Thursday, 8 March 2007

Chazzing Vs Cheaping

The question of the day is: charity shopping, is it still worth it? I don’t know about you but back in my comparably skint days, the charity shop was my style saviour. It’s amazing what you could do with £5 and a little imagination.

In chazzing’s heyday, it wasn’t uncommon to go into a charity shop with £20 and come out with a couple of new outfits, including a new pair of shoes. In those days, people gave their good stuff away so that other people with less money could have them. Not anymore. With the rise of vintage shopping, ebay and every uptown beastie and celebrity cottoning on to the trend, the pickings have become very slim indeed.

Add to these, the contemporary phenomenon of cheaping. For those who are not familiar with the term, this refers to buying from those high street shops with high turnover, up-to-the-minute fashion for less. The current high flyers in this category are Matalan, Primark and Peacocks, with the supermarkets getting in the act with the likes of George at Asda and Florence and Fred at Tescos.

The obvious appeal of cheaping is, as the name suggests, the sheer silliness of the prices (a pair of shoes at Peacocks averages at less than £15), and their ability to quickly turnover trend after trend. This is the ultimate shopaholic’s dream, throwaway fashion. This is the MacDonalds of clothes shopping. See a trend on the catwalk today, by it for less than the price of two pints of beer tomorrow.

And let’s not forget the sheer convenience of it all. There’s a cheaping opportunity on virtually every high street, selling exactly what you want. Where chazzing involved many fruitless hours of going from shop to shop, trawling through less than pristine clothing racks, trying to find that one bargain that would make it all worthwhile, you can just walk in to your nearest Primark and pick up that “it” coat and nobody else has ever worn it!

It’s a no-brainer really. Chazzing is officially dead and cheaping is a live beast that will just keep growing and growing. The flipside of this of course, is that the imagination and individuality of style that chazzing brought to the table is fast being usurped by a cookie-cutter blandness that might still see us foraging for something different, come the backlash. So, maybe the death of chazzing has been wildly underestimated after all.

Top right: Matalan metallic ballet pumps, £8
Top left: George at Asda printed ballon sleeved top, £14
Bottom right: Tesco Hotshop ruched print dress, £12

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I like pretty dresses, high heels, the colour red and good writing.