Browsing articles tagged with "Oxfam Archives - I Love Saturday"
Feb 11, 2016

Silver Boots… A Life in Style

Silver platforms - CopyI want them, I need them, but there ain’t no way… Silver boots. For my 40th birthday? Hell yeah! Or no way Hose? There comes a time in every woman’s life when she must put away her childish things. For some it’s buying a house. Others, getting married. Most, having kids. Me, turning 40! There’s a new sheriff in Town & it’s my older, (slightly) wiser self. The big sister I never had (or wanted). Anyway, she talks more sense than I ever did… So it’s “Non!” to silver boots.

I saw them in the window of Buffalo only last week. Came home & told my husband. Rookie mistake. Eyebrows were raised. Laughter was stifled. “You’ll end up looking like that Mad Oul Wan with the crazy paintings on Merrion Square”. Indignant, I stroke my fun fur leopard coat. The time has come. So soon… I stare down at my shiny black leather Chelsea boots. He’s right. There’s a fine line. I open my wardrobe. The sequins, the statements, the madness… Everything must go!

shopaholicI’ve always known this was coming, so last New Year I got the ball rolling. Several black bags straight on down to Age Action, never to be seen (by me) again. Bubblegum pink 1960s Babydoll dresses, Granny’s curtains 1970s Maxi dresses, electric blue metallic platforms, gold knee-high Wonder Woman boots, patchwork corduroy Baker Boy hats… Buh bye! Clothes I’d lovingly collected over the years; worn to gigs, parties, dates. Even work! Alas, I’m too vintage for Vintage. Sigh…

Ah, glory days! So, before I say a fond farewell to the rest, a trip down fashion memory lane… Aged 0 to 5, as a child of the 70s, I wore a fetching mixture of brown pinafores, anything made of floral sofa material, mustard cable-knit cardies & homemade woolly bobble hats. We also lived abroad in a hot country, during which time I wore just pants & armbands. Stylish! Up to age 10 it was all novelty ankle socks, Mickey Mouse watches & neon pink polyester Kylie Minogue sweaters.

MadonnaThen followed a tres shady Tween grey area of finding one’s fashion feet. I had an old Singer sewing machine by now… We’re talking homemade rah-rah skirts with matching Fergie bows (remember?), a t-shirt with “Madonna is Cool” written with one of those glitter fabric pens, liberal use of diamante & studs, plastic clip-on earrings & my first pair of high heels. And my first lipstick. I can still taste that synthetic pink gloop. So, basically the same gear I was running up for my Barbies.

Secondary school changed everything. First I tried to keep up with the Joneses. Whatever the popular girls were wearing, I had to have it. My Mother was tormented keeping up with trends. Levi’s sweatshirts, Converse, tie-dyed t-shirts, khaki bomber jackets. Next thing… Rebellion! I started buying records. Then began the snakeskin boots, velvet blazers, second-hand purple flares, Morrissey t-shirts. Topped off with Bjork buns, blonde streaks and a complete disregard for school.

LifeMe and my best mate went to gigs every night of the week. Suede, Pulp, Blur, Radiohead, Nirvana, Elastica, Oasis. We mitched off to catch the Manics in Cork, even though we’d just seen them at the Tivoli. I have a vivid memory of the pair of us lusting after serious Rock Chick trousers in ASHA. Silver PVC for me, tartan bondage for her. We’d visit them every week, our baby-sitting money getting closer, but for our pesky record buying habits. We never did get them in the end…

I was 19 when London called. Art School. Parties. Days in bed. Going up the West End. I hated it as much as I loved it. A curious phase of collecting dolls & wearing pink plastic platforms, with a Barbie backpack, melded with a spell of serious clubbing. I was lonely for my friends back Home, yet doing things I would never have done at UCD. I took a second bite at London after finishing college in Dublin, this time all lip gloss & tight jeans. Aged 22, I was King of the World. And then some!

TopshopBlonde & yoga-toned, I worked in a gym & wore my jeans painted on. I had the arms for vests & the nerve for killer heels. Living with five other girls (and, at one stage, two blokes & a dog) in Central London, we’d start in the flat & end up down Soho, in Camden or Shepherd’s Bush. Shopping for Saturday night, I’d hit Topshop Oxford Circus, at the bottom of our street. Loud dance music pumped through it’s floors. Portobello Market & Covent Garden were regular haunts.

