It's been a fun year of learning when it comes to my wardrobe. Whether that be lessons learnt through the media, through you guys here online or through my own studies, I’ve learnt a lot about the environment, particularly how it is affected by the fashion industry and I’m trying my best to be a better person than I was last year and the year before that. I’m absolutely not perfect, it’s extremely hard to be generally, but especially doing what I do for a living, it can often seem like a battle that cannot be won. But I completely believe that it is progress not perfection and the steps we take are steps in the right direction. YES we have a crisis on our hands, yes we have very intense people on social media, on television and almost everywhere we turn lately, telling us that we’re not doing enough; but those people don’t know how each and every one of us live. Each and every one of us is different, we each live our lives in different ways and our priorities are different for all kinds of reasons so I believe that doing our bit, however big or small can only be a great thing. I’m tired of feeling insanely guilty whenever I turn on the TV or log onto my Instagram, I’m tired of certain individuals shouting at us for not being good enough when I’m trying here and I’m sure you are too.
I don’t mean to rant, but to encourage a discussion I feel one or two of you could get involved with in some way as it often feels like people are shouting at us for not being enough. 2019 was a step in the right direction for me when it comes to how much I shop and how often I feed my wardrobe and something I will work hard to continue with and to hopefully be better at throughout this year and beyond.
Growing up shopping was an activity that I looked forward to every weekend, as I’m sure many of you can relate to. Weekend’s planned with your girlfriends and based around which local town, city or shopping centre you would make your way through, spending the pocket money you’d earn that week on clothes you did not need, from a store that is all about fast and cheap clothing, only to repeat the same outing a week later once school was done for the week
I have so many gorgeous memories of weekends just like this, as I’m sure many of you do too, it was just the norm back then wasn’t it. However, I have a very different approach to shopping now which I thought we could chat about today. To be perfectly honest, I really, truly dislike shopping, both online and offline. It has a lot to do with feeling more educated and I guess somewhat guilty for wanting to divulge in a little retail therapy from time to time, particularly knowing full well that I have a perfectly fabulous wardrobe at home.
Whilst I think this guilt can only be a good thing, I don’t think feeling guilty about treating yourself to something new should be a thing. I think as long as it’s a carefully considered purchase, something you know you’re going to love and wear time and time again and not something that will be discarded after one or two wears then go for it.
It’s my job to discuss clothing both old and new and I’m hoping that a word other than guilt that better explains how I feel towards shopping will come to me. I don’t want you guys to feel guilty for treating yourself to something you’ve seen on myself or my fellow content creators, as it shouldn’t be a guilt thing. But alas, the perfect words to describe this feeling evades me sadly. If you have the word please do let me know.
Being known in this industry for colours and prints can often be difficult, particularly nowadays when I’m more aware of my impact on the environment and wanting to ensure that my wardrobe is working hard to come up with new looks rather than adding new pieces every week. But this reputation that I have found myself having doesn’t need to involve newness, it can simply involve the colourful and print heavy pieces that already sit inside my closet. Now I’m investing in pieces that really set my soul alight, whether that be basics that allow my colourful wardrobe to reign supreme or whether it’s something printed and super special such as this Topshop dress.
I saw this dress online and knew instantly how I wanted to style it in three different ways; for winter with a high neck top by Saturday By Megan Ellaby, a seventies inspired faux leather coat by Kitri and my trusty tan knee boots by Joseph via The Outnet. In the spring I’ll be rocking it solo with trainers and a leather jacket and in the summer with lace up wedged espadrilles and nothing but a big smile and even bigger sunglasses. It’s a dress that involves print, it involves a really interesting silhouette which is unlike anything I have in my wardrobe, yet it is on a dark base which means I won’t tire of it as quickly and I can style it up time and time again to create a different look every time. I’ve even just thought about how awesome it would look with a white shirt layered underneath it and maybe even a waist belt, oooo the possibilities.
Thats where my tips and some shopping questions to ask yourself come into play.
1. Do you have anything like this in your wardrobe already? If the answer is no then awesome, perhaps it’s a piece that is missing. If yes, do you really need another version of something you already have? Can you invest a little more wisely on something else?
2. Can you think of different ways to style it? Usually I aim for three different ways before I bring it home with me.
3. Is it a trend piece? Is it something you’ll love for years to come? Or is it a flash in the pan? If it’s the latter then I would suggest leaving it behind for now.
4. Have you done your research? With the above question, I absolutely love trends, I love knowing whats hot, whats not and whats upcoming. Do your research and get ahead a little, this way you’ll know whether the checked, layered maxi dress is worth investing in (SPOILER: It’s bang on trend for next winter too, HURRAH!)
5. Can it layer up? Layering is a great way to rework different pieces in your wardrobe to create brand new looks. If a piece can be layered with T-Shirts, jumpers, shirts, the works, then it’s a good piece to invest in IMO.
6. Can you rock it for different occasions? This is a big one for me, particularly when it comes to occasion wear as this is where I tend to struggle and impulse buy pieces that only get one wear. I now look to pieces that can transition quite nicely with a few changes from day to night which I think this dress does perfectly, similarly with the coat. I’m wearing it right now as I write this post, over a sweatshirt, my gym leggings and with a beanie hat and yet I feel fabulous. It’s a statement coat that makes even the sloppier of looks feel awesome.
With those tips and tricks comes some more personal musings on shopping. Investing wisely and restyling have been really great for me, however, looking closely at classics and basic pieces and investing a little more than I have done previously has also done wonders as it means things last a little longer and it means that I really WANT to wear them to ensure that I get my moneys worth. I’ve also learnt lately that dark colours, including black (especially black) don’t need to be boring. I’ve spent many, many years, possibly my entire adult life avoiding full black or full dark looks as I just didn’t find them all too inspiring or very me, and with that I worried that you guys would feel the same too.
But it’s only now, as I’m getting older and as I keep harping on about, as I’m getting a little more educated on everything, I’ve realised how fabulous darker palettes can be, which I’m sure you’ve all noticed too. Darker shades can be much easier to style up, meaning they can work with the other work horse pieces in your wardrobe seamlessly meaning you will fall back in love with a piece over and over again.
All of the above, combined with truly knowing what pieces I feel great in and investing in those pieces, have really helped me to get a grasp of my shopping habits, to really scale things back, to ask questions, to decline gifts and to rework my wardrobe continuously to ensure that each piece whether they be old or they be new gets the love it deserves.
Don’t feel guilty. Treat yourself but make it a treat that serves a purpose, brings you joy and that you can wear time and time again.