14 April 2021

My Spring Jacket Essentials

Some affiliate links used.

Hello! Popping my head above the parapet again after a long hiatus. I finally summoned some motivation to get back to blogging again. The last few months have been a bit of a slog haven't they? However, now that spring has graced us with her presence and lockdown restrictions have been relaxed I've had a spurt of enthusiasm for all things wardrobe related! Starting off with my spring jacket essentials - these are the jackets currently residing in my wardrobe.

Kicking off with the trusty trench! I kissed a few frogs before I found the "one". I managed to pick a Joseph one at Kilver Court Designer Outlet when they held a clearance 'pop up' a couple of years back. I've tried a few different ones in the past but none were quite right. When I tried on the Joseph one I knew I'd found a timeless style that would stand the test of time in my wardrobe. The trend at the moment appears to be more oversized and longer in style (of course I have tried one on!). However my advice to you is that you have one that you love then stick with it! Don't be on that eternal quest to buy the most up-to-date version which is a habit that I'm still desperately trying to break.......I have many duplicates of the same items!

Joseph trench via @kilvercourt - alternative here
Uniqlo black cashmere crew - alternative here (I would go up a couple of sizes)
Rag & Bone jeans via TK Maxx, past season
Preloved Doc Martens 2976 via eBay - some preloved ones linked here

I've been turning to my beloved Topshop khaki shackett a lot lately. Mainly due to the fact that I've become a little obsessed with Kate Moss's off duty style. I was searching for some outfit inspiration on Pinterest - you may remember that I bought some boots from eBay last year after seeing them on a friend who was inspired by Mossy. Anyway I digress.....I came across these outfit pics and so my love affair with my shackett has been stoked again! 
Images via Pinterest

This shackett is so versatile - I love khaki with grey and it looks great with a pop of red. It literally goes with everything.....great for throwing over dresses as well as my standard uniform of sweatshirts, jeans and trainers.

Topshop jacket, past season - alternative here
Black.co.uk leopard print scarf (gifted, past season)
Levis skinny jeans
Boots - selection on eBay here

Thought the boots deserved a close up.......they are sooooo good! You need to go up 2 sizes in US shoes, I'm normally a size six and so I ordered a size 8.

Boots - selection on eBay here

The next jacket has become a bit of a modern classic. Liner jackets have been around for a couple of seasons now and there is no sign of them going anywhere. As it's quilted it's one of my warmer spring jackets. It is an actual liner from a men's coat.....comes complete with missing armpits 😂 I got mine via @gerryjonesvintage x @thecuratory collaboration (both on Instagram). However I've found an eBay seller who stocks the very same one! Mines an XS but I would have preferred to size up as I'd love to be able to roll the sleeves up. And, oh yes......I'm touting more of those green tones I'm afraid but it is a colour that is definitely classed as a neutral by me! All in all though, this is another great little staple in my wardrobe......so much so that I also bought a black version from Aligne (see below). I find that they do make for the perfect tidy dog-walking attire!

Link to jacket - eBay seller
J Brand jeans via TK Maxx, past season
Veja Watu trainers, past season
Efurt camo scarf, past season
Zara bag, ancient

This is the black version....which I have also found to also be incredibly useful!

Black Liner from Aligne
Black.co.uk leopard print scarf (gifted, past season)
Everlane sweatshirt (mines a small)
Golden Goose Trainers
Preloved Rag & Bone bag via eBay

There had to be a blazer in the edit! I'm currently wearing this preloved Warehouse one. It's a wool blend so a slightly warmer weight fabric for now. Predominantly grey in a houndstooth check. It's another piece that really pulls together a lot of outfits in my wardrobe. If you like a bit of colour to liven up your wardrobe try adding a bright blazer in a primary shade, after all your jacket is the cherry on the cake of your outfit! I've picked this particular jacket because it really suits my spring colour palette. It goes so well with all the different shades of grey and green in my wardrobe so it's a winner!

Preloved Warehouse blazer via eBay - alternative here
Everlane sweatshirt (mines a small)
Zara trousers, ancient - alternative here

Last but not least - a jacket I go through phases with. I have though found myself reaching for my leather biker a fair bit in recent weeks. I usually wear this more when we get into some slightly warmer weather as I like to soften it somewhat with a dress and trainers. More recently though I've been favouring it with some grey flannel trousers or a black wide leg pair. This has proved to be a great combo to wear into the office. Getting ready for work has been my only reason to dress up a bit over the past few months - I've always dressed down for work as it's a warehouse/office situation. However I've taken the opportunity whenever possible to smarten up a bit! This has been the perfect ensemble - comfy yet pulled together.

