Athena Magazine

Fashion, lifestyle, passions

Catwalk Thrift: Style on a Budget 1 October 13, 2008

Catwalk Thrift: Style on a Budget 1

By Louise Sleigh of Catwalk Threads

(Louise is a regular contributor to Athena. She lives in the U.K. and runs a vintage clothing blog called Catwalk Threads and an online vintage shop called Catwalk Creative.)

With news of the dreaded “credit crunch” hitting our economies everywhere, many of us are watching the pennies (or cents). It certainly looks like things are going to be pretty gloomy, economy wise for the next couple of years. That doesn’t mean to say that you have to compromise on style.  No, no, no!  There are many ways to shop for style on a budget—and I don’t mean stuffing your shopping cart with the latest “fast-fashion” items from Primark!  It’s more about empowering yourself and deciding on the look you want to achieve; going out there and adapting your budget buys to your own individual style.

To give you some inspiration, I’ve come up with “Catwalk Thrift” which is going to be a regular event involving me, showing you, my most recent budget buy.  Here’s my first offering; I purchased this coat yesterday from my local charity shop, Minds Matter.  It’s in beautiful condition with no faults or issues.  All it needed was a gentle machine-wash (hand wash cycle) and it’s just like new! It’s made by JEMNI (Australia). I’m so pleased with this find because it’s such a versatile little number; more of a cardigan really but it’s the perfect cover-up for autumn/winter.  Layer it with jeans, t-shirts, polo-necks, or leave it open and team it with a mini-skirt, turtle-neck sweater and tights/boots—whatever! This coat is so bang-on trend—perfect for the Luxury Bohemian look that’s so hot right now.

Dress the coat up or down to achieve a different look each time. See from the photos how a simple change of scarf, belt or teaming with a selection of different styles of jewellery, will dramatically alter the look of this coat.

For another “bang up-to-date” look, team this coat with bright, opaque tights and boots and a large, shiny “it” bag. Be brave!  Clash patterns and textures for a really individual look!

Made from 100% acrylic, this jacket certainly has the appearance of wool. It’s a knitted fabric with a zig-zag, abstract weave in pink, orange, blue and white.   It really is the most eye-catching coat.  It has a reverse collar and fastens with three black buttons down the front. No pockets. Not lined. Hand wash only.

Please contact us to state how much (in pounds sterling £) you think I paid for this coat.  I’ll post the answer on the next installment of Catwalk Thrift. Thanks for dropping by!  See you soon. oxoxo


New fashion fair in Sheffield, U.K. August 27, 2008

"Hullo, can you ring me the Sheffield Fair?"

If you happen to be tooling about Great Britain on the weekend of September 27th, check out the 1st Sheffield Vintage Fair. (And if you have a bunch of vintage goods to sell, you can sign up for a free stall!) The new fashion fair will be held quarterly, beginning in September, promises to be huge and will offer local designers with vintage garments, reworks and eco-clothing, plus cool jewelry and sweets. Entry is £1. Bring plenty of cash–you don’t want to let that bargain you have found slip through your fingers. For more info, email or visit

For a map of Sheffield, click here. (Fair is at the DQ bar on Fitzwilliam Street.)


My 1970s fashion memories: Live at the Wigan Casino August 25, 2008

Perhaps it’s because I was a very young child growing up the U.K. in the 1970s that I’m so fond of this era. For me, it was a glorious time. It was all about being happy and free! The feathered hair, bell bottoms, disco dancing and glam rock (who can forget the divine Marc Bolan?) all had an effect on me to some degree.

Northern Soul Sister

Northern Soul Sister

Much too young for the nightclub scene, I would long to be just like my friend’s older siblings, who would dance away the weekend at the world famous Wigan Casino Nightclub. American music magazine Billboard, voted Wigan Casino “The Best Disco in the World”, ahead of New York’s Studio 54. This was exciting news for me! The Casino was also featured in “This England,” a TV documentary about the venue, which was filmed in 1977.

Northern Soul Trouser Suit with wide Oxford Bags circa 1970s

Northern Soul Trouser Suit with wide Oxford Bags circa 1970s

The documentary, however, was just about as close as I was ever going to get to it. Oh, how I longed to be eighteen! It was my first experience of what I thought being “cool” was all about. Never had I witnessed such amazing dancers who would spin around so aggressively, their flared trousers (known as Oxford bags) looked as if they would lift them off the ground! I wanted a pair immediately! I was such an innocent then and had little knowledge about the cocktails of amphetamines and other drugs that would be handed out like toffee just to keep these marvelous dancers going all night long. No matter, they were cool and fabulous and it looked just like the perfect heaven to me! No wonder my parents brushed off the mere idea of me ever going there! The Casino has long since gone, but the memory of it is still there and even more so for the thousands of dedicated Northern soul followers who would travel from all over the UK to dance away the weekend.

While all this fun and merriment was going on down at the Casino, our TV screens were bringing us style icons in the shape of Lauren Hutton, Joan Collins, Bianca Jagger, Anjelica Houston and of course Deborah Harry to name but a few. These women were strong, independent individuals who would stare out at me from the TV screen. I was transfixed! Everyone wanted to look like them.

Bianca Jagger

Bianca Jagger

At this time, clothing manufacturers were able to plan ahead because of advances in production technology, ensuring a uniformity of style, finish and cost. Standard, off-the-peg garments were available everywhere and for the first time, in all colors and sizes. Now it really was possible to wear clothing that mirrored our favorite fashion icon.

At the beginning of this decade the look was classic, streamlined, well-cut and unfussy. Jackets had wide lapels and trousers were flared. As the 1970s progressed, women’s clothes became more closely fitted to the body and skirts lengthened. There were lots of buttoned-down flap pockets, tight sleeves with deep cuffs and wide belts and, of course, the high-waisted trouser. In addition, trouser suits for women became very popular and there was a wide variety of fabrics from linen tweed to crushed velvet. Matt fabrics also became very in vogue; brushed cottons, wool jersey and imitation suede.

Colors were both bright and subtle. Canary yellow was teamed with dark brown and grey; lilac with purple and pink; slate grey, turquoise and terracotta were worn with black. For some, the 1970s was a time for a more unconventional way of dressing, and increasingly it became more individualistic. Though many people wore mass-produced clothing, it was often mixed with clothes from past decades and other cultures—much as we do today.

This decade was a special in so many ways.

The divine Marc Bolan

It was a time when I took for granted that the sun would always be shining every single day in the summer; a time for the Double Deckers (TV show), Banana Splits and Top of the Pops; feather boas, glittery eye shadow and lip gloss and of course, the divine Marc Bolan.

(Wigan Casino photos courtesy of For video footage of the Casino, visit

Writer Louise Sleigh has a vintage and retro fashion blog at


The Coolest Vintage Site August 17, 2008

Filed under: Vintage, Recycled and Retro — rebmas03 @ 4:08 am
Tags: , ,

I love, love vintage clothes, but I have issues with the search. I can’t tell you how many thrift stores where I’ve pored over piles of clothes, always looking for that perfect find, only to emerge with nothing. Then, there’s the other end of the spectrum, the specialty vintage stores that have the good stuff are pretty pricey. Enter Catwalk Creative, a U.K.-based vintage web site, whose tagline is “quality, fun and affordable vintage, retro and recycled clothes and accessories for the modern girl.” Run by the industrious and talented Louise Sleigh, she does more than just hawk vintage goods—she also offers advice on how to wear vintage and extensive pictures and descriptions. She’s like the perfect vintage shopping pal! Read all about Louise and Catwalk in this Fashion Birdcage interview.