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£500 shopping spree - what should I buy?

(20 Posts)
Sparkletastic Mon 08-Jun-09 16:01:20

My lovely mum has inherited some money and wants us to go on a clothes shopping trip together with £500 to spend each. But what should I look for?.......

I am 37, size 14, don't really know how to describe my shape - fairly big norks balanced by hefty saddle-bags blush, 5ft 9, always wear make-up etc and strive to appear stylish rather than fashionable. I work p/t so have some smart work outfits but then sloppy jeans etc for weekends. Most of my wardrobe is made up of dresses, mainly from M&S, as they suit my shape but I'm stuck in a rut. Should I go for a few good quality things or should I totally refresh my wardrobe with lots of cheaper stuff?

What shops are good? I mainly get clothes on-line so am a bit out of touch. I have idled into the White Stuff before and liked what I saw but thought it was all a tad over-priced. Also wondered about The Gap.

Any suggestions very gratefully received smile

Sparkletastic Mon 08-Jun-09 16:05:51

Help meeeeeeeeeeeeeee please!

BonsoirAnna Mon 08-Jun-09 16:15:51

Why don't you buy one or two really nice, well cut, expensive things for a change?

smurfgirl Mon 08-Jun-09 16:16:01

I would buy a mix.

Some LOVELY jeans and trousers, good quality, really nice fit. I think shops that do lots of brands like House of Fraser and Debenhams etc are good for things like that.

I like wide leg trousers, they balance out bigger thighs and can look very smart.

I would get a nice summer dress.

Some cheaper basics from Matalan etc, they do vests for £2 in every colour and they are lovely to layer with and wash pretty well.

Oh and some shoes, some nice ones for work and some gorgeous sandals (flip flops maybe?) for summer.

Monsoon do lovely things IMO although a lot of people shop there so their things are not unique.

I am a budget shopper so sorry for not too many brand recommendations.

Have fun!

Lizzylou Mon 08-Jun-09 16:18:34

What about a personal shopper in Debenhams/John Lewis? They will show you what will suit you/flatter your shape and colouring.
That would be a nice thing to do with your Mom as well.
I agree with Anna about then maybe getting some more expensive items that will last and you can build up your wardrobe round that.

Am very envy!

steamedtreaclesponge Mon 08-Jun-09 16:22:13

You lucky thing! And how nice of your mum to suggest it. If I were you I would do a proper wardrobe audit - take a good look at what you have and try and work out what you need most - i.e. perhaps you have loads of tops and hardly any trousers. Try and think about what you could get that would go with items you already have.

I agree with Anna that it might be nice to get a couple of nice expensive classics - perhaps some really well-cut trousers or jeans that you can wear with everything, or a lovely jacket. Then, with what you have left over, you could buy a couple of cheaper, more fashionable items to perk up your current wardrobe - some gladiator sandals, a patterned throw or scarf, something like that.

If you always wear sloppy jeans, then getting some properly fitted ones that you can dress up or down would definitely be on the list too. Gap is good for jeans, and their sales staff are usually helpful. You will need to bite the bullet and try on lots and lots of different pairs but it is worth it to find some that really fit properly.

Hope some of this is helpful!

PuppyMonkey Mon 08-Jun-09 16:26:27

What about getting your "colours" done first and then splashing out on your flattering shades?

I watched my friend having hers done and it was a revelation. She went on a mad spree buying stuff she would never have dreamed of before. Has had so many complements since.

bigTillyMint Mon 08-Jun-09 16:30:07

Choosing the right colours is good, but you also need to get clothes that flatter your shape - a friend of mine hed her colours done, but her clothes don't flatter her shape, sadly.

I think a personal shopper would be a great idea - and big department stores are good (are you near Selfridges? wink)

I am very envy!

burningupinspeed Mon 08-Jun-09 16:31:08

If I were you I'd spend half of it on something really lovely that will last and last and remind you of this and blow the rest on high street stuff envy

MrsSeanBean Mon 08-Jun-09 16:32:13

I'd go for some really good classic basics over seasonal 'fashion' items. How about something along the lines of:

- Cashmere sweater (navy / black / beige)
- Dark denim / good jeans (7 for all mankind are great IMO)
- Pencil skirt
- Silver cuff (nice to have something to keep (as a memory of the person and occasion, as it's an inheritance)
- White good quality cotton shirt or top
- Funky printed Pucci-esque shirt
- Maybe a nice scarf if any money left over

You could make about 3 outfits with those items alone, let alone mixing with other items!