Denim Hunter biker, past season - alternative here
Arket trousers I sized up to a 38

One last offering of advice to throw in this mix! This jacket isn't something you will see me wearing as outerwear......but it is a great little extra layer of warmth that you can stash in your bag for the chilly mornings and evenings! I have an ancient one from H&M that folds up into a tiny pouch (it came that way) but you can usually pick something similar up in Primark or Uniqlo do a range of down liners all year around I believe! I packed my winter coats away about a month ago and so mine has been an absolute saviour over the cold spell we've just experienced. I've worn it under the black Align liner jacket......doubling up on the quilting for warmth and it's perfect for under my shackett too! This is the Primark one - I can't link, you'll have to try in store. They normally stock it in lots of different colours.

Primark liner jacket - see instore

Here's the Uniqlo version which comes in a little carry about pouch like my H&M one.

That's concludes my spring jacket essentials!

Just thought I'd mention that I'm refraining from referring to the term 'capsule wardrobe' in relation to my wardrobe.....in case you were wondering. If you read my previous blog post you may remember that I did a head count of all the pieces in my wardrobe and since there is in excess of 200 items (despite decluttering another 50 bits since the beginning of 2021) I think I'm just kidding myself when I describe it as a capsule. So I'm dropping that phrase from my wardrobe vocabulary. I'm still in the habit of rotating my clothes every few weeks and just keeping the pieces I am actually likely to wear which is always very dependant on the weather in the UK. Although I've streamlined my wardrobe a lot, I'm still trying to root out the things I don't reach for enough. By rotating it also helps to keep things fresh which means there is less reason to shop. Everything I have now I would describe as either staples or my idea of wardrobe essentials - there is very little else I'm willing to part with! I'm on target with my goal of cutting down my consumption - though I have bought a few things where I've found gaps or to rejuvenate what I already have. I'll share those with you soon. As it stands I am very content with my wardrobe as it is just now.

Next time I shall be back with some sharing my spring top-half staples!

Michelle x


28 February 2021

Taking Stock

Affiliate links used.

Feels like spring is underway now doesn't it. Time for a seasonal wardrobe refresh. I whiled away a couple of happy hours getting familiar with my spring clothing recently. I wanted to swap out the chunky roll neck sweaters - those are now safely stored away. Some lighter sweaters and sweatshirts have replaced them. I went through my jeans and swapped in a few ankle-baring styles in hope that I'll be kicking off my boots for good soon. It's lovely to see a few old-but-new jacket options greeting me when I open the wardrobe doors. I feel like I've breathed some new life into my outfits without having to buy anything new!

As promised I have taken a few mirror selfies now that my outfits are a bit more share-worthy. Meet my Zoom call attire!

M.i.H jeans denim shirt, past season - alternative here
Adidas joggers - similar here (I sized up - mine are a 12)
Golden Goose trainers - similar here

Whilst sorting my wardrobe this time I did take every single item out. I gave the inside a good hoover and clean. I had in mind a plan for my capsule this time and so when I started to put things back in it just all came together. The more I do the seasonal switchover the easier it becomes. It makes life so much simpler only to have in my wardrobe what I will actually be wearing. I have around 40 pieces which seems like a lot but as the weather is likely to be fairly iffy for the next few weeks so I've planned for more options than I might actually need. It definitely helps to keep on rotating things......it identifies the pieces I don't reach for that need moving on. Any gaps also become obvious which does assist me in making more considered purchases. 

One area I did feel I had a gap in was my jeans collection. I uncovered a couple of duplicates and decided to part with a couple that just weren't all that comfortable. Time to let go of 4 pairs. I convinced myself that I was missing something style-wise. That was of course until I checked out what I had stored away in the autumn. I've totted them up and I have a total of 17 pairs and now I've become familiar with them all again I can see I have more than I need and there really isn't any shape unaccounted for. This is good because I've become very conscious of denim's impact on the environment. It takes up to 10,000 litres of water to make one pair of jeans and despite many brands now claiming to make environmentally friendlier jeans I believe the best course of action is to work with what I've already got. Jeans are hard to buy too aren't they? Especially at the moment with having to order online. One major takeaway from exploring my jeans was to learn that my favourite pairs are from Gap, Topshop and H&M - most of which are at least 5 years old. Although those brands aren't particularly sustainable at least if I purchase from those stores again I can confidently expect them to be in my wardrobe for the long haul so I'm going to try not to beat myself up about where I buy my jeans.

