Friday, 31 July 2009

I bought the purse and the shoes.

Remember last week when I went into Dorothy Perkins and very nearly bought some shoes and a purse but then didn't?
Well today I did.
I bought a lovely lovely pink snakeskin 50's style clutch wallet for £12 and some plain black ballet pumps for £20 from Dorothy Perkins.
Here are my excuses:
1) Technically these two could fall under things I need. Plain black ballet pumps are a necessity and I currently don't have any. My current red purse is old, faded and covered in stinky crusty dried yogurt that I quite simply cannot get off.
2) I am in a really rubbishy mood today, I pulled my shoulder working out this morning, I've poured oriental spiced sauce all down myself and wandered around all morning with my flies undone, so I think I bloody deserve a bit of a cheer up.
3) I've been trying to cut down on my chocolate intake so haven't eaten any today and my fella is on hols, so no cuddles either! Christ, I have to get my serotonin hit somehow.
4) My sister gave me £20 last night thanking me for letting her stay on my sofa for a week. So technically she bought me the ballet pumps.
5) I actually think I was really good just buying the purse and ballet pumps, I did have a little scout round DP and am totally in love with most of the new autumn collection, especially these amazing high heeled suede boots with a little bit of fringing for just £55... If only I didn't have such a long way to go before the dreaded overdraft was paid off. *Sigh*

Current overdraft total: £759.18 Not bad at all!! However, I did get paid today.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

A new development

Ok, so I'm back on track. 
I went into Dorothy Perkins last week, picked up two pairs of shoes and a purse. I got into the queue all ready to pay and then realised the error of my ways, put the shoes and purse back and left. 
This is a new achievement for me, I often have second thoughts while in the queue but I think, 'well, it would be embarrassing to leave now, I may as well just go ahead.' This my friends, is what is categorically known as a delusional excuse, which I have now ripped free of, hurrah.  
I also have been shopping for various friends birthdays and been able to buy them presents of the clothing variety without buying anything for myself. Double hurrah. 
I have also noticed something. I may be currently experiencing an increase in personal self-esteem. 
I think this is for two reasons, firstly, the current success with the non-shopping (despite the small cave last week) and also that I have stopped reading magazines. 
Don't get me wrong, I am still reading my housemates Look every week, but it's more a very speedy flick so I still have an idea of what's hot (so not losing the style touch) without focusing on any particular garment, otherwise the desire to purchase said garment might consume me. 
This week former editor of Marie Claire, Liz Jones, announced she has fallen out of love with fashion magazines. According to Miss Jones, magazines are all about "making us feel dissatisfied with ourselves and what we own, so that we believe we can buy our way out of our own misery... It's all too far away, too full of fairy tales, too sniping and dare I say it, anti-women." 
To be honest I figured that one out at uni but it seems I suffer from some bizarre masochism where I'm hell bent on unachievable self improvement preached at me by patronizing journalists. That and the magazines are so shiny... 
Anyway, now I have stopped buying Look, Glamour, Grazia, Elle, Company and Marie Claire I am saving a bundle (shinyness doesn't come cheap) and I feel better about myself. I don't constantly feel like, if I just bought that dress my life would be better. If I just had a flatter tum, or more bangles then everything would be ok. I would then be a woman who deserves success. 
This is all bullshit! I am worthy with the wardrobe I've got and the pretty much flat but some days slightly rounded tum. I don't need all this crap to be happy. I'm happy already!
But I must say it's very addictive bullshit and a mindset I'm struggling to escape from. Hence the need to still flick through Look to keep up with the trends. 
I know now that I don't need shopping. That in fact I'm happier without the cycle of consumption. So why do I miss it so much? God, it's like ditching a bloke who is bad for you. 

Current overdraft total: £1,363,62. Not great really.  


Monday, 13 July 2009

I caved...

