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Second Hand: More Than Just Clothes

Posted by SJP Oxfam Fashion blogger

16th Nov 2012

Vintage and second hand finds aren't just confined to the categories of Liberty print smock dresses and 80's jumpers. Some of the best pre-loved gems that have found their way into my home have included jewellery, furniture and books.

Two such second-hand finds are Vintage Style, by Sarah Kennedy, and a very old McCalls Sewing Guide from the 1970s. Both these books are inspiring in different ways, encouraging creativity within personal styling and in making one's own clothes.


Vintage Style by Sarah Kennedy transports the reader from key looks of the 1920s all the way up to the 1990s. At the beginning of the book a rough guide is given as to how you can identify which era you belong in - checking the boxes for body shape and personal style will lead you to your vintage icon - apparently I should be taking inspiration from the 'Indie Girl' stylings of Molly Ringwald and her modern day equivalents, Zooey Deschanel and Chloe Sevigny. 

Each chapter focuses on a vintage icon and includes hair styling and make-up tips as well as key designers and garments that make the look. The book also gives shopping advice to help readers identify the correct pre-loved garments to look out for to truly bring each style icon to life.

By contrast, McCalls Sewing Guide is old and faded, but comes complete with detailed illustrations and clear instructions so that even a sewing novice, or should that be nightmare like me, can follow along. With these books I can repair clothes, restyle my wardrobe and create new outfits, all as a result of second-hand finds.

So the next time you're rummaging through a charity shop, don't forget to take a look at the bric-a-brac, books, music and films - you might be surprised at what you find.

What are the best second-hand books you've found?








Blog post written by SJP

Oxfam Fashion blogger

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SJP