Topshop  jeans, past season - these look similar
Dune Guillt loafers, past season 
(try searching eBay also worth searching for Office Destiny loafers too)

The experiment of counting all of my jeans got me curious as to how many items of clothing I have in total. I've arrived at the rather shocking total of about 200 pieces 😱 (I haven't properly counted my dresses yet which is why that's an approximate number!) That does not include shoes and accessories either 😳 Seems like an excessive amount doesn't it? And whilst I will be streamlining my wardrobe a bit more I am getting to the point where it is getting hard to part with things and as I've said before one of my goals is to only purchase something if I'm prepared to let something go. The one in, one out rule. Anyway all in all, it's been a great experiment and lovely to be reacquainted with some of my old favourites. I'm really looking forward to the challenge of getting more creative with what I already have. 

Here are a few examples.......
M&S cashmere jumper (mine is past season)
M&S trousers (also previous season)
Preloved & Other Stories blazer via eBay

Joseph trench coat via Kilver Court Outlet (really love this as an alternative)
Uniqlo cashmere rollback - alternative here (I would size up for a more slouchy look)
Rag & Bone jeans, past season - these look like a good alternative 

Zara jumper, past season - alternative here
Zara trousers, ancient - alternative here
Vans trainers -similar here

Preloved Warehouse x Lucy Williams collaboration blazer (just in case you want to search eBay)
J Brand jeans via T K Maxx
Golden Goose trainers - similar here
Hermosa London bag, past season

Preloved liner jacket - try eBay here
Disko Kids sweatshirt, past season - similar here
J Brand jeans via T K Maxx 
Veja Wata trainers, past season - do love these as an alternative 

This week I'm really hoping to get back in the swing of taking a daily mirror selfie and sharing a few more of my ensembles on the blog on a weekly basis. 

On that note....see you next week! 


14 February 2021


Firstly I'd like to say thanks to everyone who reached out to message or leave me a comment after my last post. It was one from the heart and I didn't realise what a sense of relief I'd feel when I shared it. It came as a bit of a surprise to me that so many people seem to be longing for change. Unfortunately our relationship with stuff is a hard habit to break. I wasn't quite sure how to follow that post but I feel the need to carry on this conversation.

What have I learnt from all the amazing feedback though? That I am enough. And I most certainly have enough. But I'm not doing enough. A couple of articles have been shared with me that are really quite disturbing (I will link at the end of the post). And the good old algorithm served up this gem on YouTube when I started to research our problems with stuff a bit more thoroughly. The video on YouTube mentioned a book called The Story of More and I took it as a sign to read it as it was the 2nd time I'd seen it mentioned in the past week. You see I'm curious to better understand my need to keep on buying things. I'm keen to examine this subject further as what I've learnt so far has spurred me into action. The goal posts have changed again for me. I've pledged to myself not to bring any more new clothes into my life until I've properly taken stock of what I've already got. I think I will find that I already have enough.

It occurred to me after writing my 'stuff' post and looking back over my 6/7 years on Instagram that the outfits I felt comfiest and happiest in actually stand out a mile to me. Most of the pieces I'm wearing in those photos are still in my possession. So, a plan has begun to formulate. I think it's such a great tool to have that back catalogue to reflect upon that I've embarked on the arduous task of photographing every item of clothing I own. I can't think of a better way to shock myself into shopping submission than by being confronted by my entire wardrobe on a Pinterest board! My low buy goal of adding 33 items this year is about to be slashed. Shopping my wardrobe is now my number one priority. For me the beauty of a seasonal capsule is consistently being reunited with my favourites pieces. Rotating my clothes keeps my most beloved items feeling fresh. I've got to get out of the mindset that my next purchase will complete me. Doing the research for that last post made me realise I already have everything I could possibly need. It's hard to know where to start when you decide it's time for change but I hope I'm giving you a couple of practical tips.

As you can probably imagine I'm feeling pretty inspired.......so I have been busy! I've created a new Pinterest board - a vision board for my next capsule. The new board is a mixture of outfit inspiration from a couple of sources, some via Pinterest - pins that I've found where I have similar pieces. I've also added some of my own photos of my favourite Instagram ensembles...... those evergreen outfits that I wear over and over again. There are some clear themes amongst that information!

                               See my vision board here                               

I've also started to use the pictures that I'm taking of each piece of my clothing to begin to plan my spring transitional wardrobe. As you may have learned about me by now I do enjoy keeping a record of these things! If you are interested in joining me on this crusade I would encourage you to find a way to track what you are wearing....whether it be a spreadsheet, diary or taking a daily mirror selfie. You can upload your pics to a secret Pinterest board so nobody can see them apart from you. I'm just working myself up to taking a daily outfit photo again so that I can start doing a weekly round-up of my outfits here on the blog. I'm feeling a little more motivated to do that now there is some better weather on the horizon! 🤞🤞🤞

See the board here (It's still a work in progress!)