On Friday night my sister rocked up in a great outfit and I simply fell in love with one of the bangles she was wearing, leapord print with gold strips, very nice indeed. Once we had all got a little tipsy I offered to buy my sister a cocktail in exchange for the bangle. She laughed and agreed. I figured it wasn't technically shopping as I would probably buy her a cocktail anyway. Getting all my friends drunk in exchange for their clothes seems like a good plan! Although I may get hordes of women banging on my door the next day insisting they have their clothes back and claiming I had taken advantage of them. Hmmmm.
Anyway, on Saturday I decided I really needed a bangle holder to hold my new bangle. I'm fed up of bangles being littered all over my desk. So I went to Oliver Bonas as they often do nice jewellery holders.
Bad things happened. Not as bad as they could of been, but still bad... I had a minor failing on the shopping ban.
I'm not sure quite what came over me, I saw this unbelievably cute poplin dress with rose floral flared skirt and black vest top. Only £30! I tried it on and knew resistance was futile. £30 is a really cheap price for a nice boutique dress. Then I kind of went a little crazy and started picking up belts and bags and jewellery. I was doing the shopping equivalent of stuffing my face with a whole chocolate cake.
But then I momentarily came to my senses and put all the accessories down. I even put the dress down, for half a second, and then realised I was totally incapable of leaving the shop without it. And I didn't even find a bloody bangle holder.
But it's only a minor failing. Just £30. And it doesn't mean I'm going to give up on, er, giving up.
I will just get back on the wagon.
Even if the desire to go out and buy stuff is immense, about three times worse than it was a week ago. I've even written a list of things I want to buy, and promptly hidden it.
But I can do this. I will simply research clothes swapping events to get my buzz. My friends visited the Look magazine event and said it was a crazy mess and involved a lot of standing in the rain but another friend visited the Guardian event and got some very nice stuff indeed.
I shall keep you posted.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

How to look after your clothes, according to The Thrift Book

If, due to the current economic climate, we have to shop less (or in my case, not at all) then looking after, mending and generally not ruining the clothes you currently own is surely of utmost priority. 
So below are my top ten tips to looking after your clothes, generally borrowed from The Thrift Book:

1) Stuff shoes and boots with crumbled newspaper to help them keep their shape between wears.
2) Buy a very good unscented deodorant, which doesn't leave marks. And don't get a too aggressive brand, as these eat away at the fabric.
3) Learn how to iron properly! You have no idea how this gives old clothes a new lease of life. I won't go as far as to advise starching spray but apparently that's good too. 
4) Use a clothes brush, you know, like your gran did, to combat fluff and shave off bobbles.
5) Sew buttons back on to clothes as soon as they start to dangle. It's so easy, just three stitches and you're done. 
6) Learn how to darn tears, patch holes and re-hem. I have chucked out many a pair of decent trousers just because the hem came loose. If you can't do this yourself many dry cleaners have services to do this on the cheap. 
7)  Most 'Dry Clean' garments can be washed by hand. Clothing manufacturers only say this to cover themselves should you have a shrinkage issue. If your 'Dry Clean Only' garment has a horrible stain then do take it to your dry cleaner. However if it just smells a bit, you can save some pennies by washing it by hand. 
8) When hand washing, swirl your garments and leave them to soak, do not rub them, twist them, scrub them, wring them. This will damage the material. I admit I am very guilty of this when I have a huge amount of hand washing to do and not very much time. But if you want your clothes to look nicer for longer you're gonna have to take a little time over it.  Soak and swirl my friends, soak and swirl.  
9) If you do have dirty spots rub them very gently, with one finger. If the stain doesn't start to come off immediately, it needs to be soaked for longer. 
10) Dry everything flat, pressed between towels. Do not wring the water out, press, press, press the water out. 

Those are my ten most important tips, but for more handwashing info, do grab India's book. This woman knows how to handwash. 

