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Why I Love Preloved

By Penelope Meredith on Sep 29 2015

I realised this week that some of the things in my wardrobe I wear the most, cost the least. Not all (take my eye-wateringly expensive Louis Vuitton heels, the price of a small car), but a lot. And these items weren’t cheap because they’re cheaply made or mass-produced – far from it. They were cheap because (while I’m on the car theme) they’d had one or more previous owners.

As a stylist I am always on the job – in constant scanning mode – hunting out interesting, cool pieces for my clients and occasionally for myself. I’ve bought some absolute gems from Buy My Wardrobe over the years, with such success that the cost per wear of these items is now in the pennies rather than the pounds.

BuyMyWardrobe is a friendly London boutique where fashion lovers sell and buy designer clothing. Some of the items have never been worn – and those that have are immaculate (they won’t sell anything tarnished or dated). They currently have a cute, corner pop-up site in Notting Hill’s Portobello Road, where I picked out my favourite pieces and took to the streets.

Here’s what I found and loved…

Valentino Red black prom dress, £160. (Pictured above and below, with Alaia wool biker jacket, £495). An evening dress where your armpits can breathe is so useful. Plus it will last longer, since dry cleaning doesn’t always remove odour or deodorant marks. These things are important! This cute lbd feels so free & easy. It gives good shape. The taffeta is swishy and fun. At 40 plus, it’s sometimes nice to feel girly again.

Chanel scallop-edge cardigan, £650. (Pictured with Sophie Hulme nude oversized clutch, £195). One hundred percent delicious, luxury cashmere, with a scooped hem, like a tail coat. This is my definition of lounge-luxury. Crawl out of bed, add any jeans, any t-shirt, any shoes – and this. A sumptuous, easy throwover piece that you will never want to take off.

Alaia knitted top and skirt set, £400. Acne silver shoes, £150. Saint Laurent jacket, £895. Chanel bag, £690. (Pictured below). First time around this outfit would have cost just shy of £5k. Each piece is as good as new – and can be styled individually as well as worn together. Wear the silver shoes with jeans, the lace jacket with smart crepe evening trousers, and of course the Chanel bag with everything.

Valentino dress, £1495. (Pictured below). More Valentino, this time from the mainline collection. What a dress this is. If I owned it I would be going out all the time. It ticks all my boxes – it shows just the right amount of flesh, it’s classic but unusual, looks elegant and sophisticated and feels AMAZING to wear. Most of the photos are of this dress because I didn’t want to take it off. Who cares if it’s not my size?

Chanel jacket, £1150. (Pictured below). I sometimes wonder how people buy Chanel first time around when you can go on an exotic holiday for the price of a jacket. (But that’s only my current mood. Usually I’d go for the jacket). This one has the soft, relaxed feel of slipping on an old cardigan with the structure of something more serious. I love the cut of this. It has removable sleeves so can be worn as a gilet too, though I’m not sure I ever would. But if you would, you’re getting two jackets in one. With almost enough left over for a holiday.

Ralph Lauren silk chiffon blouse, £60. Celine bag, £550. Chanel jacket, £895. (Pictured below). More Chanel. A cute and easy black jacket with nude-pink fringe detail. A really good, simple piece with just enough detail. I’ve put it with a silk chiffon blouse here, a bargain by Ralph Lauren at £60 (with a camisole to go underneath), but I’d also wear it with an plain white t-shirt, jeans and sneakers.

Be quick – the Buy My Wardrobe pop-up store is at 199 Portobello Road until Saturday 4th October 2015. After that you can visit them at their usual residence on Seymour Place, W1.

You’ll also find find them – and me (selling my wares) – at the Roof Gardens designer sale on 17 October 2015. It’s a ticket-only event. I’ll post more info next week. Hope to see you there!

Please visit Penelope's Blog PICA PICA for a snippet into her stylish discoveries and inspirations.