Vintage Inspiration: It's A Wonderful Life

Vintage Inspiration: It's A Wonderful Life

The black Oasis dress is still available on sale for £30 online. Doesn't the tweed overcoat look so cosy? I've seen quite a few like them in charity shops going for very reasonable prices (especially in the Morningside and Bruntsfield areas). And you could pick up a club tie in just about any charity shop you walk into. Your man could look like James Stewart too!

C x


Style Inspiration: Last Night

I watched this a wee while ago, and had mostly forgotten about it until I saw a photograph of Keira Knightley which reminded me of how stunning she looked in this film. I'm not a KK fan, and I thought 'Last Night' was beautifully shot (by Peter Deming, Mulholland Drive) but not really saying what is was trying to say particularly well, but she was styled divinely throughout the film (by Ann Roth, Cold Mountain) in gorgeous classic pieces:
The 'Night' is spent in a beautiful cashnere camel coat and royal navy silk dress (which I wish I could identify!)

I also liked her casual outfit, the oversized grey cardigan in particular.

So all in all, not a film to put high on your 'to-watch' list but it is worth a flick through to see some impeccable styling, and some of the locations used were terribly stylish too - when is a film set in New York not?

C x


Recommended - Design*Sponge at Home

I had a voucher for Amazon and I had had my eye on this for a while, alas not turning up in any of my favourite charity bookshops (there's a reason - it's awesome and you would never, ever donate it) so I spent it! Ooooh, spending free money feels good.

But back to the book - it's filled with DIY ideas, and inspirational homes, many of which are teeny tiny like mine and having to be furnished on microbudgets. It's fun just to flick through out of nosiness, or if you're seriously looking for cheap ways to spruce up the flat (without needing to be a regular DIY/arty fart), and I kinda just like having it sitting on my coffee table. Makes me look all grown-up and stuff. 

C x


House of Colour Make-Up Sale

I do love a good sale. I treated myself to an early Christmas present at the House of Colour Make-Up sale. Got myself 3 lovely nail varnishes in various Winter shades, and a white mineral eye shadow for post-exam parties (I forgot to include it in the picture).

I got Shocking Pink, Deep Fuschia and Burgundy, all super-cool Winter tones.

Check out the sale yourself here: www.houseofcolour.co.uk/hocshop/pages/sale (I'm not sponsored to advertise or anything, I just really like their products for the huge range of colours!).

C x



I am eternally grateful to my Mum who knitted me some socks for my recent birthday. The temperature dropped to 0 degrees today in Scotland, and these came in most handy, as did my two jumpers, fleece lined leggings, woolly slippers and cashmere gloves. Oh, and I stayed indoors all day.

C x


Charity Shop Art

Apologies for the long absence in posting, I have been living under a rock, studying hard and not getting much chance to check out the shops. I did do a round of the charity shops near the the university to pick up some cheap textbooks (saved well over £100). In the Barnardo's bookshop on South Clerk Street, they have baskets full of vintage postcards and photographs which would look lovely in lots of little frames, mounted up on a feature picture wall.

I only have the one very pretty white Ikea frame which I've been dying to put something in. When I was flicking through a travel book, 3 little tickets fell out to the Doge's Palace in Venice. They were beautiful, intricate prints, and they reminded me of visiting Venice when I was little, so I bought the book for the sake of the tickets, and to dream of a day when I can afford to go back to Italy.

C x


A Cardigan Girl is on Twitter

...at the very thoughtful address twitter.com/ACardiganGirl.

I don't really know what I'm doing yet, but I've heard when people follow you it's a good thing.

C x


Shelter 'Rebrand' Edinburgh Shops

Shelter Scotland have announced plans to rebrand their shops in an effort to attract more customers and donations. All 8 Edinburgh shops will get a makeover, with the Stockbridge branch getting first dibs. You can read a full article about it here

From volunteering in a particularly well-branded charity shop, I hear plenty of comments from customers praising the character and care put into the layout and decoration of our shop. Good branding should make a charity shop feel like a boutique, and add to the sense of treasure-hunting while you flip through the rails. On the other hand, bad branding (or a complete lack thereof) results in dull, lifeless charity shops with a lack of distinctive personality: bare walls and endless, unthoughtful rails are off-putting right from the get go, and you'll need serious stamina to find yourself a buy among them.

