Watch (Quartz,£12.99)

  • Denim for Fridays

Yes, you can wear jeans at the workplace, but make sure they’re not distressed boyfriend jeans or too tight dandy ones! Instead, pick something which goes with your workplace and looks professional in a meeting. Once you are done with work, you can straight go to a bar to enjoy the weekend.

  • Ankle Length Slacks

An ankle length slack is good to go for Monday blues. Ankle length is very ‘in’ at the moment as they look very elegant. As winter is on its way, try pairing them with a button down shirt and blazer.

Work Dresses from Oxfam Online Shop: Dress 1 (M&S, Size 8, £29.99) / Dress 2 (M&S, Size 14, £9.99) / Dress 3 (H&M, Size M, £5.99)

  • Knee Length Dresses

Add a few knee length dresses to your workplace wardrobe. There are a variety of knee length dresses which you can wear at the workplace like a long sleeve polka dot dress or a floral design. You can also go for a classy LBD (Little Black Dress) and try on a pair of black heels with it!

  • A Day-to-Night Dress

There can be a party invitation during weekdays and you can’t give excuses like “I have work to do,” right? Don’t miss happy hours just because you have to rush home after work to change. So, pick a dress which can help you slay your fashion look and make you look elegant at the workplace and fun-loving at your favourite bar.

  •  Tailored Pencil Skirt

Find a perfectly tailored pencil skirt which suits you the best. It is easy to get dressed and makes you look sophisticated for the workplace. You can even save few morning minutes.

Work Outfit from Oxfam Online Shop: Blouse (Ossie Clark, Size 10, £14.99) / Skirt (River Island, Size 14, £7.99) / Shoes (Sam Edelman, Size 7, £25.99)/ Watch (Accurist, £7.99) / Coat (Vintage Aquascutum, Size M, £70.00)

  • A Mix of Blouses

Choose bright and happy colours for week days like Wednesdays and Thursdays, when you are so tired of your hectic week. A mix of colourful yet sophisticated blouses will make you look gorgeous regardless how tired you are! You can try them with comfortable denim or classy slacks, whatever you prefer.

  • Trench Coats

The chilly weather is around the corner and you surely don’t want to get cold. How about wearing a turtle neck paired with jeans and trench coat this winter? It will make you warm and stylish at the same time.



 Do any Oxfam items feature in your work wardrobe? Share your favourite finds with us using #foundinoxfam on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

 

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How to DIY your own Lace Bottom Tailored Trousers

As all you fashion lovers will have probably seen in almost every high street shop, Lace trousers are totally on trend this season! Why not Revamp some boring old trousers into an on trend pair of beauties?

What you need

– Some Old Trousers

– A Lace

– A Sewing Machine

– Needle & Thread

If you don’t own any old trousers, come and visit us in any of our local Oxfam Shops or in our Online shop.

Follow these steps

1.  First of all, I started by shortening my trousers by 7″. When shortening I took into account that the hem was 1inch so overall they would be 8 inch shorter. If your not sure how much to take off, put them on and ask someone to give you a hand measuring so you can see how long you want them.

 

2. Secondly, I turned the raw edge over by 1.5cm and did a full machine stitch all the way around to hold in place. The reason I didn’t use an over locker is because I know many people don’t own one so I have done the way everyone would be able to do if they owned a sewing machine, but with an over locker would be much quicker and easier.

 

3. Then turn up again another 1.5 cm and sew. This will lock in the raw edge and make a nice neat new French seam.

 

 

4. Now to the best bit using whichever lace you desire.

I used heavy weight hole lace which is easy to cut into shapes to appliqué on. I cut the same parts of the lace for both the front and back of the trousers so they match. Pin in place making sure both legs are matching!

 

5. Finally,  using a needle and thread I did little tack stitches on parts of the lace where it wouldn’t be seen to hold it to the trousers!



 

And…Da Da! You have your own on trend lace hem trousers!