Sorry it's only a short post this week. Hope it has been useful though if you are considering curtailing your clothing consumption!

Back again soon, Michelle x


Ted Talks via YouTube


7 February 2021

My changing relationship with stuff

After last weeks post I got some lovely messages that got me thinking about my relationship with stuff. For as long as I can remember my self worth has been tied up with having the right things and looking the part. To be fair clothes do often give me that extra boost of much needed confidence. That isn't necessarily a bad thing. That is until you start believing your stuff defines you. Do I really want to be remembered just for wearing nice things? No. My stuff is not who I am. There's so much more to me than that. And I guess this journey that I am on has begun to unravel a lot of those feelings. Things aren't important. You can't take them with you. People and experiences are the things that shape and enrich our lives. 

Instagram outfit of the day photo - early 2015

My relationship with stuff really blossomed when I started my first job. I began my working life in a small designer boutique in Bath. The store sold designer gear.....all the big Italian labels that were popular in the 80's such as Versace, Valentino and Ferragamo. I was impressed by the customers who shopped at Kimberly who came in dripping in Chanel and Louis Vuitton and who spent thousands at a time. Naturally I equated accruing designer stuff as a sign of being successful. Inspired, I saved up and bought my first designer bag - a Louis Vuitton Speedy at age 18 and then a Chanel bag a couple of years later. I was young and naive with some disposable income and I just wanted to be in with the calibre of clientele that I was serving. It was very easy to get sucked in and this is probably where my appreciation of things started to mingle with my self worth. I only worked in that environment for 3 years but it proved to have a lasting effect on me.

Instagram outfit of the day - early 2016

Fast forward some 15 years and those feelings of self worth started cropping up again. This may resonate with some of you because when you start a family you are very focused on being a mother. I lost myself for a couple of years after I had my daughter. But as soon as I hit those pre-school gates the pressure to look and feel the part rose again. At age 36 I was quite late to the motherhood party and I felt this was even more reason to look like I had my sh*t together. When you've been in that haze for a while it's quite hard to claw your way back. Your figure isn't the same and your priorities have shifted. I felt pretty inadequate. 

Thankfully I came across Pinterest which started to help me to work with what was in my wardrobe and pull outfits together again. From there I found a couple of fashion blogs that made me fall in love with clothes again. Perusing online led me to a platform (pre-Instagram days) called Avenue 57 which was a real turning point for me. It was a lovely online community that gave kind and helpful feedback as well as shopping tip-offs and advice. I used to upload a mirror selfie of my daily outfits there and enjoyed commenting on other women's outfits. Avenue 57 introduced me to a few school run mum bloggers whose style really resonated with my own. I realised that one of my favourite bloggers was lurking and commenting on my outfits and so we started conversing. Sue (you may know her as SusieSoSo) encouraged me to start my blog and so MyFashionable40s came to be (on Avenue 57 I called myself 'My Fashion Life has just begun' because it really did feel like a rebirth after having my daughter). Sue gave me the confidence to start writing because she enjoyed hearing about my thought process around putting outfits together and purchasing new things. I thought it may be of benefit to share with other women who may have found themselves in a similar situation to me......stuck in a rut and feeling that you've lost your identity when your children are very young and you don't have much time for yourself. 

Instagram outfit of the day photo - early 2017

About a year after starting my blog along came Instagram which to begin with was very similar to Avenue 57 just on a much larger scale. It opened up blogs to a much wider audience which was great! I really prided myself on my authenticity right from the word go. I only ever uploaded a picture of what I was actually wearing on any given day (on the odd occasion that I was approached by anyone who recognised me from the blog I'm sure they would vouch for me!). My integrity has always been really important to me. At that time it seemed that what I was doing was really appreciated - it was all very natural and as a result my following grew very quickly. 

Instagram outfit of the day - early 2018

From the outset the blog and Instagram were just a creative outlet for me - I never intended it to become a form of income.....it really was just for fun and I genuinely hoped I might be helping other women like me. However it didn't take brands long to appreciate what a marketing opportunity the school run mum's blogs were for advertising their products. To be approached by brands and offered gifts was incredibly exciting and flattering as someone who was very new to all of this kind of attention. I actually really enjoyed working with smaller brands with whom I really could make a difference by sharing with my audience. I was free to do my own thing. I was blown away by feedback when I made a difference to a company's sales. It was the equivalent of getting a gold star at school! 

