I’m really chuffed with myself this week because for once I’ve nailed a real bargain!
I’d been worrying because I’ve been invited to posh work-related Christmas do and the invitation stated – dress code: lounge suit/cocktail dress. Oh dear. My wardrobe currently boasts one cocktail dress that’s frankly partied out. It’s lovely – red and black – and the best thing about it is that it’s stretchy so it still fits me despite the countless mince pies I’ve consumed over the past few years. But I’ve worn it to nearly every event I’ve had to go to this year and it’s time to introduce something new to the wardrobe.
Where on earth was I going to get another one affordably? The cheapest one I could find in New Look, which is normally my standby for times like these, was a metallic-coloured dress but it wasn’t really smart enough and cost £25. In a post-changing room panic I forgot my frugal rules and decided to buy it anyway. I could always take it back. But when I got it home and paraded in it for DJ’s opinion he wasn’t that keen. The problem, he pointed out, was that while the empire line top to it was nice, the skirt was puff ball style and not terribly flattering to yours truly. To be fair, it’s a style that’s not easy to wear. Perhaps I should just take it back and drag out the old tried & tested number and pray nobody would notice they’d seen me in it all year, I thought.
Then, on a whim, I trailed round some local charity shops to look for possible Christmas presents. It was then I stumbled across a gorgeous rack of cocktail dresses in the Marie Curie shop. Now I’ve only ever owned two charity shop clothing items in my life. This is very stupid and short-sighted of me, but I’ve always had this thing about dead
men’s clothes. Have you ever seen that Little Britain sketch where the old woman goes into the charity shop and keeps asking if someone died in the pyjamas that are hanging up for sale? It turns out that she only wants to buy them if somebody did expire in them!
But despite my misgivings, this lovely little purple and black number simply jumped out at me. And when I tried it on it fitted like a glove (and helpfully hid all the curves). The price? £4.99! What a bargain! Cinderella you shall go to the ball!
Yesterday I hunted out the receipt for the New Look number and took it back to the shop. “It’s not the dress, it’s me,” I said sheepishly to the girl behind the counter, hoping she’d give me a refund and not vouchers. She sighed. “Don’t worry – there’s been a lot of returns of this dress, funnily enough,” she said. “It’s the puff ball fashion, it’s very hard to wear.” What a relief it was to get my hard-earned £25 back and know that for a fifth of the price I’d bagged myself a much nicer outfit!
Would you buy clothes from a charity shop?