Sunday, 21 August 2011

Ditching the jeans and finding my style.

I've been unhappy with my wardrobe for a while. But I didn't really know where I wanted to go with it. And I couldn't afford a whole new wardrobe, and even if I could I didn't know what I wanted. 
Currently my wardrobe consists of jeans, strappy vest tops and two thin cardigan things. My jeans are in ok condition, but I don't want to be in jeans everyday which currently I am. I wear vest tops because I can get them for £1.99 from New Look. And the cardigan things I bought last summer, and I have practically lived in them every day since because they cover my shoulders when I wear my vest tops which is everyday. 
I feel scruffy and crap in my clothes because my clothes are scruffy. Take what I'm wearing now for instance. My jeans, which as I said are in ok condition, but I wear them because they're comfortable and 'safe'. My belt is wrecked, the backing is coming off and I had to super glue it back on. My vest top was black but is now faded and has holes in at the bottom. My bra is the only thing that I'll be happy to keep, as I treated myself to some (basic) bras that fit a couple of weeks ago because the situation was desperate. 
So I'm pretty desperate for new clothes. I went looking for a new jacket yesterday with Dom. We wandered through the shops and I looked at what other women were wearing, what was on the mannequins and what I liked. And it hit me! I liked the shortish above the knee cute and quirky dresses with thick tights or lacy tights and nice cardigans or jackets. I also liked the high waisted skirts paired with a belted cardy. I think this is a style I could pull off and feel comfortable in. I can wear dresses in the winter with thick tights and a cardy, and also in summer without tights or a cardy. It's simple, but much more smart and put together than what I wear now, but still casual enough for everyday. 
So now I've figured out what I want, I'm going to be irresponsible. I'm going to let my student overdraft pick it up for now, until my student loan comes in. I know, but I really am desperate. I feel unhappy in my clothes and its effected my confidence enormously. I can't wait until the end of September for my loan, because by then I won't have enough clothes to last the week! 
So as an example, I like these kind of things (sorry I've had to link to them as I can't get the picture to display):
Dress, with these tights (I can see myself becoming a crazy tights lady with all kinds of novelty tights!). Paired with this cardy worn open but belted with this belt. Perhaps not these particular things, but as a general idea I like it a lot. I think I'll get two or three cardys and try and choose dresses that go with them so I can mix and match. My brogue style shoes would look great with this, though I think I need more than one pair of shoes! Also, and a nice bag and some jewellery would be nice :) 
I hate having to resort to RTW, but I can't sew that fast! My sewing plans will be easier to make once I've got more of a cohesive wardrobe. And honestly, the RTW dresses that I do have actually fit surprisingly well, and still look like new!
I also have a couple of lipsticks that I never wear because I never feel I'm dressed nice enough to wear it. But if I'm dressed nice, I'll definitely feel confident enough to wear my nice red lipstick :)
So now that I've come clean about the state of my wardrobe, what do you think? Am I crazy for using my overdraft for clothes, even if I do need them? Do you think the look I've described will suit me? Or am I just a lost cause? ;)
I plan on scouring the shops tomorrow morning with Dom, trying my best to put together a wardrobe. Wish me luck!
Ashley x


  1. Just my tuppence but I highly recommend checking out charity shops, and Even George at Asda. I live in similar stuff; full skirts, basic tops, knits, chunky tights, jersey dresses and I get all mine from there. New Look and also have a good variety for reasonable prices. I don't like spending £20 for any item of clothing so raid the sales instead. I spend about £6 per item on average I think. Charity shops are even better. H&M, and newlook are good for hosiery. Only issue is where these are popular highstreet places people may have the same stuff but it's easy enough to buy basics and then customise or accessorise with belts etc for completely different looks. Dorothy Perkins is great for dresses atm but fairly expensive. I would invest in the jackets- do some nice ones but you have to pay a bit more for them. Same with zara and warehouse. I got some from Primark which are ok but I've seen others in those so it's a bit of a risk. Good luck with your wardrobe overhaul. X

  2. Thanks :) Thanks for the tips on where to get stuff too! We've got a Peacocks, New look, Dorothy Perkins, Primark, M&S, BHS, , Debehnams, Topshop and a few others. We're a bit thin on the ground for charity shops but I'll check out the ones we do have :)
    I'm looking forward to choosing pieces that fit with what I want :)
    Ashley x

  3. Do it! A couple of bits of advice from someone who is (veeeery slowly) trying to go through a similar process:

    1. Don't settle. You already have clothes which you can wear, are OK, but don't make you feel good, so don't buy more (albeit in a different style) that you can wear, are OK, but somehow aren't quite right. Waste of money and time.

    2. Make sure that your new clothes are comfortable, can be pulled on in a hurry, and will keep you warm and dry on wet and cold days. Because if they're not and they won't, you'll just find yourself resorting back to the safe option of jeans and a vest top and a cardi. Ask me how I know!

    3. I accept that the student budget has its limits, but it's better to buy a really nice, quality top for £15 than three mediocre ones for £5 each. You'll wear it more and it will last longer. See point 1!

    4. Be realistic about your lifestyle. I personally think that the brogues are an excellent option because I'm guessing that you do a lot of walking (you're a student!) and they'll be comfortable and supportive. Likewise if you're sitting in lecture theatres a lot, it's no good having a fabulous skirt that will crease unwearably every time you've been taking notes for an hour.