Instagram outfit of the day photo - early 2019

I began to become unstuck when I started getting involved with High Street brands and taking on paid collaborations. Getting lots of likes per post had always been a lovely dopamine rush but now there was an added layer of pressure for posts to perform well as I was being paid for them. I felt out of my depth and impostor syndrome set in. Comparison is the thief of joy as they say. When I looked around I felt inferior to my contemporaries who were starting to use professional photographers. At the time my photos were taken by my young daughter Gracie and were very organic to say the least. If you look back at my early photos on Instagram you'll notice I can hardly bear to look into the camera - I was always looking down. With brands wanting to approve photos before I posted I became very critical about how I looked in them. I kept asking more and more of Gracie and eventually she got to an age where she was too embarrassed to do street style photos for me in and around the village we live in. The time had come to invest in  tripod - however it would take me so long to get a picture that I was happy with that I would ended up getting totally frustrated and wishing that I'd never taken such a project on. 

I then got to the point where I had new stuff being delivered everyday that I'd have to create content for. Once you start accepting gifts and agreeing to sponsored posts it's very hard to say no......hamster wheel springs to mind! With the smaller brands I often felt obliged because sometimes it's the only method of advertising they can afford and it can make all the difference to a table top company becoming successful. As I would describe myself as being very conscientious by nature I felt a certain sense of responsibility to brands. I would often go the extra mile and try to work gifted items into every post to give products as much exposure as possible. That turned out to backfire rather spectacularly as I would never get to wear the things I truly loved that I'd purchased with my own money. I was forever trying to do the things I'd been gifted or paid to wear justice. I got myself into a right old pickle. I felt 'stuffocated'. Clothes instead of making me feel happy and confident made me feel anxious and overwhelmed. It wasn't just creating the content and wearing the clothes that became a chore, it was disposing of all the packaging too. So much waste....loads of plastic all heading to landfill. The over-consumption gave me the 'ick'. I was lost in it all and no longer doing it for the right reasons. It all felt very out of kilter with my values and who I really am. These feelings were so foreign to me that I blamed the menopause and the fact that the big 5-0 was looming. However looking back on that episode I can see now that I had just lost all sense of myself. My identity had become so entangled with my possessions. 

And my goodness did it prove to be difficult to get off that hamster wheel but for the sake of my sanity I knew I had to start saying no. It was easy with the High Street brands. I didn't need the money as I work part-time and I didn't need the extra money to buy more stuff I didn't need either! Its was harder to say no to smaller brands as I'd often forged lovely relationships with the people behind the brands. Little by little though I started to put my foot down and started being honest because I knew I was time to start withdrawing from Instagram. 

In June 2019 I really turned a corner. I stopped drinking alcohol (a habit that I felt was getting a bit out of control) and started practicing meditation. A couple of months later in August we had a particularly relaxing holiday in Greece where instead of scrolling mindlessly on my phone I started listening to podcasts and reading, developing some different interests. I got curious about making my life more simple. Being so attached to my things was causing me suffering and I wanted to change that.

By September as I was saying no to pretty much everything and so I didn't have any obligations. I decided to take a month long break from Instagram. My big half a century birthday was looming and I'd been toying with changing my blog and Instagram name as I was desperate to shed MyFashionable40s. With a little help from my friends (Sue and Bean) we came up with CuratingMi which stuck because I was on the path to changing my relationship with stuff. 

Quite by accident in December 2019 I fell into a stride with a capsule wardrobe. Earlier on in the year I'd taken a personal styling course and once I learnt about my style personality I understood why I wasn't feeling comfortable in some of my clothes. This resulted in some regular wardrobe editing. Not posting so frequently on Instagram meant there was no pressure to wear something different and interesting everyday. I was wearing and enjoying my favourite items and dressing to suit my actual lifestyle and not my fantasy lifestyle. I realised that during the colder months I tend to wear pretty much the same things on repeat. My signature style is a rollback sweater, skinny jeans and either boots or high top trainers. I had a coat for Christmas that year that went with every jeans and jumper combo I had. That turned out to be a pivotal gift.......I suddenly felt so much happier in my uncomplicated outfits. 

Outfit of the day - early 2020 (wearing said coat)

Then along came Covid 19. The universe intervened and we were all forced to slow down.  It gave me the opportunity time to think long and hard about what I truly want out of life. I've had the luxury of time to contemplate what really matters to me. Obviously it's not stuff. To quote Courtney Carver "I need way less than I think to be happy". "My wardrobe is the least interesting thing about me" and "No one really cares what I'm wearing". What does matter to me is the people I love. I cherish my health. And for my mental wellbeing it's important to me that I keep on learning and growing. Yes, I love clothes but they don't define the person I am. Lockdown has made me appreciate all the things around me that I have overlooked whilst deciding what to wear or wondering whether I should buy the next 'must have' trend or not. These days I appreciate a walk more than shopping as a pastime. I value a chat on the phone over a text. I prefer a good book to a scroll on Instagram. I enjoy a documentary over reality TV and podcasts over the radio. It's been a gift to spend so much time at home with my family. There is so much more to life than clothes. 

