Saturday, 11 February 2017

How I shop now

Moving back to my parents has made me realise one thing - I have an embarrassing amount of stuff. Clothes especially. Bags upon bags upon bags of them. And then getting back home and realising I already have wardrobes full of stuff at my parents that I clearly haven't worn in the two years I lived away.

So obviously, a big cull is in order (I did one a few weeks ago and had to stop myself getting nostalgic about dresses I wore when I first started writing my blog! Fancy some throwbacks? One of them was this dress from my first ever outfit post) but I've been thinking a lot more about how I shop now and how my style has changed over the past few years.

I've been honest time and time again about this no longer being a fashion blog, and that I am no longer a fashion blogger (despite the name - rebranding is far too overwhelming at this point!) and this realisation has definitely been a relief and taken a lot of pressure off me in terms of "being a blogger". I care way less about getting dressed now and my shopping habits have really changed as a result.

I still love to shop, don't get me wrong, but not at the same level as I used to, and I don't buy the same kind of things I would have done five years ago. Here's how I shop now...

1. I buy less
I think my shopping habit got a bit out of control when I was at uni and for the year or so after. I feel like I was buying stuff all.the.time. I was buying magazines on a weekly basis, constantly reading blogs and just being in an environment where I was always seeing new things I wanted to buy! I was blogging a lot and passionate about clothes, and I always wanted to try new trends and new ideas. I always wanted to wear something new and create a new outfit every day. Now I reckon I buy maybe 2 or 3 new things a month, and I wear the same outfits all the time! 

2. I choose quality over quantity
When I do shop now, I shop almost exclusively at ASOS, Oasis and Warehouse, places that I would very rarely shop at a few years ago. I'd rather have a gorgeous top that I'll really love and wear all the time than two cheaper tops that I wouldn't wear as much. Of course, I'll still dither massively, like a few weeks ago when I was reluctant to spend £30 on a ASOS little black dress which I've now realised I'll wear with everything, and I still find it easier to spend £20 than £40, but when I look in my wardrobe, it's the better quality items I love much more than the cheaper ones.

3. Focus on basics
I've recently started to assess where I have gaps in my wardrobe and looked to fill them with basics. Breton tops, a simple black dress for work or play, wear-with-everything ballet flats, simple black heels. These are the kinds of things that will go with everything and will really get worn. In the winter I'll spend a bit more on a decent pair of brown boots and a decent pair of black boots and wear them in a constant rotation, then in the summer I'll have a pair of nude ballet flats that I'll wear with everything, undoubtedly wear out, then I'll buy a similar pair the following year. I used to be all about wearing the pink shoes with the pink dress but now I'd much rather keep it simple and buy things that go with everything!

4. I buy what I will really wear
I love dresses, but if they're not wearable for work, they're probably not worth buying. I rarely go out, and even if I do, I've definitely got enough going-out dresses and I don't go out enough to justify buying more, and at the weekends I tend to reach for jeans anyway. Sometimes it can be a hard realisation when I love something that I really don't have anywhere to wear it! At the weekends I know I live in jeans, so a cosy sweatshirt is a much better investment than a pretty dress.

5. I know my style better
I used to read hundreds of fashion blogs, so I was constantly inspired by different bloggers' styles and always trying new things. Now I know what's me, and what isn't me, so I don't buy things for the style I wish I had. In the winter, that's jeans and jumpers, or a skirt and a jumper, and in the summer it's jeans and pretty tops. I recently got rid of loads of pairs of shorts, which I loved in my early twenties, but know I'll never wear again. I know I'm probably not as "stylish" and "on-trend" as I used to be, but I feel much more comfortable in how I dress now and I think that's something that comes naturally as you get older.

6. Comfort is king
I only wear heels now if I absolutely have to. I'm too impatient to walk slowly, and I like I get everywhere quickly! This means I'll rarely buy something, unless it's for the evening, if it absolutely needs heels. I'm old and boring and I like to be comfortable. I like cosy jumpers and cardigans and sweatshirts. I don't have the energy to be uncomfortable for the sake of looking good anymore.

7. I work 5 days a week
I have only 3 days a week (we have dress down Fridays) where I'm not in workwear, so if I'm going to buy anything new, I should probably spend money on something I can wear for work. Because otherwise there's only so many opportunities I'm going to get to wear something (seriously, I did the maths on this, and there are only 13 weeks in a season, which isn't a lot of outfits when you consider I try to avoid getting dressed after my run on Sundays...)

8. I live in jeans
This goes back to being honest about what I will really wear. On a cold Saturday, I won't be reaching for a dress. I'll be wearing jeans. I live in dresses and skirts at work, so when I get the chance to wear jeans, I'll take it. So I let myself buy as many tops as I like because I know they'll get worn much more than a dress or a skirt. I also have lots of pairs of jeans now. I'm currently in love with Primark's super high waisted skinny jeans, because at £8, they're less than a quarter of the price of my usual Topshop jeans.

9. I look for easy combinations and formulas
In the week, I wear a near-constant rotation of jumpers and skirts for work. I have a few nice jumpers and a few nice skirts that all go together in different combinations, which means I have very little to think about every week. So I try to buy things that already work with the combinations in my wardrobe.

10. I shop almost exclusively online
I very rarely shop unless I need something specific, so I do nearly all my shopping online, and usually through searching, rather than browsing. This means I have less chance of getting distracted by something pretty! Of course, this still happens, both online and offline, but it's much easier to search "tan ballet flats" online than it is to hunt through shops for them! I resent paying for postage (but forever hunt for discount code!), but it usually makes better economic sense than going into town where I'll usually end up buying something else too!

11. I don't accept collaborations that aren't me
I very rarely collaborate with brands any more, but a lot of the clothes in my wardrobe are from collaborations that to be honest weren't very me. As a young fashion blogger I jumped at any chance of free clothes, which means I've ended up with so many things that I probably never wore again after the photos. So now I almost never collaborate, and I have to be sure whatever is offered is something I'd actually buy myself, otherwise it's just a waste of a spot in my wardrobe.

(On a similar topic, I really recommend this blog post from Michelle - Can we still call it fashion blogging when all you write about is shopping? )

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