slow fashion

It's all kicking off!

Goodness me!

If you had told me this time last year that I would be running shopping tours of the charity shops I wouldn't have believed you. But it's very real and the word is getting out there fast. Even the BBC recently filmed a short piece on it as they were intrigued by the concept! So I just wanted to share some of the feedback from recent shoppers as it's such a good feeling to know that other women are now finding joy in pre-loved clothes.

Becky Barnes leading a charity shopping tour on the Gloucester Road

And here's what some of my most recent shoppers had to say about the whole experience:

“I keep meaning to write and say what a BRILLIANT time I had on the last charity shopping tour with Becky. It was so helpful to have your wisdom and eagle eyes Becky and I absolutely love everything I bought, including that amazing 1950s vintage dress for £20. One very happy woman! Thanks so much xxx”
“7 tops, 4 dresses and 4 necklaces...epic shopping session today with the amazing Becky Barnes. Becky you are a total legend and thank you for a fab morning”

So if you fancy seeing what little gems might be out there for you, please have a look at my latest dates and book yourself on before I hang up my shopping shoes for the summer! You can find all the details and book here:

Charity Shopping Tour Tickets

Go on, with summer just around the corner let's bring in some new pieces to help your wardrobe and your style feel refreshed x

Charity Shopping Tours are now live!

When Bristol's Independent District asked whether I'd consider setting up and running shopping tours on the Gloucester Road, I could hardly believe my luck! The answer was always going to be yes as it combines shopping and personal styling with charity shops. All of my favourite things!

The first tour was last week and my intrepid shoppers and I hit the Gloucester Road. We spent two hours scanning a variety of charity shops, carefully selecting different items for each woman to try. 

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As we went, I passed on some of my top tips for successful charity shopping and after two hours my shoppers could barely carry their bulging shopping bags.

One shopper's haul included a Windsmoor coat, two blazers (one from Reiss and one from LK Bennett), two dresses, one waistcoat, two jumpers, five scarves, two bags, three necklaces and two pairs of shoes. All for less than £100!

some finds from the charity shopping tour

The good news is that it was so successful that I've already organised another two tours on Saturday April 21st. If you'd like to find out more or buy a ticket you can click here for the morning tour, or here for the afternoon tour. Tickets cost £25 per person plus a small Eventbrite booking fee. I'd love to see you there and help you find some treasures x

Is a capsule wardrobe the answer to your style dilemmas?

So how hard could it be to create a capsule wardrobe from scratch and then wear it for 30 days? Honestly, I thought it would be a breeze. I thought it would be great fun to style a new look every day, document the pieces and the price of the outfit and share it with my followers. I thought there might be a few small challenges along the way but I had NO IDEA how quickly it would start to affect me (for the worse).

My capsule wardrobe of 18 pieces of clothes and a handful of accessories.

My capsule wardrobe of 18 pieces of clothes and a handful of accessories.

I should state that all I sourced all the pieces from local charity shops as I wanted to show that you can pick up some great finds, meaning style is accessible to everyone. I also wanted to highlight how buying secondhand clothes is kinder to the environment. My views on this remain absolutely the same - and I will continue to be an avid shopper of pre-loved clothes, be it from charity shops, second hand boutiques, swishing events and so on.

So how did the 30 days go? I started out full of enthusiasm. It was new, I was keen to see how well the pieces worked together and I felt positive. The outfits came together nicely and I enjoyed the fact that every morning there was no overwhelm. It felt good.

But from day 10 I started to feel differently. I began to crave my old clothes and I was desperate for more colour. And from that point on, I realised I had made more and more mistakes with the 18 items I had selected. By day 20 I thought finishing the challenge would be impossible. I was just so down and felt so unlike 'me' that it felt counterintuitive to continue. I even had my 6 year old daughter beg me to put my "old clothes' on as she just wanted her mummy back. But I was determined to get to the end so started focusing on how a capsule wardrobe could work.

So having reached day 30 (and boy am I glad it's over!) I have the following 6 tips for you to help you if you ever feel like having a go at a capsule wardrobe yourself:

1 - Your clothes have to fit you well. Some of my items didn't - they were a touch too big or too small meaning ultimately, they were uncomfortable to wear. If they don't fit, you're not going to wear them so don't give them wardrobe space.

2 - If colour is your thing, then you've got to have lots of it in your capsule. I purposely chose a lot of neutrals to give me maximum flexibility and I had one accent colour in orange (not one of my favourite colours but I thought I'd give it a go). Turns out I hate wearing orange and I missed all the jewel tones I love so much. I discovered that stripping me of colour, stripped me of happiness. I know that sounds pretty dramatic, but it's true and the speed at which my mood dropped, actually scared me.

3 - You have to love the items and want to wear them. My issue was I didn't love any of my items, they were just OK. But if your clothes are just OK, that's probably how you're going to feel when you're wearing them. Nothing excited me and I started wearing the items in different ways to try and make them work better for me. If you don't believe me, below is a picture of me wearing a pair of trousers as a scarf!

capsule wardrobe experiment

4 - You have to decide what your capsule wardrobe is for and plan accordingly. Mine was supposed to be for both work and play and I just didn't have enough variety or fun to cover all bases. I also work  with a lot of women who want to keep work and weekend clothes very separate. If this resonates with you then I suggest one capsule wardrobe for work and one for home, which leads nicely onto number 5...

5 - You need to have enough clothes in your collection. I had 18 pieces (4 of which were outerwear) and it simply wasn't enough. Although I enjoyed the fact I wasn't overwhelmed with choice, it did feel like I was depriving myself and that's never a good thing! I think you need at least 30 items in a capsule to help you feel you have sufficient variety and to stop the boredom. Trust me when I say I was sick of my items by the end of the challenge!

6 - You can go outside your capsule when you need to. I had a number of evening events to attend during my 30 days and no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't turn my items into 'party wear'. Once I had given myself to go outside the capsule for special occasions, it felt so much better.

So here we are on day 30 and I cannot tell you how excited I am about delving into my own wardrobe tomorrow to choose something fabulous! Having lived with a capsule for 30 days I can see how one could work and I'm going to take the learnings into my own wardrobe where I will definitely be stripping out and refining. But for now, I'm going to select the outfit for day 31 - one which is full of colour and makes me feel like me again x