Pay Day Treats

It has been a while since I did any major clothes shopping. If you read my previous post you will know that my financial situation has been somewhat challenging these last couple of years since taking a big pay cut when I left London. I am happy to say that things have now changed this month following a promotion and pay rise, and after six months of having to jump through various hoops the money is finally in my bank account. Whoop whoop !!

Last weekend I had a major wardrobe clear out. I have been making do with old clothes for the last few years, much of which have seen better days or were too big. After getting rid of everything that was no longer fit to wear I made a list of items that I needed/wanted, to replace old favourites or update my style.

Pay day came along on Friday and I didn’t waste any time in getting online to indulge in a little retail therapy. There are some lovely items in the shops at the moment and I could have bought hundreds of new things, but I have tried to stick to my list and only buy things that I know I am going to get a lot of wear out of.

So here is a round up of my purchases.

NEXT – SALE

I didn’t buy too much. Just a couple of items that were on my wish list. Black leather boots to replace an old worn out pair. Red shoes to replace ones that I have but don’t wear because they hurt, red boots… because I have wanted a pair for ages and a couple of work items to replace those that no longer fit me.

img_7397
Red Stud Ankle Boots. Was £60 now £32
img_7401
Glamorous Black Studded Boot. Was £50 now £25
Red Shoes. Was £36 Now £18
Blue Stripe Shirt. Was £32 Now £14
Black Slouchy Trousers. Was £25 Now £12

 

NEXT – FULL PRICE

Whilst shopping online for Sale items I also may have purchased a few non-sale items for Spring/Summer. A couple of the items are for my up and coming holiday to Italy in May and the others are for work as I have been wearing the same old work clothes for about four years now. I also always seem to struggle to find nice smart outfits for the warmer weather. I am looking forward to wearing the grey crop trousers with the pink jacket and a simple white white top.

HM

I always see things I want in HM and I had to be very restrained when I was filling up my online basket. The few things I bought will all be staple wardrobe items over the next few months. There are so many different ways in which these items can be worn and I know that each one of them will compliment other items in my wardrobe. I am hoping the white polka dot skirt does not disappoint. I am slightly apprehensive to see if the material is thick enough or whether I will be flashing my knickers, I am also not sure if the yellow floral skirt is me… but I thought I would give it a try. You never know it may be the way for me to finally embrace florals.

MANGO

I have been looking for a short chunky cardigan for Summer evenings. I looked at several in neutral colours but I wear a a lot of denim and black or white so I really wanted something colourful. This was in the sale and it will go well with pretty much everything in my wardrobe.

ACCESSORIZE

I could not resist this little summer dress. I was looking to replace an old (too big) beach dress that I bought from Primark over three years ago. This was a little more expensive but it is one of those things that will last and not look too dated over time.

LEVI

Everyone knows that I love jeans. They are my staple wardrobe item and I have so many pairs. All in different colours and fits. The first pair of jeans I bought when I started working at 17 was a pair of men’s Levi 501’s, from a Vintage Shop in Covent Garden. I wore them constantly for about 10 years until they literally fell apart and I have wanted a new pair of Levi’s for years. Last week I had a big clear out of my jeans. Many are two sizes too big but I have continued to wear them with a belt done up tight. But now that I have a little spare money I want to invest in some new ones over the course of this year. So I am starting with replacing my light blue skinny jeans as they are the ones I wear the most in the Summer months. I looked around and nearly opted for a cheap pair from HM then after I saw the lovely @chloelovestoshop wearing a pair of Levis on Instagram I thought I would take a look. These are the ripped skinny and I found them on http://www.very.co.uk in the sale for £46.75 reduced from £85.00. Bargain !!

LA REDOUTE

My final item was purchased while ordering a new rug. As you do!! This was not on my shopping list. It just happened to catch my eye. You can never have too many white tee’s can you. La Redoute have 40% off at the moment so this t-shirt, which is very similar to the Top Shop one, only cost me £7.

So that is my weekend shopping haul. I think my bank account has taken a little bit of a hammering. But I have worked hard over the last two years and I think I deserve a little treat. However, old habits die hard and I am still being very careful about what I buy, which is why there is a definite colour theme going on in my shopping basket. I know which colours suit me so I tend to stick to them. Which means that 90% of my wardrobe is made up of black, white, navy, denim, pink and red.

