First up, slight post hijack. Many of you already know that pillar of the vintage blogging community and my lovely friend Jessica, of Chronically Vintage, has suffered a horrendous loss as her house and its contents burned down last week (her blog has the story). Jessica, her husband and dog escaped but their cat is presumed gone. I can't imagine what that must feel like and what trying to rebuild an entire life and impressive vintage collection must feel like, but I do know that it's going to be a horribly difficult time for the forseeable for them. Just in case someone reading this didn't know and wants to help, then please do visit their donation page (which makes me want to cry with gratitude every time I see it at the good there still is in the world). Some things are more important than clothes, despite what this post is about!!
So (and please excuse the abrupt and seemingly insensitive direction change!), who would have thought that buying (and fixing up) a house and paying for a wedding would put a squeeze on my finances in the latter half of this year? I mean, lovely problems to have of course, but it has rather knocked my good intentions to invest in quality pieces on the head. For a few months, though, I managed it... But now I'm back on the hunt for bargains.
Ok, ok. I did buy another pair of Hasbeens. What can I say, I'm only human and when they're in the sale there's nothing I can do to resist. But apart from that, I'm living more within my means lately. Autumn/winter is a tricky time of year to have a clothes budget though - coats, boots and knitwear that doesn't make you want to scratch your skin off don't come cheap. For the most part, I'm going to be getting by with what I've got (and whatever I'm fortunate enough to review), and top that up with inexpensive bits and pieces.
I have to say, though, I'm actually surprised at what £20 or less can get you this season. In fact, there's so much that I've found that I can write this whole post about it! I apologise in advance for the items that don't ship outside of the UK, by the way (I didn't check, but I would guess that Tesco and Sainsbury's might have such policies).
If you love Collectif's AW range this year and particularly like their new black Olive dress and all the pleather they have going on, you might be pleased to see the Boohoo Effie dress and the Tesco skirt which look, well, remarkably similar to these pieces. I actually snapped up the Boohoo dress (warning, I've linked to a petite version) because I've wanted the Olive dress for ages, but I already know it will be a stupidly long length on me. Not a problem with this dress - it's nicely below the knee, but not excessively. It's not of a knit material like the Collectif dress and not going to feel the same on therefore, but the overall look is really pretty similar so if it's the style you want it's a good bargain option. While I don't own the Tesco pleather skirt, I can vouch for the quality and cut of Tesco's pencil skirts as having worked for me in the past. I quite want to try the whole leather look, so I think this one is going to be for next pay day!
I can also vouch for the Voodoo Vixen cardigan! It's so soft and snuggly, and it makes every outfit look great because faux fur. You can see a picture of me wearing it recently on my Instagram (@ciciandmarie). I also snapped up the denim pencil skirt here, which for the price is really very good. It's a proper pin-up pencil skirt fit with just the right amount of stretch (order your usual size). And no, it's not thick cotton for that price, but that's what tights are for. I also own the Banned top in another colour and while it annoys the heck out of me that they don't make these tops in a size 8, they're so comfortable to wear that I forgive them once I've tucked them in!
The Boohoo embroidered skirt is super pretty - I can picture it looking cute with the New Look velvet bardot top. I'm really impressed to see that amount of detail on a skirt costing only £20 - hopefully the 'catch' is not the scratchiest tulle in the world!! Perhaps the pinafore dress is more of a modern style, but with a turtleneck underneath it'll be great for the office, while having something a bit 60s about it. I think that one is going to have to join my wardrobe too.
Can we all take a moment to marvel that leather touch screen gloves this cute are available for £12 these days (and, er, not worry about how they got to be that cheap)? I'd like these in all colours, really, because who wants to wear nasty looking gloves and/or take them off every time you try to put something on Instagram? But then again, if they're elbow length pleather gloves like this Collectif pair... for £12 I might put up with the lack of phone contact!
So, from this collection, I own two of the items featured. If you do follow me on Instagram you've seen these shoes already - they are incredibly good value for money because they're very padded under foot, as well as looking darn cute. And for me, added bonus of the tie keeping the shoes actually on my foot and not somewhere in my wake. I also snapped up those boots - they are timeless and the design again keeps my foot in, while still not boxing my feet in so they could definitely be worn with midi skirts. Not as comfy as the Tesco pair, but for £20 I'll suck it up.
A cloche hat for £9?! I mean, I don't really do 20s style that much, but for that price, why not? Twice the money but still a snip will get you that lovely Collectif hat, that I have no idea when I'd wear but it wouldn't stop me trying (and it comes in so many colours, including mustard!). I also want to give a shout out for that obi style belt, because I've wanted one since I saw one of Marilyn's outfits in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes where she had similar and it just looked so chic. I hope I manage to get my hands on one of these before they sell out.
So, what do you think of my choices? Any bargains you've spotted lately I should know about? Stay tuned to find out if I buy all 20...
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