Friday, 22 August 2014

Charity Shop Tourism - Chazzing in the Black Country



Fire up the camper! We haven't been charity shopping (aka chazzing) since Tuesday.


Today took us to the Black Country town of Halesowen, which, according to the Doomsday Book, was once larger than Birmingham. During the Industrial Revolution Halesowen was famed for its coal mining as well as its nail and iron industry and, at its peak in 1919 had 130 working coal mines.


Plenty of the original Norman architecture is still evident at St John the Baptist church which stands on the site of an earlier Anglo-Saxon church in the centre of the town and there's a Medieval cross in the churchyard.


But enough of the history. According to The Charity Retail Association's website there are 7 charity shops in Halesowen town centre and that's good enough for us. (We found eight!)


First up there's Shelter. Dresses with peplum waists, visible zips, studded collars and Ikat & bird prints - the racks are groaning under the amount of them. At between £2.50 - £4.50 the prices weren't bad if high street fashion is your thing. I spotted a tatty vinyl Kelly bag labelled "Vintage" and priced at £15 and left empty-handed.


Even the sale at the Sally Army didn't tempt us. Jon spotted a chunky 1960s Icelandic knit for £4 but it was so filthy it should have carried a health warning. 


I couldn't tell you about prices in here because the stock was so uninspiring that I didn't look at a single tag. Jon went through the huge pile of £1 vinyl albums but the only ones of any interest were already in our collection.


The bric-a-brac shelf in Acorns was good, a lovely 1950s yellow ceramic 6 person tea set for £14.50 and a selection of 1960s coffee pots for a very reasonable £2.99 but they weren't for us. I did make one purchase, though.

A suitably bright and groovy 1970s nylon maxi skirt. Acorns had a "three for two" clothing promotion but it was the only thing in the remotest bit interesting, the rest of the stock was a sad 1990s time warp of Next bias cut dresses and polyester work trousers.


Cancer UK was full of nutters gazing blankly at the bric-a-brac shelves, muttering to themselves and blocking the aisles. There were quite a few nursing home dresses in here, 100% polyester with a zip front and the deceased owner's name scribbled on the collar in marker pen which always make me feel sad.  I spotted a lovely set of boxed 1960s Ravenscroft glasses for £6 but I've already got far more than I need.


We bought this Orkney Island tweed trilby 


...and a rather sweet '80s St Michael leather belt (which I was about to write off as knock-off Radley until I examined it further).


The Beacon Centre for the Blind was another shop with annoying customers, chatting between themselves with their coats chucked over the rails and their shopping bags cluttering up the aisles. A polite excuse me please failed to make an impact but a shoulder barge and I'm sorry, I didn't see you there soon did. The shop had an initially tempting basket of linen for 40p an item, sometimes a good source of funky fabric for patchwork, but everything was a bit wishy washy and twee.


I managed to find a couple of pretty, hand rolled scarves which are getting to be quite scarce in chazzas and when they do crop up they're usually marked up at more than I'd sell them for.


I won't be selling this one, though. A gloriously tacky souvenir scarf to add to my ever growing Spanish collection.


I clocked the striped dress in the window from across the road 'cos I can spot vintage at 100 yards. The lady at the till had a queue of customers to deal with but I jumped to the front, smiled sweetly and asked if it would be okay to take the dress off the mannequin and she was fine. You snooze, you lose!


Here it is. A cute 1970s Kittiwake beach dress, strangely marked up at a fraction of the price of the ASOS and H&M dresses, not that I'm complaining!


This type of local charity shop can go either way, sometimes the tattier ones are filled with amazing vintage pieces at silly prices but this one wasn't, just overpriced rubbish, unfortunately. Other than a couple of interesting paperbacks there wasn't anything for us here.

What we wore: Jon: 1970s wool blazer, military shirt, Topman skinnies, 1970s Doc Martens (all car booted or charity shopped) Me: Vintage Indian embroidered maxi dress (Belonged to Sabine's Mum in the 1960s), Indian chappals & beaded peacock bag (jumble sales)
My friend Romy posed by a blue wall recently so when I saw this one outside the main shopping centre I thought we'd do the same, which bemused the passing shoppers no end.

Halesowen. Our verdict? Entertaining for an hour or so. Not so much for the charity shops, more for the higher than is normal amount of weird people and downright nutters. 


