Charity / Fashion / Lent / Vintage

My little brown bag and why Giorgio Armani would love it

Just 24 days to go until the end of Lent…

Just in case you are only just joining me on my excruciating journey through the religious wasteland that is my day to day life, let me fill you in.

Despite Lent traditionally applying only to Christians, many people of a secular nature, like my good self, have decided that exercising a little self control is never a bad thing, and the promise of smug self satisfaction is just too much to resist. Or maybe that part is just me.

Unfortunately, I haven’t participated in Lent for some years and as per usual I like to throw myself in right at the deep end, so I declared to give up shopping. Whereas, to some people, shopping may be considered an enjoyable, occasional past time, to me, with my charity shop addiction, it is a way of life. No, more than that, it is a cult to which I am pledged for the rest of my days. The Church of Charity Shopping is the alter at which I worship.

Therefore it will come as no surprise to you all that I failed miserably. This was not a spectacular mudslinging, dust cloud inducing, time spent in hospital type failure, like Richard Hammond’s crash or Martine McCutcheon’s bankruptcy, no… this was much more of a damp squib. I entered a charity shop to take photo’s for my blog. I was seduced by an Edina Ronay jacket for £10, I approached the till. I bought it. I left the shop feeling slightly disappointed with myself.

However, I realised that I would be able to salvage the situation if I declared that, instead, like some sort of holy saint, I would not be shopping from the high street for 40 days, and that I wouldn’t be able to wear any of my charity shop purchases until after Lent had finished, consequently meaning that I would need to get creative with my wardrobe in order to stem my shopping habit.

Now this first bit is akin to giving up Stilton when you don’t even like Cheddar or are a Vegan. I don’t shop on the high street that much, and when I do, I end up so skint that the counselling required afterwards is enough to ensure I don’t stray into Zara for another binge for several months. The second bit, however, is proving very very difficult, and it has thrown up some rather philosophical musings from my quiet corner of The Church of Charity Shopping such as:

1)      If  thy, thee, thou, one, let’s just stick with ‘one’. *Clears throat*. If one is to not wear ones purchases for another 40 days after buying them, one must truly love them.

Too many times have I bought something, and, delighted with myself, worn it the very next day for 3 whole days, put it in the wash, and then, for reasons best known to my wardrobe, and my wardrobe alone, it has been consigned to the back of my third drawer down never to be seen again. This way, I know I can’t buy it because I want to wear it NOW. The item needs to have more longevity than that, as NOW simply isn’t an option.

2)      If one is to buy a seasonal item of clothing (such as a fur coat) and one is painfully aware that spring, and therefore summer is fast approaching (as The Church of Charity Shops created the seasons, summer happily follows on from spring and their second hand coat display shrinks from 4 rails to just 1) one must truly love it.

I bought a fox fur coat from Auldearn Antiques. This is a classic item. Yes I may have missed the opportunity to wear it in anger in 2013, but with any luck I’ll live for another 50 years or so. It will stay with me until I die and then it will be buried with me, as is the tradition of The Church of Charity Shopping, around the back of your local Salvation Army in their car park. After all, if it’s good enough for Richard III…

3) This leads me swiftly to my next point, if one is sure that one’s impending purchase is likely to be a timeless classic, then one must buy it without a second thought.

I bought this little bag from Auldearn Antiques the weekend after I bought my fur coat (you can see that my shopping habit hasn’t improved any…)

Little brown bag, leather, £4 Auldearn Antiques

Little brown bag, leather, £4 Auldearn Antiques

I also bought this beautiful little Paris neck scarf that Morven spotted for £1 (I refer you to the above comment regarding said shopping habit, but at least it’s all ‘moins cher’ as the French would say. Side note: did you know that in France they technically don’t have a word for ‘cheap’, they just say that something was ‘less expensive’ – typical bloody French…)

Paris neck scarf, £1 and leather bag, £4, both Auldearn Antiques

Paris neck scarf, £1 and leather bag, £4, both Auldearn Antiques

For some reason, I particularly enjoy these two items when they’re kept together. Perhaps it’s because this pert little bag makes me feel exceptionally chic, and I imagine the neck scarf to be the traditional fare of a 50s trolley dolly.

And there’s always what Giorgio Armani has to say on the affair (image taken from last weekend’s Sunday Times magazine).

2013-03-03 11.59.36

What is the ultimate bag shape that every woman should own and why?

A signature shaped (tick!), minimalist (tick!), ultra-light (tick!), bag (tick! Oh wait, that one doesn’t count) that is structured (tick!), medium in size (tick!) and hand held (tick!). Easy to wear (tick!) and yet sophisticated (tick!), especially when made of fine leather (tick!).

Oh, it would appear my pen has run out from all that ticking…

I bet you’re wondering how on earth the bag can make me feel chic if I haven’t worn it outside or put it with an outfit. If you’re about to accuse me of cheating, hang fire because this bag is so chic, that it makes me feel prim and proper even when placed on my lap sat on the sofa in my onesie.

Now, let me confess, through the decorative grating of the confession cubical that is my blog, that I would have succumbed to my new purchases by now if it were not for one small thing: The blog of Miss Assay . She has embarked on her own shopping ban, and she is doing it properly, none of this cheating malarky and moving the goal posts back into her own favour. Nope, she has given up shopping, you can see her Shopping Ban Manifesto here. This usually would only evoke a ‘good luck’ comment from myself, but she only went and listed me as inspiration for her shopping ban! Well, now I cannot fail! I cannot let her down like that! I shall not give in, I shall trudge endlessly onwards in the same dresses, wearing the same shoes, and I shall not falter, because I inspired someone, and your hero’s should never, EVER, let you down.

Hmmm, I may have gotten a little carried away with myself there, I am doubtful that I am anyone’s hero, but my valiant pledge remains unbroken! (Apart from the bit where I broke it, and then amended it) … My (amended) pledge remains unbroken! Doesn’t have quite the same ring to it does it…


2 thoughts on “My little brown bag and why Giorgio Armani would love it

  1. You are far too kind! I am literally welling up! We can do this together: at the end of all this we can feel proud of ourselves. I’m glad someone else knows how this addiction feels. No-one else understands how hard this is! And also – I WANT THAT SCARF!! xxx

    • Yes, proud, or smug, whichever you prefer… I, of course, prefer smug. And you’re right, no one does understand! They look at your like you’re deranged when you’re frothing at the mouth over something, pick it up, walk towards the till, walk away from the till, put it back, froth some more, and then run out screaming like a dervish. They don’t know how hard it is! X

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