Pool Side Fashion

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Its that time of year again, dreaded for so many of us, yep no more hiding under winter layers here comes summer! If you are anything like me the thought of wearing a bikini leaves me cold, but if you learn how to dress for your size and shape there is no reason why you can’t be confidant and chic on the beach. There are several body shape categories we’re all said to fall into. Finding out which shape you are and dressing for that shape is key especially when it comes to finding the most flattering beachwear.

Apple Shapes

Apple shapes carry most of their weight around their middle and tend to have slimmer legs. Since the main issue with the shape is the illusion of having no waist, your main aim is to really emphasis and define your waist. Belts are fabulous for doing this and draw the eye to the smallest part of your waist.

For holiday wear choose a light floaty top and cropped pants that will show off your great legs Pretty belted summer dresses, A line skirts, contrast detailing on tops, wrap dresses and soft peplum style tops will show off your best assets while concealing a larger stomach and creating a waist. Tankini’s with a printed front and black contrast side panels will flatter, giving the illusion of a slimmer torso.

The Hour Glass

Think Marilyn Monroe, a smaller waist with large hips and bust. The hour glass can be quite hard to dress because of the contours of your body. Accentuating your waist and finding clothes to fit your bust and hips are key with this shape.

Holidaywear for the hour glass figure is anything that is form fitting, however the lower tummy can still be an issue for curvy girls. You’ll need a great bikini or swimsuit ┬áGeorge’s range of swimwear is fantastic as they let you mix and match tops and bottoms to suit. Add to that pretty, wrap dresses, playsuits, plus high rise trousers and pencil skirts. Avoid floaty and fussy fabrics or they’ll can make you look matronly and hide your killer figure.

Pear Shaped

If you have large hips, larger thighs, a small waist and chest, then you’re what is called a pear shape. It’s the most common of shapes around but despite that some pear shapes often find it hard to find trousers to fit their ample hips and small waists. The key with pear shapes is to balance the top and bottom halves of the body. This can easily be done by wearing lighter colours on top and darker colours below, a trick which automatically slims the bottom half.

Athletic

Athletic figures tend to be in proportion or slim all over but can lack definition around the waist, bust and hips. Wearing fun separates such as shorts with t-shirts or loose blouses will look great, using key accessories such as necklaces and statement earrings can add interest without drawing the eye to a specific body area. Athletic figures can really carry prints so go loud and proud on the beach with the hottest photographic printed swimwear.

Great holiday choices are full skirts and dresses, belts to show off your tiny waist, detailed tops and plain bottoms and dresses that are dark on the bottom and patterned or lighter coloured on top. Padded or halterneck swimwear is best for this shape, any bikini tops with details such as ruffles can balance out your figure too.

Whatever shape or size you are, if you work what you have to the best of your advantage, you’re sure to create some amazing holiday looks this summer. Giving you both confidence and style on the beach, by the pool or exploring the resort. Big is beautiful after all.

Trends: Finding the Right Jeans

Jeans for Every Body Shape

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ThereÔÇÖs no doubt about it; as one of the most versatile pieces of clothing in most womenÔÇÖs wardrobes, the humble pair of jeans will be a staple commodity for a long time to come. From skinny jeans that can be dressed up or down, to the funky 70s bell bottoms that can still look fabulous, there are plenty of styles of jeans for us to choose from so that our body shape can be complemented and our confidence can soar.
If youÔÇÖre hoping to add a new pair to your wardrobe┬ájeans from George┬áare a great option for value and variety, make sure that you know your body shape and the type of jeans that would suit you, before you go and splash the cash. Jeans when they are the perfect fit are the most amazing staple item, but badly fitting jeans are the worst?
Hourglass
The much-coveted hourglass figure is a fairly easy one to dress. With perfect curves in all the right places, all you have to do is choose a pair of jeans that will show off your fabulous curves while slimming down any lumps and bumps. A wide-leg jean with a mid-rise waist would look ideal, as would a pair of skinny jeans with a pair of gorgeous patent heels.
Pear-Shaped
Women with curvier hips that are wider than their shoulders are considered to be pear-shaped, and should avoid any jeans that are tapered, because this will just draw attention to the hips even more. Instead, opt for a low-rise flare which will help you to balance out the hips and will make you look slimmer and well-balanced. Alternatively, a straight leg jean with a high waist would also create this streamlined effect.
Plus-Sized
Looking for a pair of jeans that you can sling on and feel fab in? DonÔÇÖt feel like skinny jeans are just for the skinnier ladies. Choose a pair that is at the straight-leg end of the skinny jean spectrum, rather than the super-skinny end and you will look and feel great, too. Choose a darker shade of denim, rather than greys or stonewash, because dark colours are automatically more slimming. The hem of skinny jeans stops at the ankle too, meaning you can show off some killer heels at the same time.
Tall
If you have super-long legs, you can definitely carry off the straight-legged jean styles. Or, opt for a little tribute to the 70s, with a pair of flares or bell bottoms. Your long legs will look even longer, so you can show off your fabulous pins in style. The joy of tall, long-legged ladies is they can carry off a plethora of jean cuts too, so if flares arenÔÇÖt your thing, perhaps bootcut or skinny jeans are?
Androgynous
If you have a bit of a boyish frame, i.e. straight up and down, you should choose a cut of jean that will add the illusion of curves, such as bootcut jeans or flares. Add a gorgeous pair of heels or boots and off you go!
Petite
Stick to a slim leg jean, or a skinny jean to show off your petite frame. Cropped skinnies would also look awesome.

Choose a pair of jeans that suits your body shape and youÔÇÖll be ready to go wherever your mood takes you!

Getting Fit for the New Year?