I've been far too virtuous this week what with all the sewing, cleaning & cooking. Time to kick off the chappals, dial a curry and bust open the rum. Cheers!

See you soon!

54 comments:

Hippy At Heart said...

Haha, the blue wall is a big thing in the blogger scene now, isn't it?! ;) Love your dress, my dear, it is wonderful. Sad you didn't find enough goodies, but it's similar here in Germany - mainly overpriced H&M dresses or 50s stuff that I'm not into.

Cheapchick said...

It is funny how you can find loads one day and nothing the next. My stepdaughter and I went thrifting yesterday and I did not buy a single thing! I paid for two shirts for her (yay! A 16 year old who likes to thrift care of ME as her Mother doesn't and hubby only recently has discovered thrifts aren't so bad)

Sandies' Patch said...

Love the blue dress Vix!
Know what you mean about the chazzas these days, getting very pricey. I shop there because I have to really, can't afford much new.
It's a bit of a struggle too, not losing much weight as I 'get longer in the tooth' lol!

Emma Kate at Paint and Style said...

You look gorgeous in your blue dress! The shoulder barge made me smile, naughty girl.
I love nothing more than chazzing in strange towns. Makes for a cheap holiday. xxx

myshabbychicvintagefrugallife said...

We dont have much luck with halesowen either , its expensive and what they find vintage in the clothes does make me laugh , the last charity shop you visited in halesowen use dto be so good at getting bargains when it was the other end of the town until they jumped on the bandwagon too , now they have lots of overpriced stuff that stays there for months on end xxx

freckleface said...

Fire up the camper! Love it! Love you in that blue embroidered dress, it's just so pretty. Sort of medieval meets arts and crafts meets hippy chick. Nice combo. It's lovely to get an insight into your chazzing days out. It just goes to show that even for the experts, they can be hit and miss. You know what my favourite treasure of the day is, don't you. Got to be that amazing Spanish scarf. What a treasure. Xxxxxxxx

Joni James said...

Beautiful dress and it's lovely trimmings to go shopping in.
I too love the Spanish fabrics and scarves. I remember my mother singing "Go Tell Aunt Rhodie" while wearing a white blouse with bull fighters down the front of it. I loved that more then the song.

Lesley Extance said...

Yes Vix, I find them sort of people in the charity shops where I live always in the way too when you are trying to look.
Love the dress have a great bank holiday weekend xxx

DOLLYgirl Designs said...

love this post - hope to see more similar ones!

Porcelina said...

Love it, always interesting to know what charity shops are like in different places - we travel around quite a bit as the other half's a musician always off to gig somewhere a bit off the beaten track. I am doing a post soooon about my own chazza finds! Lots of highstreet, but a smattering of vintage. I adore that M&S belt, so cute! P x

Helen Le Caplain said...

What a shame that so many of the places you visited were full of odd people and overpriced tat. Still I tell myself that days like that make me really appreciate the times I find those gems! ;)

Curtise said...

It's always good to try somewhere new for chazzing, though of course you never know what you'll find... You managed to get a fab frock, and I love the Spanish scarf. But your descriptions of overpriced high street shit or nondescript, worn or dirty vintage, not to mention the odd bods and the chatters who won't move really made me laugh in recognition!
I like the history bit, please always include some of that in your posts about trips out and about.
LOVE your hippy-tactic embroidered maxi, you look beautiful. Now enjoy your curry and rum!
Love you! xxxx

diaryofapennypincher said...

Crikey, I haven't been to Halesowen for years, and won't bother now, you saved me a trip! Love that blue dress, perfect sleeve length now the weather has turned colder.

Anupriya DG said...

Love, love, love your embroidered maxi!!! And that green striped one is love-at-first-sight material! No wonder you couldn't wait to get it off the mannequin! <3

Patti said...

The names from the nursing homes always make me sad, too. You did find some treasures, and looked fabulous doing so! xox

thorne garnet said...

nothing worse than spending the day thrift shopping and coming home empty handed. At least you found a couple of things. Pretty town, though.

Kezzie said...

Where I live vintage is rare or really expensive- there's an Oxfam in Romford that has retro and vintage but it's often quite expensive and not very nice- only got 2 gems from there!
Your dress is gorgeous- Elizabeth Bennett meets Pocohontos!x

Willow said...