I've frequently found things in Shelter Stockbridge, and personally, I wouldn't have put it at the top of my list for getting rebranded - the window displays are always kookie and whimsical, the endless Baroque music charming and the rails sorted by style rather than colour or size appealing for treasure-hunters. I hope in an effort to draw more footfall, Shelter don't spoil the individuality of their shops for a generic 'high street' look, and continue to promote the obvious creativity of their staff and volunteers. 

As always, I love to hear your comments.

C x


To Buy Or Not To Buy: Footwear in Charity Shops

When it comes to second hand shoes, I would normally advise against ever buying something that doesn't still have the tags on. I think it only takes a couple of wears for a shoe or boot to begin molding to the shape of one's foot, so the chances are a second hand shoe isn't going to fit your foot comfortably. 

Having said that, one of the girls I work with in the charity shop loves buying vintage shoes, and she has never had even a tweak of pain while wearing a pair. Perhaps it's nothing to do with comfort, just the thought of one pair of sweaty feet in the same place as my sweaty feet (gross). 

I made one exception to my rule a few weeks ago, and bought beautiful Kurt Geiger soft-leather knee-high boots from my charity shop. These were £20, and after a long inspection, I decided these could only have been worn once, so sensing an unbelievable bargain, I splurged, scooped them up and carried my almost-new babies home:

Why did I make the exception? Well, first of all, Kurt Geiger. Second, I'm pretty sure many of the shoes we buy from shoe shops have been bought before, tried at home then returned. Is there really much difference with these? There wasn't a flake of dust on the sole, my only reason for thinking they weren't completely new was the inner label was a little squashed and deformed. Bargain in my books.

So, would you buy second hand shoes or boots? More importantly, do you? Or do you need that new-shoe smell to feel satisfied that your pieds have found their perfect match? 

C x


Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair

Y'all know I heart vintage. But you also know that I am a stingy son of a gun, so I'm not a habitual vintage shopper. I still thought I would check out 'Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair' when it hit Edinburgh yesterday, and honestly, it was heavenly. No ripped old tatty Laura Ashley granny dresses in size 18 like the vintage rails in some charity shops seem to be filled with: instead rows of neat sport blazers, thick knit Arran jumpers and regularly sized silk blouses and leather shorts. The jewelry stalls were neatly laid out, no need to spend ages untangling chains and prices went from dirt cheap to moderate but sensible for real vintage jewelry. I was surprised at how much menswear there was, and indeed how many men came along, but what surprised me mosst was how little kitsch there was - I always think of vintage fairs as being filled with Dita Von Teese clones in Vivien of Holloway bombshell dresses with perfectly permed roll fringes, but in fact the fair was full of average people just looking to get their hands on something no one else has.

Wanna see what I got?
Diamante & plastic pearl brooch, £4, Rare and Flair

Lee Cooper t-shirt (for the gentleman), £5.

Ralph Lauren cotton shirt-cum-nightshirt, £5.

Poodle plastic brooch, £2, Goodbye Norma Jean.

I really don't have anymore room in my wardrobe for clothes so I was very strict with myself, tempted as I was to splurge on a cute 70s red batwing dress ("But when will I realistically wear it?").

So the next time the fair is in town, I will pop back along, perhaps armed with a little more idea of what I actually want to find. Have a gander at the website to find out when the fair is coming to your city: theaffordablevintagefair.blogspot.com

C x


Charity Shop Finds: Karen Millen Top

Karen Millen knit zip-up top, £5.29 Barnardo's Stockbridge:

(I wanted to make sure it went with plenty of things in my wardrobe) 

I love the zip up the back. The material is a pretty thick knit, so I can see it being worn most during the winter.  I think purple is a really versatile colour, it really does go with pretty much any colour:

C x


I had a wee holiday

I've been a bit rubbish with blogging all summer. It's something about having deadlines and work to do that makes me want to write from time to time escape it all. I start back at uni next week on a SECOND 4 year degree, so hopefully this keeps the inspiration flowing.

