styling a suit jacket bought at a charity shop

13 April 2020


Just as Belinda and I started on our second hand clothing journey, I came across a suit for R15 (less than one US dollar). Everything in the charity shop was on sale for R15 and I was thrilled to find the suit. It was in perfect condition and needed no hemming or buttons replaced (it has hidden buttons). I think it used to be someone’s work suit. I decided, rather rashly, to give the trousers to my daughter. Thinking then that suits weren’t in fashion. Now, I want to kick myself – suits are trendy again. She said I could have the trousers back, but when? The lockdown has been extended.

That brings me to the next issue. Why would I write a blog about styling a suit jacket when the world is living in pjs and sweats? Because I am fed up with this lockdown. I know it is the right thing to do and I know I’m complaining from a place of privilege, but I am still frustrated. When the restrictions are lifted, I will have some outfit ideas for autumn and maybe even for our mild South African winters. And if I share them with you, we can look to the future together.

To set the stage: I styled the jacket with blue jeans and ankle boots that I kept for all the outfits. I love my “new” ankle boots – it was my first time wearing them. I decided to try three different layering pieces underneath the jacket and then change each look up by just adding a scarf. Everything I’m wearing is either thrifted or pre-loved, except for the knitted sweater in the first outfit. I did consider chopping my head off when I cropped the photos, but then you wouldn’t see my hair without a style and my fed up smile.

For this look, I layered a light grey knitted sweater underneath my jacket. At first I wasn’t sure about the colours, thinking that they might clash. but when I added my gran’s pearls, the look just came together. My grandmother didn’t have much and even though this is just costume jewellery, it always reminds me of her. It is also the only personal thing I have that was hers. To change the look up, I added a grey and rust scarf. In all fairness, I could be wearing anything underneath and nobody would be the wiser. Is that cheating when you change up a look?

For the second look, I went for a 70’s vibe – collar out. I was surprised that I liked this look at all. I felt so groovy in these threads. Does the pink look too summery for autumn? I’m going to wear it anyway – convention be damned. The scarf belonged to my daughter, but she already has a similar one and gave this one to me. She bought them in China while she was working as an au pair in Shanghai.

The last look is my least favourite. I chose a dark purple shirt and the added a greenish scarf with dark purple accents – which you can’t really see. The collar of the shirt is peeking out from under the scarf – which you can’t really see. The reason I don’t like this look is the colour. It is too dark. I like light and happy colours and I think dark purple clashes with my energy and my personality. I could probably pull this off for work and feel serious enough to be work appropriate.

Styling my charity shop jacket was a lot of fun and I enjoyed writing this blog post. I will be ready to get out of my pjs and into regular clothes when this lockdown is lifted. Take care and stay safe.

Matilda xo

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