Archive of ‘Tips’ category

Bargain Hunting – Planned or Just Good Timing?

I remember a few years ago I was interviewed by a journalist about my style.  She asked me what I was wearing, how much it cost, and how much I spend on my clothes each month.

Firstly, I spend money on clothes depending on how much is in the fund that month, if I actually need something for an event or a change of season, and if I have spotted a trend I love and want to integrate it into my wardrobe.

But secondly, and the focus of this post…I remember talking about my boots.  The boots I had spotted the last time I was in London – they were on sale and were the last in my size.  They had been reduced a few times from £95 and at the till I expected to buy them for £25, but they had been reduced again to £9!  Now for me, this is a massive achievement, it gives me a buzz, what a discount!  But when I saw the £9 tag against the photo in the paper, I felt like my clothes were cheap.

A few years on and I am very proud of my thrifty buying.  At the minute, some 11 year old girls I know ask me every day about what I am wearing and whether I paid full price.  It all began when I was at the charity shop buying a cardigan for our school drama production and happened to pick myself up two blouses, one at £6, one at £7.  The following day (nothing lies unworn in my wardrobe!) I was wearing one and declared proudly that I got it from a charity shop so everyday since I have to give a running commentary on whether I paid full price or not.  Now getting to the main point! Most days (and even to my surprise), most parts of my outfit have been discounted.  Bargain hunting (or maybe more accurately, bargain finding!) is my current favourite thing;)

It’s not a love for sale shopping that allows this (I made it to the Boxing Day sales for the first time ever only this year!), but just buying smartly.  Well actually, the more I thought about this, it’s often just luck!  A few things I do that helps however…

    • browse – I rarely shop for a specific item, rather, I browse and see what fits with any gaps in my wardrobe (you need to know your wardrobe for this one to work, otherwise you end up buying more of what you already have)
    • have my discount vouchers at the ready – and don’t buy without them.  If they are in another wallet, I have to wait!
    • return anything that doesn’t suit – and that includes not just keeping it because you got some money off, you have to love it!
    • be open to the variety of shops you buy from – I have got some of my favourite clothes from charity shops (I am still learning the art of charity shopping!) and second hand sales but I’ve also found a few surprises in boutiques.  It’s the luck of the draw so be open!
    • buy pieces you can wear in more than one way.  My style is forever changing, not due to the quantity of clothes I own, but how I mix and match them.  Price per wear is a wonderful calculation to do;)

If you are stuck on where to even begin, search for some shopping tips here, meanwhile, here are some of my recent best buys (all stolen from my Instagram page (silverbrogues if you are not already following)!

Online secondhand goods from Depop – Zara bomber £8

Denim bomber by Red or Dead from Ebay £10

Shirt bought when I was doing my teacher training (quite a while ago!).  Spotted in a boutique, bought a month later from TK Maxx.

H&M always have a sale rail, and the items are normally £10 or below.  I always have a look here when I’m in (but I get the best buys from H&M Forestside for any locals!).  Jumper £10

Dress in the ‘end of the sale, sale’ a few years ago.

Shoes bought from Debenhams during a discount weekend.

I don’t buy much in Zara at full price but their sales are amazing!  This dress was one of those purchases I thought I’d never wear but have found lots of ways to style it – and I can’t complain when it only cost £5!

Another old shirt (bought with my student loan – I’ll not tell you how many years since Uni!).

Skirt Ted Baker from House of Fraser.  A size too big but still fits enough for the price I paid!!

I always wait out for Clarks sale to stock up on my brogues.  They are so comfortable and normally go to at least half price (I stalk their website at sale time!!).

From a shop called Deja Vu on the Lisburn Road – full of unique treasures, you just need a good hoke!

T-shirt is Cos and the cardigan is the exact style I’d searched all winter for and never found!

From the charity shop bag in my own house – it’s a men’s cardigan from All Saints.  It’s now mine;)

And finally the shirt that began the debate.  Oxfam Vintage £6

And one final thing I will say, a bargain gives you the best feeling…but give something back.  I always pay full price for local design as I think it is so important to support our own talent.

What bargains have you managed to get your hands on recently?


On Trend Bargains

Styling Tip for today…don’t spend too much on on-trend pieces, as often they can be worn this season but do not carry well into another.  Thankfully over recent seasons we have seen many trends stick around, moving smoothly into the next season with an added touch, but ultimately meaning we can re-wear and still keep up with the trends.

Our wardrobe is generally filled with a mixture of basics, workwear, dressy and casual styles, and a selection of pieces that were bought on a whim, fitting in with a seasonal trend, but that we no longer really wear.

My worst shopping habit is that I never plan to buy.  I am that person who buys things on a whim – but as soon as I buy, I integrate the piece into my wardrobe (labels straight off and worn the next day!!).  I am proud to say I have worn everything in my wardrobe at least three times (many pieces have been worn hundreds of times *see my 15 year old shirt on Instagram;) ).  I also do not spend a lot of money on any one piece, I often seem to get lucky with my purchases.

And so to a few on trend pieces introduced to my wardrobe over the last month or so.

First up…my new trainers, bought in the Next Outlet minutes before our movie was about to begin in the Omniplex;)  I eyed up the Stan Smith version when they first came out but I didn’t have a place for them in my wardrobe then, so paying over £70 just wasn’t worth it.  I recently saw them on a pre-loved site I follow for £50 but still couldn’t do it.  They are a velcro close, something I knew I may fall out of love with.  So at £10 (from the Next Outlet), I happily made a brand compromise!

