Charity / Edinburgh / Fashion / Shop Review

Edinburgh – Chest Heart and Stroke – Morningside

So it’s day two of what I am going to refer to as Edinburgh Fashion Week. This is where, by Thursday, when it’s already too late, I realise that I didn’t visit 5 charity shops in Morningside, rather, only managing 4, then bid a hasty retraction, and instead choose to refer to it as “Ad-Hoc Fashion week”… No… that sounds shit. Ah well, I’m committed now…

As it is now after Christmas, many items that cost any more than £10 have suddenly become out of my price range. It’s not that I can’t afford them, it’s more a case of I shouldn’t afford them, and do I really need another pair of shoes when I just donated 10 pairs to the charity shop. No you don’t, Megan, so put them down and step away slowly.

With this in mind, I hesitated on entering the Chest Heart and Stroke charity shop. Since they have gone for a much more up-market ’boutique’ feel with their stores, they have escalated their prices to match. This is justified because many garments now will not make the grade, and with fewer donations ending up on the rails, it is important for them to make the revenue from every last item count. Think of these stores as cheap vintage boutiques, rather than expensive charity shops.

However, just because I am feeling the pinch, doesn’t mean that my readership doesn’t want to see what the shop has to offer. So in the interests of not being selfish, I venture inside. That’s right, just for you guys. Nothing to do with my addiction to browsing. Nothing at all. This was purely a research venture. Yes it was.

As always, an impressive selection of fantastic quality items awaited me. With my wallet embedded deeply at the bottom of my handbag, I felt safe enough to browse the rails:

Suede draped lapel jacket, size 10, £60

Suede draped lapel jacket, size 10, £60

This was beautiful, and luckily wildly out of my price range otherwise I might have been tempted. The suede was sumptuously thin, this is a jacket of exquisite quality. Grey is such a wonderfully versatile colour, so much more appealing than black. It will act as a plain canvas for bright colours and bold prints, and yet with plain colours and fabrics, it has the ability to lift them from beyond their normal humdrum status. Imagine this over a black shift dress, it would elevate the outfit from safe and conservative to smart and chic.

Ted Baker dress, size 12, £25

Ted Baker dress, size 12, £25

This blue Ted Baker dress had an almost turquoise or teal hue to it. It would look utterly gorgeous on practically any skin tone, apart from some of you highland lassies who have a pallor not dissimilar to this already. The flattering cut and floaty fabric are perfect for a summer occasion, although a summer day in Scotland is the equivalent of a mid winter cold snap in London. I’d recommend gold jewellery with this for a regal effect, and it would really accentuate that deep sea colour. For those of you who hate gold and consider it chavvy, you’re dead to me.

Phase Eight wrap dress, size 8, £20

Phase Eight wrap dress, size 8, £20

Ordinarily I detest Phase Eight clothing. There are pictures of Phase Eight patterned dresses dotted all around my hard drive. So much so, that I considered writing an entire post just devoted to the brand itself. I decided against this due to the retching that such an action would invoke. I just don’t like them. I feel that most of them look mumsy and I fully empathise with the person that donated them. Maybe I am being harsh. After all, just because something doesn’t suit my style, that doesn’t mean that it’s not for anyone else. This dress for example was lovely. “But it’s just a black wrap dress!” I hear you interject. I know, I know, there’s not much that can go wrong with this. Although I had surmised on a number of occasions that if anyone was going to manage to ruin the simple black wrap dress then it would be Phase Eight. However, I was wrong, and never let it be said that I can’t admit it when I’m wrong. I can say these things because ES doesn’t read my blog. To my horror, I actually wanted to buy this, however I figured that to add yet another black dress to my expanding collection would be heresy, especially from someone who discourages leaning on them too heavily.

Armani belt, £25

Armani belt, £25

Considering that I got a pair of their jeans from Shelter for £5 less than the price of this belt, and you can pick up a new one from around £40 I would question the pricing of this. Perhaps it should be £10 cheaper? Perhaps I’m wrong. After all, something is worth what someone is willing to pay, and the money is going to a good cause.

Hobbs trousers, size 10, £13.95

Hobbs trousers, size 10, £13.95

These reminded me of the Max Mara trousers that I found in the Marie Curie shop up the road, and in the interests of not repeating my mistakes I elected not to try them on. I didn’t need to go through the painful process of deciding why ES would hate them all over again while a queue formed outside. If you’re vaguely interested in ES’s opinion on loose fitting trousers, you can read more on it here.

Ralph Lauren jeans, size 12, £20

Ralph Lauren jeans, size 12, £20

Office shoes, size 5, £15.95

Office shoes, size 5, £15.95

And finally, these candy pink, cute as a button, Office pink court shoes.While the exaggerated stitch detail may not be featuring in many collections right now, it doesn’t mean that you can’t wear it. Cue late spring and people will no doubt be going wild for this colour, like they do every year. The annual fascination with pastels will return and a colour like this will add zing without being in-yer-face.

So concludes my excellent quality finds in Chest Heart and Stroke, Morningside. Yet another beautifully presented boutique store. The formula appears to be working well for them, and while no doubt they will have lost some of the more hardened charity shoppers who still prefer to root around in the undergrowth for a bargain, they will have gained many followers who were more likely to solely frequent the high-street. They have successfully bridged the gap between charity shops and vintage, pre-loved chic.

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