I have been up to my eyes recently, not only helping Catwalk readers rebuild their wardrobes but also clearing them first.
Going through their wardrobes, and seeing what women feel comfortable in, is a real eye opener. I am lucky to work with Net A Porter, Matches, lots of independent boutiques and Vintage sellers to be able to have the items sent on approval to peoples houses.
THIS IS THE KEY!!!!!!!!
Loads of items are gorgeous but with the high cost of clothes we have to simplify and decide on items that will get well worn and make the individual feel good about themselves.
Someone I was helping last week wanted party skirts and tops but having ordered loads of them and watched her try them on, we sent them all back! In a shop environment, some of the pieces would have ended up coming home but trying them on in front of your own mirror with your own clothes focuses the mind and it is easier to SAY NO.
Some were just not right, most were beautiful on her but from the first minute she was worrying about what tops and shoes to wear with the skirts. The fabulous piece was just causing more stress and who needs that! I am so guilty of opening another Pandora’s Box and not finishing outfits I already have.
This is further reinforced by all the lovely pieces readers give me to sell on our blog shop. They are great items but just don’t suit the persons lifestyle, too complicated to style or simply not the right size or fit.
We then compiled a list of things she REALLY REALLY NEEDED.
NOT WHAT SHE THOUGHT SHE NEEDED…BASED ON SOCIAL MEDIA AND ADVERTISING’
It is hard to stay disciplined with our inboxes flooded with offers and social media crowed with sequins and highly Instagram friendly pieces that will end up being a one off wonder.
I have nothing against the odd festive item but only after you have sorted the mainstay of your wardrobe.
The collage below encapsulates what I have learned works and is where it is wise to spend your money.
Examining what you love wearing will lead you to your own conclusions and your own list.
I am cured ( mostly toying with Dad Trainers and red hoodies) of my obsession to hop from one trend to another, that is age and realising what suits you. Thank God one upside to ageing.
Nearly all the women I speak to know what suits them they just have to focus on this and upgrade to better.
This is not a popular message as we all ( me included) love the low lying fruit the £25 tops etc..
Spend time getting the basic right :
Jeans – getting the right ones is the cornerstone of anyone’s wardrobe. There is no short cut so we have to head out and try on a load. We did spot one great pair at Topshop and Raey which are worth checking out. I also still adore my Paige pair which I featured earlier in the year. With jeans, there are the day ones that work with flats, and the ones which really look better with heels, one of each that really work is enough.
Tops, yes one sequin top is fine or a few vintage pieces for evenings out, but great t-shirts, sweatshirts and cashmere are simply the better way to spend your money.
We found the following great pieces so far which are worth looking at; truly well cut cashmere from Other Stories, t-shirts from Urban Outfitters, Livotte or Raey. I also fell in love with sweatshirts from The Great. Getting the right camisole, worn with a bra, is also a great piece to have in your wardrobe.
Don’t forget, preloved sites such as The Real Real have so many high end designers sweaters such as ones from Balenciaga. I adore the Outnet too, I bought the cashmere hoodie which is online now. Anine Bing is making the most glorious cashmere boyfriend jumpers, they are expensive but the cut and finish is sublime. I also have my eye on a menswear one from John Lewis which I am waiting to go on sale.
Shirts, loads of classic pieces from brands such as Equipment are just a bit tricky to wear as you can end up in waitress territory. Instead, buy the £13 John Lewis one from the kids uniform section or have one made by Gormley and Gamble.
Bodies work as they are brilliant for layering. My favourite is by Alexander Wang and it just works with everything. Don’t forget the H&M t-shirts which have been my best buy this season. The Outnet have a wonder silk camisole which has practical wide straps and is not cut too low.
The navy one from Raey is phenomenal but only for those who are tall. I also adore the Jaeger belted navy trench in wool. You can find so many designer coats on the preloved sites such as the camel coat featured above. Jigsaw have the best red coat of the season, also featured above. Parka’s are so easy to pick up now that Rebelle have so many!
I wear blazers year round. In Winter I will layer them under a coat and J.Crew always deliver – check out their new season houndstooth blazer above. I have my eye on the red Valentino jacket above which is vintage. I have bought so many of my blazers from Ebay where you can find new J.Crew for £40.
Shoes is where I spend my money. The majority are preloved, particularly my heels. Vestiarie are my top tip. You have to hunt ‘kitten heel’ and try and find lesser known brands. Topping my sales list is Marco De Vincenzo and I always keep an eye on Boutique 1 in the sales as they stock the best brands.
I have invested in a pair of red heels from Kurt Geiger and a kitten heel from L.K. Bennett which is the most comfortable heel I have worn in a long time. I also live in my Other Stories backless mules and J Crew trainers though I am also dabbling with the Dad trainer which I know is a trend, but feeling an obsession coming on!
Dresses, I have only listed one from the site Moda Operandi (LOVE IN THE SALE), you can find high end designer pieces for the best prices.
The key is to really think before you buy and spend your money, not on those one off party pieces, but on your day to day staples.
I have found 80% of my staples preloved as I want top end designer pieces, it is not a question of cash it is how you spend it and the taking time to search!