Loving the Indian embroidered Maxi .
I am also very smitten with your little camper bus !

The Small Fabric Of My Life said...

Your dress is fabulous. At least you both looked incredible even if the shopping wasn't. X

Laurie Duncan said...

I do hate it when I want to thrift, and someone gets in my way. And it's even worse when I don't find anything! You looked beautiful in that dress though, so who cares! :)

Rebecca said...

You're so funny! I felt like I was in those aisles with you -- shoulder barging with the BEST of 'em!

Angels have Red Hair said...

LOL ... well if I ever find myself in Halesowen I'll be sure to watch out for the nutters ;0)
xx

Jazzy Jack said...

I really don't know how you do it! But you both looked gorgeous even on a frustrating day. It must be lovely to work together. Loving your Indian maxi and your pop top van. We have one too! Jon is a total inspiration on possible male style. I hope he knows that. Thanks for your lovely comment on my blog...you are an inspiration too! XO JJ

Suzanne Carillo Style Files said...

Well they can't all be winner buying trips I suppose.

That maxi is making me so jealous! You must have the best collection of vintage maxis on the planet.

Too funny about the weirdos.

I love Jon's Doc Martens. The colour is wonderful.

bisous
Suzanne

ArgentGal said...

It may have been slim picking but you and Jon look like you had fun and of course you both look great! Maybe it's something in the air? I searched through 4 thrift stores yesterday and only came home with one vintage dress to sell and one plastic bangle to keep. Here's hoping fortunes are better next week.

ArgentGal said...

It may have been slim picking but you and Jon look like you had fun and of course you both look great! Maybe it's something in the air? I searched through 4 thrift stores yesterday and only came home with one vintage dress to sell and one plastic bangle to keep. Here's hoping fortunes are better next week.

Betty said...

I love your blue dress today, I had one very like this in black velvet found in a jumble sale as a teenager in the 70s, wonder whose wearing it now! Charity shops round here are too pricy for me lately but am currently looking out for a vintage tea set - join the queue I hear everyone say!

Delia Ryder said...

I haven't been charity shopping for months or carbooting I must be losing it :-) You both look fabulous. Have a great weekend, dee xx

kate steeper said...

I find im walking in and walking out of most charity shops these days . The seem to have gone really down hill of late . Or it could be the fall out of the depression in everyones income , you dont do fashion anymore you wear it till its only fit for the rag bag

Lally said...

Oh there is nothing more frustrating than overpriced chazzas! I have quite a few goodies where I am but have definitely got more expensive recently. I love that green striped frock though! Your outfit is also fabulous, such an amazing dress. Xxc

Mike Forman said...

This is such a helpful post, charity shopping can be tough! Shame you didn't find much but I suppose the searching is half the fun :)

Shop Vintage Clothing

Miss Magpie said...

This is why I have never suggested a blog meet near me. Loads of chazzas but they are all full of overpriced rubbish.

At least you found that magnificent belt and scarf.

Maureen said...

So it's not just here in Chichester that Charity shops can be iffy. Next week though the local hospice shop has a big vintage fair in the Assembly Rooms which is usually great!

Sue said...

Thanks for taking me Chazza shopping, even if you didn't get much you still had a lovely day out with your man. Enjoy your curry and rum, you deserve it.

wardrobeexperience said...

great post.
i really miss 'my' charity shops in the city i lived in before ... they are cheap and most of the time full of surprises ...

here in the berlin thrift shopping is different. shops are pretty expensive and charity shops just grappy.

i have to say: you looks super fabulous ion this blue dress. what a treasure!!!!!

Shahin Butt said...

Hello,
I enjoy your blogs , I love vintage and style but felt increasingly uncomfortable by your use of the word 'nutter',in your most recent blog.

I know you have a social conscience and as I have had a lifetime's-career working in the field of mental health I am aware that some charity shops do attract people with mental health problems, often because of course they are cheap but often also because the staff appear accepting of some of their behaviour which maybe some other shops would not.
Best wishes

Sonya Ann said...

I just found your blog and I LOVE IT! I love to thrift shop and go to garage sales. Today I found a lovely basket for $1 for my daughter's closet. I collect things to send back with her. It looks so much better than everything scattered about.

DearHelenHartman said...