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Gyms across the country are preparing for their busiest season of the year, with thousands expected through the doors of fitness centres everywhere come January. Getting fit or losing weight is top of many peopleÔÇÖs New YearÔÇÖs resolution lists, from those that have fallen off the health wagon previously, to those who are trying fitness for the first time. But why leave it until the New Year? If you are really serious about getting fit then there is no reason to delay. Sign up in December when the membership fees are often lower and there are less people crowding. If you havenÔÇÖt done much exercise in the past stepping into a gym for the first time can be a bit scary, but the staff will be on hand to help show you the ropes, and this guide will make sure you have everything you need for your first visit.

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Footwear
One thing you will want to splash out on a little is a good pair of well fitting sports shoes, as exercising with incorrect footwear can cause a lot of damage to your feet. If you only intend to work out at the gym, then buy a pair specifically for gym use, but if you want to take the odd run, or play tennis too, then a multi-purpose pair of trainers is a better idea. If youÔÇÖre heading to the gym as your resolution, then wait until the January sales to get a great pair of trainers for less than retail price.

Swimwear
Find out before you go what facilities your gym has, and decide which of these you will want to use. Some gyms have pools, saunas and steam rooms on site, all of which you will need swimwear for. If you are going to be swimming for exercise rather than for leisure youÔÇÖll need an all-in-one, or a tankini or bikini designed for swimming. To just hang out in the sauna or for a few casual lengths of a pool a normal bikini is fine and can be reused on holidays in the future. Check out George’s range of swimwear for some low cost swimwear options to save cash.

Clothing
You donÔÇÖt need to look like youÔÇÖve just stepped off the catwalk to go to the gym. WhatÔÇÖs important is that you wear breathable fabrics that are close enough to your body to avoid getting caught in any machinery. For classes like Yoga and Pilates you will want to make sure your clothes donÔÇÖt hinder your movements, but are tight enough that you donÔÇÖt accidently expose yourself when contorting. To start with, leggings and a cotton t-shirt will do fine – you can invest in more specialist gear when youÔÇÖve worked out what you like to do as part of your workout.

Extras
You donÔÇÖt need much else for the gym, but do remember to pop a towel and a drink in your bag. Towels are needed not just for swimming, but also for wiping down machines after use, and mopping your forehead when youÔÇÖre working hard. ItÔÇÖs also wise to take a few coins with you, in case you need them for the lockers or you fancy a sports drink after exercising. I find taking a few toiletries such as face-wipes, deodorant and shower gel essential too if you can’t go home to shower right after a work out.

Taking the first step on your journey to fitness is the hardest part, Women’s Fitness has some excellent articles to get you started. Once you get the habit you will wonder how you ever managed without it. Get as much info as you can from your local facilities and choose one that will fit your lifestyles and aspirations. Ask as many questions as you like when youÔÇÖre starting out, and soon others will be asking questions of you ÔÇô like, ÔÇÿhow did you do it?!ÔÇÖ

(Image credit, Gym bag Werd.com)

Size & Style Mega Guide – New Vivienne Westwood Gold Label Shoes

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Top shelf, left – right: Sack boots black, Tracey trainers black, Seditionary boots red, Bondage boots natural, Animal toe courts gold and silver

Middle shelf, left – right: Slave Rocking Horse shoes white, black red; Ballerina Rocking Horse shoes white and black; Golf Rocking Horse shoes white, black and white, black

Bottom shelf, left – right: Clomper Slaves tea garden and brown/brown squiggle; Roman 3-Strap red leather (limited edition), grey suede, black; Clomer Slave mock croc, Regent sandals mock crock

Where do I start? After mentioning the new Gold Label Vivienne Westwood shoes now available at Worlds End, I got a bijillion emails about them. So I figured I best try and make a post with all the info that I have – of course you can call Lisa and the girls at the store for specifics.

New Materials/Colours:

Squiggle printed leather – Brown / brown squiggle; White/ red squiggle; Brown/ navy squiggle

Canvas – Grey, Khaki, Red, Green, Black

Special Prints – Green Mock Croc, Tea Garden

Patent – Black, Red

Kid Leather – Black, Red, Brown, (specials Gold, Silver, White)

Pirate Leather – Brown, Black, Yellow, Red Brick, Grey Suede

Suede – Black, Red, Grey, Brown

All straps will now be ‘aged brown leather’ instead of natural leather

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New* & Classic Styles:

*Clomper – Pirate boot – choice of

*Clomper – Slave sandal – choice of Mock croc, Tea garden (limited edition blue floral print), Squiggle, Canvas

Rocking Horse Shoes – Slave – Relaxed leather – White, Red Black

Rocking Horse Shoes – Ballerina – Kid leathers + White,

Rocking Horse Shoes -Boots – Kid leathers + White

Rocking Horse Shoes -Golf – Kid leathers + White; Relaxed leather – White, Red Black

Roman 3 Strap – Pirate Leather, Canvas

*Pirate Sling Back – Pirate Leather, Canvas, Patent

Pirate Boots – Pirate Leather, Squiggle

Seditionary Boots – Canvas with black leather; *plus special edition green canvas with tan leather

Bondage Boots – Canvas

*Elevated Bondage Boots – Squiggle

Elevated Court shoes – Suede, Patent, Squiggle, Special

*Elevated Regent Slave Sandals – Patent, Squiggle, Special

Bag Boots – Suede

Tracey Trainers – Black / Black patent trim; Natural / multi; *Gold/ Silver

Animal Toe Courts – Suede, Patent, Gold, Silver

*Animal Toe 3 Strap – Canvas

Low 3 Strap – Leather including specials, Suede, Patent

T-Bar – Leather including specials, Suede, Patent

Mary-Jane – Leather including specials, Suede, Patent

Wave bye-bye to – Sack boots, Piped courts, Sunny shoes, Animal Toe Mules, Elevated Gillie, Baby Rocking Horse and all navy blue leather