All of this thinking helped me to arrive at the fact that a capsule wardrobe is absolutely the way forward for me. To be honest I'm a little disappointed about how much I did buy last year but then, these ideas were all still thrashing about in my head. I knew reducing my consumption was my number one priority, so I'm proud of how that has been steadily going down. The majority of what I purchased last year will shape my capsule over the next few years as I've had the chance to get to grips what kind of clothes that really suit my life. Looking back over my journey on Instagram it is interesting to see the items that have stood the test of time and that are still in my wardrobe. All of the outfits in my round-up here are things I'd happily wear today. I must have been doing something right.......I just can't believe how distracted I got! 

Phew! That is enough from me. It feels good to finally share this, I've been meaning to write this one for a while. One from the heart for sure!

One last thing I want to do is to thank Sue. I have met and made some amazing friends throughout my time online and for that I am truly grateful for.  Sue has always been there for me - I still refer to the original email she sent me with some beginners blog guidance. I asked her to proof-read this post before I hit publish because I have shared all my ups and downs with her and she has always been the voice of reason and kept me going. I consider myself very lucky to have her in my life - which I think is the fitting place to end this post.

Hope you found it interesting. I've listed here a few resources I have found useful. 

Michelle x

Use Less 

Recent discoveries
Slowdown. blog

Use Less - capsule wardrobe inspiration......a great place to start.
Style Apotheca  - low buy & minimalist journey......very relatable.
A Small Wardrobe - minimalist......very quirky, excellent tips though!
Benita Larsson - minimalist.....so soothing to watch.
Matt D'avella - minimalist & lots of great life advice.

Netflix documentaries 
The Minimalists - Minimalism 
The Minimalists - Less is Now
The Social Dilemma 

!0% Happier by Dan Harris

I use the Calm app for meditation 🙏


31 January 2021

Wardrobe Plans for 2021

Some affiliate links used.

Ok, here goes.......I'm going to jump right in with a few facts from 2020 that have shaped my wardrobe goals for 2021. It would appear that I am the average woman who buys 67 pieces of clothing a year (I actually bought a smidge under at 66). I'd like to halve that number this year. I edited my wardrobe regularly and ended up parting with more than I purchased......letting go of a total of 71 items. This year I'm aiming to only add 33 pieces to my wardrobe. 2 - 3 items per month sounds realistic. There is no budget as such though last year I spent half as much as I did in 2019. I'd prefer to spend less than I did in 2020 but that may prove to be tricky going by what I have already purchased this month. The price per item is likely to be higher because I'm trying to buy less but buy better.

One rule that I'm going to be hard and fast about now that my wardrobe is more manageable is a strict one item in one item out policy. Now that I am down to my favourite things before I even think about bringing in any new items I'm going to ask myself this question "Would I rather wear this over something I've already got in my wardrobe?". For example a while ago I purchased a dress which I already had but in a different print, exactly the same shape though. I held onto it for a couple of weeks but I knew I wouldn't love it or reach for it as much as the original dress and so I returned it. I couldn't justify owning 2 of the same style. Before bringing in something new in I'm really going to have to be prepared to part with something I already own. This should really help to curb those repeat purchases which is a habit that still plagues me. Mind you - I have already sold or donated 27 items since the beginning of 2021.....so you could say am I already in credit? 

The year has started well. I've stuck to my plan and made 3 purchases this month. I had a wish list of pieces, a couple of which were replacements for things I already had but that had seen better days. I spoke about finding an alternative for this old Zara blazer/coat back in October in this video. I've had it for years and it's well beyond it's best. 

In my last blog post I mentioned that my & Other Stories black blazer was one of my favourite purchases of 2020. Because the black blazer has been such a wardrobe winner I decided I'd like to try and track down the camel version. Sadly & Other Stories no longer stock the black or the camel but my first port of call was good old eBay who came up trumps anyway! That happily that fulfilled another goal.......trying to source preloved items first and foremost whenever I can. A #winwin in my book because I'm keeping my clothing circular ♻ and got a bargain. The blazer is immaculate so I'm chuffed to pieces with it!

Worth checking eBay for the blazer here

(p.s on the & Other Stories blazer. They do stock this one which is similar. However having tried it I wouldn't recommend it. It's nowhere near the quality of the version I've purchased which they still stock in khaki and beige. It's worth paying the extra £35 for).

