Style Trunk

Personal style and fashion blog

Monday, 17 September 2018

My (Near) Lifelong Love Affair with Second Hand Clothing




I go through distinct phases when it comes to second hand clothes shopping. I can date my first experience back to circa 2001 on a family holiday somewhere up in Scotland. I don't remember much about the trip except it being cold and damp and we stayed in an old flat that had something to do with Charles Rennie Mackintosh (which, of course, I completely didn't appreciate at the time).  

What does remain a vivid memory, though, is the guestbook in said flat. In one of the previous entries, one woman wrote that she'd picked up a Burberry trench coat in the local charity shop for £5 (and a genuine one at that, not the many knock offs that were circulating at the time). Five pounds! I was 11 at the time, I'd just started to take an interest in fashion that went beyond Tammy Girl and well, even I could afford £5 with my monthly pocket money. I hot-footed it to said charity shop, ignoring the pleas of my parents to go and experience the local culture and spent a great deal of time searching the racks. Alas, the Burberry trench was a one-off but I had been fully introduced into the world of second hand shopping. My quest for cheap but genuine branded clothing continued into my teens, with most of my Saturdays spent in Liverpool's TK Maxx, my best friend in tow, each of us eager to find the ultimate bargain.


Then came 2008, the start of my university years in Newcastle. Like most other students at the time, my frugality led me to the many vintage shops in the city (no idea if they still exist but the best were around High Bridge) and clearing the date in my diary when the vintage fairs rolled into town and took over the student union. I couldn't get enough, my wardrobe was filled with off-beat, pre-loved oversized jumpers, old silk scarves and reconstructed shirts (as you can probably tell, I was a lot more adventurous in my wardrobe choices back then). 


The trouble is, I overdid it. July 2011 marked my graduation and after the ubiquitous gap year in South America, I was thrust into the real world with my first proper job in London. I was earning above the minimum wage (well, just about) for the first time in my life and armed with my overdraft and the recklessness that comes with being a young twenty-something in the capital, I didn't care for what I started to think of as other people's cast offs. I wanted new, I wanted shiny, I wanted exciting. 

I'm now 28 and I don't think I've gone near second hand clothing for a good seven years. That is, until now. If I haven't harped on about it enough, earlier this year I moved out to Australia and after a bit of travelling, I've been calling Melbourne home for the past two months. Of course, I've been sampling the shops as much as I have the incredible brunch spots, restaurants and rooftop bars and while the high street offering isn't as strong as the UK (yup, I said it), this city does a bloody good independent. 


I've spent quite a bit of time in Collingwood, an inner northern suburb that has some of the best cafes in the city (plus there always seems to be a sample sale going on). Early on in our arrival in Melbourne, I walked past an unassuming shop front on Johnston St but something immediately caught my eye: on one of the mannequins, lo and and behold, was a Marni coat. I looked up at the sign: Recycle Boutique. My forgotten love of second hand shopping and sheer enthusiasm for a bargain came flooding back and I stepped inside. 

Turns out, it was a consignment store and they only accept quality, well looked-after pieces from great brands (I'm talking COS, Acne, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Solace London). I was immediately drawn to these tailored, navy COS trousers that I'm wearing here - in great nick and a steal at $38 (about £20) - and have become a core piece of my wardrobe. This past weekend I went back, expecting my great find to have been a one hit wonder, and then these adidas Originals Deerupt trainers happened. Rather than pre-owned they were a bit shop-soiled on the sole...essentially they were as good as new, and less than half the price. 

Two incredible buys. Maybe it was a fluke, a lucky strike. Or maybe this is a sign to reignite my passion for second hand. 






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Tuesday, 21 August 2018

The Perfect Grey T-Shirt



Wearing: ASOS Sunglasses, Acne Studios T-shirt (similar), H&M Trousers, Converse Trainers, Thomas Sabo Watch

Ahh, the sample sale. A feeding frenzy for fashion lovers and label whores alike who can't resist the idea of a one-of-a-kind, so-good-you'll-be-telling-people-for-years-to-come kind of bargain. I've frequented a few in my time and left disappointed more often than not but they still draw me in (seriously, there's normally a lot of crap). So when Acne promised up to 80% off a whole bunch of pieces from the past few seasons, I naturally blocked out an entire day and allowed my fantasies of a size 4, scuff-free pair of Pistols and the ultimate leather biker to run wild. 


I headed to Collingwood on that fateful day, full of optimism, only to find half of Melbourne was already queuing for those same pieces I desperately coveted. But I persevered (I wasn't working at the time, so I needed to fill my hours and wardrobe somehow) and I'm so glad I did. As you can imagine, it was a free for all and some of my fellow bargain hunters were ruthless but I still came out with a couple of great pieces that were even better than high street prices (I. Know).


Alas, the biker jacket of dreams wasn't meant to be (apparently they're not as heavy-handed with the discounts as I so wishfully thought) but I decided to stock up on some high-quality basics instead, one being this grey t-shirt. Not exactly exciting, I grant you, but the loose boxy shape and soft, fine fabric makes it the perfect plain tee that I know will be hanging in my wardrobe for a long time to come. And all for a mere $30 (or £17 to my fellow Brits). 





