Sunday, 16 April 2017

The Buyer's Archive - First Quarter

Back in early 2015, I started a series of posts that I called The Buyer's Archive to document what I was spending on wearable items every month.  I also looked back to the previous year to see how my purchases compared to then, and detailed what had survived and was still being worn, and which pieces had found their way to the charity shop.  I'm not usually much of a list maker but this is an area of life that I find endlessly fascinating - what drives people's shopping habits?  why do they wear what they do?  how do they decide what 'enough' looks like in terms of their wardrobe? - and although I can only document my own purchases, I love that others have joined in with the series in my absence (search for #buyersarchive on social media!)

Since we've suddenly found ourselves in April (I KNOW - this year has seriously ran away with me) I've packaged up my post to include all my purchases from the year so far.  Settle in, because February broke my bank just a bit...  But first, here's what I'm still wearing from last January - March.

The blue and white stripe t-shirt gets pulled out for work around once a week and the white canvas shoes were my absolute favourite thing last summer.  They got worn so much that they're about to have a whirl in the washing machine to see if I can get them back to their original clean selves - cross your fingers for me!

The purple dress didn't get worn to my brother's wedding (it's a long story involving a mysterious stain and a helpful but useless dry cleaner) but I did wear it to two other weddings, one in which the bridesmaids were wearing a near identical style, so that was somewhat embarrassing.

The only items I don't have any more are the navy t-shirt and the vintage floral skirt - both were worn so rarely that it made more sense to set them free on eBay/the charity shop bag.  Me and skirts are having some unintentional time apart right now.

Now on to what I've been shopping for this year...

M&S jersey jumper dress - £7
There's an M&S outlet shop just outside Newcastle.  This is very dangerous knowledge I hold in my hands, since all my underthings, most of my (non Converse) shoes and various other bits of my wardrobe come straight from their aisles.  Luckily, I've mostly convinced myself that it doesn't exist but when my mum came to visit around the new year, I had to take her for a dig around the sales.  This dress was the only purchase made and for good reason - it might be the comfiest thing I own besides pjs.

M&S sports bra - £14
Usual story - bought gym clothes, recurring injury immediately reared its ugly head again, said clothes don't get worn for months.  Sigh.

Ah, February.  The month where all my most worn/favourite items of clothing broke.  Hi-tops?  Acquired one hole too many.  Navy Converse?  Insole wore away too much to fix (like, how?!)  Best black jeans in the whole wide world?  Hole in the most awkward spot ever (Back of the knee.  Again, how?  Also, super awkward place to patch, but I may still try.)  That top I layer with everything?  Hole, plus super faded.  The only two light coloured tees I own?  Mysterious stains.  Most worn pj bottoms?  Ripped for the third and final time.  Luckily, the t-shirts met with some in-wash dye and look great now and the pj fabric can be recycled into something else, but really, how could that many items of clothing fall apart at the same time?  Not all of them needed to be replaced but with work requiring the most casual of attire, all my t-shirts and jeans are in constant rotation.  It was a costly month...

Long Tall Sally long sleeve tops - green £7.50 / grey stripe £9 / white stripe £6
To add to the awkwardness of the wardrobe massacre, being long of limb means I can't just pop to any high street shop and buy replacements that actually fit.  Luckily, I caught the end of LTS's winter sale and bagged myself some pretty tops to layer up with my dresses and short sleeved tees.

Blue stripe scarf via charity shop - £1
I found this on a rail with a bunch of fabric and since there's no label, I'm not even sure it is a scarf, but it's the right shape and style to replace my favourite summer scarf that died last year.  I swear I don't subject my clothes to undue torture, they just keep falling apart on me!

Long Tall Sally legging jeans - £30
These jeans are utter perfection.  High of waist so I'm not constantly pulling them up (seriously, these are the only pair I own that don't slip down as soon as I move, which is not so handy for all the crawling about the floor I do at work.  Disclaimer - I'm not a mad creep, I just have a pretty physical job!) and made in fabric with just the right amount of stretch, I want five more pairs.  I did actually order another pair in black but had to send them back as the fabric was different and did not allow much space for breathing.  Weird.