Eventually London moved on, and so did I. Back to Dublin. The wilderness years of my late 20s followed. What was I going to  with my life? I lived with my parents for a bit, working lots of silly little jobs. Did writing classes, wrote plenty of fiction. Got into astrology. Started learning French again. Went to music festivals. Partied just as much as ever, only now with hangovers. Wore combats, slogan t-shirts. Adidas Superstars. Cut my hair off. Got a bit fatter. Lost my mojo big time…

Night FeverI wondered if I should return to England. Not London, maybe Brighton? It’s funny, when you’re 30 you think “This is it… if I don’t sort my life out now, I’m fucked!”. For my birthday I had a 1970s disco at my parents’ place (always a party house). Music, lights, glitter. Everyone got dressed up. I drank Babycham & got sick. It was class! But the Celtic Tiger had arrived, roaring madly. My mates got mortgages, careers got real. Folk even got married. But, I was unemployed & living at home…

Then a random phone call. A typing test? A job interview. My first office job. It lasted nearly five years. I got a place in Town. I was workin’ 9 to 5, doing a Journalism degree at night. Still living like it was 1995. Shopping was one of my fave pastimes & the office was my catwalk. I’d do Grafton Street late-nite Thursday, pop into TK Maxx on Saturday morning & browse the Dublin Flea Market, around the corner from my flat, of a Sunday. I loved the Sales. And I adored Vintage.

GirlsMy Boss would ask me, over the phone, “What are you wearing today?”. He hated City Shorts, so I wore them. And silk Pussy Bow blouses with a slick 1970s flared jumpsuit. A black peplum mini dress with a leopard top, fishnets & red t-bar shoes (a colleague thanked me for wearing “Ann Summers” to work). A lilac polyester 1960s dress with cravat & balloon sleeves. Sunshine yellow heels with a green pencil skirt. Heidi plaits with diamante hair slides. Wool suits & knee-high boots.

One day I wore a floaty silk dress. Nothing unusual there. I showed a couple of Big Wig clients to the boardroom, got them some tea. Then clocked my rear-view in the Ladies. Garishly patterned Pink Panther boy-shorts screamed for attention underneath the see-thru fabric. I’d gotten dressed in the dark. A lunchtime dash to M&S for a more subtle pair of work knicks. And a slip! It wasn’t the first or last time I left too little to the imagination… I really don’t know how I got away with it.

TypingRedundancy. I’d graduated by now & decided to give my writing career a go. I had no choice. The Recession was at full tilt & there was no chance of a job. Over the last five years I’ve had gigs as a Costume Assistant in films, Commercial Copywriter, Proof Reader, Shop Manager, Social Media Content. Wrote plenty of fiction. Still not published. And I Love Saturday, of course. I was skint, but I still managed to socialise like crazy. I met lots of new friends & certainly didn’t settle down.

Any clothes money was spent in Oxfam. Granny chic. I filled out again & covered my cushioned tush with floral chiffon dresses, cashmere cardies, an electric blue wool cape from Avoca (second-hand). Red cowboy boots, Kate Betts hats, rainbow silk scarves, stripy tights. My wardrobe, although organised (sometimes), was like a jumble sale. I was losing my edge. Sometimes I looked put together; more often thrown together. I longed to live in a minimalist hotel room, with zero stuff.

HepburnBut, then I met my husband & moved to our one bedroom loft in Temple Bar. I won’t lie, we’re both messy. We binned a load of things. There’s still too much. Most of my clothes are at Home (sorry Mom & Dad). Lying dormant in a Sliderobe prison. I’ve lost the lard (again!) & I’m ready to wear these clothes. However, I’ve moved on… I’ve never been a “classic” dresser. I always loved clothes that made me laugh (I know). So, a more mature image is in order, no doubt about it… Let the cull begin!

I’ve read Marie Kondo’s best seller “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying”. Yes indeed. The Madame Chic series by Jennifer L Scott also speaks to me; I have all three books. Today I picked up Stylist Annmarie O’Connor’s “The Happy Closet”. Mindful dressing. I like! And a pair of black Lee skinny jeans (birthday present to self). No silver boots… And no idea what my brand new look is gonna be, but as the Konmari Method promises; it will Spark Joy. Here goes nothing… *opens wardrobe*

Jul 24, 2012

Back to the Future – Disco Retro

Ah, that Friday feeling. I met Dad in town and we enjoyed a half an hour each in our fave shops – the best way for boys and girls to shop! Followed by a lazy lunch in the M&S Rooftop restaurant. The menu here is stuffed full of all that lovely Marks nosh that you can’t help putting in your basket – only it’s cooked for you! We had yummy fish cakes, chicken in Parma, chocolate brownie and lemon tart.

When I got back to the bat cave, it was a quick fire round of housework, followed by some scribbling and a flop on the sofa with a nice cup of tea. The girls were coming ’round for a screening of Back to the Future chez moi. The official show at the Sugar Club was sold out, but we planned to meet our pals who’d got their mitts on tickets, for the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance. Chardonnay time…

The movie night, run by Film Fatale, was a twist on their monthly classic screenings with both 50s and 80s themes combined. How clever! So while some of my girlfriends were dressed up all Madonna stylee in lace fingerless gloves and neon leg warmers, I went all demure in a dusky pink prom dress I’d picked up in Oxfam last week. Isn’t she lovely? The blokes went for a double denim and “life preserver” combo.

The Sugar Club had been transformed into an underwater paradise, just like the movie, with soap bubbles and balloons. The dance floor was jumping with kids jiving to Jaime Nanci and the Blue Boys, who were belting out rock ‘n’ roll gems. These cool cats had us tapping our toes to “Johnny B Goode” and “Jailhouse Rock”. Entertaining us after dark with a slick set was the Andrews Sisters Brothers.

We were whipped up into a frenzy on rum cocktails and high jinks with some top 80s tunes. These guys had their finger on the retro pulse with well chosen records – not too obvious, nor too obscure. It felt like 1986 again when I was gliding around the Top Hat roller disco, with my Mickey Mouse jumper and a Michael J Fox poster ripped out of Smash Hits proudly blue tacked to my bedroom wall. Good times!

Salt ‘n’ Pepa, Chaka Khan and, of course, MJ had us dancing ’til 3am. Film Fatale really know how to throw a party and event organiser Anna Taylor told me they were thrilled with the sellout night. It seems they’ve found a new niche with the 80s! I was fit for the scrapheap after a final flurry to New Order’s “Blue Monday” and headed home to bedfordshire, brow damp and feet burning. Like Friday night should be…

www.filmfataleevents.blogspot.com / The Sugar Club, 8 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2

Mar 9, 2012

Oxfam – Isn’t She Lovely?

Having a nosey in the shops during the week, I was shocked to find the door of Oxfam on George’s Street locked up. Say it ain’t so? Happily, the new Oxfam on South King Street is only a stone’s throw, so I skipped on over pronto for my vintage fix. Remember the Fairtrade shop, where they sold lots of cool hippy stuff? Well, it’s where that used to be, opposite Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre.

Now if the words charity shop make you think of old granny pants, this Oxfam will change your mind. As a longtime bargainista, I’ve found diamonds in the rough on mouldy rails from London to Capel Street. But this place is a different experience. Kitted out with a slick interior and stocked with plenty of nearly new threads, this posh Oxfam blends in nicely with the boutiques on Grafton Street.

With colour coded sections, the store is easy to get around. No more rummaging! Shoes and jewellery are artfully dotted about and there’s a serious magpie’s cabinet in the corner. I spent a good ten minutes examining it’s contents, easily done with my gra for quirky tat. The quality of the gear signals that Oxfam is reaching out to a new audience, who may not have considered second hand before.

I left the dressing room with an armful of lovely things. A pinky tweed coat, a 1970’s suede mini and brand new red wellingtons. All cheap as chips! But my “absolute find” was a 1960’s handmade fur trim gold and turquoise party dress. Love at first sight… The ladies running this gaff are so nice too, their pride in the shop is warming and they told me that business is doing well. I know I’ll be back!

Oxfam, 54 South King Street, Dublin 2

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