Wednesday, 30 June 2010

More Sales!

I had to include another sales blog given it’s the season of all things reduced!

Liberty did a range with the US retailer Target earlier this year. Lots of lovely Liberty print items for home and self all at prices that were much friendlier to the financially challenged than the usual Liberty stock (one of the most gorgeous shops in London and I love it, but I usually only buy cards and chocolates!). And, for once, the Target collaboration was actually available in the UK.

Anyway, the affordable has become even more so…it’s in the sale.

Lots of it has sold out already but there are still some lovely things left:

Liberty shopper
£15 down to £10.50

Storage Box
£15 down to £10.50

Mini Journal Set
£12 down to £8.40

And on the subject of Target, who has had umpteen collaborations with designers…including Luella, Zac Posen, Proenza Schouler…the next designer collaboration is with…don’t pass out…Mulberry!

Only available in USA…so go forth and seek out if you happen to be in that part of the world from October this year!

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Sales Queen

I am the queen of sales shopping. After years of throwing money around on the high street, buying mountains of clothes in sales that I never wore, I've honed my skills so that I’m now a trained, focused, ruthless sales shopper!

I looked at my wardrobe last night and could hardly spot anything that had been bought at full price. Even the outfit I wore on my wedding day was bought in a sale!

So at this time of year, when all the shops have that enticing four letter word in the window, let me bestow my top sales tactics.

1. Go in early. Go in late. But never go in the middle.

Know the stock of the shops you love beforehand so that when the sales start, you are in there like a whippet hunting out the items you loved at full price and get them with their first discounts. They may not be the best discounts...sometimes only 30%...but if you loved something full price and really want/need it, that’s a pretty good reduction.

Last sales season I bought a pair of jeans that I had been lusting after from Reiss for months...jet black with zips up both sides. As soon as the sales started, I walked straight into Reiss, ignored the rest of the stock for fear of temptation, went straight to the jeans and voila...I walked out with a lovely pair of jeans reduced from (I think) £80 down to £45.

Otherwise, go in at the tail end of the sales season and do the shopping equivalent of bar sweeping. Amongst the dregs there can be a little treasure! My best finds over recent years have been three Zara jackets at £9.99 each and a cropped cotton jacket from House of Fraser for £10 (I will attempt to get organised and start posting photos of some of these in the future…).

2. Only buy what you love and/or need…even in the sales!

Don’t ever buy anything you would never have bought full price...or at least considered buying at full price. Just because it’s dirt cheap, doesn’t mean to say it’s a bargain if you never wear it and it ends up down the charity shop in a few years with the tag still on!

3. Don’t just focus on how near to the zero mark sales prices are.

I find sales are one of the few times when I can buy brands that I would not normally be able to afford (or would have to agonise over buying!). Why spend hours foraging around Topshop for a dress reduced from £35 to £25 that you think is ‘alright’ when you could buy a dress you love from Whistles reduced from £175 to £95 (see right!).

r years of seeking a cheap thrill from sales shopping, I’ve come much more to the view of maybe buying one or two items that I would never normally afford to buy.

And that’s it; three simple steps to pain free, effective sales shopping!

Now, if I was shopping in the sales this year, this is what I would be buying:

All Saints – Laima Corset Dress Was £140, Now £70

LK Bennett Sabira Court shoe Was £150, Now £75

Reiss Bingham animal print shoulder bag Was £129, Now £65

Monday, 28 June 2010

Uniqlo – Designer Basics

I love Uniqlo. It is the place to shop for basics. I buy all the clothes I wear to the gym from there – plain black tracksuit bottoms, black ribbed vests, around £12 for both (I’m not a fan of massively logo’d sportswear!). It helps service my addiction to stripy tops by having an endless supply. And my favourites are the v-neck t-shirts in really fine cotton, which I buy a size too big so that they are a little drapey and more dressed up than a skin-tight t-shirt.

Something else I love at Uniqlo is their ‘Designer Innovation Project’ which they have each year. In previous years I have bought an Alexander Wang-collaboration dress, last year Steven Alan shirts (which usually sell for around $150 and the Uniqlo ones were around the £20 mark).

In stock at the moment are two designer collaborations - drapey tops and dresses from Velvet by Graham & Spencer (mainline and dresses from Costello Tagliapietra (

Uniqlo don’t seem to be so great at promoting these collaborations and it can be difficult to find the stock on the website (though it is clearer in store). The ‘Velvet’ line does have its own dedicated section on the site.

I couldn’t seem to find the Costello Tagliapietra dresses in their own category…you have to go into dresses to find them. They are labelled as ‘Costello’ dresses or ‘DI’ (for designer innovation).

Some of my favourites:

And, just to make it even more tempting, they’re in the sale! The dresses are down from £29.99 to £14.99. Utter bargain!

p.s. I bought my sister a pink, draped vest top from the Velvet range, so will wait for her to report back once she’s road-tested it!

Saturday, 26 June 2010

The Death of the Legging?!

Words that should strike fear into the hearts of the +30 woman.

Apparently the powers that be have decided that the era of the legging is over and it’s time for … wait for it … the cycling short. I’m taking five minutes just to recover from the acute emotional trauma of this idea and image of myself sporting a pair!

