Charity Shop Gems

Whenever I buy something from a chazza, I always have a little wonder about who owned the garment, what type of person they were and why they gave the item away.

Sometimes, you can hazard a guess about the person behind the purchase, but in the case of the top I’m about to show you, I’m completely bamboozled!

This sweatshirt was a bargain-tastic ONE POUND from a chazza simply called ‘Charity Shop’ on Allerton Rd in Liverpool and as soon as I clapped eyes on it, I knew it had to be mine!

When I took it to the till, the lady serving gushed ‘Oh isn’t that beautiful!’ Now guys, there are many words that could be used to describe this top, but beautiful isn’t one of them.

I would have gone for Crazy, Interesting, Unusual, Strange, Bonkers, Confusing, Creative, Insane, Genius or just plain Mental.

It was clear that this remarkable piece started out life as a plain sweatshirt before it was embellished to within an inch of its life. The hand-sewn patches and decorations are finished to no more than GCSE grade D needlework standard, but that is simply part of what makes it so f*cking brilliant.

Can we also take a second to appreciate the theme of the DIY upcycle? It appears that the contents of a sewing box have been crudely emptied onto the top and sewn in place with no rhyme or reason given to form or structure.

There’s a doily, random fruit appliqué patches and the piece de resistance - an actual tape measure winding its way around the torso like a drunken snake. 

And just ONE tape measure bow on the right sleeve; now that, my friends is sartorial genius at its finest.

Nothing would give me greater pleasure in life than meeting the person behind this design concept. I feel we’d have a lot in common besides a shared love of wacky DIY creations. 

I’d love for us to sit down together and sew mad stuff onto tops over afternoon tea, without a care for the normal conventions of fashion. 

I debuted this astonishing sweatshirt on a day out to Chester with Alan. He couldn’t stop laughing at it by the way, but agreed with me over several aspects of its brilliance.

Our first port of call was Woodstock Society, an awesome vintage shop we frequent whenever we’re in town. They were cool enough to let me do my fashion shoot inside in return for a shoutout - so let me show you around and finish telling you about the rest of my outfit.

I always enjoy a good rummage around in Woodstock as the curated vintage is always in great condition and very reasonably priced. 

I should probably admit I have enough clothes, but who doesn’t need more clothing? Especially if there’s a sign directing you towards it!

They have a huge selection of vinyl too, I’m old enough to remember it being called LP’s and singles but don’t tell anyone. Again, the prices are super-reasonable, take this adorable offering for instance!

Who even knew that Rudolph the red-nose reindeer and Rupert had done a collab??

There’s also bits and bobs of new merch too, I’m not cool enough to wear anything with a skull on, but it’s there if you fancy it!

My favourite item for sale that day was this fab gold bed - it’s exactly the type of bed I could see myself in once rich and famous. I couldn’t resist a quick sit down on it, which brings me nicely onto my trousers.

It might surprise you to hear that these trews are from Zara and not a charity or vintage shop. I’m actually a HUGE Zara fan, but I only ever shop there in the sales as it’s a tad pricey. These bottle-green jumbo cords were £24.99 in the January sale, which is a wee bit steep for a sale item. But I love them, worship them in fact and I’ve practically never had them off my legs since I brought them home.

They’re super-thick, warm and comfortable and I’ll be very sorry to see these take a back seat when the warmer weather hits. They had humongous piles of these left over and it struck me that I am ALWAYS the person who champions the underdog fashion item.

For my outerwear items, I opted for this faux-fur jacket I got at Barnardo’s topped off with my trusty H&M baker boy cap.

For my bag, I chose my new favourite Primark ‘Chloe Faye’ inspired arm-candy. I’m still jolly chuffed I managed to save myself £1,240 over the designer version and I must say, it is meeting all my handbag needs brilliantly. Readers, I do believe the search for the perfect black bag is over!

Besides all the usual vintage and vinyl fayre, Woodstock Society is now hosting live bands on Saturday afternoons. They’re aiming to get local performers in as often as they can, so it’s well worth popping in to see who’s on that week.

We were treated to a nice little free gig from Shem Sharples that day and they were right good! 

So that’s how I rolled around Chester and I hope that my outfit and the peek inside Woodstock Society has inspired you to go and live your best life wearing whatever the heck you like!

My top has been met with mixed reactions in real life (mostly bad tbh) but if you only take one thing from this blog, let it be the confidence to go forth and wear what makes you happy. It really doesn’t matter what people think. I love this crazy, sassy look and that’s all that matters! 

Love Laura X

Photos by Alan

Thanks to Brian for letting me roam around Woodstock Society taking pics!

If you’re interested in popping in to Woodstock, it’s at 88-94 Brook St, Chester and is open 10-6, Monday to Saturday. They’re also on Twitter @WoodstockVinyl 

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