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Friday, 26 October 2012

Autumn/Winter 2012 Wardrobe: Purchases

To those...three(? I think?) of you who liked outfit pics, apologies for the recent lack. I no longer have the just-right expanse of evenly lit cream wall I did in Hong Kong.... Not that this will stop me from posting them >:D They will just be scrappier, so I thought it'd be an idea to show you the clothes in neutral facing-to-camera conditions. Also as a personal record thingy for me. Also, it's laundry day and I'm waiting for the tub to fill, so clicketysnap.

PURCHASES
While I no longer stick strictly to a one-a-month clothes diet, doing so for years has so refined my closet (okay, it mainly reinforced my pickiness) that I now quite naturally apply a one-in-one-out system of replacement buying. Therefore, these do not in any way constitute a 'capsule' wardrobe.

Clarks black ankle boots are a straightforward swap for my clapped-out black Victoriana lace-up booties from 2008, while the Topshop Boutique leather jacket updates a much girlier collarless Armani version from twelve years ago. The tan riding boots are something I've been searching for for a few years -- I never expected it to be so difficult to find just the right pair of flat, mid-tone yellow-brown ones that weren't shapeless pull-ons, but weren't prissily fitted either -- eventually it was Duo Boots (good Italian leather, custom calf sizes and a local fitting room!) who came to my rescue.



Most of my bought-new clothing comes from high street shop COS, which is one of the few...actually pretty much the only one that offers natural fibres, clever design, quality construction and legit high-street prices [i.e. not £100+ Whistles blouses, lovely though they are]. This season, I chose a filmy, drapey, funnel-neck ivory silk shell, and a silk/cotton print shirt offsetting romantically murky tones with a boxy mannish shape and (signature COS this) small collar -- ridiculously versatile wardrobe staples both.
The navy spotted collared blouse comes from UK brand Oasis, which has been undergoing a wee renaissance in the last few seasons -- this is a great example (triple collar, whimsical print, gold buttons up the back) of their retro girly chic. It is 100% polyester, but a reasonably 'good' poly, which I'd take any day over a cheap silk or flimsy viscose. [It helps that Oasis have frequent -- it sometimes seems weekly -- offers of 20%-30% on a rotating selection of items, as well as the usual seasonal sales and discounts on asos et al. I don't think any of their stuff is worth full price, but slashed down to the lower end of the high street, they are very reasonable.]
Some designer bargains: I rescued this black, cowl-necked Nicole Farhi fine knit pullover from a Selfridges sold-as-seen bin for £19.99. Darned the tiny hole at the edge of the left cuff with some cobweb cashmere, and am now wearing it to death, sometimes back to front (there's a lovely crossover detail at the back). The wool midi skirt is by Celine(!) and a rare £25 charity shop steal [Londoners will know just how rare], in the most luxuriant tightly woven wool, lined in silk. It weighs more than anything else in my wardrobe, including coats, and is faultlessly sturdy -- I would eyeball this as early '90s(? do we think?) and the outside looks brand new.
The leather skirt is a proper indulgence, from T by Alexander Wang (well... Liberty's 20% off £a lot is still £a lot) but in exquisitely soft leather, and again exactly what I had been looking for to replace a burgundy pencil skirt that had finally given up the ghost after ten autumns.



The hardest part of a clothing diet for me has always been dresses. I treat shoes as primarily functional, always neglect jewellery, skimp on the skimpy lingerie thing, and my heart rate is entirely unaffected by bags... but my insatiable appetite for dresses pretty much cancels out any money I might have saved on the other fripperies combined.
I have been suspiciously restrained this year, which may yet end in a boxing day sale binge.... The long-sleeved silk print dress from Comptoir des Cotonniers was a sensible planned purchase to replace an embroidered tunic [technically kameez] from Pakistan which had developed an endearing habit of raining beads in its dotage.
The COS (again) ombre shift dress (a sheer layer over a more solid linen underdress, with a giant stonking white zip all the way up the back :D) recently went on sale and dragged me off the wagon. Some of you might remember my pinning this after trying it on in May, congratulating myself for not buying another dress XD


These pieces might seem entirely 'autumnal', because for colder winter days I just add more and thicker layers (silk slips, thermal polonecks and tanks from Uniqlo, merino tights) and having bought a coat last winter, won't need to shop for one again for a good few years. The rest, of course, is knitwear -- which I mostly make myself, of which more here.

25 comments:

  1. squee@ that polka dot peter pan collared top!

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    1. <3 I like anything that buttons up the back :D

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  2. I love your fall picks! I've also been rocking some black Clarks boots this fall :) So comfortable. <3 (kittyje11 from MUA)

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    1. That's what sold me on them! I tried lots of posher ones which were a bit more aesthetically polished (like Acne Pistols, Sam Edelman, Rachel Comey etc.) but they were strictly for standing and posing in IMHO :) SO STIFF OMG.

