Sweet Charity

Cynthia Bifolchi shows how a little ingenuity and a keen eye in charity shops can have you looking vintage lovely for next to nothing. Celebrate that classic Fifties silhouette for the summer with cheeky pin-up pieces, nautical frocks and dreamy nudes…

We often see magazines showing clothes with persuasive catch lines like ‘only €100’ or ‘a steal at €50’ or ‘at this price you can afford to get all three colours’. Mostly these are highly manipulative statements which try to make us splash our cash without feeling guilty or make us feel we’re getting a bargain. In reality, many of these clothes are expensive and out of the price range of the suckered in purchaser.

With new trends coming into shops every five minutes it’s impossible to keep up. More clothes mean more spending so while these businesses are making profits our bank balances are dwindling in the name of fashion.

The recession means there are many people struggling financially. Those who love fashion stare wistfully in shop windows knowing they could barely afford a pair of socks. To compound this, prices in popular high street clothes shops do not seem to be going down.

They say money cannot buy style. At mugg we think it can. Very little money in fact. Charity shops are treasure troves packed full of fashion possibilities for pocket change. With the vintage revival in full swing second hand clothes are no longer seen as musty hand me downs but as unusual finds which add to a person’s unique style.

Yes, charity shops can be full of junk you wouldn’t be caught dead in too but therein lies the fun of it. With a bit of patience and determination not to mention a good rummage, some amazing finds are waiting to be discovered.

Charity shops such as Age Action and Oxfam now have their own vintage concessions in store too with items costing more than the regular stock. We didn’t use vintage for this shoot specifically to show what you can create with so little cash and a little ingenuity and imagination.

Most high street stores spoon feed us outfit choices. From the mannequins to the placement of clothes it’s not that hard to pick up a stylish outfit from the rack. But that’s not really unique is it? By taking the brave step to ‘self style’ in charity shops you are being creative and honing your personal look, while spending less and helping a good cause.

Faced with the challenge to put together five high fashion looks for the summer for under €30, mugg scoured charity shops in Dublin and Waterford; we were spoiled for choice and we think you’ll agree these looks really are ‘a steal’.

Producer: Cynthia Bifolchi

Models: Serena and Eimear.

Photographer: Eoin Kirwan.

Hair: Cynthia Bifolchi.

Makeup: Makeup Forever, Clarendon St. Dublin.

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