If it was me I'd hit make a day of it, maybe go to London and visit somewhere like Selfridges or Harvey Nicks.

sweetheart Mon 08-Jun-09 16:38:13

Try looking at the channel 4 Gok Wan website. He is doing a new thing where you buy 25 key items and use them as a capsule wardrobe to vreate 101 different outfits.

janeite Mon 08-Jun-09 17:51:19

Oh how exciting - and how lovely of your mum.

I agree with what others have said re: buying a couple of more long-term investment-type pieces and then a few cheaper pieces.

I would be tempted by:
- a great bag in a 'step up' from the places you usually shop in - so if normally Next, go to Ted Baker etc
- a cashmere or silk/wool mix jumper or cardigan in a colour and shape that works with lots of things in your wardrobe
- a pair (or couple) of really well-fitting jeans, again in a step up from your usual brand - so if you normally wear New Look Hulas, go for Gap long and lean etc
- a piece of jewellery that you love and that you can wear with many outfits: personally I'd go for a striking silver necklace but I like the suggestion of a cuff as well
- silk scarf or pashmina

Sparkletastic Mon 08-Jun-09 18:57:00

Oh wow brilliant advice thanks so much ladies! I had thought of trying the Gok approach but wasn't sure if I could do that thing of trying on clothes that I wouldn't normally. Would a personal shopper be interested in me and mum with that sort of cash - I always thought you had to be some minted-up executive wife type and into designer gear?! I did wonder about Selfridges - mum might be a bit intimidated though. We are near Tunbridge Wells and Brighton or we could go to Bluewater or somesuch I guess....

I am really grateful for ideas on key pieces - thank you - and there does seem to be some consensus. SO -

a better pair of jeans (mine are M&S and Dotty P so Gap would be a step up). My sis in law who is a wealthy minx does swear by 7 For All Mankind as suggested but to me they look like they are for slim ladies only.

a cashmere jumper or cardie

wide-legged trousers (have one pair from Next and they are the only flattering trousers I have)

a good bag (again mine is M&S so something a mite posher would be ace - I do LOVE bags grin)

a decent shirt

some accessories or one good piece of jewellery

I have got a yearning for a mac (have never owned one and they look so chic) and a tailored denim jacket if such a thing exists......

Sparkletastic Mon 08-Jun-09 18:59:01

Oh and interested in the colours thing but I do love black and would hate it if they told me I couldn't wear it!! I'm not too bad to be honest - have quite a variety of colours in the wardrobe but don't stray into 'fashion' colours too often.

oregonianabroad Mon 08-Jun-09 21:53:15

Blow some of the money on a spa day first. You'll feel amazing.

oregonianabroad Mon 08-Jun-09 21:55:12

And wd definitely buy a cashmere sweater, a mac or other coat, accessories (esp 1 thing that you'll always have to remember the trip by), and a really nice handbag.

Vests, tops and jeans wear out too fast.

NorkyButNice Tue 09-Jun-09 09:35:13

John Lewis in Bluewater have 7 for all Mankind jeans up to a 34 inch waist (I was browsing last week). Also Paige jeans are meant to be very flattering for a curvy figure (JL have them too).

I'd buy 4 or 5 choice items that will last for years - handbag, jewellery, jacket, a nice pair of shoes...you can go to the high street shops to buy vest tops etc anytime, and you won't remember when you look at them in 6 months time where they came from!

krugerparkrules Tue 09-Jun-09 09:43:10

another thing to do as you have money to spend, is once you are in a big store try on stuff you might not normally do - it is interesting to see how different shapes, clothes look - you might be surprised at what suits you!
Personal shopper great idea, they will get you stuff, your sizes and also chose you things you might not think about
have a great day, that is such a great gift!

Wizzska Tue 09-Jun-09 15:51:40

I would buy a posh leather handbag/coat/cashmere or silk scarf/jewellery, classic things that will instantly make your outfit look expensive and chic and that won't wear out, you can mix them with very plain high street stuff and still look a million dollars.

This is how I've justified the Marc by Marc Jacobs handbag I've just bought myself blush.

KristinaM Tue 09-Jun-09 16:09:20

a few years ago i used the personal shopper in john lewis for a wedding outfit on a budget. she got me a dress, shoes and bag for under £100. so no you don't need megabucks

if i were you i woudl get one of these style / image consulations things done, along with your mum. then make appointment with personal shopper, armed with your list of styles/colours that suit you

then you can buy some of the good things mentioned by the other posters smile

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