Deliveries should start arriving over the next few days so I will take a few outfit pics and pop them on my Instagram account, before I decide what stays and what goes back. The trouble with online shopping is I never know what size to buy or what the material looks and feels like. I am hoping there are not going to be too many disappointments.

Have you been making any new purchases for Spring and Summer? If so I would love to hear about what you have been buying. Maybe I have missed a fabulous item that will fit my wardrobe. I am on the hunt for new black and navy slim fit trousers for work. But I don’t want to buy online as I want to be sure of a good fit. So my next shopping haul will be in a couple of weeks when I venture to that shopping haven, known as Bluewater.

Thank you for reading.

Love

Melanie xxxx

Re-igniting my love of clothes

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.

Love

Melanie xxxx

Shopping My Wardrobe – Week 4 


I started the week with the worst cold ever. Unfortunately I didn’t have the option of taking any time off work to recover as I had a couple of members of my team off work. Plus the week leading up to half term is always extra busy and this week was no exception.

This week was all about the black ankle boot. Throughout the week I wore four different pairs. All two or three years old.


Monday – I made no effort at all this morning. I felt so ill I only just made it out of bed. They always say when in doubt wear black. So that’s what I did. Black shift dress, black tights, black blazer and black ankle boots. All from Next. I did add a couple of pearl beaded necklaces, so it didn’t look too much like I was going to a funeral.

Tuesday – Getting dressed was a real effort again this morning. I felt so tired and really didn’t have any enthusiasm for anything including chosing my outfit. I grabbed the first thing I saw when I opened my wardrobe, which happened to be a Red Pencil Skirt (Warehouse) which I teamed with a simple breton top and black blazer (both La Redoute) and black ankle boots from Next.


Wednesday – I felt a little better and picked an old favourite stripe linen shirt to wear (Next). I haven’t worn this shirt to work before as I normally wear it with jeans but today I teamed it with a Navy wrap skirt (Next) and Tan suede ankle boots (Joe Browns).

Thursday – Slowly feeling normal again and decided to wear something a little snazzy to work. This Wallis palm print pencil skirt has a split up the front. Not altogether appropriate for wearing in a Primary School so I turned it around so that it was much less revealing with the split up the back. I added a simple cream tee with lace trim (HM), a black blazer (Next) and Clarks black suede ankle boots.


Friday – I made it to the last day of term in one piece. It has been a tough seven weeks. Most of which I spent recovering from a serious ankle injury which I incurred on the first day of term. The weather is on the turn and it has definitely turned cooler. I decided I wanted to wear something bright today so I teamed my Grey trousers (LA Redoute) with an old 3/4 sleeve hot pink jumper (Next) and Black studded ankle boots (River Island). I did take a grey tweed blazer (Next) to work today although I didn’t end up wearing it. I always try to have one in the office as I never know when I might get called into a meeting with other school leaders or parents.


Initial plans for the weekend were to stay indoors, taking a well earned rest and hiding away from Storm Brian. I ended up venturing out of the house twice.  First an early morning walk to our local Co-op to stock up on beer, wine and chocolate. I ventured out without make-up and threw on the first pair of jeans that came to hand (old Primark), a simple black tee (Next) and blush chunky cardigan (Primark). Later in the day the husband and I decided we fancied a drink in our local pub. So I threw on a pair of skinny jeans (Next), a bright pink jumper (La Redoute) biker boots (Next) and Parka from La Redoute (my last purchase in September before starting this challenge). We battled against the wind for the ten minute walk and found the pub unusually empty. We didn’t expect to stay long but an hour after we arrived a couple of friends walked through the door so we ended up staying until closing time and grabbing a chicken kebab on the walk home. Not exactly the healthiest of days but it doesn’t hurt once in a while!


Due to the late night possibly one too many Saturday night I did not feel my best when I got up Sunday morning. It took a couple of hours to get moving. But after a shower, a couple of cups of coffee and a good breakfast I felt better. With no plans to go anywhere I spent the day in loungewear, which actually consisted of an old jersey jumpsuit that was very nearly sent to the charity shop. I bought it online from Littlewoods a couple of years ago to wear on my honeymoon. But now that I am two dress sizes smaller it is a little big. I rescued it from the charity bag back in August when I decided to take it to Summer Camp to sleep in. It is so comfortable that I am now wearing it around the house either with a vest top underneath or like today a tee thrown over the top (long sleeve stripe tee from HM). The only downside is the fact that you have to practically strip to go to the toilet. Probably best not to drink too many cups of tea when wearing !!

