…In which Badger Madge breaks a rule

February 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

Sorry there hasn’t been much Badger action for a while. I had been challenged to not buy anything during the month of January, and had to avoid shops and online so as to not be tempted. I survived, thankfully, and am rather proud of myself.

Dusty quite rightly supports thrifty shopping and generally getting the most out of your current wardrobe pallet. I, however, am a bit of a magpie and can’t resist a the new and the sparkly (unless the sparkly ends up making you look a bit like a big fat opera singer, of course). So I’m blaming the fact that I broke one of my style rules (“Never buy anything that has been in a shop window, or at the immediate front of a shop floor.”) on the enforced no-buying challenge of January and these magpie tendencies: cage a magpie and sooner or later she’ll go wild with diamonds. Or something.

Anyway, I’ve walked past this cute fit and flare tea dress every day on my way to work, and I knew I had to have it. I lasted a week. I love the fit and flare cut – incredibly flattering for us curvy ladies as it accentuates our tiny waists and skims hips/bums and tums. Basically, they hug in all the right places and are set to be huge this summer. They’re already fighting the body con for shop floor space (and winning) in the high street right now.

I’m not usually one for red, but couldn’t resist the art deco-esque print. I’d dress it up with pearls, a jacket and heels (whatever my other half thinks, I reckon it would be fine – avec fascinator – for a wedding) or dressed down with a cosy cardie and brogues or boots. It would even go quirky on its own with a bowler hat and heel brogues. 3 for 1 – surely that’s worth being a rule-breaker for?



January 13, 2011 § 1 Comment

January is a month to purge. Not your own body, in a tedious, dysfunctional bout of penitent self-denial, but definitely your wardrobe. Christmas outfits, Christmas presents and sales bargains meant that some of my drawers were getting damnably difficult to close. Some stuff had to go. A whole bootful of it had to go, in fact. (Not all clothes.) The things that didn’t quite fit – either on me or with my other clothes – got black sacked and hauled to the charity shops.

I’m not the only person thinking this way, which means that now is a good time to nosey around your local thrift outlet and see what you can find. I returned with a small bag of new-old goodies to replace the things I’d ditched, and even came alarmingly close to re-purchasing one of my ex-possessions. (I nearly slipped up  on the brown patterned knee-length corduroy skirt in the rack above – still nice, but too much a part of my postgraduate student life to every be zipped around my waist again. Just touching it made me come out in a rash of Victorian poetry and close-reading criticisms.) What will you be getting rid of this year? And what bargains have you picked up?

How to charity shop

November 3, 2010 § 1 Comment

At some point, I’d like to write a Mannequin World guide to second-hand shopping and smart thrift store rummaging. But if I don’t get round to it, this amazingly thorough how-to from Second Hand Shopper should cover almost everything you need to know. Check out this sample tip:

The holy grail of thrifting locations is the working-class high street situated near to an upper-middle class area – particularly if the high street is on a through-route to the city centre. While the shops themselves price for the local clientele, the donations often come in from further afield, from generous types who would rather give their goods to the shops they feel have more need than their local, over-priced Oxfam.

Second Hand Shopper’s guide to secondhand shopping

I’ve been trailing round charity shops since I was a tiny child helping my dad flick through racks of vinyl, and the ability to quickly grasp the socioeconomic position of a goodwill outlet is the greatest thing you can ever learn as a bargain hunter. There’s more similarly good stuff in the full post, so read carefully – and stay off my patch when you’re done…

What to wear the night you shave your head…

November 1, 2010 § 2 Comments

For reasons too morose to go into here, in 26 days I will be shaving my head to raise money for pancreatic cancer (click on the link for more info and to donate). I had the idea just over a year ago, and since then I’ve lost count of the number of times people have asked about my plans for headwear.

That’s for another time (believe me, I will be well researched in hats and hair accessories by the time this is over and look forward to showing you all my findings!), but my main concern at the moment is a little more pressing in my calender. What to wear the evening of the shave. On a normal night out I’ll throw on one of my many going out dresses, not really worrying about the colour – unless I’m having a fat day, in which case the fail-safe LBD or posh tunic slips off the hanger. But once the hair has gone, specific questions come into play.

With stubble for hair, is black too harsh? Will nudes be too naked? And would hot pink make me look like a lice-infested hooker?

With more flesh on show, should I stay away from strapless to avoid showing far too much flesh (as opposed to just too much)? And with no hair to balance my top half, should I go for more figure-accentuating cuts to avoid looking like a huge frump? Normally I’d snap up this stunning nude empire line, but will it make my bootie less cute(ie)? Sorry.

Aside from the actual dress, there’s what’s going on my head to consider. Obviously at the start of the evening, I’ll be showing it off to all the wonderful people who have helped us raise almost 6K – they’ve paid for the show after all, right? But at some point in the evening, I might feel more comfortable (and warmer) throwing something on my bonce, and this will have to go with my outfit. A funky fedora? A fascinator? Ah. We’re getting into other-post territory now…

These are all lush, but again, there’s no telling what a shaved head will do to them.

Green ruffle dress, River Island

Gold rose jacquard dress, Miss Selfridge

Blue strapless tulip, Reiss

Thoughts and experiences most welcome!

BM x


October 27, 2010 § 2 Comments

I scrummaged this out of a charity shop yesterday: unworn and tags attached, a Jigsaw circle skirt in lustrous silk/acetate devoire fabric, £8. It even has massive pockets for extra posing power. Best of all? The devoire pattern is LEOPARD PRINT. I think I’ll wear this with a prim collared blouse, a neat round-necked cardigan, a large and spangly bib necklace, and my favourite pointy-toed black patent heels (Bally, also thrifted for £2 from a street market).

Forever 21 comes to the UK

October 18, 2010 § Leave a comment

A new addition to the high street is always something to give the jaded heart of an overshopped fashionista a tiny patter of hope. It’s in this light that Mannequin World extends a cautious welcome to US retailer Forever 21, due to open stores in Dublin and Birmingham this month.

I first met Forever 21 on Some Girls Wander By Mistake – the deliriously pretty fashion blog of Emily Martin. A year or so ago, F21 would regularly come up in her whimsical, vintage-y ensembles. Knitwear, a cape, even a decent looking tweed jacket were all good reasons to envy the American monopoly on the chain.

But then there’s my own visit to the Union Square branch to take into account. Besides confirming Emily’s description of it as a “land of Lycra and broken zippers”, it was singularly harrowing: the perpetual disappointment of things that look quite nice from a distance turning out to be kind of tacky when you pick them up, combined with a shopping experience that was a bit like being trepanned with neon sandpaper and having That’s Not My Name by the Ting Tings poured into my pulpy, raw brain. So that’s a small ‘Yay!’ for cheap capes, qualified with a muted grimace at the thought of having to rummage around trying to find one.

Photo of the Las Vegas store by cbcastro

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