I recently went up to the north west of my beautiful country for a break from the hectic city of Edinburgh in the throes of its Festival frenzy. It was beautiful and silent.

I spent lots of quiet time at the beach looking for shells and driftwood.

I went up a hill with amazing views.

And on the way home we stopped at a loch which the old road south used to go past so is now sorta desolate and alien looking. We picked up bits of bog wood which I am going to make into some sort of display (pics to follow).

I barely spent any money, except in one lovely little shop in Drumbeg:
I bought the Misty Mountain soy candle, although everything smelled divine. Have a look at the online shop, the products are all natural and pure and lovely!

C x


Winter Coat Inspiration

You may find this a touch premature, but as we ease into September in Scotland, it's time to start thinking about gloves, hats and coats. I have a lovely classic black wool wrap coat, but on those gloomy afternoons when it's dark by 6 o'clock, I wish I had something more cheerful and bright to wear. Coats can appear at any time of the year in charity shops, unless the shop has storage space (doubtful in the city centre). So, it's worth keeping your eyes open for a good Winter coat throughout the year. Unfortunately, folks don't want to be parting with good warm coats, so for a quality coat, you might want to check out John Lewis, Jenners/House of Fraser (origin of my black coat), Zara and M&S, all of which are worth paying the price for quality. Or you could win the lottery and buy one of these beauts:

Blugirl AW11

Bottega Veneta AW11

Alberta Ferretti AW11

Gucci AW11

Diana von Furstenberg AW11

Alberta Ferretti AW11

Elie Tahari AW11

(images via style.com)

C x


Those Were The Days

New favourite shop! 

www.thosewerethedaysvintage.com 26 St Stephen Street, Stockbridge, EH3 5AL.

(the facebook page is currently the best place to stay updated)

The lovely Claire started off at the Barnardo's Vintage shop in the Grassmarket (soon to be RIP, and merging with Barnardo's Stockbridge), then bravely set out starting her own boutique, filled with finds from L.A. and London. All the stock has been expertly cared for and restored (none of that damp smell you sometimes find in vintage), and honestly, just a quick rifle through the rails is a complete joy. The 1950s tea dresses are incredible (so much tulle!), but you can expect anything from the 1930s to 1980s, a bridal section to make you squeal and a guys rail with awesome rare vintage t-shirts and polos.

I doubt I can make you appreciate how fun this new shop is unless you go pop in yourself. I spotted an Aerosmith Nine Lives t-shirt on the facebook page and couldn't resist. I just need an excuse to buy a very VERY pretty dress and I'm back there in an instant.

'Nine Lives' t-shirt, Those Were the Days; jacket, Barnardo's Vintage; skirt, Primark.

C x


Hand-me-down blouse

While we're on the subject of lace, here's a super easy project I managed to do in 5 minutes. The original blouse owner was much better endowed in the chest than me, so I looked a bit daft in it. Because the cap sleeves are only attached 2/3 around the arm hole, I could do a straight stitch on either side of the hip up to the underarm without messing with the sleeves at all (I would have had to undo seams in the arms if the sleeves had been longer). I originally thought about putting a tuck in each sleeve too, but in the end, the exaggerated shape next to the fitted bodice looked quite dramatic, so I left the sleeves oversized. The skirt is that fabulous bargain I got in Primark at the start of the year.