Next, my new trousers.  Wide legged trousers have always been a favourite of mine, even though I spend most of my time now in skinnies.  So whenever they are revived on the catwalks, I happily pick them up.  But these are sports luxe so have to be carefully styled.  These are also from Next and purchased on the sale for £12!

Worn dressy with my Gucci style loafers (bought in Topshop for £7 in the New Year sale).

Or casual with one of my favourite printed t-shirts made by local designer, Gordon Donaldson.

And finally for now, on a wander around Forestside I dandered into Warehouse to have a look at their final sale items (always look out for this sign!).  I noticed this cold shoulder top, the perfect transitional piece as the weather brightens up.  Marked down to £8, an extra 20% off.  A bargain!  You may notice in the photo that the straps are a little long for me (I am quite short between neck and bust) but this didn’t stop the purchase – a quick stitch will easily fix this!

Any bargains you have got lucky with recently?


Updating your S/S17 Wardrobe

The new season has begun (well close enough!), your are beginning to see your wardrobe in a brand new light, so let the try on session begin.  It’s time to sort and clear again…and then off to the shops you go!

1. Make your list
Look at what you have already, what pieces do you need to complete an outfit? What trends have you fallen for?
Think about your day-to-day lifestyle; there is no point buying clothes that are completely impractical. You have to get the balance between what are you comfortable wearing for your daily activities and what makes you feel good.

2. Set your budget
Do you buy all in one go, or do you like to buy over the course of a few weeks? Be mindful of this as you select your pieces – how much have you got to spend altogether, is each piece worth the money you are spending?
Also, if you are buying on trend pieces, will these carry you into next season, or this time next year? If not, don’t spend too much on these items!

3. Wait out for discount codes and vouchers
Bank holiday weekends are a key time for discount. For online shopping, often you fill your basket, but don’t go straight to buy. Sometimes (if you are lucky!) the next day the company will e-mail a discount code, or alternatively check voucher codes online before you buy. Bringing bags of old clothes to H&M or Oxfam will earn you £5 off your shop.  Downloading apps, signing up to emails, following stores on social media are always good sources of finding a bit of extra discount.  The money is definitely better in my pocket!

discount code

4. Don’t be fooled by a price tag
Sometimes you pay more but when you actually look at the item it is not worth the extra money.  Check the fabric, the cut, matching prints at the seam, stitching and zips or buttons – these are a give away if the item is really worth the money!

5. Take risks
Bring styles/colours into the changing room that you like, but have never tried before.  They may not work but if you don’t try, you will never know.


6.  Be aware of changes
Your shape and your skin colouring changes, even your hair may have changed since last spring.  The cut of clothes changes, sizes change, styles change.  Be open to making some changes in your wardrobe – simple or drastic!

7. Be prepared to return some items
If you are not sure, bring the item home, try it with things already in your wardrobe, and then make your final decision. It’s better to have it with you than take the risk of leaving it behind – you may never find it again!  But always check the stores returns policy before buying!


Now the real test – how many outfits can you make out of your new S/S17 wardrobe?

*images from Pinterest


Menswear – Who Cares?

Best tip of the day…size is a number, brands are a label, departments are just there for sorting purposes.

Picture the scene…you have been on the lookout for the perfect jumper.  You search the stores you are used to buying from, you try a few different stores just in case.  You search online, heading straight to Shop Style, because they have the answer for everything.  But the perfect jumper does not exist, until, from the corner of your eye, you spot The Jumper hanging in the menswear department.  Pick it up in an extra small, bingo!

Many items in my wardrobe should belong to a man, a child, someone who is a completely different size.  But they are in my wardrobe and I wear them.  So when Scotts Menswear contacted me to check out their new trainers, the fact that the label said menswear, meant nothing!

My current footwear go to is the trainer, my favourite being Adidas.  I’ve ordered a few other brands but always settle back to what I know best (although if anyone offers me these, I may cave!).  So that was where my first click landed!  And this is what I found…

And I settled on these…

These are one of the most comfortable pairs of trainers I own, they are literally like cushions on your feet!

This is one of the ways I have styled them so far…

Take a look at their Adidas collection and see what style you are ready to add to your wardrobe…or if the Christmas shopping lists are still being completed, I’m sure you can find many items for any member of your family from Scotts Menswear that tick the right box!


Always On Trend

In a recent post we talked about basics in our wardrobe.  Much of what was mentioned was plain colours, standard shapes and essentials.  But how can we remain on trend when we only the basics in our wardrobe?  Well, of course that’s where I come in with some styling tips!

1 Jewellery – add some colour or some drama with a statement necklace, keep the look subtle with a simple bangle or go dramatic with an oversized watch

2 Layering – whether this is an obvious addition like a cardigan or a subtle light coloured vest showing below a darker coloured top. A sleeveless jacket over a coat, or the layers that you don’t see to wear your S/S when the temperature still feels like A/W!

3 Tuck and Roll – an all over tight tuck into your skirt, a front tuck into trousers, a roll of the cuff or messy fold of the full sleeve

4 Footwear – flats to dress down an otherwise smart look, heels to dress up your casual jeans and tee

5 Outerwear – add the texture (fur or leather), the shape (bomber or fitted jacket), the colour (swing coat or shawl)

6 Accessories – the giant scarf, the oversized handbag, the pussybow.  I see that patterned tights are returning for A/W16, update now to be ahead of the trends!

7 One trend shop – check the current trends and select one piece to add to your basics collection, something you can easily mix and match with many of your basics

I’ll be talking about S/S16 trends in a future post, pick your favourite colours, shapes and textures and build your S/S wardrobe around this.  If  is a trend that suits you, or you really like, it will maybe become part of your basics.

*images from Pinterest*


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