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Size & Fit

This can obviously only be my personal opinion, but most people I’ve spoken too seem to agree on this. If you can get to the shop then you are best to go try them for yourself, but I know many of you can’t so here you go. I am a UK 5.5 / 38.5 I usually find it hard to get shoes which fit, as most places don’t make half sizes, I also have a wide fitting foot. I am such a fan of Westwood shoes as I find they fit me perfectly in both width and length, as I’m a half size I find the shoes fit me perfectly so those of you who are a standard size may find they run a little big. With that I can tell you I take a 5 in all Gold Label shoes and low / flat boots except the Animal toe boots i.e Bondage boots and Bag boots. I go up to a size 6 and wear a padded insole in the high heel boots as I find the toe separations rub one of my toes, this doesn’t happen in my Animal toe court shoes so I take a 5 in those – I know this doesn’t make any sense since they are in effect the same style but that’s just what I find best! I also take a 5 in pirate boots, I find they fit generously however they can be a little tight where the stitching is around the foot until you break them in, leathers break easier than suede.

The Clomper boots and sandals I find a small fit, they are a nice wide fit due to the Clomper shaped sole however the part where you put you foot in (the vamp) is low down so there isn’t much room to move your foot. In these I go up to a size 6 which fits perfectly.

The Elevated courts are also a small fit, they have a narrow foot but are regular in length. Unfortunately for me this means I can’t wear them, the 5 is painfully tight and they 6 flops off my foot. The problem with court shoes is that you can’t do anything to keep them on your foot, they need to fit perfectly, the Gillie or boots would be better in my case as you can tighten the laces.

Clomper Pirate boots Brown/ Brown

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Mock Croc Clomper Slave Sandals & ElevatedCourts

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The sandals I am trying here are size 7 and the courts size 6, I think you can see that they are both far too big. In the courts I could get my finger down the back of my heel they were so big!

Strap Colour Evolution

Something really interesting is that the straps will now be darker. Usually the straps on Pirate boots and Bondage boots are left natural so they are a pale nude-pink. Over time natural leather will darken and take on a lovely honey coloured patina. Most of you I know are far too impatient to wait for this to happen naturally and want to speed things along, well it seems like Westwood have obliged and are now darkening the leather.

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Here you can see the pale pink of the natural leather straps compared with the new straps on my Pirate Clompers. On the right are straps from fresh natural leather, new version of the straps and two worn in straps one of around 18 months the other a few years.

Anything else you want to know, just ask

Christmas Gifts Made Easy

I have to say I am pretty much a last minute shopper. Unless I see something which would make the absolute perfect gift, I find myself sat a week before Christmas without any gifts, no cards wrote out and I haven’t even began to think about food. So here I am with presents still needed and a whole lack of desire to head out into town whilst it’s so busy. I bring to you the cheats guide to Christmas:

1. GiftGen – This is a cool little website which lets you enter gift requirements such as age, sex, price range and interests. Then it generates a list of suitable gifts. I think it is brilliant, especially when you have people you don’t know all that well such as distant relatives or partners family to buy for.

2. Christmas Shopping List app – There are tons of fun and useful Xmas apps to entertain yourself with such as the Santa Photo Booth. But one really useful app is the simple shopping list, which lets you keep score of who you have to buy for and your budget. Yes you could use a pen and paper or your memo but I’ve borrowed my mums iPad and I’m enjoying the novelty!

3. Gift Wrapping Services – Personally I really quite like wrapping gifts, but after the 5th pair of slippers it can become monotonous. So many stores these days from M&S to Amazon offer free gift wrapping which you may as well take advantage of to save you time and money.

4. Delivery – One thing I always fail on are the Xmas postage dates. Every year I totally forget and the people I won’t be seeing in person end up with their gift sometime in the new year. We don’t even have a post office in our town any more which is beyond inconvenient! Fear not Parcelforce is here to help. You can book online delivery where they even come and pick the parcels up from your house. Absolute lifesaver!!!

There you have it, easy peasy, leaving you more time for merry making.

Do you have any tips to share?

Pearl goes Back to School: Useful Photography Courses for Bloggers

A few weeks ago I decided to put to use a Groupon voucher I had. After stalking Groupon for a while, obsessively checking for new deals each day I thought the best thing to go for would be something that saved me the most money and also take the chance to do something I wouldn’t usually be able to. I toyed with a few offers but when a photography course came up I knew I had to go for it. I’ve never had any professional photography lessons and I hold my hands up, I was struggling to get to grips with my new DSLR. So on a quite Sunday the week before London Fashion Week I found myself in Piccadilly, Manchester at Manchester Photographic (who don’t just have studios in Manchester by the way).

The one day beginners course was just ┬ú29 with Groupon instead of the regular ┬ú90 – suddenly making something out of most peoples price range very affordable. The day was not just educational, but really fun too. I can’t believe how much I learnt. The tutor was very approachable and took time to make sure everyone got some one-on-one time. I had always been a bit suspicious about Groupon, I wondered if you would get a lesser service since you were saving so much money but I would have been happy to pay the full price the course was so good. Manchester Photographic hold lots of other courses and as a blogger I really think it is worth the investment. The courses I think would really benefit bloggers are below but do check out the website to see the full range. Most people on the course I attended were there just to have fun so anyone can go along be it for professional or amateur purposes. If you want to use your skills for blogging or just for getting better holiday snaps.

