three outfits for £30? challenge accepted


my love for second-hand clothes is no secret at all. whether it's second-hand by way of hand-me-downs, or second-hand by way of swap shops, or second-hand by way of a charity shop, i have absolutely no problems with wearing someone else's clothes - recycled and sustainable fashion is good for the pocket, and great for the environment, so in a way, i feel like i'm doing my bit for the planet and reducing my footprint through my second-hand shopping choices. i get to feel good twice over: one, for scoring a bargain, and two for helping the planet live a little longer.

it's true also that sometimes the pieces you find in a charity shop are no cheaper than when they were first sold (like, lol at the primark dress with a £5 tag on it; there's no way it was every sold for more than that, and it's clearly worn), but occasionally you will just find that one gem that makes your hunt through the rails worthwhile. to prove that, my local charity shop - st. christopher's hospice - challenged me to come up with three different outfits using only pieces found on the rails in-store. to add an even harder element to that challenge, i only had £30 to spend in the process. three outfits for £30? challenge accepted.



 biker £8 (miss selfridge) | skirt £1 (next) | top £3.50 (m&s) | boots & beret are model's own

i found this great skirt on the £1 rail, that i knew i had to make mine. it's a metallic/wet-look mid-length beauty, with really "trendy" pleats and a commmfy elasticated waist. it's from next originally, so you just *know* that that £1 tag was an absolute steal, especially because the skirt was in such good condition. why anyone would want to give it up i'll never know, but i am so totally pleased that it's now mine. i then found this black biker poking out of the coats section - lord knows i don't need any more jackets or coats, but £8 for a miss selfridge biker was enough of a reason to totally overlook my current wardrobe's contents. plus: i don't have a black one (that's true). to offset the amount of sheeeeer *black* that was going on, i opted for this pretty little chiffon top i gravitated to because of the pretty peachy flowers in it. i wasn't sure it would fit - it's an m&s fitted number, but turns out, it does. so, all in all, that was a solid £12.50 spent on just one outfit. one down, two to go.





 top £4 (m&s) | skirt £1 (next)

the skirt is black, with a fun metallic sheen running through it, so my natural instinct was to dress it up. but they say that something is only a bargain if a) you need it b) you can afford it c) you can see it three ways. i could definitely afford it, it was a quid. i didn't have a black midi, so in a way, i kind of *needed* it. but more than one way? i had a look around for other tops i could wear it with, something less dressy, and came up with nothing. i'd hoped for a tee - something very casual and relaxed, but there wasn't anything that caught my eye.. until i saw this incredible minty stripe hanging off a rail. it's not a top i would normally go for - it's a fitted breton that's originally from the like, "walking along the beach in linen capris with my spaniel" section of m&s, but.. something about it really made me happy. probs the massive amounts of colour. so, for another £4 it became miiiiiiiiine.



shoes £5 (e5p) | trousers £5 (e5p) | biker £8 | jumper £3.50 (m&s)

the last thing i bought, was something so far out of my usual, blinkered shopping niche: a bright aqua blue cotton jumper, again from m&s. the colour is so bold and bright, and obviously that's what attracted me to it, but.. the style of the jumper and the fit, are just so casual for me. for £3.50 i definitely wasn't going to leave the jumper behind, but i wasn't sure how i was going to style it.. until i was hanging my laundry up from fuerteventura; the fitted and lightweight trousers that i bought from everything 5 pounds before we went away were the perfect thing to tone down the jumper a little, and also make it less obviously a nanna's jumper, so that was an easy decision for me. and, at a fiver each for the trou *and* the incredibly comfy silver plimsols that i nabbed last week, this outfit still came in under budget. because i'm amazing.

i should note as well that i absolutely didn't just buy random bits of clothes from st. chris' for that £30. i also bought four books and a dress that turned out not to fit (which i was actually going to pair with the blue jumper - it has the same colour running through it so gahhhhhhh for it not fitting my giant boobs, but yaaaay for the back-up trousers), and still came away with some change. with two floors of second-hand bits and pieces to sift through, i was in-store for over an hour before i finally skipped away with my new finds. not only was i pleased with my purchases, but quite obviously, i was pleased to have helped a local charity fundraise, so they can continue to do their amazing work in the community. st. christopher's are more than just a hospice, and have been for over 50 years now. and maybe a bit selfishly - because i now have some great new bits - i am very glad to have them nearby.


*budget was kindly offered by st. christopher's, who i genuinely do shop with regularly. i was honoured to work with them on this campaign, and - while researching them online, discovered they have an ebay store too. happy shopping! photos by charley, location by laurie cansfield.