Monday, 6 July 2009

The Thrift Book

When I'm really serious about something, as I am paying off my overdraft and saving money, I generally always buy a book about it.
Buying a book about it makes me feel much more ready to deal with the challenge. I have a set of instructions, rules and tips! I'm halfway there! That and I also get the buzz of, er, buying something.
Anyway, while moseying about in Borders for a book I very much need for work purposes I spied The Thrift Book by India Knight. Apparently full of great ideas to live beautifully but cheaply. Excellent.
Sadly it seems if you want to live beautifully and cheaply there is rather a lack of buying anything. In fact, it's not just The Thrift Book but also the how to live beautifully, organically, healthily, environmentally friendly and not harm or offend anyone in anyway book. In the clothes section this India Knight woman bangs on about Primark using child labour so it must be avoided at all costs, advises shopping twice a year rather than every Saturday and tells us to buy expensive classics that will last a lifetime.
It's the shopping only twice a year I am most upset about.
And aren't 'expensive classics' generally the territory of older/fatter women? Or am I being a complete youth/skinny snob?
Another concern is that I'm too fickle to wear the same dress for ten years. BORING.
She has given some interesting advice on mending and hand washing though. I shall post some of these tomorrow as I find them extremely useful. Looking after and mending my clothes is something I already do, so advice on how to do it better is always appreciated.
She did witter on for quite a while about making your own clothes. The idea of this is in theory, a romantic notion. The prospect of my seeing an expensive dress on Kylie in a magazine and then making my own version for far fewer pennies is, well, rather delightful and very empowering. Can you get more self-sufficient than making your own clothes? It's a tremendous skill, far better to say you can make a dress from scratch than boast about your shopping prowess, in which all you are really doing is handing money over a counter and the money won't even go to the poor child in Africa who made your new dress, but the fat white men who own the shop. (Yes, she has got me feeling really guilty)
Sadly I know the reality of my making clothes is a badly constructed black shift dress, which will have one arm shorter than the other, fray at the seams after one wear and I will probably break the sewing machine in the process. I'm too slapdash for such artistry.
However, part of the reason I took up this challenge was to change my mindset toward money. To stop the obsession with compulsion and learn to save up for something I really want and appreciate it, rather than smack it on the card until I reach my overdraft limit. I have got into this mess before, got myself out of it with loads of hard work, and then got myself into the same state all over again. It's like a diet, the best way to keep the weight off permanently is to change the way you think about food rather than deny for months on end and splurge again.
So maybe 'expensive classics' with a few up to date accessories (i.e. hot shoes) is the way to go... does this mean I can shop designer without guilt?! Suddenly that option seems far more appealing!
And with the sewing machine? Ok, I shall try and then post it up here so you can all laugh at the hideous results.

Current Overdraft total (minus the savings): £1,155.04

Friday, 3 July 2009

Fashion insults and exploits women...

" is all about extravagance, and consumption, and a sort of camp depiction of femininity that isn't about empowerment, but about a cartoon version of how women should be, how we should look."

Thank you Liz Jones, for squishing my  shopping cravings with one sentence. 

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Hot hot heat

Has anyone else noticed how heat makes people pull out their best frocks? The sun is out, it's an event, an occasion! Those beautiful yet totally impractical for a cold country items we buy in a frenzy of lust and longing are suddenly useful, and ba boom, the women of London are dressed like it's the bahamas.
Cute little halterneck fifties dresses, nautical sailor inspired playsuits and indian summer floral prints have all become de rigueur on the tube.
Oh and about a hundred different types of sandal are newly coming into play. Gold ones, studded ones, metal ones, glittery ones, fringed ones, multi-strap ones. The list goes on.
Firstly, this made me very glad I did eventually splash out in Vienna on the metal sandals pictured for just forty euros, in the sale at Zara down from fifty. Total bargain. And I have discovered they go very well with many items in my wardrobe, especially my summery blue wrap dress. And I gave my other gladiator sandals to Beth, so I really feel no guilt for my purchase, technically it was a forty euro present for Beth.
Secondly, I want to buy more sandals. I also want to buy some more high waisted shorts, the shorts I currently have are just not quite high waisted enough and I have totally fallen in love with a pair worn by newbie pop star Pixie Lott in Look magazine.
But thus far, I am being very strong. I have not purchased any beautiful new summer gear. I did have a wander into Dorothy Perkins and River Island but I assure you it was totally by accident. You see, this thief ran away with my mind and my purse and obviously I had to follow the clothes obsessed little slag into both shops to get them back. I had to wrestle her down in front of the most beautiful pair of pink and zebra print sling back heels in River Island. But I'm very pleased to tell you I won and left the shop sans heels with both mind and purse intact.
I have also been playing around with different outfit options, today putting together my navy striped nautical vest with an old fifties style skirt from Primark. This Gok Wan capsule wardrobe thing is working better than previously expected.
When I first got back from holiday I admit I had a terrible shock. Perhaps naively, I thought that as I had been away for two weeks not spending any money (well I was spending money, but that had already come out of my account when I changed it for foreign currency) I would suddenly have shitloads of cash in my account. I was wrong, it was still pretty much the same as ever.
But I have also been doing some calculations. I have worked out that if I put a certain amount into a savings account every month and don't touch it for six months, I will have saved up enough to pay off my overdraft by Christmas! That means I can shop in the January sales! Yaaaaaaaaaaaay!
Now this is something to look forward to.

Current overdraft total (minus amount in savings account): £1,295.40