  • Beginners and Intermediate levels – no point having that fancy camera if you can’t make the most of it!
  • Photoshop – so you can get to grips with post shoot editing and effects
  • Street Safari – all the tricks of shooting street style photography and also a great first step into something that can be rather intimidating
  • Fashion Intro – from creating glamourous images to tackling client briefs, everything to get you started in fashion photography

As for Groupon, it was so easy to use, you just buy the offer you want and they send you a voucher to redeem with the company holding the offer. Ive signed up to receive emails for deals in my area so I don’t have to scour the site everyday, I can just scan an email and see if anything takes my fancy. All sorts of things crops up from weekend breaks, beauty products, eating out and cooking utensils, it is a real mix.

Here are some of the photo’s I took on the course. As you can see just playing around with simple things such as composition and focus make s huge difference to the quality of your photos. For me learning about Aperture and Shutter speed has made the most difference to my photos – creating that beautiful dreamy background effect and capturing action shots without the blur. Also understanding the rules of composition I now understand why some photos work better than others. Getting to put all my new skills to work the next week at LFW was the best part, I’m sure you will agree that my street style and runway shots from this season are so much better, so much so that many have been used for professional purposes outside my blog – keep your eye on my Featured In page!

Have you ever used Groupon? Have you taken a Photography Course?

Would you like a post on photography tips?

Winter Coat Rules, Shopping & Wardrobe Reorganising

Out with the summer, in with the winter

I think by now we have figured out that my ‘taking time off to rest’ only resulted in me being bored witless. I can do the stay at home in the warm part, but can’t seem to stop working, well it’s only a few little blog posts not like I’m hauling bricks around a building site. With my first day off I ended up trawling the internet for hours, I mean seriously I now have a mental encyclopedia of all this seasons new stock. Then of course the browsing leads to the obsessing and the obsessing to the erm major buying! Every winter I really do like to have a new coat, no I don’t need a new coat every winter but I just really like to get one. It gets me in the mood for the season and brightens up my old knitwear. Since I will be wearing it pretty much every day it has to be something┬á I am head-over-heels about.

Vivienne Westwood Anglomania ‘Rac’ coat

Last year I went for a gorgeous Navy Anglomania ‘Limpish’ coat, which I still very much like but for some reason I have it my head that I need a red coat this season. I initially eyed up this ‘Rac’ coat also Anglomania, the perfect shade of cherry red with big gold buttons. But I wasn’t sure if the length was quite long enough. Hunting around I found this ‘Just-au-corps’ coat, in the same cherry red but with a longer flared hem and the added bonus of a hood. Since it was on Yoox.com it was also on sale, win! It was the last one in red, the gorgeous soft grey is still available, and a size larger than I would usually go for so hoping it will fit ok. The model only seemed to have a thin top on underneath and I like to wear massive jumpers so fingers crossed it will be just right. I really love Yoox, it is a bit like TK Maxx and The Outnet in that it sells past season designer items as discounted prices and you know I love a bargain. The site also accepts Paypal, woop, no more struggling to get that annoying Visa Verify thing to work – have you tried it lately no more passwords now a series of bizarre questions – and nope it still doesn’t work. In fact no need to even move from your sick bed to go get your purse. Now with Paypal your shopping can easily be paid via mobile too, perfect for my eBay addiction. I just don’t see why more online shops don’t use it.

Vivienne Westwood Anglomania ‘Just-au-Corps’ coat

When I’m looking for a new winter coat for everyday wear I have a check list I make sure it fits with:

-Must cover the bum (because otherwise it is really a jacket and wont be warm enough, I live in Manchester, its cold up North)

-Must be a style which works with both heels and flats (I’m 5’2 I don’t want my coat trailing in the snow if I have to switch to flats)

-Must be warm (sounds daft but some coats look warm but actually don’t retain the heat so you feel the wind right through it)

-Must have pockets (I mean seriously who designs a coat with no pockets)

-Must fasten (edge-to-edge coats look amazing yes, but really they don’t keep the cold and wet out)

Ok so yes I am a certified old lady these days but coats aren’t cheap so I want to be sure I buy one that is going to last. I have a few coats in classic styles which haven’t dated even though they are years old now. I really liked this Harper’s Bazaar coat edit, helpful if you want some inspiration about what style of coat to go for. I also picked up an amazing shaggy faux-fur jacket in TK Maxx which I can’t wait to wear. This week I’m going to finish off switching my wardrobe over from summer to winter. Hey, if we have to be cold we might as well look chic!

The realisation you will be colour blocking red all season

Any winter must-haves you are lusting after?

Life After Picnik? Trust Me There Are More Photo Editing Options

It is the 19th of April and to those of us who don’t use Photoshop, it can only mean one thing. The day photo editing site Picnik closes.

Ok so we are positively told that we won’t loose our precious Picnik all together, oh no much worse it will be merging with Google+. Oh yes another way to try and force us into using it. For us non-Blogger bloggers Google just took away our Google Friend Connect and moved the Blogger search feature to the main search option whilst hiding the ‘other’ blog operator search’s way in the back of beyond. Creating a bias and enlarging the divide between blog operators. Rather than just improve the Blogger service, you know so it actually rivals WordPress would have been too hard work, instead they are preferring bully-boy tactics.┬á Don’t get me wrong I used Blogger for two years and think it is a really easy system to use, however it doesn’t allow you the same customisation you can get with WordPress. I felt I had no choice but to switch. I use Google mail (no I don’t like all the new features they keep adding, like the pointless ‘important’ tags) and Google search engine, I don’t hate Google, but I do hate feeling like I am being held to ransom and having my choices taken away. Already having had the Google+ forced onto me, I have tried it out and well I can’t see anything there I really need, but I really LOVE Picnik so thought I would give it a try via Google+.

