Unboxing the b.kinda mystery box

Given it’s Second hand September, it seemed like a good opportunity to introduce the B.Kinda mystery box.

They do things a little differently by putting together pre-loved clothing boxes. It’s a mystery because you won’t know what’s inside!

It’s worth pointing out that I’ve not been paid for this – in fact, it will be a surprise for them too! I wanted to highlight them for doing something different in the pre-loved, second hand space.

Detailed below is how it works and what’s included based upon my own experience. Plus, I’ve recorded a video to show you the items I received and how to use their website. Watch it here: https://youtu.be/CvR1GyAfD88

How does it work?

The mystery box is made up of four items picked for you based upon your preferences.

There’s an element of tailoring your order with scope to add notes (if you didn’t like stripes for example).

First, select the age that you like to dress, rather than the age you actually are. If you fancy something a little more mature or youthful, select a different age range box.

Next, it’s about sizing. The options are from 6 to 24. You’ll be asked to select the size for your tops, then bottoms and finally, dresses. I like this because it’s an opportunity to reflect your body shape. So, if you’re a pear shape or inverted triangle, being able to select a different size top to bottoms makes it much more customised to you.

In relation to trousers, you can choose the leg length which is great if you don’t have balanced proportions. Select short, regular or long.

Now the size and fit is sorted, you’ll move onto your colour choices. In this section, you mark the colours that you don’t like. Because I know my colouring type, it was an easy one for me.

Here’s the colours I didn’t want:

  • Auburn (too warm)
  • black (too draining)
  • brown (not a fan)
  • gold (I’m better in silver)
  • copper (too warm)
  • grey (don’t need anything)
  • beige (not a fan)
  • orange (too warm and bright)
  • yellow (too tricky getting the right tone)

This left me with: blue, green, purple, navy, pink, red, silver, white and burgundy.

Being able to refine to a colour group allows you to choose a colour you love or fill a gap in your wardrobe.

What’s inside the mystery box?

If you fancy a nosy, watch the video and I’ve summarised the contents below.

One top was cute with little details to the shoulders and a lightweight fabric. Very similar to blush pink in the soft, light, clear and deep dominant swatches.

The second top was a boho pattern on a lightweight fabric. The base colour was a little darker than the grey green in the warm and soft dominant swatches.

Onto the dresses; the first was a warmer shade of red with zip details to the front. Would definitely work for someone with warmer tones in their colour type (dominant or sub-dominant).

The final dress was a patterned dress. On closer inspection looked dark and night navy and soft white combinations. Colours which could easily be worn by most people. The dress was fitted, lined and had a side concealed zip.

The result!

At the time I ordered, it cost me £15 for four garments including postage (it’s a rather big box too!).

As at 1 September, the cost has increased to £20.95 which to me still represents great value for money! I asked about the change and they said: “Our boxes always reflect the change in seasons. From today (1st September), every box we pick will include autumn clothes as well as all year round pieces. We have tried to hold back with a price change for as long as we could but in order to continue to grow and support our community this is something we had to do.”

You’d have to spend much more to get four brand new garments. This method means you’ll have rescued four items from landfill and at the very worst, you’ll have given to charity.

The gamble is that it’s a mystery box – so you could have four new items you’ll wear, or nothing at all.

For me personally, two of the four would work for me. I’ll definitely be keeping the pink top because of the style, the fabric and the colour.

The colour of the second top is too warm for me, the pattern too much and too boxy for my shape.

Whilst I love a dress, I won’t be keeping either. The red dress was too warm a tone for me, not as fitted as I’d have preferred and the zips too dramatic for my style personality!

The patterned dress had all the features of being a keeper (colour, style, shape, fit) but, on reflection, I just don’t have a gap for it in my wardrobe.


Overall, I would still recommend having a go at the mystery box. It’s a great way to dabble in pre-loved and support a good cause.

It is a surprise and a mystery after all so the excitement of not knowing is part of the thrill! The ordering process is pretty simple as you can see in the video.

Whilst it doesn’t drill down to select the specific shades (like you’ll learn in your colour analysis), being able to focus on a colour you love or that you’re seeking is great. Tailoring the size and cut narrows down the chances of the fit being better for you too.

As Forest Gump said: you never know what you’re gonna get! Surely that’s all part of the fun.

Will you shop second hand this September?

Buying, wearing and donating second hand clothes helps to reduce the demand for brand new clothes. In turn, this can help to reduce the damage to our planet all without making you look any less fabulous.

Repair, rewear, recycle

In 2019, Oxfam launched Second Hand September which continues to inspire thousands of people to take up the challenge and not buy anything new for 30 days. Visit their website here to learn more and sign up to the campaign. You can also follow and contribute to the campaign by using the hashtag on social media #secondhandseptember.

Buying pre-loved isn’t the only way to make better choices.

I’ve shared these previously (credit to The Great British Sewing Bee and the previous blog about sustainable wardrobes here.)

Given the over-production of ‘fast fashion’, it’s much harder to avoid over-consuming it.

The choices can feel endless and thanks to online shopping, they’re available 24/7. It’s hard to overcome the problem without making a conscious effort.

Choose well, buy less

Buy less. Choose well. Make it last. Quality, not quantity. Everybody’s buying far too many clothes: Vivienne Westwood

RIP Vivienne; you were right!