Looks like a good time if not a good haul. Been like this for moi as well, not finding anything inspiring much lately. Has it all been bought up? Or is everyone hanging onto it? Either way you look fab as ever!

Brooke F said...

You have to love a location with a few charity shops but lots of weirdo's and nutters! Love that St Michaels belt -too cute! XXX

Catherine said...

Ahh well that's a pitty! All that effort for nout! You do look fabulous though, I love your frock an awful lot!

mrsmsmeanderings said...

I know exactly what you mean, Vix, about finding items of clothing with the owner's name written inside the neck - always makes me feel sad as well. Not your best chazzing day ever, by the sounds of it, but I though the green dress was great! x

Pull Your Socks Up! said...

It's such a disappointment when you're really in the mood for right good rummage and after hours of hunting, leaving virtually empty-handed. The green frock is brilliant and I love the look of the chazzas that look like a rummage sale, they're usually where I head for too. My local Lifeline and Endeavour shops have been Mary-fied and now they're grossly over-priced, full of tat that the assistants think is gold and horrible Zara seconds. At least you got to visit a beautiful got city, thank you for the wonderful tour! xoxoxox

Forest City Fashionista said...

Well, it was a day out away from home, even if the shopping wasn't any good. It is so disappointing when you are psyched up to go thrifting and all you can find is overpriced crap. Nice score on the Spanish-themed scarf though.

I love the dress you're wearing - it's such a lovely colour and fits you perfectly.

Panty Buns said...

Your lovely Vintage Indian embroidered maxi-dress looks beautiful and has a very pleasing contrast with the colour of your VW Devon Camper. The tales of your charity shop chazzing adventures are a fun read. The floral print and background of the 1970s nylon maxi-skirt you found at Acorns looks very pretty and the Spain themed souvenir scarf is a beauty.

http://www.full-brief-panties.blogspot.com/

Helga said...

You just never know what you're gonna get! Your experience is what it's been like here for the last few years, but oddly, just in the last month, it's picked up again and I've been picking up some goodies. Thank goodness. Nothing in clothing,though.
That souvenir scarf is DIVOON, and I love the stripey frock! It's brilliant, being able to spot vintage at 20 paces! That's talent!
Fabularse old township, you know how I love a good English village!
Love Helga XXX

Hollie "Jet" Black-Ramsey said...

I want your dress SO hard!! I keep scrolling back up to look at it!

Loulou said...

ha, your verdict about the fine people of Halesowen is hilarious, although the photos of the square (?), church and barber shop make it look quite charming in spite of the residents.

I love both of your outfits and how the blue wall brings them out so nicely.

Jean at www.drossintogold.com said...

Thoroughly enjoyed my day thrifting with you and Jon! :-) Despite the slim pickings, it was fun to sightsee. I love the pics of the town, the church, and especially you guys. Great outfits, and the blue wall portraits are fab. Bet that curry was good and the rum tasty. XXOO

Krista Gassib said...

I love that you can spot vintage from 100 yards away! These look vaguely familiar to me and I did really enjoy walking through some of your regular shops, I always say going regularly is the best way to find the goods.
You and Jon are fine examples in your vintage finery of what having your own style is all about.
Lots of love!
XXXOOOO

Fiona said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fiona said...

Bugger blogger it just ate my shamefully late comment...(I'm blaming nightshifts.)
Even if Halesowen was a disappointment on the chazzing front it sounds like it made up for it with the entertainment factor. Always good to spot a few weirdos and nutters, makes for a much more memorable day out. Trust Vix to spot authentic vintage from twenty paces, don't ever lose your touch.
You look beautiful in that stunning blue frock btw. xxx

Trudie said...

It's a tricky thing to pick some off these op shopping destinations with a half a dozen or so to check out in close proximity to one another. Sometimes it's rather annoying to have travelled the time to come away with very little. But at the end of the day you just never know unless you check it out. I do love the green and white beach dress. Oh a as for the nutters, I think op shopping and nutters go together there everywhere too.

Missy Vintage said...

that was an interesting tour to read! Love the spanish scarf. Sounds like you had a fun and brought lots of people watching tales with you ;)

Trees said...

I love that blue frock you wore shopping! I guess the thing with second hand shopping is that its never consistent. That makes you appreciate the good days though! I love that you can spot vintage from across the road - that green dress is lovely. I do love hearing about the history of these towns you guys visit :)