Preloved Pazuki shirt £120
This week Jane and Beryl have selected seven pre-loved items to wear for the festive season. Jane and Beryl are huge fans of second-hand clothing, not just because it is kinder to the planet and the bank-balance, but because lying among the legions of dross and the malodorous, are a few glittering gems. 

Pre-love ASOS dress £38, M&S boots (last season £79)
Item one, the go-anywhere dress
 This second-hand ASOS dress is much loved by our Bezza and her crowd. She does not save it for after dark, but cheerfully wears it to Christmas fairs and any event with a fork buffet. To up a WOACAs chances of bagging a great second hand bargain she recommends what used to be called Dress Agencies, which only stock good quality sweet-smelling items. Beryl feels quite the fashionista in this high-necked balloon sleeved get up, and to hammer home this point she wears her 'frock' with red ankle boots.

Item two, the ankle boot

Peter Kaiser boots £25, Phase Eight dress £75 (both second hand)

These started life in Beryl's fancy dress wardrobe, but were promoted to her everyday stuff when she discovered that they were actually really fashionable. Eccentric, yes, but who doesn't love white snake with silver heels? Here she has topped them off with a little raspberry dress, 'the kind you would find in a second-hand store.'
Item three, the fancy-pants shirt

Pazuki top £120, Ghost trousers £18
This silk shirt is one of the most worn and loved items in our shorty-pant's repertoire. She is going to whisper how much she paid for it, in order not to get into trouble with her stingier friend Jane. This illustrates one of Bezza's hot tips for getting your mits on something really fab, i.e. use the second hand market to buy items that you usually think of as beyond your pocket. These Pazuki shirts retail at a whopping £279, so the £120 she paid seems not quite so painful. Especially when she considers that the Ghost pinky-red silk velvet trousers (which fit like a glove) were bought for £18 in a antique emporium. This is going to be her go-to combo for when the over-busy-no-time-to-plan-an-outfit Christmas whirlwind strikes.

Item four, the versatile trouser


Jane in Beryl's studio, wearing an M&S coat £12 charity shop, trousers Episode £12



Ahh, here is our Jane: she does peruse the charity shop wares, but is not such an old pro as Beryl and being a tad larger, finds it harder to find good clobber. However, these trousers have been a god-send for the winter seasons for some time now and Jane faithfully reprises them time after time. The lace inserts make them a bit more interesting than the run of the mill black trouser and the fit is amazing. The coat she has actually swiped from Beryl and will be borrowing it again... (much better on a taller gal).

Item five, the evening top


By the time a women reaches her fifties, or her prime as Jane and Beryl like to call it, she knows what's what sartorially. This particularly applies to what will get worn, and what is a complete closet-clogging waste of wonga. In terms of cost per wear, sparkly tops are a non starter. However, our Beryl has a penchant for them and nearly every Christmas will purchase one, just as surely as she will be scoffing a box of dark chocolate brazils. 


Necklace 1950s gift, beaded camisole and jacket Jaeger £20
Armed with this self knowledge she quite often buys a beaded number from a charity shop. This year is no different, and she has already found this subtly bugle-bead strewn Jaegar camisole and evening jacket, which is a classy bit of kit by any gal's standards, for the princely sum of £20. A word of warning however, beaded tops often end up in charity shops because they have developed bald patches. Be realistic about the time and energy spent mending these.

Item six, the velvet suit

Jacket Principles via charity shop £9, shirt vintage M&S, trousers £5
Ok, ok, this is not a true velvet suit and Jane and Beryl must 'fess up to the near impossibility of finding a complete well-fitting ensemble a la charity shop. But velvet with velvet counts in their book whatever the colours... The trousers are in fact sparkly and the jacket a smart military number in the most beautiful shade of forest green. Jane is delighted to find that the M&S satin shirt filched when her 90 year mother was having a clear out is coming into its own: the moral of this story being, do not ever reject any possible source of second hand clothing, you never know what might turn up. 

Item seven, the sweater

Jaeger cocktail sweater worn back to front £7, Monsoon net skirt £7
In the interests of total honesty and a search for self-actualisation, Beryl has in the past become a bit of a charity shop junky. It is all to easy to become gung-ho about spending £3.50 and end up with a pile of just not quite right garments lying on your floor-drobe. The immaculate Brora cashmere cardigan, with prefect proportions, but in a life-sapping dodgy shade of puce, costing £60 comes to mind.

Beryl is now on her way to a full recovery and only buys the odd exceptional item. She looks for good makes, and insults the garment while trying it on. Are you too tight, too frumpy, too young, too old, too dated, too knackered? And most of all, will I love you forever? 


 






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