How to use Picnik in Google+

1. Log into / Create Google+ account

2. Once on your Profile, go to the Camera icon to open / upload photo’s

3. Hover the cursor over the photo you want to work on, a series of icons will appear, click ‘pencil’

4. This opens up the Picnik suite you will be familiar with

Now this is all pretty easy but you will be disappointed. It doesn’t have many of the features you will be used to, it is stripped back and basic. Perhaps more features will be made available in the future, who knows?

I do have a better solution for you, in fact it is about the closest thing to the original Picnik as you can get.

I thoroughly recommend PicMonkey.com, in fact I can’t really see all that many differences. For the time being they don’t have the college and store images features but it will be coming soon. Also all features are free with no need to sign up, yet there are indications this will be necessary to access premium features in the future. I have been bouncing all over the room having found this, it really does make up for Picnik going.

Give it a try, I’d love to know what you think!

How to Sell Stuff and Make Mega Bucks: Guide for Carboots, eBay and Etsy

So chance would have it, as it invariably does I was in the middle of typing out some notes for this post after giving a friend some advice on car boot sales. I had tweeted a couple of tips when the citizen rosebud asked if I had any more tips for selling. Luckily I did. I have been selling on eBay for 6 years and have an Etsy shop, I have also done car boot sales in the past. I love selling, bartering, bargaining and everything in between! So I thought I would pass on some of that wisdom, especially since I remember how daunting all this was at first. I previously wrote a post on eBay focusing mainly on finding and buying which you can read HERE.

There are 3 main places you can easily sell at: Etsy, eBay and car boot sales here are my pros, cons and tips.

Carboot Sales
My general rule is that if I am having a clear out and just want to get rid of a load of stuff then I will do a car boots sale. Remember people go to car boots to find a bargain and will be expecting to only pay 20p, 50p, ┬ú1 for items of clothing. Half the fun of a car boot is to get some fresh air on a Sunday morning , have a barter and find a bargain. You need to be prepared for the price you say to be bartered down, don’t be offended. The aim of a car boot is to sell everything, you have had a clear out, you don’t want to take it all back home again. So my rule is anything for any price, just let it go.

Tips for Selling:

  • 1. Don’t bother pricing things, haggle with the buyers and so long as you get something be happy with it.
  • 2. Don’t take valuable items unless you are going to a car boot twinned with a collectors fair, then clearly state the price. Also be prepared for ‘collectors’ the professionals, to be around they are a right pain and will try and come rooting through your stuff before you have even unpacked it. They are looking for hidden treasures, very valuable items you may not know about. Beware if you get a quick and sudden interest from someone like this, whatever they offer you say no and take it to a local auction house for a valuation. Or whatever they offer you treble it. You’ve all heard the stories of 50p bargains selling for thousands at auction, don’t let it be you that looses out!
  • 3. If you have a rail to hang clothes on the better, if not take hangers and have them hung up on your car or even take a clothes dryer to hang them from. Sadly car boots are usually in a field, clothes will get dirty, get over it. People will rummage through your things if they are in a pile or box you can’t be precious about it.
  • 4. Take a ‘float’ of small change with you, make it easy for people to buy.
  • 5. Take some spare carrier bags to put the sold items in, also newspapers are handy to wrap up any breakables like cups and plates.
  • 6. If you are selling some larger items such as a chair, offer to hold it for the customer till they have finished looking around but make sure they pay first, may people will ask you to hold items and forget to come back loosing you a sale.
  • 7. Have a 20p box at the front of your stall, clearly labelled. I have no idea why but this attracts the crowds, it doesn’t matter really what you have in there but I found old make-up and jewellery no matter what state it is in always sells. It also gets people to look around the rest of your stall.

eBay
If your aim is to make money and make it fast then eBay is your place. It is only worth selling things on eBay that are fairly valuable. Selling on there is expensive, they charge you a fee to list the item and also a percentage of the sale price. If the buyer pays via Paypal then you will be charged again for this too. You end up paying out around 10% of the money you make so bear this in mind when deciding upon your prices. Ways to keep the costs down are to list items for 99p which is free or to wait for a ‘free listing’ weekend. You must always remember though that if you list the item at 99p then it may only sell for that little. Is it really worth the effort of selling say a jumper for 99p? You will get around 90p profit for it but you still have to wrap it up and take it to the post office, packaging such as tissue paper, a padded envelope, parcel tape, printer ink, paper and petrol / bus fare to take into account. For a 90p sale you are likely to have actually lost money. Plus all the time it takes to photograph, measure and write up the auction. I don’t list anything I do not think I will get over ┬ú5 for.

Tips for selling:

