The best buys I ever had from a charity shop were both for men, and not for me.
The first bargain was a man's suit by Ermenegildo Zegna, the Italian designer, which cost me £5.00. It was a bit flashy for my husband's taste, but suited one of my brothers perfectly, as he likes to think he's a sharp dresser. Also, he's short and stocky, and so was the suit...
Take a look at Ermenegildo Zegna Couture, to see the type of thing I mean.
The second charity shop bargain was a vintage '70s suede jacket by Paco Rabanne - very reminiscent of "Mad Men". I loved it, but my husband didn't - so I sold it on eBay for a massive profit.
I can't find a picture of the exact jacket, so here's one of its designer, instead, to compensate:
Charles Jourdan, Paris
One of my best secondhand buys for myself was probably a pair of black patent high-heeled shoes, with zebra-patterned ponyskin heels, made by my favourite shoe designer: Charles Jourdan.
He's renowned not just for his gorgeous shoes, but also for a series of provocative advertising campaigns in the '70s and '80s, courtesy of photographer Guy Bourdin.
My zebra-heeled pair are a lot like the ones shown in this photo, which is typical of Bourdin's style (look away now if you're easily offended):
Finally, my best-ever buy - from somewhere other than a conventional shop - came from a designer sample sale in the late '70s, on Kensington High Street in London.
I went to these regularly, and amassed a collection of Quorum dresses, which I'm still wearing today - and which now sell for hundreds of pounds as they're so collectible.
I won't be parted from mine, however much they're worth, though - and they're looking a bit tired now, anyway, as I've worn them all so often.
See Quorum Fashion Collective for more on the designers who formed the Quorum collective, many of whose names will be familiar even to today's fashionistas:
- Ossie Clark
- Celia Birtwell
- Alice Pollock
- Betty Jackson
- Sheridan Barnett.
I also bought a pair of Missoni leggings at one of the sample sales, which were gorgeous, and would also have been very collectible, but managed to lose them somewhere, the first time I ever wore them.
I have no idea how I did it...but they looked a lot like these:
Sybil Zelker, for Polly Peck
And finally, I found a great dress by Sybil Zelker for Polly Peck, hidden in a wooden trunk at my mum's house - which was totally free!
Here's a picture of a similar dress: