Cheap and chic
Jun 9 2009 by Francesca Craggs, The Journal
Dressing for a day at the races needn't break the bank. Francesca Craggs shows you how to top the style stakes on a budget
TERMED “recession-chic”, the trend for low-cost dressing is very much in vogue. Fashion icon Kylie Minogue was recently spotted on a charity shop shopping spree, while retail guru Mary Portas is seeking to transform the way charity stores do business in her new show, Mary Queen of Charity Shops.
Fashion designers such as Julien McDonald, Matthew Williamson and Biba designer Barbara Hulanicki are also taking advantage of the current economic situation, collaborating with high street chains such as Topshop, Debenhams and H&M to offer designer collections at affordable prices.
With two of the North East’s most glamorous racing events fast-approaching, The John Smith’s Northumberland Plate and Ladies’ Day, why not ditch the designer boutiques and opt for a low cost alternative?
Charity shops stock some great bargains, and if you dig deep enough, you’ll find some real gems.
Helen Hutchinson, manager of the British Heart Foundation charity shop in Eldon Square, Newcastle, said: “We have a fabulous range of hats and fascinators and some lovely summer dresses. We even get bridal and bridesmaids dresses from time to time.”
The key to successful charity shop shopping, according to Helen, is to visit the shops on a regular basis.
“We have some people visit the shop up to five times a day. We have fresh stock every day and the rails are constantly replenished.
“We’ve had some real finds this week including a 1940s vintage velvet coat with silk lining and a Monsoon dress which would have probably cost around £300,” she said.
Helen has noticed a change in public attitude towards charity shops in recent years.
She said “Celebrities like Gok Wan and the popularity of vintage fashion has changed people’s perception of charity shops.”
“Nearly new” shops are also enjoying healthy sales thanks to the recession.
Designer dress agency The Dressing Room specialises in almost new designer clothing and accessories Run by Sheila Walker, the shop on Ashburton Road in Gosforth stocks a great selection of pre-owned hats, shoes, and handbags from designer names such as Paul Vasseur, Coterie, Paddy Campbell, Christian Louboutin, Fendi, Prada, Burberry, Jimmy Choo. There are also evening dresses and hats available to hire, as well as dresses from Coast and Karen Millen, available to buy. All pieces are dry cleaned.
For those who can’t pay designer prices, there’s the high street. The Designers at Debenhams range includes occasionwear from Jasper Conran, John Rocha, Mathew Williamson, and Julian McDonald.
Model: Amy Elliott of AM Models, tel: (0191) 233-1420.
Pictures: Simon Greener.
Hair by Natasha Beattie of Halo.
Hair & Beauty, Pudding Chare, Newcastle, tel: (0191) 221-0339.
Location: Thanks to Newcastle Racecourse, tel: (0191) 236-2020.