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Style rut- what's worth investing in and what's not?(8 Posts)
Hi, I've name changed as for an inexplicable reason I'm a bit embarrassed about how scruffy I feel in my cheap clothing.
I feel rather scruffy lately, probably as a result of WFH and putting on a bit of pandemic pudge. I'm trying to make a concerted effort to make myself look more put together, without changing my style too much. I want a style upgrade if that makes sense?
I'm 27, I wear things like tea dresses, a lot (too much) polka dots, DM boots, vans, converse etc jeans and leather jackets. My problem is, I seem to see a lot of people in a similar style that just look... Better? Does that make sense. I have shoulder length wavy hair that looks intentional so that's my only saving grace for making me look put together.
I've recently invested in a top quality leather jacket and charity shopped my faux leather one, and picked up a fab understated black aspinall bag in TK Maxx to replace my peeling new look one. Have swapped out my saggy Dorothy perkins jeans for a pair of levis that seem to give me a much better bum and look 10 times better. From the jeans especially I've seen the difference that can be made to a casual outfit by a better quality item.
I'm just wondering really what else I can spend on that will last? After years of scrimping and saving I finally have the disposable income not to fall into the trap of picking something up in Primark etc that will do, as opposed to something that will last!
Should also add, I know people always suggest a nice pair of earrings in threads like these but I can't wear any. Only jewellery I wear is my engagement and wedding ring (both platinum)
So, wise hive mind, can you help me decide what's worth it and what's not? What should my next investment be?
What sort of shape are you? I am a hippy size 10, so I always spend more on bottoms than tops. I like jeans from Levi’s and Whistles, and trousers from Cos, because I know they fit me well. I tend to buy fairly expensive knitwear, because I live in a cold place, and good coats/boots. Things like t-shirts, and summer dresses/skirts I spend much less on.
I am often told I look “polished” even if just in jeans/t-shirt/trainers - I wonder if this is actually what you mean rather than it being about clothes? It sounds like you wear nice things. For me that is a good, sharp haircut, always red lipstick and painted nails, I iron everything, although I know that’s a crime on MN, and I either repair or retire/bin things immediately if they look scruffy. (I mean sew on a button right now, or fix a hem, get boots re-heeled, demote a faded top to wearing round the house and so on.)
Oh, also - it may not be your thing, but in terms of investment buys, a few years ago I bought a very expensive leather skirt which was a great move for me.
I trialled a pleather one first, to make sure it was for me, and I actually now have a black one, and a dark green one, both a-line, and mini-ish. I wear them with 100 denier opaques, fitted jumpers, and trainers, DMs, or Chelsea boots.
For me, belts have been a bit of a revelation. I bought a wide, black leather one from Sezane recently that cost me £90ish but will last forever. I put it with cheap Zara dresses and it just elevates them a bit. I also have a nice tan Isabel Marant one that I wear with jeans.
Consider using an app such as Stylebook as it will help you figure out what you actually wear. I now spend decent money on belts and jeans as I wear these a lot, so the cost per wear is pennies.
You have to be a bit ruthless and bin anything that’s looking a bit sad or worn. This makes a big difference to how put together you can look.
Keep your shoes in good condition too, and check clothes quality when you buy them.
My biggest ever investment was a weather proof winter coat that I actually liked.
Tea dresses are often very thin floaty fabric, look for something with a bit more weight which still drapes nicely will give a much more polished look.
I think bags can be pleather and cheap as long as they are simple iyswim? It's more the design. I've got a Joules red bucket bag and I love it. Likewise a navy pleather hobo from a market in Portugal. I recently bought a tan leather bag in Joules sale and am so in love it's like having a new boyfriend.
With most clothes, I think it's the cut, the fit and the pattern that puts them in the stylish/not category. I am a busty 12-14 top. If I wear a 14-16 the fit is better and I look thinner. Likewise jeans, ultimately skinnies need very specific styling to look "classy".
I don't think polka dots or stripes will ever not be stylish on the right item. I don't think leopard print ever will. A spaghetti strap unless you're a toothpick or 15 is probably best left alone.
I am a very long 10 in a trouser, which combined with my busty 14-16 top can make me look lop-sided, so I tend to spend more on trousers. Hobbs, Boden, Jaeger, Jigsaw, Cos.
I don't wear dresses often but my longer ones are all Jigsaw and all from eBay. I think you just work out what is right for you.
Coats worth investing in.
My boss is in her sixties and buys nothing new. She gets everything from charity shops- but has Pinterest boards for styles and colours (tbh I couldn't be arsed but it works so well for her) She'll put things together that you'd think wtf? But they work.