...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.
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.
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?
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