6 Tips, Tricks and Suggestions for Choosing What to Buy
Maybe you’re wondering what in the name of all that is good and holy does fashion have to do with being intentional and meaningfully connecting to our days. Well … unless you live in a nudist colony, (no judgement from me, naked people!) clothes are a big part of your life, like it or not! You spend money you spend time earning, on clothes you spend time buying, washing, folding (maybe even ironing if you’re a real over achiever) putting away and choosing to wear. Literally hours of your life are spent on clothes each week, even if you “aren’t that into it.” So why not get into it a little bit? And if you ever wanted a perfect time to get it, it’s RIGHT NOW. Because …
It’s that time of year! We transition from the lighter fabrics and brighter prints of summer to the more smoldering and substantial designs of Winter. And in between those two extremes is one of the loveliest times of the year. Autumn. (More widely known in the states as Fall.)
Living most of my life in Florida I could never fully appreciate the warmth of the sun on my shoulders, after a long winter. And I could never fully participate in the glory that is Winter fashion. Living here, in jolly old England, I have sort of the opposite problem. Not much sun any time of the year, and a lot of cold and drizzle. That said, we’ve had a warm summer and so I’m feeling the anticipation of cooler months the way I felt the anticipation of the warmer ones, last March.
I will always prefer cold weather fashion. Firstly, it hides a multitude of sins and secondly it just appears more put together. Face it, anytime you add an outerwear piece to an outfit, you’ve upscaled the whole look. So welcome, Autumn (said as I dramatically curtsy). I’ve missed you and your gift of coverage for my middle aged mom body parts.
Now, I have never been what you would call a slave to fashion, but I have always loved to incorporate it subtly into what I feel is my own sense of style. Truth be known, I’m a safe player when it comes to wearing stuff. Not because I don’t appreciate the bolder looks, but because my personality is better served by style that is not quite as loud. That said, I’m also not anti, as some people tend to be. I don’t see the point in being defiant for the sake of sticking it to the norms of society. Call it your own mild rebellion, or whatever, but bucking the system in your 1998 jeans is just as silly as being the fashion-bot you protest. If everyone would just be genuine, the landscape would look better. And let’s face it, we all have to look at the landscape. (OK. Stepping off that soapbox and on to one more.)
My personal relationship with all things fashion? Well, I don’t participate in hero worship. Ever. I’m sorry, but those Tory Burch sandals with the big laser cut logo across the front? Why do people need those in every single color? You know what looks a lot better? These sleek and elegant nude sandals. That summertime obsession with Lilly Pulitzer? My eyeballs literally can’t take it anymore. That doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with a little taste of this or that here and there, but to be so overcommitted to one thing is sort of like being such a big Gator Football fan that you only ever wear blue and orange. And let’s face it. Blue and orange are mostly ugly together so save it for game day.
While I do not subscribe to the sports fanatic approach to buying brands OR trends, I do love the way new prints, colors, styles and fabrics update the overall feel of my closet and consequently update the way I feel in my clothes. You know how when a fire starts to fizzle out you grab that little puffer thing that you pump and it blows oxygen into the fire and brings it back to life? The change in fashion season is always like that to me. The little puffer thing I pump at my closet. So, I do like to look at the seasonal runways and get a feel for what’s coming.
And this season, I am seeing some of my all time favorite fashion notes making a comeback, and I am over here on my knees thanking the fashion gods for bringing these things back to life. For one thing, feminine is back and in a big way, and I’m fan-girling like a 90s teen at a NKTOB concert. I’m talking floral prints, and puffed sleeves and cinched waists and ruffles and sparkles and I cannot tell you how happy I am to say goodbye to this oversized boxy nonsense that’s been slouching all over the place. Buh-Bye.
After doing my usual and taking some time to eyeball the runways and browse the stores’ newly stocked A/W lines, I take some time to consider which will be the major and minor players on my fashion team, and I have a few guidelines of my own that keep me on trend without overhauling my whole closet twice a year. So with that in mind, I’m going to share some the guidelines I keep in mind when transitioning from one fashion season to the next. This has worked for me since I can remember being old enough to buy my own clothes. Am I a fashion plate people follow around for inspiration? Probably not a chance. But I am nothing if not always in the know. And fashion is always about simply that. Knowing and then choosing. And this is how I choose:
DOES IT FLATTER ME AND DOES IT FIT: I’m sorry but this has got to be number one. You know what looks terrible on me? Cowl necks. I am a busty lady and cowl necks are just the worst on busty ladies so if I see a cowl neck I run away like a I’ve just seen a freaking ghost in a graveyard. That means a couple of years ago when draping necklines were everywhere, I was sitting the bench. Also, I was not blessed with long willowy legs, which means any hemline that hits just below my knee or all the way down to my ankle is a disaster. And no trend is ever going to look good on you if it wears like a frumpy, ill-fitted mess.
