Fantastic Fashion Finds

I love finding a bit of fashion greatness in unexpected places. You know, those bargain fashion finds, that just happen to pop up at the most unexpected of times. My mother and I are huge fans of shopping in dress exchanges – if you’re unfamiliar with the concept, these are basically consignment stores where rich ladies take their designers duds that they no longer want. It just so happens on a mother-daughter day out, we came across this skirt and Lordy Lord, what an incredible fashion find it was.

Back in July, I went up to Leeds to see my parents. A flyer had been put through their door from an organisation called The Dressmaker’s Vault saying they were having a sale at the local church hall. Mama Bangs especially never being one to turn down the opportunity to nab a bargain, we headed down there. It was a dress exchange set up and there were designer duds galore. It was like some sort of hidden fashion mecca – in this little church hall tucked away on the leafy, tree-lined streets of North Leeds, ladies were getting rid of their Prada shoes, Chloe tops, Balenciaga bags. I wandered around a little in awe, trying to fathom how such a wonderful collection of clothes had made its way here.

I went through every item, gently sliding hangers along the racks and then all of a sudden, I slid back a hanger to find it, glaring at me as if it had been waiting for me its whole fashion life – a Herve Leger bodycon skirt. Black. Size medium. New. Barely worn, if ever. Tags still on. Whoever bought it paid £600. It was being sold here for £70. I damn near passed out.

Due to lack of time and me not having my purse on me, I ended up not getting it. And then spent the rest of the weekend kicking myself for missing the opportunity. A skirt like that is a staple for any wardrobe really. I mean, who’s not gonna get a fair share of wear out of a black skirt? Ugh, what an idiot. Who turns down the chance to get their mitts on a Herve Leger for £70?! This fool, that’s who.

As summer dragged on and I thought about getting my Autumn/Winter wardrobe together, I couldn’t get that skirt out of my head. I kept thinking about how I could wear it and even picked out tops and tights to wear with it, despite not actually even owning the damn thing.

Well last week, I could take it no more. I looked up The Dressmaker’s Vault and emailed them. I explained that I knew it was a giant long shot, since I saw the skirt in July and it was now September, but if there was any chance at all that they still had it, I’d love to make it mine. Turns out the fashion Gods were smiling on me that day – within minutes, Cathy, who owns the company emailed me back telling me I was in luck. The next day I called her to pay for it and the day after, my brand new (kind of) Herve Leger skirt arrived, beautifully packaged.

My mother always taught me ‘if you don’t ask, you don’t get’. I can’t wait to wear this skirt this Autumn/Winter. I love these shopping experiences with my mother. Leeds has a great selection of dress exchanges where I’ve found all sorts of incredible fashion bargains (a Mulberry bag, a Pringle mac, a brand new, never worn Hobbs suit…). London hasn’t quite gotten the hang of dress exchanges yet – not quite grasping that the idea is the items should actually cost less than if I were to buy them brand new in a designer boutique, but maybe one day it’ll get there. Until then, I shall head north and keep track of shops and organisations like The Dressmakers Vault.

Do some investigating in your city and find the good dress exchanges. In my experience, the owners will always keep an eye out for what you’re looking for and are more than helpful. They have a great network of people who sell their wares (for example, one shop I frequent in Leeds has a seller with a penchant for designer handbags – she uses them once, gets sick of them and sells them on. They show up in the dress exchange for crazy good prices).

Until my next great fashion find, I’ll be hanging out with Herve.

Bodysuit: Wolford

Skirt: Herve Leger

Tights: Wolford

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