So that was the run down of my week. One of the most tiring I have had for a long time. I am looking forward to half term next week. I am working three days but I still get plenty of extra time at home. I really don’t mind popping into school to work in the holidays as I can get so much done with no teachers and children around. I can also wear casual clothes to so expect to see plenty of denim in next weeks outfit posts.

I hope you all have a good week.

Thank you for reading.

Melanie xxx

Shopping My Wardrobe – Week 3

I started the working week sore and bruised and wearing the ankle brace once again after my little slip in the rain on Saturday night. And before you ask it was before the party so I can’t even blame alcohol !!

Just when I had started enjoying working my way through my collection on ankle boots I was back in trainers for the first three days of the week.


Monday – Floral is not something I find easy to wear. I can get away with it if it onkly makes up a small part of my outfit and is a bold colour. This dress from HM is perfect for me. A short shift dress, with pockets with bold pink and purple flowers on a black background.  I had to wear it today with black trainers but normally I would wear with black ankle boots.

Tuesday – One of my favourite outfits of the week. The whole outfit is Next and all a couple of years old. The trousers are so flattering. The trainers I wore today complimented the colour of the shirt and I received a number of compliments on my outfit today.


Wednesday – A day out of the office today at another School Business Manager conference in London. I opted for smart casual and rediscovered my love for these dark denim, high waisted straight leg jeans from Next. They are just so flattering. Mine are a couple of years old but you can still buy them from Next here.  The navy star print pussy bow blouse received lots of compliments on my Instagram post. I bought it from La Redoute earlier in the year. It is one of those items that just looks so much more expensive than it was. I wore trainers again but to stop the outfit looking too casual I added a navy blazer (Next) and nude shawl (Matalan). It also made for the perfect day to night outfit as after my conference I met up with my little sister for drinks in the City.

Thursday – Not much thought went into this outfit, tired and a little hungover meant that I just wanted something simple and comfortable to wear. Grey Trousers and Navy Tee (La Redoute) and Navy blazer from the day before. I added a blue snake skin pattern belt to just add a little pizazz to the outfit. I bought two of these belts in the Next Summer Sale. The other is yellow and they are a cheap way to add a little interest to plain outfits.


Friday – The end of a long tiring week and Friday the 13th called for the colour Red. This Blazer from La Redoute was one of my best buys in recent months. It is the statement colour of this season so I know I will get plenty of wear out of it.  The pussy bow blouse is a couple of years old from Next. The black slim tuxedo trousers (La Redoute) have a satin stripe down the side.  They are my “go to” work trousers and the ankle grazer length means they are perfect to wear with ankle boots such as my favourite “Chloe” dupes from Next.

I was so happy to get to the end of this week. I felt a cold coming on but that didn’t stop the husband and I popping to the local pub for our weekly catch up. A quick change after work into old favourite distressed girlfriend jeans. In fact the first pair of ripped jeans I bought four years ago from River Island. Recent La Redoute Burgundy Trainers and an old sparkly ombre jumper from Next. I added a quilted jacket with faux fur trim (Next) which I bought when we moved out to the countryside as we now walk everywhere and a heavy wool coat or leather biker doesn’t quite work.


For most of the weekend I didn’t even bother to get dressed. I was floored by a rotten cold so spent most of the time snuggled up on the sofa in my pjs. Both bought from Primark years ago. I don’t spend alot of money on nightwear or lounge clothes because I am slightly clumsy and inevitably I end up either spilling food down myself or covering myself in biro when I am working or studying. But I do like a good pair of socks and have two pairs of cashmere socks in pink and grey which were a Christmas present last year.

So this week I rediscovered my love for a straight leg. I found them to be really flattering. So maybe skinnies are on their way out. What do you think? Although maybe my preference is driven by the fact that I have added a few lbs since injuring my ankle last month. But whatever the reason I know I will definitely be wearing them again.

Thank you for reading.

 

Melanie xxxx