  • 1. Make sure you include as much detail as you can in your listing especially condition, colour (it can look different in photos), size and measurements.
  • 2. Take clear photographs.
  • 3. EBay offers two selling formats, auction and ‘buy it now’. Buy it now, you just set the price you want for the item and wait and see if someone buys it. You may also add ‘best offer’ to this which means people can send you a best offer, for example if you have the buy it now of ┬ú100 people can offer you any price below this – beware most people see this as a great pass time to offer you stupid amounts like 50p. Even serious buyers will start at least half the price so unless you are quite flexible in the price I wouldn’t use this feature. Also as a buyer someone who has say ┬ú100 buy it now and will only take offers of over ┬ú97 are just annoying on principle. Buy it now is the best format for more unusual or less well known items.
  • 4. With auction you can start the price low and hope you get lots of bids. This is the best format for popular items that a lot of people will be interested in. How do you know if you have a popular item, you can look at auctions which have already ended of similar items. Generally you learn this with experience from items that don’t even get one bid at 99p and ones that go from 99p to hundreds of pounds. Basically, well known high street and designer items will be popular, for lesser well know designers you have to bide your time for the right buyer. I could write an entire post on this topic alone. For example you would do well at a 99p auction with a pair of Topshop jeans but you would be wise to put an Erdem skirt on a buy it now.
  • 5. Be prepared to answer questions, lots and lots of questions, even ones you have already answered in the listing, even ones that are blindingly obvious. People on eBay like to ask questions, many are dumb ass but hey if it gets you a sale just roll with it. These are all questions I have genuinely been asked ‘exactly how blue is that jumper?’, ‘Has anyone farted in those jeans?’, ‘Is one of the shoes a different size to the other?’…. I could go on!
  • 6. Be prepared to have people wanting returns, even if you clearly state you will not accept them people will try all sorts of BS to get a refund. Basically if they do decide to involve eBay you will be forced to give a refund, eBay is always on the side of the buyer. Yet I find being super nice to complainers, even though you know you did nothing wrong, gets you everywhere. I find the usual problem is that they bought something and it is too small or they had a vision in their heads what it would look like and it doesn’t match their fairytale imagination. I have had all sorts of excuses ‘it smells of smoke’ I don’t smoke it is impossible, ‘it is a small size 1o, you didn’t say it was a very small size 10’ we all know sizes can vary from store to store. To resolve this kind of thing I always apologies profusely that they were disappointed in anyway, say I am an honest person who would never want to mislead anyone. I then try and resolve the issue. I have offered a ┬ú5 refund for dry-cleaning on a ┬ú100 dress. It certainly didn’t need it but it was less hassle for me than taking the dress back and having to resell it. You can also suggest that they relist the item on eBay themselves. You just have to play things by ear. Some times I have lost my temper and snapped at buyers I admit. One accused me of selling a fake item, which you all know by now I am the last person on the earth to ever do that. So I told them I refused to listed to such crap, they had obviously never even seen designer items before let alone been in an original boutique of the designer and that they could take the matter up with eBay, trading standards and the law. They never did of course but I don’t encourage anyone to be rude.
  • 7. Beware that eBay is huge, it attracts millions of people from all over the world. Not all of them are nice people. About 1% are crooks, thieves and down right nasty. I have had the displeasure of dealing with a few but it is rare, most people are just like you. Just bear in mind that eBay has rules and guidelines for a reason – to protect its users, so follow them to the letter. Do not sell an item outside of eBay if you get an email asking you to, do not accept payment methods eBay doesn’t allow like Western Union as you will not have any fall back protection if some thing goes wrong. Do not post an item until you have the money in either your PayPal account or hand in the case of postal orders. If you suspect anything dodgy get in touch with eBay right away.
  • 8. Don’t be afraid of posting overseas, over 60% of my sales are overseas all you have to do is recalculate postage costs which you can work out using the royal mail website going off size and weight. But if you only want to sell to your own country then you can specify that too.
  • 9. Only send items via recorded methods. No matter what the buyer tells you to try and get you to make the postage cheaper, if an item gets lost in the post you, the seller will be held responsible. If you do not send an item so it is fully insured you will loose out as eBay will make you refund the buyer. Therefore if the item is worth over ┬ú46 it must be sent by Special delivery / International signed for plus insurance. If it is under ┬ú46 you may still claim for it but if it wasn’t sent recorded (where the recipient has to sign to prove they have the parcel) then you will have a hard time proving it never arrived. I will never send an item without requiring a signature.
  • 10. Beware of con artists, you would be wise to Google a few eBay scams to familiarise yourself with them. It is most likely you won’t come across any yourself but it pays to be educated if you are selling electrical goods such as mobile phones and laptops or designer handbags especially.
  • 11. If you have a high volume of things to sell you can also open an eBay store, I did this for a while when I was selling my own handmade jewellery but closed it as it did not work for me personally, yet there are many who do like this method. Again it is trial and error and personal preference. I think for a shop to work you need to have a high demand item and something that people will repeat buy. Your shop items are not as highly visible as auction items so you need a real business strategy having the shop stocked with ‘bread and butter’ items and running auctions along side it as ‘cup cakes’ to attract people into your store.
  • 12. Be prepared that your item may take a few weeks of relisting to sell, it may take a while for the right person to find it, some people may spot your item but have to wait 3 weeks till they get paid to buy it.
  • 13. Watchers – watchers are annoying to sellers, you can have an item with lots of watchers but not get a bid. Why? Usually this indicates people are interested in your item but don’t want to pay your price. When I get this I usually start my item off at 99p the next week and almost always end up with it getting bid up over my original price? Why? Want creates demand if someone has their eye on something, but its too dear then all of a sudden they have the chance to afford it they start to obsess and get competitive with other people trying to steal the item away from them.

Esty
I simply adore Etsy, it reminds me of grandmas, cake, kittens and florals. It is just a really nice place to sell. You get to make your own shop, pretty it up with your personalised logo and set out all your items. The thing is that it is restricted to selling vintage, handmade and craft supplies so you may not meet the criteria with what you want to sell. Etsy also has a community where you can meet other like-minded sellers and ‘favorite’ other shops. I choose Etsy over eBay to sell my vintage clothes and accessories because of its specialist vintage category and because it was linked to my blog. I wanted a shop that was more personal, like my blog, so I could sell my things to like-minded people. The downside is that Etsy has nowhere near the traffic of eBay so you need to be prepared for that.

