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Want to start new wardrobe from scratch... what should I buy, what style, what accessories... am clueless!!

26 replies

mancmum · 02/04/2005 17:21

Have decided that I need to start again on my wardrobe... just been through what remains of clothes after a very ruthless fly lady session and pretty much realized I need to start from scratch.... my style took a few years off thru having kids and working full time so only had time to go to M+S at lunchtime, receive hand me downs from younger slimmer taller sister (ie they don' fit) or buying odd things whilst running between toy shops at Trafford Centre..

So, have a reasonable budget to at least put basics in place... but what... where to start... what should I be looking for in a capsule wardrobe... I am a size 14 with plans for size 12 over the next few month... quite pear shaped but small waist and flat stomach... horrendous legs and big feet...

I can dress quite casually at work and have enough smart stuff for when I need to meet clients so this is really about 'me' clothes... but how do I know what style ... should I make a plan of say " 3 pairs trousers, 6 tops, 1 dress and 3 pairs of shoes" or should I aim to buy 3 complete outfits? HELP !! Where do I start?

OP posts:
binkie · 02/04/2005 17:40

Are you asking about ratios of items, or about where to start altogether? If latter, have you a not-too-swanky department store (eg a House of Fraser) with a personal shopper service near you? That ought to be a good way to get an overview of what is current (and/or classic) that suits you (and they'll know all about what should make up a capsule wardrobe).

The sell shouldn't be hard - ie, you shouldn't be made to feel you've wasted your time by doing it - or alternatively you can tell yourself you'll buy one pair of trousers.

I used Liberty's personal shopper once, for an evening dress, and ended up with the most beautiful unusual classic thing which I would never even have spotted on its rail.

binkie · 02/04/2005 17:42

hm, that should have said "you've wasted their time"

kama · 02/04/2005 17:46

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posyhairdresser · 02/04/2005 17:50

List the regular activities you do and plan outfits to suit - including accessories!

actualisedad · 02/04/2005 18:10

Have you ever had your colours done? Being a bloke and all, I can't comment on styles, but dw and I had our colours done last autumn and it made a huge difference to our buying confidence, to how we felt about ourselves, to how other people saw us - loads of admiring comments now, whether we dress up or down.

mancmum · 02/04/2005 18:16

I did think about having colours done.... sounds like it went well for you so might consider that now... I am just worried that I will go out shopping and come home with stuff that does not match and does not suit me... sounds like colours and personal shopper are a start...

There are a couple of posh shops in Manchester I could try but think it might be a good idea to put PosyHD plan together as well....

just returned from my new posyhairdresser... am feeling quite faint at the cost £123 for getting roots done and a colour added with cut... this image updating is proving more expensive than reonvating my house!! Hard lesson in "ask how much before letting new haridresser at hair!"

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actualisedad · 02/04/2005 18:20

yeah - never had to pay that much for a haircut ...

Obviously, colours is an expense that (probably) comes out of whatever budget there is for buying the clothes, but IMO it is money well spent - you save on the clothes by not buying something you like but that doesn't like you ...

mancmum · 02/04/2005 18:25

so did the colours session recommend clothing styles or was it just colour... did she tell you to cut your hair?!!

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actualisedad · 02/04/2005 18:29

we're very lucky in that it was a friend of ours who happens to have a House of Colour franchise. She did our colours to cheer us up - dw had just been put on ADs. Didn't do styles - we could do that in a second session. But her advice was, colour is more important - now just go out and buy a few things and see how it goes. In theory, any colours within your range will work well together, so you build up a coordinating wardbrobe.

crunchie · 02/04/2005 18:42

Personally I wouldn't get my colours done as it can end up that you get too fixated on the right colour/shade that you miss thngs. I would go the personal shopper route, Lots of stores have them from Debenhams to House of Fraser and they will rally help you try on loads of stuff, particulary stuff that doesn't have much 'hanger appeal'

If I started my wardrobe again , the best investment you can make would be fantastic fitting jeans (hang the cost as you will wear the to death), a great pair of smart casual trs - for those times jeans won't do. A long skirt of some type and a shorter one for other things - remember those legs can be covered with boots. Tops would be where I would splash out, lots of nice t-shirts - Gap are good, Twinset type things (top with matching/co-ordinating coverup). A great casual jkt - suede or leather are my faves (I bought a beautiful leather jkt for £180 in M&S nearly 2 years ago and I wear it 2 or 3 times a week - cost per wear is brilliant). A nice coat (look at Boden sale or wait until Autumn). A print wrap dress is a must as well. Shoe must haves would be a great pair of boots with heels (always good for style and can go with skirts and even under jeans) a great pair of strappy wedges (good with all the above).

Don't look for 3 outfits, as they maynot coordinate, choose a base colour - Black, cream, navy, brown, beige or whatever which should be the basis of what you buy, jazz it up with the smaller cheaper stuf

I am jealous, good luck

mancmum · 02/04/2005 18:48

crunchie -- wow thanks for that advice... am going to book in at debenhams for a personal shopper ASAP as think the prices there won't be too scary... really liked your ideas about jeans as I can live in them for work... and had not even thought about jackets... really need to review budget for this!!

