I’ve always been fascinated with clothes and fashion. I can still remember the feeling of buying some of my old favourite pieces. As Marie Kondo would say, they really did spark joy. Over the last ten years or so of buying clothes, I’ve gone through various phases (and no I’m talking about that 2006 emo phase) I’m talking about shopping habits. I’ve gone from a shopaholic to only buying what I need, and this year my habits will be changing again. With this in mind I thought it would be interesting to look back on some of the new in items I bought over the last few years to see where they are now and what I’ve learnt from buying them.
My shopping habits
I’ll always be a budget shopper at heart. I’ve never had masses of money to spend on clothes and shopping for me as a teen and student, was very much focused on getting the best quality for my budget. I’ve always been picky with fabrics, too. I can walk into a shop, find exactly what I was looking for, touch it and then walk away.
My mum used to drive me insane as a teen, examining all of the seams and fabric type of the clothes I wanted to buy. In hindsight I can see she had a point. There’s no use in spending £15 on something that’s going to fall apart after the first wash. That’s where my budget but decent quality mentality came from.
I went through various phases at uni – the main one being vintage. I’d spend a few weekends a month at vintage fairs and I’d trawl eBay for vintage items. I never had a lot of luck though, which is why I turned to the high street. H&M used to be my got to, before upgrading to Zara (it suits my body shape and type) and of course ASOS, in recent years.
That’s when I started buying into trends a bit more and challenging myself to try something a little different (aka something that wasn’t monochrome!) I’d shop a lot and have a billion different pieces on rotation. I’d dream that when I owned a house one day I’d have a huge walk in wardrobe for my wears.
Oh, how times have changed! Over the last few years, I’ve tried to do a complete 360 and only buy what I need. Since seeing
Where are they now?
1) Side Stripe Trousers and Red Jumper
I still live in this outfit combo. I wear the trousers on an almost weekly basis and often pair them with this jumper. They are just so comfy and really easy to throw on. They kind of look like you made an effort when you really haven’t. I do still have the jumper but it’s not a favourite. The reason being is that it’s slightly cropped on me so needs to be worn when it’s not baltic outside or with something high waisted. I go through phases of hating the shape of it too.
Musing: Only buy things you’re 100% sure on.
2) Leather skirt and pink jumper
It pains me to say that this is now in my to sell pile. I absolutely adored this outfit, but it actually doesn’t fit me anymore. The skirt was always slightly on the bigger side but now it’s huge on me, to the point that it’s still too big even with a thick jumper tucked in. The jumper was always oversized but I feel like it drowns me now. It’s such a shame!
Musing: Walk away from things that don’t fit perfectly.
3) Floral skirt and red jumper
I live in this red jumper at the moment. It’s become such a staple in my wardrobe and one of the items that get’s me the most compliments. The skirt, was me trying something a little different and I actually didn’t wear it that much. It’s now suffered the same fate as my leather skirt and is being sold as it’s too big for me.
Musing: There’s nothing wrong with sticking to your style
4) Jeans and a nice top
I’ve worn these jeans so much that I probably need a new pair, but I hate buying jeans so I’ll probably wear them until they have holes in! This marshmallow esque jacket is still a firm favourite. It gets worn a few times a month (when it is cold enough and not raining). I do love the top underneath, I’m just not sure how to style it. I picked it up when I was going through a phase of trying to find nice tops to go with jeans.
Musing: Think about how a new item fits with your existing wardrobe.
5) Grey lace top jeans and leopard scarf
I live in this scarf in the winter – it’s so soft and cosy. It is more like a blanket but I love it. I loved the jumper too, I wore it loads over the last few years but it’s just not me anymore, which is why I’m selling it. Again, it was me trying something a little different and it not sticking.
6) Shirt dress and spotty tights
I still adore this shirt dress, it is perfect for the spring and autumn. In those seasons I wear it on an almost weekly basis. It’s just so easy to throw on and go! I wear the tights now and again too – not as often as I should but I’ll be breaking them out again when it’s a little warmer.
7) Ripped jeans and coat and scarf
I wear this coat and the pearl scarf on a pretty much daily basis, the same with the hat when it is cold. It’s become my
Musing: Classic items really do last forever.
8) Cami and blazer
Both of these are staples in my wardrobe and I don’t know what I’d without them. They’re the kind of pieces you can wear for pretty much any occasion. In fact I probably wear them too much.
Lesson learnt: Know your style and stick to it
So what have I learnt?
If years of buying clothes and occasionally trying something new have taught me anything, it’s:
1 – Know your style – if you’re heading out shopping aways have your style in the back of your mind. If you ever have a weird feeling in your gut about a piece or it’s something a little different but you’re not sure – walk away! So many of the items I’ve sold over the last year or so we’re bought thinking, ah screw it, i’ll give it a go!
2 – Really think about the fit – granted you can’t preempt any weight gain, weight loss or a change in body shape but don’t buy things that don’t fit perfectly. It’ll do isn’t good enough.
3 – Don’t feel the need to buy into trends or try something different – if you have a style that you love – stick to it! In the words of Karl Lagerfeld “trendy is the last stage before tacky.”
4 – Do I really need this? Perhaps you’re stress shopping or you’re sad and need cheering up (hello Shelley a few years ago.) If you’re buying to have that adrenaline rush of something new – you probably don’t need it.
5 – Buy classic and timeless pieces – most of the things I’m selling, don’t fall into those categories. If they’re not very ‘you’ have the willpower to ignore trends and marketing and think long term.
I really want to get back into vintage shopping and learn more about shopping sustainably. I can just about remember the joy of hunting down a great vintage piece or wandering around vintage stores for fun. I’d quite like that feeling back in my life.
I’m also going to stick to only buying the things and I need. Dare I say it, I might become even more selective with what I’m buying too.
If you’re wondering where all of this has come from, it’s a number of different places. Yes, the Stacy Dooley documentary had a lot to do with it, but so did saving up to buy a property. It really puts your spending into perspective and makes it easier to answer the question – do I really need this. Nine times out of ten it’s no.
Almost every aspect of my life has changed in my last year, too. That change is continuing to filter down into the smaller aspects of my life as well. I guess you could say that this is what growing up feels like.
So here’s to the next chapter or two!
Has the way you shop changed at all over the years? I’d love to know how.