Thrifty Finds: second and third week January

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Apologies for no post last week-the week was just very hectic! Here are my Thrifty Finds for the past fortnight:

1. I have now bought my Christmas cards for this year. I must remember to buy stamps at regular intervals this year to spread the cost.

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2. I used a £20 Amazon gift voucher from my birthday to buy five secondhand books. That should keep me busy for a while!

3. As an early birthday treat for my eldest, we went to the Thermae Spa in Bath with some friends. Because the steam rooms were being refurbished we received a free return voucher – two visits for the price of one 🙂

4. Last Friday I popped into the local Dorothy House charity shop in Bath. They had a ‘fill your bag for a tenner’ promotion and I couldn’t resist! I was disciplined, though, and just bought clothing that will work for Spring and Summer (rather than my winter wardrobe which is completely full). In the end I came away with four tops, one jumper, one skirt and a dress.

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5. At the weekend we hosted our annual 80s party. I had picked up this 80s dress for £12 from the Dorothy House vintage shop in Bath. It was the perfect dress with massive shoulder pads, electric blue and made from some godawful man made fibre that made me sweat all evening!!!

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Charity shops are good for dressing up too…

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This Saturday we are hosting an Eighties & Nineties party. It’s an annual thing that my husband and I have done for the past few years. It’s as cheap as chips as we book the function room at the local pub and compile a simple 80s/90s playlist. Because January is such a dull month with not much going on we find that lots of people come and have a good dance (we try to hold it on what is statistically the worst Saturday of the year).

Nearly everyone who attends makes a real effort to dress up and, as a result, I know the local charity shops are busy servicing our guests’ costume demands! Even if you never normally step foot inside your local Oxfam fancy dress parties are a great opportunity to rifle through their racks of clothing.

This week I took a trip to one of our nearby towns and in just two charity shops I found half a dozen ideas for outfits for re-creating an 80s/90s look:

– denim dungarees. I have been looking for a pair of these for years and even borrowed a friend’s to wear to the party last year. Saying that they were priced at a hefty £12.50 at the Dorothy House shop

– at the same shop I spotted a great gold/beige women’s trouser suit that would have made a brilliant mid-80s look (David Bowie/Miami Vice)

– in another charity shop I found three different blouses that could have been used for a New Romantic outfit (ruffled shirt, tartan top, white flouncy top)

– I also saw some baggy denim jeans that would have made a good early 90s look, especially if teamed with a hooded top

It is defintely harder, though, to find genuine 1980s – and 1990s – clothing. Many of the items I spotted were more recent adaptations of these past styles. For example I tried on a pair of tweed patterned straight leg trousers with zips and buckles that came from H&M but were loosely based on a tame Punk look.

When there is also a lot of dayglow and neon clothing on sale in shops like Primark it can be cheaper to buy these clothes first-hand rather than trawling through the charity shops.

However when you do find the right clothing combinations you can feel a real buzz. I have decided to create a New Romantic look for Saturday night (specifically in the style of  very early Duran Duran whom I’m currently having a middle-aged obsession with). I found these high waisted trousers for £4.99:

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(the trousers are by Zara and I’m very tempted to wear them every day as well)

This shirt and some lace that will make a great scarf:

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(I’ve attempted to sew some ruffles to the sleeves)

And these AMAZING Pixie boots that no self-respecting Duranie should be without. I picked these up on Monday from the Dorothy House shop for £4.50 and am mightily pleased with them:

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While it’s not always possible to pick an outfit up straight off the peg a few second-hand things can also be adapted. I used an old dress to cut up and add ruffles to one of my husband’s shirt for his New Romantic look:

IMG_9543The ruffles were really easy to do: cut a strip of material about 10 inches wide. Using the longest stitch and lowest tension on the sewing machine (or by hand) create a running stitch along the length. Use the thread from this to gather the material and then loosely hand-sew onto the shirt.

Now all we need to do is perfect our blusher and eyeliner…..