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ambrosia · 02/04/2005 19:20

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collision · 02/04/2005 19:24

And look at your life too. What do you do?

If it was me I need clothes for
a) looking after the kids and seeing friends, shopping etc ie casual
b) working in our restaurant ie comfy but smart
c) Am BFing ATM and so need to be practical

I would work on a good pair of jeans not necessarily blue, maybe black, that can be dressed up or down. Dont be taken in by too much fashion as it might date quickly and then you will have wasted your money. Interesting shoes and chunky jewellry are in this year and can make an outfit.

Do you and DH eat out a lot? Do you need clothes for this?

If you are planning on losing weight then I would wait a while or you will think of your clothes as 'fat' clothes and not want to wear them.

If I was closer I would come with you as I would love to be a personal shopper. I take my Mum and she stands in the cubical in her big knickers and pop socks and I make her try stuff on!!

ambrosia · 02/04/2005 19:33

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crunchie · 02/04/2005 21:01

Not been reading T&S but I do work for a women's mag

aloha · 02/04/2005 21:08

Definitely do the personal shopper thing. A great experience. I will do the same once my body looks like that of a human female again, instead of Jabba The Hut.

mancmum · 04/04/2005 14:16

thanks for all this advice -- I am going to do all of what you suggested.... colours, personal shopper, list of what I do and so what I need... going to dothis over the next couple of months whilst I lose final 1/2 stone.... this should motivate me and give me time for a bit more saings... and then am going to launch myself big time into the fashion world that has passed me by over the last 5 years!!

aloha - the jabba comment made me laugh as my DH used to call me jabba when I was pregnant -- not knowing anything about Star wars, I thought it was sweet that he finally had a cute name for me... until my DS got a Star ward annual this year....

OP posts:
acnebride · 04/04/2005 14:26

LOl at jabba - I think!

Only thing is, I personally wouldn't get too fixated on clothes for the right purposes, at least if you see something you really like. I have a friend who refuses to buy skirts as she has an outdoors job and is underweight and therefore always cold. Fair enough but she looks wonderful in skirts as she has a tiny waist and great lower legs and it seems a shame she never wears one just because she feels like being mur sexee. Just a thought.

have a wonderful time - personal shopping can be great. also, if it doesn't go brilliantly, don't give up on it, try another shop - you may or may not click with the shopper you get.

suzywong · 04/04/2005 14:30

good luck to you
I am very very envious

If I was still in London I would be down at Debenahms on Oxfords Street right now with that personal shopper, I just can't find a thing to wear here and I don't know what suits me anymore.

Getting colours done sounds a great idea

Demented · 04/04/2005 15:08

Just to echo Crunchie on the leather jacket front, my Mum bought me a leather jacket from M&S about two years ago (wonder if it's the same one?) and apart from a couple of months in the summer when it is too warm to wear it I wear it almost every day and always feel really smart in it, worth every penny!

crunchie · 04/04/2005 15:39

Also personal shoppers can get booked up weeks in advance. I would phone up a couple of stores and find out when they are booking for. Again an actual date should spur on the weight loss.

And thanks demented on the leather jkt thing. I don't wear it in summer, but yes almost all year round. It was brown, a sort of conker (redbrown) colour wuth a zip front and funky almost bell shaped sleeves (or slightly flared sleeves, however you want to say it!) It's got 2 breat pockets with poppers and two zipped hip pockets and it is a fitted shape. I have to say I dithered for a week on it, and nearly took it back on more than one occassion, but I am glad I didn't as I have never seen anyone else in it and I can wear it to meetings as well as with jeans. I will wear it tomorrow with a brown wrap dress to see the MD of Estee Lauder no less

mancmum · 04/04/2005 15:58

crunchie,,,your jacket sounds exactly like the type of things I want to buy.... suitable for jeans and meetings... not htat my meetings are ever so glam as with Estee Lauder....

have now booked a personal shopper for mid June at Debenhams and am about to do one at Kendals... just to make sure... gives me 2 months to lose final half stone and get down to small 14..colours to be done next week!!

Jabba is leaving the building!!

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crunchie · 04/04/2005 16:02

I know that Estee Lauder one is something!! I am worried though so I will be doing my nails tonight (or sticking false ones on!)

Demented · 04/04/2005 20:11

Not the same Crunchie but yours sounds really nice. Mine is more of a coat I suppose, it finishes two or three inches above the knee, is black and very plain in style, slightly fitted. The closest I'm likely to get to Estee Lauder is wandering round the make-up counter in some dept store, all the best for tomorrow, will be thinking of you in your M&S leather jacket!

PS IMO M&S' leather range is the best thing they have in store.

bunjies · 02/06/2005 16:25

Hi mancmum - did you ever get to see a personal shopper? I am in the same boat and haven't a clue what clothes would suit me so am interested to know if it worked for you.

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