Advanced search

Thanks to S&B, I'm finally winning in the "pursuit of elegance."

(324 Posts)
LavenderHills Fri 17-Jan-20 03:08:49

I'm about to write a very long post about how the Style and Beauty board has helped me revolutionise my wardrobe! There's no one else in my life who is really interested in this stuff, so I've got to debrief here smile

I have always enjoyed the threads about how to look polished or "expensive", but in my own life I've been an impulsive bargain shopper and the result was a wardrobe full of clothes but a feeling of never looking as put-together as I wanted. Last year, I decided I was going to change this and take a planned, intentional approach to my wardrobe, spending more money on less items. I know the classic, polished look is not everyone's cup of tea, but it was what I wanted, and I also wanted to shop more sustainably and buy things that would last for years and not go out of style.

Starting at the beginning of July 2019, I allocated myself a weekly sum that I was allowed to spend on clothes an accessories (100AUD per week, so about £52), added up what the total would be over the course of a full year, and then created a list of everything I thought I would need- shoes, clothes, underwear etc- to feel polished and put together. I spent a lot of time researching exactly which items I wanted and how much they cost, put it all in a spreadsheet so I could see what the total was, and eventually ended up with a list that used up 90% of the overall budget, with 10% left over for "extra" items and a list of what I might want those extras to be (new sunglasses, for instance.)

A lot of the items on my list were "boring" things that I wouldn't impulse-purchase on a fun shopping trip, and were more expensive than I'd be able to buy if I was just spending my £52 per week in an ad hoc manner on whatever I pleased. Examples include really comfortable black leather ballet flats that I can walk for miles in, and a black leather shoulder bag with a zipper and the perfect strap length. I had to save my allocated money each week, and then make a purchase when I had accumulated enough to buy the next item on the list.

I'm now almost seven months into my year of planned purchases and I can't believe what a difference it's made! For the first time in my entire life, I feel like I have the appropriate things to wear for every occasion, and it's really easy to get dressed and feel polished and elegant. Instead of cheap, fun party dresses or eleven million cute tops that don't go with anything else I own, I can now get dressed for, say, a casual brunch in jeans and a t-shirt that fit me perfectly, are made out of quality fabrics and beautifully cut. I have the right casual shoes to go with them, and a bra underneath that fits properly. My bag is a lovely, soft leather and fits the occasion, my earrings are understated but solid gold, and it all works well together without me having to think much about it. All of the "boring" purchases have added up to a wardrobe that works well for my actual life.

I can't see myself ever going back. I no longer make impulse purchases, and I find that quite calming. I can walk past shops without being tempted by a cheap bargain pair of shoes, because I know it's not on my list and the things that ARE on my list are the things I really want and will use. I don't shop in sales unless something on my list goes on sale.

I'm already brainstorming what will go on the next list once this first twelve months is up. Having pared back my wardrobe and bought the basics I need, I feel like the next step is saving up for some investment pieces, maybe only buying three or four items a year once I've replaced things that have worn out. I'm dreaming of bespoke coats and antique earrings!

None of this is rocket science, but I wanted to share it in case anyone else is like me and wants a bit of inspiration about how to make a change.

OP’s posts: |
TooleyVanDooley Fri 17-Jan-20 03:16:53

Gosh, that is so organised, well done! Do you want to share pics of some of the things you have bought? Only if you want to, of course. I could do with some inspiration!

Genehuntssexyhands Fri 17-Jan-20 03:24:15

Op this is really interesting and inspiring.
I’m curious about some of the items that are now
Your staples and how you went about working out what you needed for your wardrobe?

Do you have any links to items you’ve purchased or similar items? I’m trying to put together a new wardrobe after having a baby so I don’t need to think, as I constantly feel scruffy, but don’t know where to start.

Really interesting post @LavenderHills

Iambloodystarving Fri 17-Jan-20 03:29:10

Brilliant idea re spread sheet - may do that for dd's and self! Thank you OP. I was raised by a woman who always said "buy once and buy well', "buy well and you will always be dressed' and 'quality never goes out of style"! It was a right old pain as a young one but stood me in good stead.
Am dull though - I need a "lift' so may check out those threads.