ACCESSORIZE: Accessories are a great way to polish a look. They’re an easy, not overly-committed, affordable way to incorporate trends. Wanna get on the animal print bandwagon, but not sure you want to drop 200 bucks on those leopard knee high boots? Then splurge on a great pair of black boots or neutral booties and drop 20 bucks on a leopard print belt instead. Pair it with black faux leather pants and a classic white oxford shirt and you are A/W 2019 ready.
CHEAPER IS SMARTER: Unless you’re buying a classic staple (jeans, black trousers, classic oxford shirts, leather jackets, black or neutral boots) buy cheap! IF (and I say “if” because I’m still on the fence.) I decide to fold a little of this season’s neon into my look, it’s going to be in small ways and cheap ways. I’m not going to drop a thousand dollars on these neon green Gucci tennis shoes. https://www.ssense.com/en-us/men/product/gucci/green-flashtrek-sneakers/3307839 But I might drop ten on these neon snakeskin earrings. (Neon and animal print. Two trends in one for under ten dollars. Boom.) The point is, the trendier the item, the less you are going to wear it and the shorter the shelf life, so buy accordingly. Buy the cheaper obviously trendy pieces and save the real money for the workhorses in your closet. It won’t hurt so much, next season, when you’re cleaning out your closet and that blindingly yellow Chanel bag is no longer relevant.
BE AUTHENTICALLY YOU: You don’t have to buy into everything. There are going to be trends that don’t work for you. There are some trends I’m not sure work for anybody. (Like I said. Neon.) The only time time you should ever feel made to wear something you hate is if you get thrown in jail. At the end of the day, you are the one wearing it and therefore it should reflect what you like. Fashion is great because it’s truly all about the person wearing it and nothing about anybody else. So never feel pressured to walk out of the house dressed head to toe in something you hate or something that doesn’t flatter you, simply because it’s trending.
BE PRACTICAL: If you wear scrubs to work, then you do not need to go nuts during these seasonal transitions. In fact, you can afford to be even more selective about what you buy and where you put the money. Get real about what you need and will use and then purchase consciously and accordingly. Mindless consumption never wears well, it’s bad for the environment and it overwhelms your closet which, ironically, makes it harder to find something to wear!
GO ALL OUT FOR THE TRENDS YOU LIKE: Do you know what’s back this season? Chokers and tights. Do you have any idea how excited this makes me? I LOVE chokers and I LOVE tights. So I will be wearing a lot of these, because who knows how long it will last and how long it will be before it comes back around. Trends, sadly, do have a way of taking significant time off. So if you see one you’ve missed, go give it all the love inside you and all the space in your closet.
Fashion should be fun and personal. Don’t ever bend to the empires of the industry or the pressure of society to put anything on your body that doesn’t make you feel good about what you’re wearing. Fact is … that’s always obvious because the people wearing it look uneasy. So embrace the freedom to choose, even if that means choosing not to participate or choosing to participate too much. If you see me wandering about with tights on my arms and a stack chokers cutting off my air supply, you’ll know I’m all in, having my fangirl moment.
And speaking of my moment, I’m linking my Autumn/Winter 2019 Pinterest board. https://www.pinterest.co.uk/OnSenseandNonsense/autumnwinter-2019-inspiration/ It incorporates some basic pieces as well as some trendier things. Like I said, my personal style is not overly edgy. I tend toward a more classic look that I update in subtle ways. I also always tend to lean heavily toward feminine trends, and I try to marry all of that to the fact that I’m a 42 year old mom—the hardest specimen to dress, in the known universe.
Creating Pinterest boards for your wardrobe shopping list are a great way to get a visual feel for the look you’re after, and you can pin straight from the online stores, which makes shopping the items or watching for sales a breeze!
So, happy preseason shopping! Have fun! Be adventurous! Be creative! Buy neon! And most importantly, buy what you like and buy it on purpose.