So how else do I propose to reduce my consumption even more this year? It turns out that I have formed some bad habits since becoming a blogger & Instagramer back in 2013. I think I felt the pressure of trying to get ahead of the trends which has often resulted in me making mistakes (I made 5 mistakes in 2020). I am guilty of buying spring & summer items in January that I'm already over before the seasons arrive. The problem is that it is highly likely that something else will piquet my attention in the mean time. How to fix this tendency? I'm cutting out the noise, spending less time on social media and less time scrolling on Pinterest (which is full of annoying sponsored ads these days that really mess with my viewing pleasure!). I've actually been withdrawing from these platforms for a while as one of my goals in general is to reduce my daily dose of screen time. If you follow me on Instagram you may have noticed that I've already taken a bit of a step back from the app. Again I'm trying to avoid be bombarded with posts full of *PR products*. I prefer to see how my favourite accounts style their existing wardrobe staples as opposed to being influenced to buy all the latest trends. These new habits have already helped immensely because I find I'm no longer being tempted to buy things I don't really need. Now that I'm more confident in my own style and what suits my lifestyle I am making less impulsive purchases. The plan for 2021 is to buy with intention.

And so onto to replacement purchase no.2. You may remember this much worn and loved H&M Breton. Another item I've had for years.......there is much evidence of it on my Instagram feed. It's served it's purpose well but it was due an upgrade.

I've been looking for a similar one to the H&M one which is quite thick cotton and a boxy shape which is perfect for doing a half tuck. The neckline has become annoying - it's a wide boatneck which constantly reveals my bra straps.......it also requires a bit of faffing to get the neckline to lie flat under jackets. Anyway the search began to find a suitable replacement which resulted in another one of my objectives being met. 2021 will hopefully be the year that I step away from buying so much from the High Street. I plan to explore more local independent businesses and also try to support more sustainable brands. I found a great Breton that ticks all my boxes from a British brand called Olive who are based in Cheltenham. Another #winwin

Olive Clothing Breton

The final purchase was a much considered item. My number one priority for my clothing at the moment is comfort. I've not really gotten on board with the loungewear trend......maybe with the exception of my Adidas joggers. However I have been looking for another trouser option in a bid to prise me out of my jeans. I've been regularly reaching for these M&S black wide leg trousers so when I spotted these Arket elasticated waist grey flannel trousers and again they ticked all of my boxes! I ordered two sizes and decided on the size 38 as I prefer them a little slouchier and longer. The sign of a great purchase is that you love them enough to want to wear them straight away.......these have seen 3 wears in 2 weeks and so I am certain that they will easily fulfil #30pluswears 

Arket trousers

These new additions slot seamlessly into my winter capsule and will also feature in my spring capsule. Having this little project to focus on has been soothing especially as we are still in the throes of the pandemic which makes it hard to plan for anything at the moment. Putting some thought into my wardrobe has been very therapeutic. I enjoy tracking what comes in and goes out, as well as what I'm prepared to spend my money on. By being organised, wanting less and turning my attentions to other pastimes instead of shopping I feel I'm on the right track at last. #stillaworkinprogress though!

If you are thinking about testing out a capsule wardrobe or reducing your consumption then I hope this post has given you a few ideas. If you have already embarked on this journey and have any tips.....please leave me a comment as I would love to hear how you are getting on!

Next time I'll share a few pieces on my radar.....I wonder what will make it onto my wish list?

Back again soon, Michelle x


17 January 2021

My Favourite Purchases of 2020

Some affiliate links used.

Hello! Happy New Year. How are you?

I totally ran out of steam in December and it's taken me a while to summon some motivation......anyone else feeling a bit like that? Anyway I think I mentioned on my last IGTV video on Instagram that I would do a little review of my favourite purchases of 2020. 

The items that immediately spring to mind are the ones that I wore a lot during that sweet window of relaxed restrictions last summer. These are the pieces that really sparked joy for me and they are things that I would definitely repurchase if I (goodness forbid) I lost everything. 

Dress from Etsy (seller no longer available)
Sandals from this Etsy seller

I made a couple of purchases from Etsy over the summer. The dress was the first one. I have to be honest and say that I wouldn't purchase from the same seller again - thankfully their shop seems to have disappeared. I personally had issues which I explained in my IGTV video here. Basically the seller presented as being UK based when in fact the item was being shipped from Asia and although the first few reviews looked glowing when I did a bit more digging and went further into the reviews.....well, I was pretty concerned! I tried to cancel the order and although my request to cancel was confirmed the seller went ahead and sent the item. When it arrived I was thrilled with it so my experience was not all bad. However two ladies contacted me to say that they had issues with sizing and had difficulty obtaining refunds. Etsy is like eBay in that they offer Buyer Protection so I would still buy with confidence from Etsy. It is my hope that the seller was actually removed by Etsy for bad practice. If I buy another dress in this style (another is on my wish list!) I would buy from this seller here. Please do check the reviews for recommendations on sizing.

