Posts Tagged ‘local design’

Bargain Hunting – Planned or Just Good Timing?

I remember a few years ago I was interviewed by a journalist about my style.  She asked me what I was wearing, how much it cost, and how much I spend on my clothes each month.

Firstly, I spend money on clothes depending on how much is in the fund that month, if I actually need something for an event or a change of season, and if I have spotted a trend I love and want to integrate it into my wardrobe.

But secondly, and the focus of this post…I remember talking about my boots.  The boots I had spotted the last time I was in London – they were on sale and were the last in my size.  They had been reduced a few times from £95 and at the till I expected to buy them for £25, but they had been reduced again to £9!  Now for me, this is a massive achievement, it gives me a buzz, what a discount!  But when I saw the £9 tag against the photo in the paper, I felt like my clothes were cheap.

A few years on and I am very proud of my thrifty buying.  At the minute, some 11 year old girls I know ask me every day about what I am wearing and whether I paid full price.  It all began when I was at the charity shop buying a cardigan for our school drama production and happened to pick myself up two blouses, one at £6, one at £7.  The following day (nothing lies unworn in my wardrobe!) I was wearing one and declared proudly that I got it from a charity shop so everyday since I have to give a running commentary on whether I paid full price or not.  Now getting to the main point! Most days (and even to my surprise), most parts of my outfit have been discounted.  Bargain hunting (or maybe more accurately, bargain finding!) is my current favourite thing;)

It’s not a love for sale shopping that allows this (I made it to the Boxing Day sales for the first time ever only this year!), but just buying smartly.  Well actually, the more I thought about this, it’s often just luck!  A few things I do that helps however…

    • browse – I rarely shop for a specific item, rather, I browse and see what fits with any gaps in my wardrobe (you need to know your wardrobe for this one to work, otherwise you end up buying more of what you already have)
    • have my discount vouchers at the ready – and don’t buy without them.  If they are in another wallet, I have to wait!
    • return anything that doesn’t suit – and that includes not just keeping it because you got some money off, you have to love it!
    • be open to the variety of shops you buy from – I have got some of my favourite clothes from charity shops (I am still learning the art of charity shopping!) and second hand sales but I’ve also found a few surprises in boutiques.  It’s the luck of the draw so be open!
    • buy pieces you can wear in more than one way.  My style is forever changing, not due to the quantity of clothes I own, but how I mix and match them.  Price per wear is a wonderful calculation to do;)

If you are stuck on where to even begin, search for some shopping tips here, meanwhile, here are some of my recent best buys (all stolen from my Instagram page (silverbrogues if you are not already following)!

Online secondhand goods from Depop – Zara bomber £8

Denim bomber by Red or Dead from Ebay £10

Shirt bought when I was doing my teacher training (quite a while ago!).  Spotted in a boutique, bought a month later from TK Maxx.

H&M always have a sale rail, and the items are normally £10 or below.  I always have a look here when I’m in (but I get the best buys from H&M Forestside for any locals!).  Jumper £10

Dress in the ‘end of the sale, sale’ a few years ago.

Shoes bought from Debenhams during a discount weekend.

I don’t buy much in Zara at full price but their sales are amazing!  This dress was one of those purchases I thought I’d never wear but have found lots of ways to style it – and I can’t complain when it only cost £5!

Another old shirt (bought with my student loan – I’ll not tell you how many years since Uni!).

Skirt Ted Baker from House of Fraser.  A size too big but still fits enough for the price I paid!!

I always wait out for Clarks sale to stock up on my brogues.  They are so comfortable and normally go to at least half price (I stalk their website at sale time!!).

From a shop called Deja Vu on the Lisburn Road – full of unique treasures, you just need a good hoke!

T-shirt is Cos and the cardigan is the exact style I’d searched all winter for and never found!

From the charity shop bag in my own house – it’s a men’s cardigan from All Saints.  It’s now mine;)

And finally the shirt that began the debate.  Oxfam Vintage £6

And one final thing I will say, a bargain gives you the best feeling…but give something back.  I always pay full price for local design as I think it is so important to support our own talent.

What bargains have you managed to get your hands on recently?


On Trend Bargains

Styling Tip for today…don’t spend too much on on-trend pieces, as often they can be worn this season but do not carry well into another.  Thankfully over recent seasons we have seen many trends stick around, moving smoothly into the next season with an added touch, but ultimately meaning we can re-wear and still keep up with the trends.

Our wardrobe is generally filled with a mixture of basics, workwear, dressy and casual styles, and a selection of pieces that were bought on a whim, fitting in with a seasonal trend, but that we no longer really wear.

My worst shopping habit is that I never plan to buy.  I am that person who buys things on a whim – but as soon as I buy, I integrate the piece into my wardrobe (labels straight off and worn the next day!!).  I am proud to say I have worn everything in my wardrobe at least three times (many pieces have been worn hundreds of times *see my 15 year old shirt on Instagram;) ).  I also do not spend a lot of money on any one piece, I often seem to get lucky with my purchases.