    Good luck! I'd love to know how it goes!

  4. Thanks Lucy, great points! I agree with them all. Yes, if something isn't quite right I won't bother. I'd rather save my money for when the right dress/top comes along. And I know what you mean, if its not practical I won't wear it and will resort to jeans. And yes, I'd rather have quality than quantity! Yes, thats one of the main reasons that I've always liked the brogues - they're flat and comfortable but still smarter and nicer than trainers. I love heels, but to be honest, I buy them then don't wear them! And the creasing issue, yes, I know that one! I'm looking at you Beignet skirt! lol I love the skirt though, so will make another in less crease-able fabric.
    I'm actually excited! :D I usually hate clothes shopping, but I'm going to enjoy it :)
    Ashley x

  5. Clothes-shopping is much more pleasurable if you don't feel you have to buy something, anything for the sake of it, I find :-)

  6. Monsoon/Accessorize have a sale still on and they have some pretty tights in the sale too. Got some gorgeous 60 denier purple ones for £1.80 when they're usually £6 or £8.

    Make sure you try the dress and cardi on together as they look like they're going to be around the same length and not sure if you want that or not so check it out.

    Personally I wouldn't have spent my student overdraft on clothes. Like Leanne said, check out charity shops as you can get good quality clothes, or even brand new ones for a pittance. And it's better to buy something good for a pittance than to realise a pittance is what you've got to live on for the rest of the semester. Charity shops are also good for accessories and check out your local market for a bead stall as you could probably make yourself something you loved for cheaper than something from New Look et al.

    Good luck.

  7. I agree Lucy :)
    Ooh thanks for letting me know Mimi :) I'll be trying everything on, both to make sure I'm happy with the fit and to make sure everything looks right together. I hate when you put something on thinking it's going to look great and then it doesn't! And don't worry, I'm done my math and I know how much I can spend. I'll still have plenty of spending money for hobbies etc :) I'm normally very good with budgets and never spend money I don't have, but I'm sick of feeling scruffy. Also, I only got the student overdraft (no charges and no interest) because student finance had messed me around and I had no money for the first 9 months of uni! So I'll be as sensible as I can :)
    Ashley x

  8. I feel for you -- my college wardrobe came from the not-so-great thrift stores in my college town, and most of it was stained from my art classes anyhow. By the time I got to grad school I was good and ready for a decent wardrobe!

    I think if you have a good handle on your priorities you'll be able to put your money toward what will make the most impact. And you can "pay yourself back" by accounting for the up-front spending as you budget for the rest of the year.

    FWIW, I wear cheap tank tops (aka vests ... I think!) under cardigans or hoodies most days, year round. It's what I feel most comfortable in, and I don't care if it bores others. :)

  9. Yep, thats exactly what I was planning :) My weekly spending money will be lower as I 'pay myself back' through having a lower budget.
    It's not that I think my vest tops and cardys are boring, its just that they're wrecked! I have a couple of vest tops that I'll keep because they don't have holes and are still the same colour as when I bought them :) And my cardigans are wearing sooo thin that they're only just there! lol
    Ashley x

  10. I went to Uni with two pairs of jeans, 2 t shirts and a donkey jacket. I looked SO boring! My peers all seemed to have wardrobes full of vintage 50's frocks, and got their hair done free as "models" for local salons (top tip!)In those days (the 80's!) we had grants instead of loans so once the money ran out you had to grovel with your bank manager for help. I managed to get through 3 years without an overdraft, but only because I started sewing! I never did find out where the others got their clothes! What I would say is: don't rush to buy new cheap clothing all at once. It won't last and will fade / rip etc with constant wear. Concentrate on buying the stuff you can't make (belt, shoes, tights) and sew a few key pieces - maybe a couple of fun skirts, a funky top and a knit cardi? You can hold it together with holey vests underneath while you build up your collection of garments. If you sew one thing a week you will soon have a whole new wardrobe that is "you" and fits properly and is built to last!

  11. A lot of my favourite clothes at the moment have come from vintage clothing sales which are definitely worth a look - they are generally cheap and also you end up with something a bit different to what is on the high street. They are great for dresses in cool prints although sometimes it does take a bit of sifting through the chaff to find hidden gems. Worth investigating if there are any near you :) x

  12. I realise this post is from over a month ago but I've been out of the blogging loop for a while!! Don't worry about crazy tights, I LOVE patterned tights with dresses and have been buying loads lately - lacy, leopard print, colourful, all sorts! Personally I think they're great because they change the way a dress looks so you can wear it multiple times without looking the same every day. My 'style' is very much cute flared dresses with cardigans or a high waisted skirt with blouses and I've found some really good stuff in Tesco recently! I bought a lovely purple dress in there and a purple blouse and they have some other really nice stuff (I just seem to have a thing for purple at the moment). In reality dresses are way easier to style than jeans because you don't have to think about what top to wear them with!

    I hope your search for new clothes is going well :-) Lucy xx

  13. Wow, your tights sound amazing! :) It's great because now that I've found what I like to wear, it's makes sewing plans easier, and also I can walk into a shop and find at least one thing that I love and now know that I'll wear!
    So much easier! Choose a cute pair of tights, pick out some pretty bracelets and I'm ready to go :)
    Ashley x


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