Tips for selling:

  • 1. If you can make your first photograph in each listing a square shape, or at lease make sure the middle of the photo is easy to identify. This is because in the search a ‘thumb print’ of your first photo will be used. If you are selling a dress this can mean the thing buyers see in their search is only the middle as the top and bottom can be cut off!
  • 2. Make sure to add as many key words to your listing as possible so you buyers can find your item easily. This goes for eBay too, people may come up with hundreds of items for ‘red dress’ so they may then look for ‘red dress size 14’ or ‘red dress 60s vintage’ think about all the terms that might apply to your item.
  • 3. Postage, again see eBay tips I will only post via traceable and insured methods to protect myself and I always recommend you sell worldwide not just limited to your own country.
  • 4. Advertising, as Etsy has a smaller footfall than eBay you need to be creative with attracting customers. I promote my items on my blog, twitter, facebook, business cards and word of mouth through friends and family. You can of course do this for your eBay too.
  • 5. The slow burn. With Etsy their is no need for people to panic buy as there is with an eBay auction. With an auction they know this is their only chance to buy something. With Etsy people have time to browse, add items to their favorites and come back to it. I find it is worth reminding people that your item is vintage / handmade so will likely be a one off. Once it is gone, it is gone for good. This recently happened to me, I had a vintage YSL blouse in my shop which sold just after I had blogged about it yet the blouse had been in my shop for a week and I had tweeted about it too. As soon as it was gone I had around 6 messages asking where it went as other people wanted to buy it.

Pricing: I asked on twitter whilst writing this post if anyone had any questions and a common one was how to set prices so I thought I should add more details. For car boot sales I would really say aim as low as possible. Say 20p for t-shirts maybe 50p-£1 for high street dresses.

Again if you want more money for something then get it on eBay. With eBay you can look at similar items to your own and see what they sold for. Simply go to ‘advanced search’ and tick ‘completed listings’. You can then look at the price the item sold for and see what price the item started bidding at. Generally high street clothing I start off at 99p you don’t pay that much for things new so you won’t get a fortune for them second hand. Things that are always popular are jeans and practical items. Season also has an effect on your prices, maxi dresses will get a ton of bids in the summer as will faux fur coats in the winter. Trendy items will attract more bids too, if you think of the key trends at the time clogs last summer for example seen on the Chanel runway were really hard to get hold of, unlike this summer where every shop on the high street has a version. Popular designers will attract more attention than less well known, for example Chanel will attract many bidders where as say Ann Demeulemeester is less know to the mass market. Therefore you could safely list a Chanel 2.55 handbag at 99p and expect it to still get bid up to hundreds of pounds. Yet a ┬ú700 Ann D jacket would be better off placed on a buy it now and be worth the wait for a knowledgeable buyer. If you have seen a celebrity wearing your item try and find an image to add to your listing, people love celebrities especial Kate Moss and Alexa Chung.

With Etsy pricing is pretty much the same as for eBay, you can have a look around other shops to see what similar items are selling for. It is more difficult to price handmade items than it is vintage as only you know hard much hard work went into it. When I used to hand make jewellery I worked out prices by first considering the cost of materials, then how long each piece had taken to make. If you bear in mind that minimum wage is around ┬ú6 per hour you can give yourself an idea of cost per time. Then you need to consider its uniqueness, are you knitting dozens of identical scarves or is each one unique? Are you personalising items? Also how many do you want to sell and how fast? If you make things quickly say, 20 birthday cards per hour you may want to sell higher quantities at lower prices. Whereas if you create fine art, each painting could take two weeks you would aim to sell fewer items at higher prices. When things are more personal you have to step away from any emotional connections and get into your business mind too. Beware of over pricing your items because you have put so much effort into them. You have to make your prices competitive if you want to sell them. Also don’t forgot you can alter your prices, they are not set in stone. Imagine if you saw your item in a shop, what would you be happy to pay for it?

There are of course other place to sell that I won’t go into detail but here are a few words:

Amazon: the best place to sell books, all you have to do is enter the number on the back and decide a price – you can even compare prices of the same book to help you decide, so easy. The only downside is that you don’t get a lot of money for your books and the Amazon set postage fee never covers the actual cost of postage. But I use it because it is easy and I have a lot of books and no room. Amazon is the only place I risk sending 2nd class unrecorded but I do always get a receipt for proof of postage.
Consignment: There are a few place now which will take your designer/ high end high street clothes and accessories, sell them on for you and give you around 50% of the profit. This is an easy method for those who don’t want to spend time faffing around but you will get a somewhat small fee for your items.
Auction: Again an easy way to sell, someone else does the hard work for you and it is the best option for selling rare items. With fashion however you will not get as much money as you would using eBay. For example at a Kerry Taylor designer clothing specialist auction you may pay around £150 for five modern Vivienne Westwood outfits or £300 for an 80s Chanel bag. Bargains to be had here for buyer though!

One last tip: When you sell online you need to consider who your audience is, I like to quote the term ‘Never mix business with pleasure’. It is good to remember you are not anonymous although you might think it. I do not link my eBay to my blog as I prefer to keep my buying and selling private. It is also a very small world, only the other week I bought something and it turns out the seller was a friend of mine!On the other hand I am more than happy to tell everyone about my vintage Etsy shop, I link it to my blog and encourage everyone to come and look around because I want to share it.

Please feel free to ask any questions and of course share any tips you might have too!

Pearl

Don’t forget you can now ‘like’ my blog on Facebook, I have been adding lots of things not seen on the blog – if you have a page leave me your link on my wall so I can ‘like’ you too!

Easy-Peasy Tips on Repairing Vintage Clothes

Repair kit full of cotton, needles, pins, scissors, hemming web, buttons, embellishments, patches and spare fabric.