C x


Vintage Inspiration: People Will Talk

I watched one of Cary Grant's less famous films the other day, "People Will Talk" (1951), written by Joseph Manciewicz who you might know better as the writer/director of "All About Eve" (1950). Jeanne Crain co-stars,  and wears some gorgeous early 50s outfits, like this military-influenced coat and tailored dress:

But there was one dress that really caught my eye:

The dress structure is simple enough: a sweetheart halterneck tea dress, but what really makes it is a small lace overlay which drapes over the shoulders to a point in the middle of the back (unattached to the back of the dress, rather like a sailor style collar). I wonder if it might be quite easy to recreate this with a strapless dress, and a small square lace scarf. It could be pinned with a brooch on each side of the chest to hold in place. One would only need a Cary Grant on the arm to complete the look.

C x


Banana Republic do Mad Men

Remember how much I have loved finding Banana Republic in the charity shops, like here and here? In the UK, they have 5 shops in London and one in Bath, so it feels like finding treasure when I spot something by BR here in Scotland. I doubt I will ever pay full price, despite the high quality, because the prices are a bit beyond a student budget. However, they've announced a collaboration with Mad Men costume designer Janie Bryant, and it's really making me wish I had lots of money: 
The right hand picture isn't far off what cardigan girls like to wear currently. And that trench is just awesome.
Houndstooth and pearls, headscarf and tweed suit! 
The gentleman's collection is equally gorgeous. I love that shawl collar cardigan.
And hats! I also love that those heels look like they could actually be walked in.

(Images from NYMag.com)

C x


Charity Shop Find - Belated June

Volunteering in a charity shop has been oddly cathartic. Being surrounded by clothes, good or bad quality, has made me appreciate the variety of clothes in my own wardrobe, and when it comes to my addiction to sales and special offers, realising that I can always pick up something similar for even less within four or five charity shops has stopped that feeling of missing out when I walk past a sale without looking in. 

Seeing the kinds of things people donate also reminds me of how ridiculous my consumerist desires could become. Trends barely a month old are recognisable among the recent donations, as more harem pants and floor length skirts than we can sell fill the rails. Sometimes these cast offs match the styles (but never the quality) of the vintage rail, and you can be damn sure it'll be in fashion again one day. A member of my family has this sussed, and deliberately puts clothes into storage, to discover them a few years later when they're next in fashion. Do you ever watch those Gok Wan TV shows where he visits the wardrobes of women with sales addictions, and they have cupboards and drawers bursting with clothes? We buy into the next trend, but where does really that get us? As I was wondering this, I looked through my wardrobe, and noted that since I stopped trying to keep up with trends, my clothes (now around 50% from charity shops) have started to become a cohesive collection of mix and match pieces (how often I would have to buy a new top to match a new skirt!), which offers the potential for longer term style. I may not look on trend, but the money I might be able to save and put towards a life experience (hello holiday) is, for me, worth infinitely more.

So here's the ONE new piece of clothing I bought in June, from Bethany Christian Trust on Hamilton Place. It's a gem, and I consider it underpriced at £5. 
Black wool Banana Republic kilt, £5.
(Antoni & Alison pink silk shirt, satin bow from the sewing kit, Dune pumps)

It's very, very heavy, so not really practical for summer. Oh, actually wait, I live in Scotland, it's probably completely appropriate for July (there were flash floods in Edinburgh, people lost their cars! In July!).

C x


Tulle Time - Harry Potter Premiere

What did y'all think of Emma Watson's gown for the final Harry Potter premiere?

I think the dress (Oscar de la Renta) would be fabulous on someone with more of a romantic/free-spirit nature, but with Emma Watson's gamine haircut and love of all things tailored and neat (she was the face of Burberry after all), this dress wears her a little? Perhaps she should donate it to A Cardigan Girl, mmyes???

Okay, I should perhaps have read the blogosphere a little more thoroughly. She actually wore the dress with this super chic Antonio Berardi jacket, which I think you'll agree, is much more Brit style/Emma Watson.


This works much better, doesn't it? It's curious that something as simple as a plain white blazer should change an outfit to that extent, but it really balances out the wild tulle, and moves the outfit towards EW's gamine personality.

C x