Over the last two years my love of clothes and fashion has been hindered by my financial situation. We moved out of London to live in the Kent countryside, buying a doer upper in a lovely Village. At the same time I made the decision to leave a well paid job in the West End and embrace a new career, as a School Business Manager, in a Primary School close to home. But this came at a price. A big one. In the form of a double figure pay cut. The reduction in my income didn’t really hit home straight away. For the first six months I carried on spending as normal, most of which was aided by my flexible friend. It soon became evident that this was not sustainable and that I had to change my mindset and my shopping habits. So I went cold turkey and just stopped shopping. It wasn’t easy. In fact it was damn hard not to be tempted by all the lovely clothes being showcased on Instagram. But I dug my heels in and shopped my wardrobe. Sometimes it was fun rediscovering old clothes and finding new ways to wear things. But on the whole, for someone like me who has always loved clothes, it was somewhat depressing and at times did have a detrimental effect on my mental health. I know this sounds silly but my clothes are an extension of me and how I feel about myself. Since a young age I always had an interest in clothes and fashion. My grandmother was always very glamorous. She was also a dressmaker on Saville Row. She would often bring home little scraps of the most exquisite material and make clothes for me or my dolls. I had the best dressed Sindy in town. This is where my love of clothes started and I quickly came to realise how good nice clothes made me feel. I didn’t have a lot of confidence when I was young, my self-esteem was affected by my Mum’s mental health issues and so clothes became a way to express myself and feel more confident. Every penny I earned during my teenage years was spent on clothes. During my Single Parent years when money was tight I used to shop cheaply at Primark and also reinvent old clothes, customising them to make them more relevant to current trends. I had the time to do that then and it was fun. But this time around that didn’t really appeal so much. Much more fun in my late 20’s than when I knowing on the door of 50.
The last 18 months have been a bit of a chore at times and has left me hating my wardrobe. But it has taught me many things. I have discovered that I don’t need as many clothes as I think I do (although I still have far too many) and also that I don’t need to buy into every trend or wear what everyone else is wearing. That said, I have missed being able to buy those statement pieces each season when I have managed to shop for clothes because I have saved a little or been given a gift card, I have had to be more mindful about my purchases. Which really has taken the fun out of clothes shopping.
But I am now approaching exciting times. My financial situation is about to change again. Over the last two years I have been working tirelessly in my new career and I have spent hours studying for professional qualifications. But it has finally paid off. I have been rewarded with a promotion and a pretty impressive pay rise. So from the end of this Month I will be back in a position where I can shop again. I should be over the moon. And I am excited but also a little apprehensive.
Obviously the first instinct when you have been on a self imposed spending ban is to rush out to the shops and indulge in the thrill of buying lots of new clothes. And although part of me wants to do this, the other part is telling me to steer clear from the shops. So rather than let the devil on my shoulder win and end up spending my hard earned cash on a load of clothes that I probably don’t need and won’t wear after six months I decided to take some time to really think about my wardrobe and what I want it to look like. And that is exactly what I have been doing with the help of this book.
I have been totally immersed in it all week. It is probably one of the best Self Help books that I have ever read (and I have read a few). Through a series of questions and research it makes you evaluate styles that you love and works to help you identify your own personal style. It has you thinking about lifestyle, colours, silhouettes and material. It also requires you to review your current wardrobe and think about how to create a new one that reflects your own personal style using key prices but also encompassing current trends through a small number of statement pieces.
It has been a little like studying for an exam but I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the book. And It actually wasn’t that hard to identify my signature style as it’s been staring me in the face every time I open my wardrobe. But I think even when you subconsciously know what you like to wear and what suits you it’s easy to get sidetracked into buying what’s in fashion even if it is not something you normally like to wear.
These are some of the images I saved to my Pinterest Board (aptly named Curated Closet) that showcase the styles I love and will be building my wardrobe around. If you want to have a browse at more images that I chose pop over and pay me a visit on Pinterest. My account name is Wiggle When you Walk.
So now that I have identified my personal style, created a list of outfit combinations and listed all the key pieces I need, the next step is to go through what I already own. And that’s my plan for today. I am going to make full use of the fact my husband is away on business and literally empty my whole wardrobe (including shoes) onto my dressing room floor and start the huge clear out. I will be getting rid of anything that doesn’t suit me or my personal style or doesn’t fit me (I am still wearing old clothes that are one or two sizes too big because I couldn’t afford to replace them). It’s going to be a mammoth task and I anticipate that 70% of my wardrobe will go. Some items will be held on to while I rebuild my wardrobe and will be replaced by the same but in a better fit and better quality, items such as black trousers for work (mine are four years old and too big) and a good pair of dark denim skinny jeans which are my go to item.
At the end of this process I should then be able to compile my shopping list ready for a trip to Bluewater after payday. I will follow up with another blog post after my wardrobe cleanse and let you know how it went. But one thing I know for sure my love for clothes is slowly being reiginited.
Thank you for reading and if you haven’t read the book I can totally recommend it. It is available on Amazon here.
Enjoy your Saturday.