The lovely Pooka asked me if I could give some tips on how to repair vintage clothes. To be honest I always take anything complicated or expensive to a seamstress but there are plenty of things which are easy to do yourself. I really enjoy repairing and restoring vintage finds, especially those for sale in my shop, I love being able to transform a find into something beautiful that will be treasured by someone else. You don’t necessarily need to have a sewing machine either, although this does make things easier, but they are expensive so these tips are all ones which can be done by hand. My favourite vintage clothes usually mostly come from the 80s, so I am not as scared to have a go myself unlike I would be if it was something from the 1920s for example.

Firstly I would say always check vintage clothing carefully before you buy it, little flaws can add character but beware of huge stains or rips. Stains in vintage clothing could have been there for years so have worked their way well into the fabric. If this is the case your usual stain removers might not be able to get it out. A tip for removing stains is to treat like with like, if you spill coffee for example then this is water based so running it under the tap should wash it out. If your stain is grease based like lipstick a water based remover won’t work. One place to always check vintage clothing is under the arm pits as deodorant stains are impossible to remove. I have read soaking the garment in soluble aspirin can remove them but this is one I haven’t tried myself.

A simple way to remove non-stubborn stains is to apply your detergent or stain remover product direct on the stain and let it soak in prior to washing. I find this gentle methods shifts most stains.

If you find you are stuck with a stubborn stain, don’t let this totally ruin your garment. A common trick I use is to hide the stain.

I have a nice stash of patches, beads, trims and embellishments all which I have ready to fix a problem. I always bear in mind where the stain or rip is when buying and consider if it is in a place which would look suitable with a cover up. One dress I found was beautiful, but had a little mark on the front which would not come off. It was such a stunning dress that I thought it would actually be improved with a little embellishment and choose to add a large corsage. I bought this one but you could easily make your own.

With a few tiny, carefully placed stitches below the top layer of petals the corsage is secured.

You also need to bear in mind when adding embellishment how the washing instructions will be effected. This dress would be easy to hand wash around the corsage but you might choose to use a brooch or something detachable with Velcro for example.

One major trend in the 80s was the shoulder pad, whilst Balmain brought back the statement shoulder not all 80s vintage looks quite as glam. But don’t let this put you off, shoulder pads are easy to remove and I love how you get a bit of extra shoulder drape once you have taken them out.

Simply turn the garment inside out.

Then raise the pad to expose the stitches and simply snip them, taking care not to catch the fabric below. Always save your spare pads as some garments actually look better with them and you can use them in the future.

This dress caught my attention with its wonderful stripes, the sleeves were damaged so I had to get creative. I tried it on and saw it would look very modern with rolled up sleeves, so I cut off the damaged cuffs and hemmed up the sleeves.

If you don’t have a sewing matching you can buy hemming web, most supermarkets sell it as well as specialist haberdasheries and fabric shops. But please don’t use this on delicate or very special pieces, sometimes the web can loose its stick over time and some webs can damage delicate material such as silk. On 80s polyester it is just fine!

All you do is lay a strip along the area to be hemmed.

Neatly fold the hem over the webbing, you can use pins to hold it in place if needed.

Then you cover the area with a wet cloth and press for a few minutes with an iron. Allow to cool and that’s it a perfect hem.

Whilst a sewing machine makes life easier, hand stitching can still be done on small areas.

On this dress a small area of stitching had come undone.

Secure the area with a pin to keep the open edges together.

Then carefully make small, neat stitches over the missing area.

If the original thread is still in place joining the rest of the seem at either end of the gap you are fixing, stitch the loose thread into your stitches to keep it from pulling.

Here is tip which isn’t necessarily a repair but useful none the less. As many of you know I have recently developed rheumatoid arthritis which has made many of my shoes feel too narrow. I also find when buying vintage shoes they do seem narrower than more modern shoes too. If you want to stretch out a pair of shoes by a small amount, imagine the amount they would give after wearing for a few weeks, then this works perfectly. The shoes needs to be real leather, you risk damaging other fabrics. Take a couple of sheets of newspaper and soak it with water, I just run it under the tap, and make a ball. Stuff the ball into the toe of the shoe pushing the shoe out where you want it to give, you can keep adding paper by wrapping more layers over the ball until you have the ball pushing again the area desired to give. This will soak your shoes like you got caught in torrential rain, so use a dry sheet of paper balled up behind the wet ball to stop the water running.

If you are unsure where you need to focus the wad, do one shoe whilst wearing the other to guide you where the shoe is tight, then do the other shoe to match. You also need to be aware that newspaper ink will run, so if you don’t have dark shoes and you think the ink might ruin the shoes use colour free tissue paper instead. Leave the shoes over night and put them on whilst still damp, if you can bear it wear them for on hour to really get them to mould to your foot shape.

If you find them still a bit tight or you need a fairly large width difference most cobblers offer a shoe stretching service. Cravens in Manchester charges ┬ú5 and will let you try them and take them back for more stretching if the first attempt isn’t wide enough, which is well worth it for the perfect fit.

I have sung the praises of leather wipes and feed before, they are perfect for looking after your shoes and bags. But leather feed is also good to restore embellishments on vintage clothing. You can also use a beeswax leather polish, anything which will replenish the moisture to the leather.

I used this on the leather covered straps on my vintage trench coat, they were very dry which can result in the leather cracking, crumbling and flaking off.

Here the right side of the leather has been treated you can see the moisture adds shine back to the leather, whilst the left side is still dry and left like this will soon become damaged with use.

I hope this tips are useful, please feel free to ask anything else. I have listed some other posts I have found useful, please let me know if you have any other links to add.

Pearl

Mending an antique scarf by Evil Dressmaker – via Penny Dreadful fortnightly posts round up.

Cleaning vintage, tips by Fashion Era

How to repair and rework vintage clothing video by Amber Kloss Fashionvillage

Ultraviolet light and how it is used to determine repairs in vintage garments by Lorraine Stratt – one for my fellow geeks!