LavenderHills Fri 17-Jan-20 03:34:11

@Genehuntssexyhands and @TooleyVanDooley Thanks for your comments! I'm happy to share what I've bought if it will be helpful for others, although I'm in Australia, so quite a lot of it is Australian brands and might not be accessible to those in the UK. I'll post things one at a time with links.

OP’s posts: |
LavenderHills Fri 17-Jan-20 03:37:39

For an everyday handbag, I bought the Petite Parisian bag in black from The Wanderers Travel Co. This is a lovely, soft leather, carries everything I need and fits comfortably over my shoulder. If also has a zip top for security. If took me so much research to find the perfect bag in my price range!

OP’s posts: |
LavenderHills Fri 17-Jan-20 03:40:50

I travel a lot for work, so I bought the Grosvenor Place bag from Knomo London as a work handbag. It's very durable, has a padded laptop sleeve and a lot of other pockets, has an expansion zip and attaches to the handle of a suitcase.

OP’s posts: |
LavenderHills Fri 17-Jan-20 03:44:50

I was sick of t-shirts being "disposable" and losing their shape and colour after a few washes, so I invested in t-shirts from an Australian brand called Citizen Wolf.

They ask you for your height, weight and bra size, and then they use an algorithm to custom-make a shirt to fit you. You get to choose the colour, material, style etc, and if they get the size wrong they will re-make if at no extra charge. They also do free repairs on all their shirts. I'm extremely happy with the ones I bought, and have budgeted to get some long-sleeved ones for Australian winter.

OP’s posts: |
LavenderHills Fri 17-Jan-20 03:49:48

The perfect gold, everyday earrings from an Australian brand called Sarah and Sebastian. I don't like to wear a lot of jewellery, but these are subtle enough that I still feel comfortable wearing a necklace and rings with them.

OP’s posts: |
LavenderHills Fri 17-Jan-20 03:51:51

I've bought two pairs of pants and a top from an American brand called A Day, and it has been life-changing because they DO NOT WRINKLE! An ethical, sustainable brand using technical, high-performance fabrics, and the clothes look great. I will definitely be buying more from them.

OP’s posts: |
Genehuntssexyhands Fri 17-Jan-20 03:54:00

Ooh thanks for sharing OP. I know it’s Australian but I’m more looking for an idea of style as I’m a bit lost.
How did you go about researching everything and working out what you wanted?

LavenderHills Fri 17-Jan-20 03:55:37

I bought The Harriet Jeans in black from Outland Denim. (Again, ethical and sustainable.) They're great quality and I've got another pair in blue on my list for later in the year!

OP’s posts: |
LavenderHills Fri 17-Jan-20 03:59:50

My most recent purchase has been these white trainers from the French brand, Veja.

They go with skirts, dresses, jeans, everything!

OP’s posts: |
Sunshineandgin Fri 17-Jan-20 04:06:50

I love this, thanks for sharing. That’s really made me think. I’m about to have a baby and I know I’ve been stuck in the same maternity clothes for 6 months and I’m desperate to get out of them but I’m pretty sure my old clothes just aren’t going to fit in the same way again. Now I feel inspired to take my time and build up a new wardrobe without splurging I’m more cheap stuff to try and make myself feel better as I used to.

LavenderHills Fri 17-Jan-20 04:12:05

@Genehuntssexyhands I spent a lot of time on Pinterest. I had an album of work outfits and one of casual outfits, and I just pinned photos of women who I thought looked fabulous and wanted to emulate. It's good to do that without thinking too much about it, and then go back through what you've pinned and see if there are any themes emerging.

In my case, it was very clear that I'd pinned photo after photo of outfits in neutral palettes, black, white, grey, navy etc. There were a lot of slim-fit, high-waisted trousers, tailored blouses and v-necked t-shirts, cashmere jumpers and trench coats. Subtle gold jewellery and beautiful leather flats. (This may bore some people to tears, but it was very consistently what I liked!)