Don’t forget to share all your creations with us @OxfamFashion #foundinoxfam

Post written by Leah Topham, volunteer at Oxfam Batley where she helps upcycle the clothes. She’s written this series called Rags to Riches where she lets us in on
her DIY secrets, keep your eye out for her next post! You can also check out her last one ‘How to make a Victorian D&G dress’

 

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5 Reasons to Buy Your Wedding Dress From Oxfam

With the average cost of a wedding in the UK estimated at £25,000 what better way to get fantastic value for money than buying your dress at Oxfam Online Shop or in one our our Bridal Boutiques? Not only will you look good but you will feel great knowing your cash is being used to fight poverty. Oxfam Bridal even recently featured on an episode of Say Yes To The Dress!

 

Here are my top 5 reasons why you should try Oxfam Bridal for your wedding gown:

1. Huge selection

Oxfam has over 1,000 vintage wedding dresses from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and contemporary styles online. The online site makes it really easy to search through our selections from the comfort of your own home. Your dress will be delivered by courier to your door and we offer free returns. What could be simpler?

2. Unique Styles

Want something different that will make you stand out from the crowd? Your friends looked amazing in their traditional gowns but you want something that little bit different. Maybe you are planning a vintage wedding with a 50s feel just like film star Grace Kelly or have your heart set on a classic 90s minimalist affair.

3. Brand new and designer dresses

Oxfam has a selection of dresses that are brand new with tags still attached offering brides-to-be excellent value at a fraction of the RRP. The Batley range currently includes dresses from big name designers including Vera Wang, Biba and Jasper Conran!

4. Manage costs

The average cost of a UK wedding is estimated at £25,000 – that is a sum that is out of reach for many. The dress is often one of the biggest costs and by using Oxfam you can find your dream dress at a fraction of the cost. Prices currently start at £39.99.

5. Help make a difference

By buying from Oxfam you are supporting our work fighting poverty in Britain and around the world. Because of you we can campaign for girls around the world to be educated, respond to disasters and help get women into work. Buying one dress has the power to change lives; it means we can provide support for eight refugees or buy a family of goats. Thank you for your support, we won’t live with poverty and we know you won’t either.

But don’t take our word for it. Here are the thoughts of some of our customers:

“I chose to buy my dress from Oxfam because I liked that I could give something back” Kat

“It’s a brand new Johanna Hehir dress….it was the first dress I tried on and it felt really special” Lucy

Shop online now or visit our Bridal Pop-Up Shop in Batley

Don’t forget to share pictures of your best finds with us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook using #foundinoxfam

Post written by Joanne Ginley, a sometime blogger and volunteer at Oxfam Online. She says “Ask anyone who knows me and they will confirm clothes shopping is my favourite hobby! I love nothing more than scouring the shops or searching online for a real bargain. I’m a firm believer in the power of accessories and am currently developing a real liking for homeware.”

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5 Top Tips for Charity Shopping from Preloved Style Expert Paloma in Disguise

I have done a few charity shop outfit round-up’s over on my blog, Paloma In Disguise, throughout the years but I have never done an Oxfam round-up over here, on the Oxfam Fashion Blog. I thought it was about time since many, many of my photographed blog outfits over the years have consisted of a lotta, lotta Oxfam. 

Combined with a few tips to ensure you get the most out of second-hand shopping I thought I would go through a few of my favourite Oxfam purchases.

 

Tip 1: Visit Often

My number one tip to ensure you get the most out of charity shopping is to visit often. Whether it’s a fleeting visit as you have a few minutes to spare, a scroll on Oxfam Online Shop or you have decided to spend the afternoon browsing the charity shops. Due to the nature of charity shops, you never know when someone your size, with your style and a beautiful wardrobe has dropped of a whole load of loveliness. The more you visit, the more likely you are to find things, from the quirky vintage dress you didn’t know you needed (which was
the case with my paisley pink, full length shirt) or the jumper in the style and colour you had been after for bloomin’ ages. By going fairly often (read: a lot!) I have found a heavily embellished top for New Years Eve, a black midi dress convenient for every single day of my life and a glitterball of a jumper that dresses up even the most casual of outfits! The term ‘right place, right time’ was invented for charity shopping – I’m sure!