Now onto the sandals. I can't recommend this Etsy seller highly enough and I will definitely be purchasing the same sandals in the natural brown colour way. These are identical to the Ancient Greek sandals at a fraction of the cost though. I have found them true to size and delivery from Greece was quicker than expected. Give them a follow on Instagram as they do share snapshots of their workshop and how the sandals are produced. They are a very small independent business who I am delighted to be able to support.

Sandals from this Etsy seller

Another piece in my wardrobe that I wouldn't want to be without is this Bershka oversized denim jacket. I'd been searching for 'the one'......I'd kissed a couple of frogs but saw this on a mannequin in store and it was love at first sight. They didn't have my size in stock and so I patiently waited until they restocked online and swiftly snapped it up! It was hardly off my back once I got it. I know it'll be in my wardrobe for years to come. 

Out of stock at Bershka - I suspect they will restock this is spring but here's an alternative

One last item that was a favourite from Spring/Summer 2020 was this Zara linen shirt dress. I'm told that this is a style they do year after year so keep your eyes peeled on the Zara 'new in' section (a bit later in the year obviously!) as they go quick! It's such a classic, the kind of dress you that will take you anywhere and is in your wardrobe for the long haul!

Zara dress - out of season sadly 

I made a lot of good purchases in Spring/Summer 2020. Many basics such as linen boyfriend shirts and good quality sweatshirts. Great foundations for this year and future years! I really drilled down my signature style - mostly due to the fact that we spent so much time at home......I really had the opportunity to settle into my 'style personality' which is a 'natural'. The purchases I am making now suit my lifestyle more than they ever have. 

My most worn Autumn/Winter pieces aren't as exciting I'm afraid. Funnily enough though it's this time of year that a capsule wardrobe really comes into it's own. I do wear the same things on repeat as it's all about being warm and comfortable. My wardrobe is a lot more functional hence I haven't been photographing my outfits and recording what I wear like usually would......there really is nothing to see here. I have been living in roll neck jumpers, jeans, my & Other Stories chunky boots and an old H&M puffer coat......like so!

H&M jumper - similar here
Bag - past season Primark

So it's with some trepidation that I share my favourite purchases because they are all from & Other Stories.......and they are all black! Boring by my own admission. However on the upside they do all have the longevity factor - they are all pretty timeless. First up is my most used bag this year - mind you......how often have we needed to take a bag anywhere?! I bought this last January. It's still in stock,  I think it's a classic piece made of gorgeous buttery soft leather and for me it's the perfect size for everyday essentials. Nice and secure too!

This next item was on my wish list for about a year before I took the plunge. While I may not have got as much wear out of the blazer as I'd hoped it's another timeless piece that I know will be a cornerstone of my capsule wardrobe in future years.

Blazer sold out at & Other Stories - alternative here (Mines a size 38)
Past season jumper from All Saints - alternative here
Past season M.i.H jeans - alternative here

These boots were a bit more of a trend item but I feel they have elevated my outfits - I know I've only really been going to the supermarket so in all likelihood all anyone has probably noticed about my outfits is my outerwear and footwear! At least the boots made me feel 'pulled together'. I think they will have earned their keep by the end of the season but they have been around for a while and I'm sure I will also be reaching for them next year. 

& Other Stories boots (True to size IMO)

I bought this little sweater at the beginning of autumn and reached for it constantly - I knew it was a wardrobe winner right away! The turtle neck makes a nice change to the roll necks I wear consistently when it's cold. This is such a great length with higher waisted straight jeans and the M&S wide leg trousers that I've favoured a lot over the past couple months. Looks fab with a pleated skirt too!

& Other Stories jumper (I bought a small)

And though these are not from & Other Stories I couldn't end without mentioning these! I have waxed lyrical about these before as they have hands down been my saviours throughout lockdown. It's pretty obvious after the year that we've had why they have been my most worn item in 2020........

Adidas track pants (I sized up to a 12 for a slouchier fit)

That concludes my little round-up of my most successful purchases for 2020. Last year was a good lesson - I think it will really shape what I buy in 2021. I do track what I purchase and keep a record of what comes in and out. I sold or donated more items than I purchased and I spent half as much as I did the previous year (2019). There is still work to be done in getting my consumption down but I've already had a January clearout and parted with 23 items so far. 2021 is definitely going to be a year of more intentionally sourced items entering my wardrobe but more about those goals next time!

I will be back to tell you about my wardrobe plans for 2021!

See you soon, Michelle x