14 November 2019

My shopping rules

If you've followed me for a while you'll know that I've recently become a lot more aware of my consumption. My wardrobe was fit to burst and overflowing. Then came along #SecondHandSeptember. The timing couldn't have been more perfect for me.......I was so ready for a change. I decided to make a conscious effort to purchase my clothes more considerately. Since I successfully completed the challenge of only buying preloved clothing for a month I've implemented a few shopping rules I thought I'd share with you. I best touch on the subject of sustainability........it's so overwhelming isn't it? I mean where do you start? This post was shared by the lovely Nicky a couple of months before the challenge.....I believe it was directly responsible for sewing the seed and setting me on this journey!

I've made a few small but hopefully significant changes. I am of the opinion it's better to do small things well in hope that is has a ripple effect. Sustainability is one of those subjects that is a giant to tackle and way beyond my area of expertise but that doesn't stop me from wanting to try and make a difference. I'm very much a work in progress but hopefully I'm moving in the right direction. So without further ado........let me divulge my shopping manifesto to you.

#Rule no. 1

Shop my wardrobe first. It's so easy to be lured into temptation when you scroll though the likes of Instagram. You get sucked in to believing you need that next 'must have' thing. These days you are much more likely to find me perusing Pinterest looking for outfit inspiration to make the best of what I already have. The great thing about Pinterest is you can search by item - for example type in "white shirt street style 2019" and it will bring  up a whole load of ideas on how to style up a white shirt. If you are looking for new outfit ideas Pinterest is a Godsend.

#Rule no. 2

One in, one out. (I have Fashion_is_myfriend to thank for this one) It does what it says on the tin. For every new item coming in I am letting one go. 30 pieces have left my wardrobe since the beginning of September. I've sold the majority on eBay, a couple of bits have been donated or given away. I am constantly editing my wardrobe to best suit my lifestyle. Less is more for sure.......I can see the woods for the trees. Everything that's left just works together and it's helped me to identify any gaps. 

#Rule no. 3 

Buy less, buy better. Quality over quantity. There's no doubt that quality lasts longer. Quality items are cut better. It's worth investing in classic pieces you reach for time and time again. Which brings me nicely onto the next rule. 

#Rule no. 4

Try to source preloved wherever I can. This means I can buy brands that would usually be out of my price range. You already know I'm a huge fan of eBay. I wish I was better at charity shopping and my resolution is to dedicate bit more time to thrifting. However I have recently discovered some excellent online preloved/vintage stores. The buyers of these stores have the knack of sifting through and finding on-trend pieces thus saving the likes of me lots of time. Here are a few of my favourites.

My latest preloved acquisition is this gorgeous vintage Austin Reed camel blazer from Lila Vintage

N.B another way of obtaining quality for less is shopping in designer outlets. Some brands to make garments purely to sell at lower price points so beware of those. However outlets also offer a great opportunity to pick up end of lines at vastly reduced prices. I've uncovered some amazing treasures that would usually be beyond my reach but thanks to my local outlets Kilver Court, Swindon Outlet and Clark's Village in Street I've bagged a few bargains. TK Maxx is also worthy of a shoutout too if you have the patience to have a good sift through. My tip with TK Maxx is to keep your eye on the clearance section.

#Rule no. 5

I've only been spending my eBay funds on clothes since I started #SecondHandSeptember. This has been a game-changer as I am actually keeping to some kind of budget. That's a bit of a novelty for me! I have gotten into the habit of selling to buy stuff so it's a #winwin. 

#Rule no. 6

Last but not least - before making a purchase I make sure it goes with at least 5 other items I already own - this is where that Pinterest search comes in very handy. I also have a board called Autumn/Winter Everyday Outfits and usually after a flick through that I can tell whether something will slot easily into my wardrobe.

Not a rule but another avenue worth exploring is swapping or loaning where possible. I have delved into my mum's wardrobe as she has always been of the school of buying the best you can afford. She worked for Jaeger & Aquascutum so she has some amazing classic pieces stashed. In return she has has 'loaned' a couple of my Zara coats that I'm not quite ready to part with permanently. During September I may also have borrowed the odd item from my 13 year old daughters wardrobe.......always worth a look in there too ;0)

Granted there are things that are tricky to acquire preloved. Jeans for one. Even in the shops you can take 2 pairs into the fitting room and they can fit completely differently - sizing can be a nightmare so I'm reluctant to take the risk with jeans on eBay or via online preloved stores. As denim does have such a devastating impact on the environment it is my plan to do a bit of research and at least seek out brands that are addressing this and being a bit more conscious about the way they produce their denim. A couple of years ago I had the pleasure of listening to a talk by Chloe Lonsdale, the founder of M.i.h jeans and she was very passionate about sustainability and looking at new ways to manufacture denim. I am hopeful that even the High Street will eventually start to follow suit. 

Another subject I wanted to broach whilst I'm at it........ is working with brands. Unfortunately I do feel this is where blogging and Instagram all started to go awry for me. The constant stream of new stuff coming into my home really messed with my head mainly because I knew I didn't really need it. It just made it harder and harder to get dressed each morning as all my outfits started to become based around sharing the latest gift I'd received to do it justice. In truth it made me really unhappy. I wasn't wearing what I really loved in my wardrobe and sadly eventually all the new stuff just sucked the joy out of it. Going forward there are a few small independent brands and stores that I'd like to continue collaborating with. They are businesses I really believe in and would happily spend my own money with. Some are small online kitchen table start-ups, others are just local to me as I feel quite passionate about supporting independent local boutiques.......I don't want these to disappear entirely from our High Streets. I would also love the opportunity to explore a few more sustainable options. My hope is just to be a bit more mindful about how and what I "influence".

In summary - I am really striving towards living a more life with less stuff.  A few adjustments can make all the difference. It's just something to think about. Nine times out of ten we've usually got exactly what we need already but we live in this more, more, more culture. We can't make do and amend. Just to be a bit more thoughtful is the message I'm trying to get across.

So those are my rules. Do you have any you care to share? I would love to hear your thoughts. Please do leave me a comment.

Back soon, Michelle x



  1. Everything is a step in the right direction as long as you make the step is how I see it. I love eBay but have very little luck in charity shops so I generally only buy what I've tried before and maybe missed out the first time round. The one thing I realised over the last few years was that my lifestyle ultimately dictated what really should be languishing in my wardrobe and for that reason, I make no apologies for the plain grey, navy and black crew neck jumpers which see me through each winter. Yes, there will be flutters with other colours and styles but ultimately, I know what I wear the most and that is essentially my uniform. Having one makes life really that much simpler and easier.

    I've still got to get my head around a lot of the ideas around purchasing sustainably and well but I will get there. Maybe not as fast as some but every step is still a step. Keep up the good work Michelle! x

  2. Thank you for such a thoughtful post, it coincides with my own feelings over the past few months. I love and enjoy fashion but I am aware of this over consumerism and constant pushing of new and must haves.. like u I am trying to be more aware of what I buy.. I want to really love something before I buy it and I really enjoy finding preloved treasures.. onwards and upwards xx