Love shopping for new clothes?  Don’t we all, but not everyone can afford to splurge on some of the more expensive brands – so, with Hospice Awareness month coming up in May, the Spirit Magazine team joined up with our local Hospice Shop team to have a fun day of dressing up!

Now we’re all a bit reticent when it comes to dressing up, so shop manager Tracey Fuller and stylist for the day Jackie Heffernan gathered a trio of willing models: Sammi Mackle, Zalie Doyle and Robyn Galletly, whose job it was to jump in the deep end and scour their racks for bargain buys and trendy outfits. How hard could that be?

Not hard at all, going by the number of times we heard “Oh, look at this,” and “Oh, I SO have to try this on!” None of these ladies had previously shopped here, but with Jackie and Tracey helping out, selecting three different outfits for three different occasions took just minutes.

Out of the changing room first, dressed for town, Robyn looked stunning in black, white and red, with coordinating bag and jewellery. “I really thought I’d struggle to find something I liked, she says, “but there’s so much here, and it all looks amazing. I’m definitely shopping before I leave!”

Zalie then stepped out in a gorgeous, casual look complete with shoes and jewellery, that suited her perfectly. “I started off looking for something that fitted and things that worked together, but I’m loving it. Everything is in beautiful condition, and it’s a fraction of the cost. It’s great!”

Sammi, the youngest of our models, is an experienced ‘op shopper.’ “I love looking for anything retro or vintage. My friends are all into it too.  It’s more ethical than buying new because it’s out of fashion by the next year. I’m seriously coming back to buy this,” she says of her first outfit – an off the shoulder blouse and cute overall.

By now, everyone was having a ball, with any misgivings about maybe not finding the right size, the right colour or anything for the right age group or body shape left well behind. “Look at these labels!” Zalie says. “I had no idea.”

Outfit number two was a smart casual number each, and for their third change both Robyn and Zalie ‘glammed up’ for an evening out, while Sammi chose another casual outfit topped off with a dusky pink embroidered bomber jacket that looked super trendy.

What really surprised our models were the top labels in stock; Jorge, Capture, Marilyn Seyb, Country Road and Levi as well as Django & Juliette shoes and some high-end Italian leather shoes and handbags. Lots of Glassons items too, which really suited Sammi.

There’s a very good selection of menswear too, as well as homewares, jewellery, hats, scarves and more. Everything is very affordable – just a fraction of the original price ticket, so you can fill your wardrobe with tons of unique styles.

Mid Canterbury Hospice Shop is reliant on donated goods and volunteer staff and Manager Tracey is full of praise for all. “We have such generous people who donate regularly, and our volunteers are all amazing. Everything is cleaned and ironed – restored to the best condition possible – they’re so passionate about supporting this cause. They also put enormous effort into updating and theming the window every week, and the instore displays. I’m so proud of everyone.”

We reluctantly ended our session having had a lot of fun and feeling full of determination to shop at the hospice shop and support a great local cause. A fabulous morning with a massive feel-good factor.

Hospice Shop is located at 71 Tancred Street, Ashburton. Phone 03-307 4458. Open: Mon to Fri 10am–4pm Sat 10am-1pm

Previous articleCommunity House – what’s the go?
Next articleNOBLE 600 – opening soon
Judy McAuliffe is a writer, and publisher Essence Mid Canterbury. Her experience in media is extensive and includes approximately 15 years as Creative Director for The Radio Network, writing, and managing the writing of radio advertising, mainly in Invercargill and Greymouth. In the late 1990’s she transferred to Christchurch, moving into an Account Management role with 91ZM. In 2007 she and a business partner set up Essence Mid Canterbury, very quickly adapting her radio-writing skills to print media. Judy became sole owner of Essence Mid Canterbury in June 2014. Judy is a ‘people person’ and has found her niche writing feature stories about the community she lives in and the people who live there. She is also available for freelance writing assignments.