Lucky or What?


With the gradual opening up, we have the opportunity at last to experience things we took for granted before this wretched pandemic and doubly appreciate them.  For me, one of those pleasures is mooching round a charity shop – particularly in a well-to-do  area. “Mary’s Living and Giving” in Richmond is one such and I was delighted to see it was open on a recent visit. Like many charity shops it is not longer the muddle these places used to be but is as beautifully laid out as any upmarket boutique For me it is as pleasurable as looking in a shop which sells new clothes.  Plus it is conscience-free! 

I was only in the shop long enough for my husband to buy a book from the selection outside and I emerged with a gem! 


How so quick?  What do you need to know to make "lucky" purchases?

  • You need to know your best colours so you quickly edit out anything that doesn’t fall into your palette.
  • If the garment IS one of your colours, take it off the rail and, after checking the size, assess the style. It really helps to know your style personality and the cuts of clothes which suit your particular shape.  Is the neckline suitable for you?  What about the sleeves?  Are you sure there are no strong horizontal lines across your widest bits? 
  • If the fabric has a pattern, you need to know your contrast level - i.e. can you wear black and white and not be eclipsed by it or do you, like me, need a pattern with a fairly low contrast level?

  • It is useful to know something about fabrics and how they behave.  Will it hang nicely?  How will it feel on your skin?
  • Is the garment well made? A lining always helps it to hang well and makes it more hard wearing.
  • Above all, be ruthless. We all have enough clothes so something needs to be really special and tick all the boxes to warrant you putting your hand in your pocket.

Back to “Mary’s Living and Giving".  Watch my video here or read on:   I did a quick skim round the rails checking to see if there was anything in my colours. I saw this dress on the “posh occasions” rail and could feel the old excitement stirring – my colours, my size, sleeves (gone are my sleeveless days!), a neckline which works for me (boat) and a flattering shape (straight).  I felt the fabric which is gorgeous silk velvet with a lining and I could see the dress was well made.  Also, the dress is unusual – not a repeat of something I already have.   There was no “trying on”  but I could take it back if I didn’t like it so, with no risk involved, I made the purchase and was out of the shop in no time.

This is my favourite kind of shopping, i.e. not looking for anything but waiting to be ambushed by something which screams “buy me”!  You can call it serendipity or luck but as you can see, there is quite a lot of information stored up in order to have that luck. 



If I see something which is right in every way even if I don't know when I might wear it, I buy.  Many years ago I saw a long 1950's satin dress by Dior in olive green in a local “vintage” shop. Stunning! I bought it for no reason other than that it was perfect and then my daughter announced she was getting married. You guessed it.  I was spared all that anxiety of finding just the right dress because I had my mother-of-the-bride outfit ready! 

So now I am the proud owner of this beautiful velvet dress. It has a slight '20's feel so I have accessorized it with a long Sarah Cavender necklace from the V & A shop .  All I need now is the right occasion!

If you would like to have some of that information about yourself so you can make "lucky" purchases click here

Here is a testimonial from Julia who recently invested in Colour Confidence Online to help her step into the next stage of life positively and with confidence.

From the minute the Zoom call opened, I felt in safe hands.  Hilary was a delightful and highly experienced and insightful guide and her subtle refinements and “tweaks” to my existing use of colour really helped build my confidence “going forward’ into this new (older) phase of my life.  She also offered invaluable advice on hair colour and hairstyles.  I am looking forward to putting her wisdom and great advice into practice.    Julia L., Hungary 

And finally, there will be no July Newsletter/Blog as I am hoping to be on actual holiday.  This is me last year and I hope to be on the same beach in Dorset with the same gorgeous grandchildren.