And so to a few on trend pieces introduced to my wardrobe over the last month or so.

First up…my new trainers, bought in the Next Outlet minutes before our movie was about to begin in the Omniplex;)  I eyed up the Stan Smith version when they first came out but I didn’t have a place for them in my wardrobe then, so paying over £70 just wasn’t worth it.  I recently saw them on a pre-loved site I follow for £50 but still couldn’t do it.  They are a velcro close, something I knew I may fall out of love with.  So at £10 (from the Next Outlet), I happily made a brand compromise!

Next, my new trousers.  Wide legged trousers have always been a favourite of mine, even though I spend most of my time now in skinnies.  So whenever they are revived on the catwalks, I happily pick them up.  But these are sports luxe so have to be carefully styled.  These are also from Next and purchased on the sale for £12!

Worn dressy with my Gucci style loafers (bought in Topshop for £7 in the New Year sale).

Or casual with one of my favourite printed t-shirts made by local designer, Gordon Donaldson.

And finally for now, on a wander around Forestside I dandered into Warehouse to have a look at their final sale items (always look out for this sign!).  I noticed this cold shoulder top, the perfect transitional piece as the weather brightens up.  Marked down to £8, an extra 20% off.  A bargain!  You may notice in the photo that the straps are a little long for me (I am quite short between neck and bust) but this didn’t stop the purchase – a quick stitch will easily fix this!

Any bargains you have got lucky with recently?


What’s the Story Horse?

I was recently at an event in Malmaison Hotel, Belfast. The event was to showcase the A/W collection from local company, Story Horse. I love supporting local, and I love hearing about our creative little community, but I am often surprised how we miss so much of this talent! This was my first encounter with Story Horse.

The scene was perfectly set. The suite used for the launch couldn’t have fit the brief more perfectly in my opinion. Intimate, homely and full of warmth. With the name Story Horse coming from the old Dublin saying ‘What’s the story horse?’ meaning How’s life?, the backdrop enhanced the products.

Story HorseThe new collection “Chilly Days Out and Cosy Nights In’ offered a selection of multi-purpose bags, wellies, umbrellas, toiletries and an array of knits necessary both those days out and nights in!

Story Horse
Story HorseAnd so the wishlist began… Story Horse
Story HorseStory Horse
Story Horse
Find Story Horse online and use the code LAUNCH15 for a discount!


Local Design for Spring/Summer

A stay at home holiday really makes you appreciate your own surroundings – actually the sun being out also helps your appreciation! It allows the chance to get out and capture the little gems we often miss so close to home.  While I will be spending my holidays enjoying the local environment, I’ll give you a taster of our local design talent.

First up, Goddess & Swift. You may have seen my previous post where Larissa Watson, the talent behind Goddess & Swift, gave me the opportunity to style her window for Valentines and Fashion Week.

While in her newly launched atelier I had the best opportunity, not only to browse her past and present collections, but observe and begin to appreciate the work that goes in to any design. I loved seeing the fabrics Larissa was using to inspire and create her pieces. I could only imagine the hours spent pondering over these as the roll was spread across the design table and we studied and touched! The studio area where she works manages to exude inspiration with colours and tools everywhere!

20140423-142508.jpg Goddess & SwiftFrom studio to catwalk…

20140421-004339.jpg Goddess & SwiftBut my very favourite opportunity in the studio came when, thinking of her final catwalk piece, Larissa and her team began to drape fabric around the mannequin.  A few tucks, pins and a little alteration produced a beautiful full length skirt.  Again, knowing what she had in mind, Larissa hunted for the perfect piece of fabric to drape around the bust line and fall over one shoulder, adding those touches that make the look complete.  And then I (with the fabulous TJ from Ginger Snap Vintage) had the privilege of dressing the model, Mairead, for the designer shows at Fashion Week – how amazing does this look!

20140421-004346.jpg Goddess & SwiftNext on the list, Una Rodden.  With her new collection ‘Usine’ which means factory or industrial space in French, Una has used luxurious natural fabrics including silk chiffon, wool, suede and leather with detailing of lace and crotchet and colours of cream, pink and delicate green alongside black and gold.  I love Una’s signature drapery, however this time the look gets edgy going along with S/S 14 trends.  Una has used exposed zips, fringing and bold lines, but in stark contrast, she has also collaborated with local fashion illustrator Sara O’Neill who has incorporated her ‘Love me to death’ collection to create beautiful and unique fashion art pieces.

20140421-004353.jpg Una Rodden

20140421-004401.jpg Una RoddenAny thoughts on our local designs?


Thanks to Brendan Gallagher and Lisa Bell at CMPR for Goddess & Swift photos and Neil Kerr and Katrina Doran for Una Rodden photos.