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  3. Oh my gosh, I love that Celine skirt -- what a find! I feel the same re natural fibres... it drives me bananas that places like Whistles and Reiss are constantly flogging cheapy fabrics for ridiculous prices. I buy most of my clothes from Toast, so not exactly cheap but at least good quality and they last ages.

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    1. Reiss are definitely in my bad books -- they were such a quality gem 15 years ago and now it's all so....Karen Millen.

      I love Toast's aesthetic (and catalogue) but sadly their clothes don't hang right on me :( Envious.

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  4. I LOVE the mini skirt and the jacket! And those boots are going to look so chic on you.

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    1. <3 shame I don't have the DM's to go with ;D

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  5. I especially love the jacket - I have been looking for a good, sort of punk, leather jacket lately.

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    1. it's excellent quality -- watch you don't pick out the regular Topshop line version, it's the same price but far inferior.

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  6. I admire your self discipline in purchasing quality items and one in one out practice. Being a sucker for a good sale results in too many redundant items that make it difficult for me to find and pull out what to wear. I know it doesn't work but still haven't a way to restrain my inclination to collect too many clothes. How did you make it work?

    Thanks for sharing your wardrobe purchases. Your well edited selections are classic, practical and also creative/whimsical and I hope you enjoy wearing them this season!

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    1. Thanks for this thoughtful comment :)

      As you've pinpointed your weakness (sales) it might be necessary to just ban yourself from them -- especially if reducing the number of clothes you own (not saving money per se) is the main reason, I bet you will spend less buying fewer items at full price. e.g. I just can't be trusted at a sample sale, even now, so restrain myself to 3 fixed ones a year (where I know I buy staples).

      If you can handle more temptation than I, maybe having a ruthless wardrobe clearout / donation session and reorganisation with bigger hangers and a clearer layout would be the right carrot/stick combo.

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    2. Hmm, I never thought about limiting the number of sales but you are right that if I did, i certainly would buy less. I love collecting clothes and makeup but there is point where too much clutter gets in the way of life. I also think I need to figure out other ways to reward/entertain myself.

      I just read an article about a practice one woman had of forcing herself to wear EVERY single item in her closet. She soon discovered which ones were not keepers (too tight, etc.) and which ones were (coworkers told her she looked good, etc.). Her method involved putting a safety pin in each piece, removing it before wearing, and making a decision after wearing. Sounds like a systematic way to pare down without too much angst!

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  7. COS! Why didn't I know about COS?! So many lovely slouchy dresses. Thank you.

    I love this type of post from you. Always stylish and interesting.

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    1. :O I don't even know, they are so you! They have *excellent* sales too, although the Covent Garden shop is usually better stocked than the one by Liberty.

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  8. One piece a month is a good idea...I have always struggled with buying a bunch of nice but substandard quality clothes. I should just stick with one expensive, good quality buy per month. I think this would translate well into beauty products as well. I need to stop shopping in plurals!!

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    1. This was my motivation for trying to only buy 12 makeup products this year... it hasn't worked although my stash has shrunk. I'm not sure why yet.

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  9. so many nice things! the skirt is a great find, proper classic too.

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    1. It has such a weight to it (literally) that I stand up straighter and all. My nan would be so proud ;)

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  10. I am very, very envious of your ability to shop at COS. I pin all sorts of things from their website, but that's all they'll allow me to do.

    I've also been doing the "one in, one out" thing for a while now, and boy is it a useful exercise in deciding what I love enough to keep (and sacrifice the thrill of the new).

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    1. But I really envy the no. of passionate indie designers and boutique-owners stateside.

      For some reason new-thing-shininess doesn't really seem to apply to clothes for me. Perhaps because there isn't the constant new-formula pull of makeup? I feel like fashion has been quite static for a while, and the quality of fabric/construction is steadily declining rather than (albeit with many hiccups) improving as with beauty.

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  11. oooh! I LOVE all the leather pieces! *cough* I may have a leather obsession this season though :P
    I'm so intrigued by COS...probably not in my budget but I love your description of acceptable prices and natural fibers.
    If only I know how to knit...and could one day reach your level of pro-ness, I would love to make my own sweaters! This winter is finally cold again after an exceptionally warm winter last year here in NY state, and I can finally be on the lookout for sweaters and sweater dresses! Also love Oxblood as a color of the season, it's just so me. I'm always that girl who owns shades of grey, black, navy, maroon/burgundy. :P

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  12. I am in love with that collar top and those yellow boots! Absolutely gorgeous pieces that you have here, Kate!!

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