Leggings are no longer cutting edge enough and we should cast them aside into the dustbin of history. Or should we?! For once, please god for once, can we just put fashion dictats to one side and actually embrace something that works for the modern woman. Leggings are popular for a very good reason … they work with our wardrobes and our lifestyles and, in the UK specifically, with our weather! I’m not talking about leggings as a standalone item (I tend to leave that look to the younger, lither, braver woman!) but as an essential bridge between winter and full-on summer wardrobes.

Tights just seem so wrong from spring/summer onwards. Bare legs can be brave given British weather fluctuates so much. Leggings bridge this gap. Having bare feet feels like there’s a concession to summer but also that it may not be the glorious weather needed to endure a full day with bare flesh on show. And whilst I'm not 100% sure I would wear them to one of my more serious working days, they are acceptable on my average day in the office and actually open up options for so many of my dresses which would either be too short or probably a little on the chilly side.

I know that new trends can often seem ridiculous and in a year I could be writing about how amazing my cycling shorts are and how they’ve really slotted well into my wardrobe! Where the fashion brave lead, us fashion minions follow. Alexander McQueen’s bumpsters became the ubiquitous hipsters, which we all lived in for far too long. But in this case, I’m hoping it’s not the case!

In the recent Guardian article on the demise of the legging they showed a photograph of Lily Allen wearing a dress with leggings looking gorgeous and, to me, still stylish and cool. They then showed Alexa Chung wearing sort of tights with cycling shorts detail. She still looked gorgeous (it would be impossible for her not to!) but in no way did that outfit shout out to me as something that is translatable to my wardrobe and my life.

At the moment I don’t feel anything is being offered up to older women as a realistic alternative. Until that happens, I’m going to be clinging onto my leggings for dear life … or at least for the duration of British summer 2010!

Friday, 25 June 2010

Polka Dot Makeup

Without realising it had happened, I seem to have created a make-up mountain at home of every possible brand of make-up, in every colour imaginable and every possible item you could ever need! It only dawned on me how much I’d got when I went into Mac to buy something just to ‘freshen up’ my look and realised there wasn’t a shade of eye shadow or lipstick that I didn’t already own in some form!

I did treat myself to a large stash of ‘By Terry’ makeup when I recently got married, which is gorgeous and smells of roses and just feels really luxurious…but was also rather expensive!

So now in my new age of austerity, make-up too has joined the ranks of things ‘I MUST NOT buy’.

Which i
s a shame because Topshop recently released its own range of makeup which has the cutest, most adorable packaging I think I’ve ever seen. Polka dots and stripes…what’s not to love! I have no idea about the quality, although it was all developed by quite a renowned make-up artist so should be pretty good. But, it does look lovely and is a good price…and has great names like the lipstick called ‘Brighton Rock’!

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Acorns & Toadstools

The loveliest jewellery collection on the high street right now…by a mile… NW3 from Hobbs.

Toadstools and acorns and raspberries and
doves…aaahhhh…I want it all!

There is a sale on at the moment and some of the items are reduced…but my
willpower is managing to prevail!

The clothes from the NW3 range are also lovely (with the odd frumpy disaster throw
n in too!). It looks awful on the website…really not presented that well and when I look at them online I would never, ever buy any of it. But in the flesh, it’s actually really well made, classic with quirky details and can be styled well to work with clothes you already have.

I think the accessories are still better than the clothes (particularly the shoes) but for the occasional item of good quality work wear, I would definitely be tempted to buy something from NW3.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Lust Item of the Week

I am broke…through my own fault entirely. Years of living beyond my means have meant a lovingly filled wardrobe and shabbily empty bank account. My flat was bought at the top of the housing market and is being renovated in the depths of the crash. And I got married. And went on a honeymoon. And now I’m here…happily married and unhappily broke!

I have promised myself that as the new Mrs W I am going to get on top of my money and become one of these mythical people who save, have no credit card debt, money in their current accounts at the end of each month…and are able to buy ‘investment pieces’ each season! It’s going to take some years to get there…and some years of making the best attempt
possible to buy very, very little.

The problem with shopping is that once one craving is sated, another is created. So to satisfy my constant urge to buy something new and lovely, I am going to post it here, lust after it for a week and move on. And I will
know that if I can’t and it is love…then hopefully a sale will be just around the corner and I can move in for the kill.

Item number 1 – this little tie-dye (ombre?!) beauty from Reiss.
£85 so not horribly expensive…but it’s either get my hair coloured and cover up the white (not even grey!) hairs or buy this. So the white hairs prevail! It is gorgeous. I think in this country we still have a problem with tie-dye and its association with hippies but you don’t really have that in the USA and you will see women…working women…who can wear tie-dye clothing and look chic in it. It’s not all about spray-on tie-dye jeans or cropped tops! This would look amazing in the summer with a blazer, long pendant and flat sandals/peep toe heels…and you could wear it to work.

I work within two minutes walk from TWO Reiss stores so resistance on this one might be futile…especially because I keep seeing the shop assistants wearing this and looking great!

p.s. the glorious Reiss sale has just started! (alas not on this little beauty!)
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