Vintage denim/check dress via Beyond Retro - £10
I do like a rake around all the vintage stalls whenever I end up in London and this time I found a giant store full of goodies when we were at Brick Lane market.  I was very well behaved and only made one purchase, a 90s-tastic pinafore dress.  Or is it more smock like?  I can't decide, but I like it so much I'm thinking about using it as a template for sewing up another one.

Zegerman sheep t-shirt - £10
Another London market purchase.  As if I was going to leave behind a t-shirt with sheep printed on it.

Converse black hi-tops via Spartoo - £35
Replacing my wrecked Converse with a new pair was a no brainer.  I spend half my week in these shoes year round and they last for years so I need them in my wardrobe!

Converse burgundy trainers via Spartoo - £36
Since these guys were on sale and I'd fancied a more trainer-like pair of shoes for a while, I took a risk and ordered them.  I'm not entirely convinced I love them yet - they're taking forever to break in (mostly because I need at least two weeks to heal my skinned heels each time!) and the style is pretty different from what I'm used to.  Right now I'm torn between wearing them more to mould them to my feet and just suffering the pain, or sticking them on eBay and making a bit of money back.  Thoughts?

Converse black lo-tops via charity shop - £5.99
I know.  Second hand shoes?  Ick.  But how often does one find a pair of almost new Converse, in the right size, in the style that gets worn to death over here?  Not that often.  Possibly my best find of the year.

Regatta rain jacket via charity shop - £2
I was always casually searching for a waterproof summer jacket that I could roll up and stuff in a bag, preferably from the menswear section due to the aforementioned Tall Person Issues.  A charity shop sale rail delivered just what I was looking for, so now I'm ready for the summer showers to come at me (I'm really not.  Please don't rain all summer, Great Britain.)

Handknit chunky sweater via charity shop - £6
In the same shop as the rain jacket was spotted, I found this awesome sweater.  The rational part of my brain kicked in though, and I convinced myself I didn't need yet another knitted thing in my wardrobe.  It took about two hours for me to realise my mistake, by which time the shop was closed, so I sent Tam's auntie on a mission to pick it up for me when it re-opened after the weekend.  Annoyingly, fabby knits always seem to come into my life off season, but it's all ready to be pulled out again this winter.

M&S floral jersey dress via charity shop - £1
I have a bit of a gift where sale rails are concerned.  If there's a hidden gem hanging there, I will find it (and probably buy it).  This dress was seriously marked down because the wrap fastening is a bit torn, but a few minutes with my sewing machine and it'll be wearable again.

Is anyone still here?  This last section is short, I swear.

M&S longer length navy swimsuit - £25
Another semi-essential purchase.  My existing swimsuit really doesn't fit well after being worn to the gym for the past few years and M&S have finally realised that tall ladies exist, so I went off to try on some styles.  This was the only one they had in store in the longer length and my size (or rather, the size up - that secret slimming fabric is tiiiight!) but it's a very Elise style so I'm happy.  Meaning, it's navy and I needed a swimsuit so I bought it.

M&S black and white embroidered bras - £12
Same visit, spotted the sale section, needed a black bra, was excited to find a set in a bigger cup size with pretty straps, purchased them, skipped off into the sunset.

Phew.  No more shopping for me for a while, right?  My t-shirt drawer is stuffed and my summer wardrobe is back in rotation, meaning I'm set for bottoms and dresses for the foreseeable future.  Well done if you stuck with me until the end and don't forget to share your purchases too!

(I noticed when I was linking to products available online that some of the prices are different than what I paid.  The difference in timing seems to have worked in my favour for the most part because I definitely ain't paying nearly £60 for basic hi-tops!)


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