This post first appeared on the new Oxfam Vintage Blog.
Now that Spring is upon us, the weather is just perfect for wandering London’s streets in search of new vintage treasures. This weekend I set out on foot from Kilburn to Hyde Park, ostensibly to make the most of the sunshine, but knowing full well there would be plenty of charity shops along the way!
I’ve taken to setting myself a budget before I cross the threshold of any charity shop, which is actually far less of a constraint than you may imagine. These shops, after all, often hide the most marvellous gems priced in pennies.
The purpose of the budget is twofold: my closet is full to bursting point (but I’m unwilling to sacrifice the assortment of goodies that I’ve amassed over the years), and I’ve set myself a personal maxim of ‘Elegant Frugality’ for 2010 and beyond. This has forced me to choose my vintage pieces carefully, often reluctantly returning something to the clothes rail (oh, the saddest of partings), but taking home another item that’s all the more treasured.
In Oxfam on Kilburn’s High Street – budget, £10 – I discovered a pleated 1980s tartan skirt and a starry-printed 1970s Dorothy Perkins halterneck dress. But both went back on the rails in favour of two sweet hand-painted tea cups (a steal at 99p for both) a hand-painted cake plate (99p), a pair of 1980s two-toned leather heels (£2.99), and a warm woolly picnic blanket (£3.99) that will work equally well at a picnic or draped on the couch. Grand Total: £8.96.
With the lovely new-old blanket in my possession, I abandoned my charity shop hunt and headed straight to Hyde Park to nestle on it under the trees with my Sunday paper. But if anyone’s in Kilburn and is a size 8 to 10, you could pop into Oxfam for that tartan skirt or halterneck dress I reluctantly left behind.