Choosing well and buying less clothes will make a difference to your wardrobe, your pocket and ultimately the planet.

Knowing and understanding what really suits you will help you make informed choices about what you wear. This will help you to shop for the gaps you have in your wardrobe. These can be carefully chosen items each season (using my advice from seasonal update workshop) as well as pre-loved/second hand shopping.

Last year I was asked to contribute to an article in the Yorkshire Post as they were writing about Second hand September. It is proudly displayed in the studio and you can have a peak here.

Many clients assume I shop a lot, but the reality is that I don’t. I do browse a lot which helps to inspire new outfits and ideas and I help lots of ladies with their own wardrobes and shopping to fill the gaps. I tend to shop for key pieces I’ve identified which fill a gap in my wardrobe. Regularly, I’ll clear out items I’m not wearing by selling some and donating others. There are lots of garments I’ve had in my wardrobe for many years which I still re-wear today. Some are pre-loved too.

I do hope I’ve encouraged you to take part in the Second hand September challenge and don’t let the fact that you’re part way through the month stop you!

Consider a wardrobe clear out (use my guides if you need help) and donate your unworn clothes to charity or try and sell them instead to make some money back.

Good luck!

Zero waste week – an update from the studio

This week (5th – 9th September) marks the start of ‘Zero Waste Week‘ which has been running for a few years. It coincides nicely with ‘Second hand September‘ run by Oxfam for the entire month of September.

Now, this isn’t meant to be me on my hobby horse telling you what to do whilst wagging and pointing my finger.

Instead, I want to shine a light on some really important campaigns. After all, nobody can do everything, but every person can do something.

For the purpose of this blog, I wanted to share an update on the zero waste efforts I’ve been tackling in the studio for consultations.


This has always been the utmost importance in the studio. Whilst the use of PPE has diminished, hand sanitiser remains as does the sanitisation and cleaning policy!

Makeup brushes are washed, cleaned and sanitised after each client with a gentle cleanser and a ‘brush egg’; something I’ve used for many years now. It’s like a cleaning mat which you can rub the bristles to clean them and is just as good as the fancy electronic ones in my view. See below for other applicators.

Each makeup product is also sanitised after each use using this antibacterial spray.

A new white cotton cape is used for each client and hygienically washed after each use.

Makeup applicators

Some products don’t lend themselves to be applied with brushes or hygienically. At home, you’ll often use your own fingers and hands but I’m sure you understand why this isn’t an option in the studio.

Foundation is applied with a brand new sponge wedge for each client. You’re welcome to take it away with you to use at home – just ask. If you don’t, I wash them and reuse them myself to avoid waste. Pop them in a net bag in the washing machine and let them dry naturally. You’ll need to dispose of them when they start fraying and they’re available online and in many pound shops.

As there’s no double dipping on any ‘wet’ products (eg. mascara or lipsticks) it means a separate applicator for each use of every product. Unfortunately, these applicators are predominantly plastic based, tricky to recycle and a single use limit. For now, I’ll use up the supplies I have whilst searching for plastic free alternatives.

Cotton buds are now paper stemmed and single limit use. Reusable cotton buds are ideal for your own personal use but aren’t practical in the studio.

Cotton wool balls are ideal for removing makeup when you arrive alongside the Rose Micellar Water. These aren’t disposable but I have a healthy supply. On a personal level, I switched to reusable makeup pads over two years ago. They can be washed after each use and used repeatedly.

Reusing plastic

The plastic lids from the cosmetic compact refills are being reused and repurposed!

These cover and protect the eyeshadows, blushers, powders and lip creams made for the magnetic compact. I retain the lids from the used products to hygienically decant lipstick samples for clients to try. I’ll admit they are a bit fiddly but it reduces the number of disposable lip brushes used and allows you to try different lipstick shades on one plate! Each lid is sanitised after each use to be re-used.


Fabric swatches for colour consultations are packed and delivered to me in plastic resealable bags. These are reused for makeup orders from the studio and for storage.

Recycled packaging

On the subject of packaging, I’ve been re-using and recycling packaging for many years (who doesn’t love a good box??). So, when you order from the studio (and can’t collect), the outside packaging has been reused and your cosmetics will likely be inside the plastic resealable bag I mentioned above. Please reuse them again yourself.

Orders shipped directly from Colour me Beautiful (CMB) Head Office (using the affiliate shop link), are packaged with paper in Jiffy bags or cardboard boxes too.

Plastic free products

CMB have confirmed that there’s no plastic in any of the skincare or cosmetics manufactured and supplied in the studio.

The skincare range is manufactured in the UK from recycled containers and is naked of any additional packaging (so it doesn’t come inside a box). Once used, you can recycle the container (but please dispose of the pump or lid).

Over 90% of the cosmetic range is manufactured in the UK and is naked of excess packaging too.

Earlier this year, I introduced a colourful range of tote bags which are a great alternative to single use plastic bags. I chose cotton as it’s a natural material and has a long lifespan, though I am conscious of the water needed to grow cotton originally. They make an attractive accessory to add colour to any outfit with long handles making them great shopping bags.

Remember, nobody can do everything, but every person can do something and I hope that you’ve found this update useful. Should you make a purchase from some of the links in this blog, I may earn commission from your purchase and I appreciate your support.

Appointments are available virtually as well as in the studio.

Simply get in touch to book – Toni.carver@tlcstyleandcolour.co.uk