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Thursday, 2 August 2018

The Uniqlo U Trench



Wearing: ASOS Sunglasses, Uniqlo U Trench Coat (similar), H&M Jumper and Trousers (similar), Ganni Trainers

Anyone who knows me, or has been following this blog for a while will know that I'm a big advocate of Uniqlo. Their fine merino knits are some of the best and most affordable on the high street (I go for the men's for a looser fit, plus the women's seem to sit quite short on the body) and they do a great tailored trouser.


It's the collabs and special collections that really do it for me though. Loose-fitting Hana Tajima tunics and trousers have been a staple in my wardrobe since the first collection was released a few years back, and I felt like I'd died and gone to high street collab heaven when Uniqlo teamed up with Lemaire. Then of course, there was the recent JW Anderson collection (which I now look back on in longing and wishing I'd invested in a few pieces), and offerings from Tomas Maier and Marimekko for those with a bolder approach to style. 


It will come as no surprise then, that I eagerly anticipate the new Uniqlo U collections released each season; an ongoing line designed by Christophe Lemaire following that original collaboration (in fact, I've just been earmarking a few bits from the upcoming AW18 collection, due to launch mid-September). It's Lemaire style but at Uniqlo prices - what's not to love? This trench coat is the most recent Uniqlo U piece to enter my wardrobe. It was on sale, the only one left and came in a large, giving it that oversized fit that I love. It's also light and waterproof, so has become my go-to when that chill hits Melbourne or the rain clouds descend on us (yes, unfortunately, it does sometimes rain in Australia). 

*Not an ad or sponsored in any way, just a love letter to Uniqlo, the unsung hero of the high street




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Tuesday, 24 July 2018

A Weekend on the Mornington Peninsula



Dress: Ganni
Trousers: COS
Boots: Dr Martens
Coat: ASOS (similar)

Before arriving in Melbourne and becoming reacquainted with city life, we headed to the Mornington Peninsula for a weekend of food, wine and pure relaxation by the sea. It's the kind of place where you can do a lot or not much at all, and our weekend fell somewhere between the two. 

Like most visitors, our first stop was the Hot Springs, which unfortunately didn't quite live up to our expectations. Admittedly, we didn't pick the best time to go (unbeknown to us, it was school holidays and the place was packed with kids and families. Having to queue up to use the baths, only to have people jumping in next to you and a load of teenagers taking selfies wasn't exactly the peaceful experience I had in mind) so word to the wise: choose an off-peak time to go and opt for the Spa Dreaming Centre rather than the general Bath House. 


Apart from the incredible beaches, the main attraction for us was the wineries that are dotted around the peninsula (and the food, of course - the Winey Cow and D.O.C were our favourites in Mornington). There are loads to choose from and you could probably spend a good week sampling them all but one of the most impressive has to be Port Phillip Estate. 


Architecture fans will love it for its bold, sculptural concrete shape that manages to incorporate both smooth curves and sharp lines, and huge windows that offer unobstructed views of the vineyard below, as well as the sea in the distance. The wine offering is good, as is the food (although a bit on the pricey side - they do a great lunch deal though so go for that if you want to sample the good stuff without spending a huge amount) - my best bet would be to rock up for a tasting at the cellar door and enjoy a glass of your favourite out on the balcony.


Because one winery is never enough, next on our agenda was a visit to Polperro, about a five minute drive down a tree-lined road from Port Phillip Estate. It was a lot smaller and less formal but the perfect place to while away an afternoon. They offer food too, which we didn't try but looked good, and the wine was some of the best Australian wine I've tried since arriving here back in February. Go on a sunny day and plonk yourself on one of the deck chairs overlooking the vines (they provide blankets in winter), or go to the intimate cellar door for tastings. 


Pictured: Port Phillip Estate 






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Friday, 6 July 2018

Carriageworks, Sydney



Dress: COS
Ring: COS
Bag: MM6 Maison Margiela (in black)
Shoes: Zara 

We're fully into winter in Australia now (although at 14 degrees and bright sunshine most days, it certainly isn't winter as I know it) and we're about to move to Melbourne - Sydney was our original plan but having spent our time so far travelling around (some of) the country, we've decided that Melbourne is going to be a better fit in terms of job opportunities, living costs and, well, the food and coffee options are second to none. 


I'm excited to truly get to know the city - there seem to be a lot of exciting events coming up in the next few months and there are some local brands that I'm ready to spend some serious dollar on. That's not to say I still don't love Sydney though, and I'm looking forward to having some weekends up there. These snaps are from a couple of months ago (yup, my blog updates have been a little s l o w of late) when we spent the day at Carriageworks, an arts centre that's home to exhibitions, a farmer's market, events and the like, plus it plays host to some of the shows during fashion week. 




The building itself is a mix of a former railway carriage and blacksmith workshops, and that industrial nature has been retained in much of the redevelopment - expect lots of concrete, big open spaces, plenty of steel and original features. 


I wore a white COS dress that ended up becoming one of my go-tos during the balmy Sydney autumn - simple and light, but with slightly voluminous sleeves that fought off the chill that arrived come sundown. All in all, worth the trip if you're ever in Sydney (plus it's free and there's a great little cafe). Take a look at what's on at the Carriageworks website and stay tuned for Melbourne finds. 







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