Alice-Azania Jarvis: 'Never discount the effect of the sales'

In The Red

Well, that just shows me. After all my broadcasting to the world (or, at least, to you lot) that I wouldn't be fooled into sale shopping by the sudden rash of summer discount signs that has infected my local high street, I've gone and done it. I feel ashamed, slightly – but also elated.

Since we last spoke – as it were – I have somehow managed to accumulate two new pairs of trousers, three shirts, a dress, a jumper and a backpack. This is definitely Not What I'd Normally Buy, so I can't claim coincidence, but I can say this: only one of those items (the less desirable pair of trousers) was bought in the sale.

Having actually written that down, I realise it's an incredibly measly excuse. Or at least, it certainly sounds it. I know what you're thinking: if she only bought one thing at cut-price, the rest of it must have been astronomical.

Well, you're wrong, as it would happen. It was all cheap as chips. Well, individually at least each item was, even if collectively they did all rather add up. Two of the three shirts, plus the jumper and the backpack were from my Favourite New Discovery: a second-hand shop in Stepney Green which I'm not going to name in case you all think I've been bribed by free clothes into giving it a plug.

Apparently it's quite famous, so if you live in the area you will almost certainly have heard of it. Each item was £5, except for the backpack, which was £15. Pricey, by second-hand standards, but not at all by backpack standards – and I've been looking for one for some time. The dress and the third shirt were from a charity shop and cost £1.25 each – a pair of bargains, surely, by anyone's standards.

The only item which wasn't so cheap that I wanted it in every colour was the nicer pair of trousers. Ironically, I do actually have them in another colour: black. These ones are olive. But, you know, having test-driven them at least I know I'll wear them (in fact, I already have several times) and they do manage to accomplish one rare thing: namely, make me look like an adult, something no number of haircuts, high heels and smart jackets have yet accomplished. I win, ultimately. So, there we have it: I went shopping in the sales. And you know what? It wasn't so bad.

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