Once I had an idea of what type of thing I was looking for, I made a list that looked like this:

White, navy, black and olive v-necked t-shirts
High waisted black jeans
High waisted blue jeans
Black leather tote bag
Black leather ballet flats
Tailored white shirt
White trainers
Navy linen trousers for summer

Etc etc.

The I spent hours googling different brands, reading reviews and picking the items that I wanted, priced them and made up my list. Once I had the list, it was just a matter of being disciplined, buying one thing at a time and not straying from the list.

Congratulations on the baby, by the way!

OP’s posts: |
LavenderHills Fri 17-Jan-20 04:27:26

@Sunshineandgin it's absolutely worth it! I feel so much better about my wardrobe now than I did when I was buying random things on impulse.

If you're going to be buying things post-baby, I really recommend A Day clothing (I link to them above). Everything the make is wrinkle-free and quick drying, they do a lot of trousers with stretchy waistbands that still look elegant, and I've heard great things about their leggings.

They are a small company and I've seen complaints online from people who have pre-ordered items and then had to wait months to receive them, so I'd recommend only buying things they currently have in stock. That's what I did, and they arrived on time with no problems.

OP’s posts: |
Genehuntssexyhands Fri 17-Jan-20 04:43:28

Thank you smile I might be slightly biased but he’s totally gorgeous!
I had to have a c section so I doubt my stomach will be quite as flat as it once was, so I’m going to have to think carefully about what will work for me now as my previous wardrobe won’t.
I’ve made the same mistake - loads of clothes but a total mismatch and I don’t feel like I ever look
Particularly together.

One thing I’m curious about - you say that you picked things up bit by bit - what did you do
In the meantime? Did you start wearing your new things mixed with your old or did you wait til you had a good collection of new things that worked together?

I did this with handbags last year - through out a load and have a good rucksack, plus two really nice quality fossil bags, one tan and one black, that are my day to day bags. I have a mulberry clutch and packed all my others away (wasn’t quite brave enough to ditch all of them!) and I have to admit it’s made a huge difference as I have a bag that works to hand immediately without much thought.

Now I’m up all night I think I’ll use this time to start researching. I feel quite inspired and excited.

LavenderHills Fri 17-Jan-20 07:20:19

@Genehuntssexyhands I'm so happy to have made you feel excited and inspired about sorting out your wardrobe!

I wore my new things as soon as I got them and improved my wardrobe incrementally; it wasn't that all of my old clothes were terrible, more that I often didn't have the right basics to tie them together, so would end up feel frumpy or not-quite-right. Each new item made a difference to my outfits, and I've just recently noticed I've got to the tipping point where I feel pretty well sorted for most occasions. Hence this thread!

Your handbags sound lovely smile

OP’s posts: |
Ninkanink Fri 17-Jan-20 09:50:19

Yes! I have been maintaining a fairly strictly curated capsule wardrobe for a couple of years now and it’s great! It’s counter-intuitive for many people, but having fewer items that all go together (in style as well as colour palette) does actually work very well - everything matches so no matter what you pick you always look put together.

Floisme Fri 17-Jan-20 10:27:31

I can't imagine ever choosing a capsule wardrobe for myself but I'm still interested in the idea of custom made T shirts. But it feels like all kinds of wrong - not to mention £££ - to send for something on the other side of the world. Has anyone every come across something similar in the UK or, at a pinch, Europe?

Floisme Fri 17-Jan-20 10:29:43

By custom made, I mean tailored to fit - not sticking your photo on a T that cost £1.99

Ninkanink Fri 17-Jan-20 10:39:08

Flo, do you get other clothes tailored to fit? Because I’m sure a seamstress could alter tees to fit perfectly - would be more ethical in terms of buying local, plus also giving income to someone local.

Floisme Fri 17-Jan-20 10:44:01

I do get things altered sometimes Nink - I'd just never thought of doing it with T shirts, duh! Thanks smile

LavenderHills Fri 17-Jan-20 12:43:45

@Ninkanink exactly! It's so much easier to get dressed now.

OP’s posts: |
Originalusernameunavailable Fri 17-Jan-20 12:47:51

Following x

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in