Boots, belts and bags
Tip 2: Don’t forget the Accessorise

I should listen to my own advice here. I’m first to the rail of dresses in all charity shops. It’s like I’m on a mission – and that mission is to rummage through every single dress. Then before I know it, it’s time to leave and I walk straight out past the basket FULL of bargain belts. I have found some amazing belts, necklaces and bags over the years that really are a fraction of their original high-street/designer price. Charity shop bargains at their absolute best.


Tip 3: With a little DIY…

Sometimes charity shopping can be daunting in that it’s unlikely you are going to find exactly what you’re after. However, that doesn’t stop you buying something similar and adapting it a little. After a specific slogan T-Shirt? Chances are your local charity shop will sell plain t-shirt’s that, with a few iron on letters from the ol’ internet, can lead to exactly the slogan t-shirt you were after. I shared my own how-to with Oxfam Fashion and created my own lil’ slogan top here. Hems
can be taken up and waistbands can be taken in. One of my most worn Oxfam dresses was my denim button front dress which was originally so long in the length that I would have had a denim train had I left it long. After cutting the hem of to suit short ol’ me better, it is still is the dress I go to for a little effortless, comfortable dressing.

 


Tip 4: Be open minded

Another thing I am a repeat offender of. Someone will tell me that they picked something up from Oxfam. Next time I’m in there I will be not-so-unconsciously scouting out for that particular item and chances are, I won’t leave with it because it won’t be there!  By looking for specific items, you can miss the things that, with a little thought, can be slotted into your wardrobe perfectly. On the hanger, the check blue shorts weren’t something I thought would work well with the tops and shoes already in my wardrobe. I went ahead and bought these anyway and they
became my absolute favourite outfit when paired with a white shirt and sandals. This was also the case with the check green and red skirt in the autumn before. Worn with thick black tights and either a leather or faux fur jacket, this became my favourite autumnal outfit of 2015. By trying on a few pieces you wouldn’t normally choose, and thinking up a few outfits to incorporate the item into, you can find new favourites you could have missed.

 

Tip 5: Go with a friend

This tip goes with Tip 4. I find that by going with a friend I am more open to trying things I wouldn’t have tried had I been mooching around by myself. By discussing items I am unsure of, my friends can often provide outfit combinations I wouldn’t have thought of or prompt me to try on clothes I may have dismissed. It’s usually these things I end up loving that little bit more.

And that’s it! Five charity shopping tricks I always use to ensure I don’t miss any second-hand bargains. I wish you good luck as you scour the shops for those hidden gems!

 

Enjoyed Hannah’s tips? Put them into practise, head to your local Oxfam or Oxfam Online Shop now. 

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How to make your own Upcycled Vintage D&G Style Dress

Everybody loves a little black dress! But I’m sure you girls out there have one hanging in your wardrobe that could do with a whole new revamp! In just 3 quick steps!

 

I have started with a plain black tight strapless dress and some old vintage buttons. If you do not own a dress to work with you can pick one up at your local Oxfam or Oxfam Online Shop.  And
I’m sure a relative will have a box of old buttons you can use! If not, these are easily found in many charity or antique shops!

 

 

1. Firstly, I gave my dress a quick press to make sure there wasn’t any creases before I pointed out the central line

 

2. Secondly, I started by marking a straight line down the middle of the dress where my buttons will be sewn with tailors chalk. Which will rub straight off with a wet wipe

 

3. Finally, I finished by sewing all my buttons down my line, to reveal a classic plain black dress turned into a Victorian D&G style dress!

 

 

Easy, right? Give it a go and you will see how everyone will be impressed about your Victorian D&G style dress!

Post written by Leah Topham, volunteer at Oxfam Batley where she helps upcycle the clothes. She’s written this series called Rags to Riches where she lets us in on her DIY secrets, keep your eye out for her next post! You can also check out her last one How
to make your own Upcycled Vintage 20′ Cloche Cap

 

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