Saturday, 28 August 2010


Autumn is getting closer and a girl's thoughts turn to her winter wardrobe! For the last two years, instead of buying my clothing on impulse, I have twice yearly spending sprees at this time of year and early spring.

Thinking about it, 'spree' is not the right word because it seems to denote something involving frivolity  and lack of control. What I do is a highly planned exercise involving A: Setting a budget  which I then try to beat B: Deciding clothes for the next couple of seasons that I need/want and working out a figure for what I expect to spend on each item.  This includes tights and underwear. C:  Shopping!

 I try to avoid the lower priced retailers and supermarket clothes, not out of any sense of snobbery, but because I've found that I don't wear them for so long. This is either because they start to look tatty more quickly or I go off them.  Of course,   there are exceptions.  I like the fit of my George jeans and the same supermarket provided ther six year old £4 black stretchy long sleeved T-shirts that I regularly wear (lives extended by the dyeing process.

I have to be creative to buy better quality clothes that last and keep under budget so here's my plan.
a)  Look out for designer goods from outlet sources.  The tunic here is made by White Stuff but was sourced from Trago Mills at £11.99.
b) Buy new and secondhand on Ebay.  Make sure that I stick to what I'd planned to buy rather than impulse buying. I've just 'won' a Chili Pepper tunic on Ebay. It was tunic 1 with a item budget of £20 on my list but I've nabbed it for £6 including postage.
c)  Buy fabric so Mama Lovelygrey can make my own designer wear.
d) Avoid buying clothes that don't tolerate my brutal laundering techniques.  From experience I've learned that delicate woollens are a no-no.
e) Allow plenty in my budget for things that I know I'm going to wear lots and lots. There's another tunic on Ebay that will meet this criteria and I've just increased my bid to above my original planned expenditure as I know I'll get lots of wear out of the item.
f) Think thick tights that don't ladder on first wear and hence clothes that look good with 'beetle legs'.

I'm finding that by sticking to these rules the budget that I set reduces each season and I save time by not wandering aimlessly around shops throughout the year.  The occasional nature of this consumptive treat also seems to be more pleasurable than buying items singly.   However, of course, the odd impulse purchase slips in.  For example, Fat Face and Howies have items in their sales which it would be a crime not to liberate!  And sometimes I find things in charity shops that just need to be in my wardrobe. Buying things in a planned way does not fit when shopping in a secondhand marketplace.  Guilt is assuaged, however, by remembering that I kept below budget in my main shops!

Addendum: It's now Monday 30th August and all garment e-purchasing activity is over for another six months. Even though I added three items to my original list I still came within my budget of £250 by £6. For that I bought six pairs of thick cotton tights, a new black Gap jumper (pleased to see that they're on line at last!), a second hand Boden cardigan, two lots of material for Mama Lovelygrey to make dresses with (already have pattern so no extra cost, four good quality tunics and a pair of Crocs wellies!

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