Autumn 2020 and our divas are facing a conundrum, to shop or not to shop? That is the question. Like many people, Jane and Beryl shopped very little during lock-down, and discovered that not shopping is actually quite refreshing, good for the planet and cleansing for the soul. Actually, not much of a dilemma really, with social life restricted to your five besties, quite a lot of the social occasions that Jane and Beryl like to dress up for are just plain cancelled. Still, a WOACA (Woman Of A Certain Age) must keep her pecker and standards up, so Jane and Beryl trawl their own wardrobes for forgotten goodies to honour the new season.   

Trousers, Toast, now vintage, shirt, Gerry Weber, pre-loved, £20,
jacket, Wallis, now vintage, boots, Jones the Bootmaker, £75 (sale)

Beryl tells Jane that brown is all the rage this season: Jane is unconvinced as she had heard that no one cares about trends anymore. Whatever, it's fortunate that brown is in vogue as she has plenty of it stuffed away behind the old shoes and discarded handbags of yesteryear. To prevent the full on neutral palette so beloved of fashion editors - which Jane despises with a passion - she adds red accessories and a gold coat. Who cares that she's only going to the village shop to buy pantyliners?

Nubuck coat, £300 (sale), dress, £100, Lily and Lionel (sale), tippet, gift
 It looks as if Beryl is doing her pec exercises here  'I must, I must improve my bust' she gaily chants. 'Beryl, for goodness sake, concentrate' chides Jane. David Attenborough, whom Jane admires enormously, says 'waste nothing' and, yes, he means everything from a cauliflower to you, Beryl, with your overstuffed wardrobe. So out comes the nubuck coat that looks like something one would wear to a pirate convention and drags on the floor, (a moot point) and a Lily and Lionel leopard print maxi dress of a few seasons past, topped off with a faux fur tippet. All old stuff but worn with new intent and swagger. 

Like wise when this dress turned up unworn in a charity shop for £15, complete with its Top Shop price tags, Beryl couldn't believe her luck. Serendipitously, it's pretty much the dress Beryl would try and acquire if you asked her to choose a new season fashion statement. Loose fitting with a big sleeve and a seventies' vibe in autumn's red and burgundy, it ticks all the fashionable boxes, but without the guilt. This is the moment when the hours of raking through charity shop tat becomes worthwhile. No wonder Beryl's looking a teeny bit smug in the photo.    

New dress, Ghost sale, £82.50, jacket, Mint Velvet sale, £69, boots, as before 

The one thing - really, the only thing - that Jane cannot resist, is a Ghost dress, and a Ghost dress on sale,  just has to be bought - half price, no less, on the world wide web! She is proud to report that this is one of only three items bought new since last Christmas. The candy pink called to her, and she has managed to squeeze herself into a small (the only one left) which shows her desperation to possess this dress. That is the glory of Ghost, of course, one size (almost) fits all.

Pre-loved Ralph Lauren jacket, £60, Cream maxi dress, £59 (sale),
 boots, Penelope Chilvers, £119 sale 

Shopping in your own horde, sorry wardrobe requires lots of powers of reinvention and creativity.
It is received wisdom that the majority of people wear 20% of their clothes 80% of the time. To change this equation a gal needs to think outside of the box and be flexible about what she can wear with what. Throw away a few long-cherished rules, and the results are actually... a lot less boring. Here, Beryl wears a winter sale maxi dress with Chelsea boots, and an ancient nipped in velvet jacket, bought pre-loved, by Ralph Lauren. 

Blouse, pre-loved, Anthropologie, £15, trousers, M&S, £49.50,
jacket, Debenhams, £69

Jane didn't realise quite how see-through this shirt was in the sun (note to self: only wear in inclement weather). No matter. It was purchased from the lovely Jo's Dressing Room to go with these impossible green trousers, and it's certainly near enough. Beryl is not sure Jane has got the hang of this blog in which she was meant to shop only in her own wardrobe...

Last year's Zara coat, £129, Weekend Max Mara sweater, £119 (sale), wide trousers, £45, 
LK Bennett boots, £300 (at least 5 years old), vintage gloves, £8

'No, really, just order the male stripper for 3.00pm as planned... yes, Jane's address as usual.' Whoops, we seem to have caught Beryl somewhat off guard, but we have to note that she has added a NEW pink cable Weekend Max Mara sweater to her collection this year to match her Zara coat of last. New, Beryl, really? Well, Beryl can only be so good for so long, before the bad faerie wells up inside her and she trots off down the high street for a splurge.  

Monsoon jumper £10, Oxfam, vintage Ghost dress
 and Jones the Bootmaker boot as before 

Jane found this jumper in the Oxfam shop last year, and what a success it's been. Widely admired, it's just a cream lambswool knit, but what a great bit of kit: over dresses, with jeans, under jackets, it's got all bases covered. Jane suspects that it will be doing the rounds for some time to come, unless she spills ketchup down it which, sadly, is more than likely. 

So Jane and Beryl's best autumnal advice, follow William Morris's notion for the home, and only buy for your wardrobe, 'that you know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful'. 

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