Tuesday, 8 October 2013

How to spend it....

A throwaway comment in Does My Bum Look 40 in this? has started me thinking again about how we shop now. Kat was just debating whether it was worth blowing the budget on the luxe version of the M&S jacket she had found, or stick with the cheap one.
The idea of having a 'budget' is quite alien to me. My budget has pretty much always been defined by what's in my bank account and what my immediate earning potential is.
Even when I was pretty flush with cash, I always had an 'off' button, but having said that, if I found an unrepeatable deal, I could easily spend £1000+ on one trip to Bicester Village.  The consequence of this is that I have a fairly large wardrobe of high-end designer clothes, shoes and handbags, and I will never 'need' to buy anything again....
...and yet I still do...
What is it that makes us shop when it is no longer about need?
In one click we can buy anything that we desire, so what makes us press that button on some occasions and not on others?
I'm rubbish at sending things back, way too disorganised so everything I buy I know I am keeping.
If you shop online, how often do you buy things knowing that much of what you have bought is going to be returned?
Do you have a monthly/annual budget or do you just buy what you want?
Most of us work,  have worked, work sporadically, but do know what it is like to earn and spend our own money, do you find it more difficult to spend when it is not your own money or does it not make a difference?
Even though your income may have been unaffected by the credit crunch/recession, do you spend/shop less than before?

I am finding it quite liberating to no longer shop, I keep thinking that I should get back into a corporate job, but actually, by not spending, I tick along quite happily (actually much more happily) and spend time doing 'work' that I enjoy, as long as I am not greedy about what I want.  However, as already mentioned, I bought pretty well when I did have a high disposable income.  Thank goodness I went for the classic vintage LV luggage, some nice bits of jewellery and lots of Valentino (clothes), Chanel (shoes) and Versace (evening dresses), they don't really seem to date and I can still wear most of it today without looking like I am 20 years out of fashion. 
When you do click to buy or get your purse out of your handbag what is it that takes you past 'just looking' to buying?

Are you influenced by what you read in the editorial of magazines?
Do you feel the glamour of glossy advertising campaigns? I have to confess there is a Cavalli tv ad with a tiger print dress that I would buy in a heartbeat if I ever found it. 
Do you read the more homespun style bloggers and respond because they are like you?
Do you like to wear what your friends wear?
Do you like to wear clothes that you know your friends will KNOW are expensive?
Do you care about designer names?
Do you care about fabrics and finishes more than anything else?
Do you love certain colours and seek out colour above all else?
Do you try to dress like celebs? Generally I would say 'no' to this, but I quite fancy this dress for Christmas evening this year....
 ...obviously it won't be the real McQueen one, but something similar!

For my part, I think that I am mainly influenced by what I see wherever I am...which is a poor excuse to keep shopping, but probably the truth.  We go to the same places every year and my wardrobe reflects 'the look' of each of them;

St Barths: Pure glamour, jewellery and accessories, with a back to nature feel (mainly designer clothes, labels will be noticed here, bought mainly from Bicester Village, Knightsbridge and Notting Hill)

St Tropez: A touch of boho with some sexy dresses, barefoot or sky high heels, nothing in-between (it's more about the look than the label, so I buy lots online, most of which disappoints and is given away, I tend to buy based on fabrics, linen or silk, rather than with particular labels in mind.  Although I have to confess that Missoni has been a bit of an obsession recently, definitely NOT because of their ads, more because all the cool crowd seem to wear Missoni on the beach)

London: Smarter, more office like, fitted clean lines a designer piece, shoes or bag (London clothes need to be more pulled together, freshly ironed, dry cleaned, spot free, simple shapes and good shoes.  I know at some point soon I will probably invest in a classic black Alaia, it is sad to say it, but it would give me a lift in an environment where I might feel like the visiting country cousin, ditto Valentino Rockstud shoes)

Cotswolds: Jeans and cashmere in Winter and jeans and tunic tops in Summer, like the pics above, but without any of the bling accessories or bags, far too 'look at me' for the Shires!

In short my shopping choices are informed by location, following the 'crowd' that I think look like they are having the best time, and insecurity (I'll spend, spend, spend for a confidence boost!)

What is it that makes you shop? And how do you spend it?....

PS I still don't have a 'budget' but I think I probably average about £100 a month now.


  1. I have been influenced by location and lifestyle, when I was single Sex & the city was big, so it was DVF all the way for my going out dresses, I used to start the night off with a Cosmo aswell....sad. Then I met my hubby and moved to the countryside in the Ribble Valley and I went countrified ....... Jeans, white shirts, cashmere and lots of knee length boots. Then we moved more near my family and I have just started to dress for me, partly influenced by money ( went part time ) & children needed to find a style that was not too trend related and pieces that would last. I have had a budget this season £575 to be exact to buy my things I wanted to buy this season. Normally, I don't have a monthly budget but looking back over my summer buys I would say it ranges around £50 to £100 per month and its more if hubby's in a good mood he he xx

  2. Wow £575 is very exact! Do you hunt out bargains, or buy less of exactly what you want? I am definitely moving away from 'trend' stuff, towards things that will last for a long time. And I think I care both less and more about labels, in that I have about 5 things that I would love to one day own, but I am in no rush, Chanel bag etc among them. But for everything else, I just couldn't really care who it is made by.

    1. Me too, I think there are only one or two things that I really want now, of course one is an Hemes Kelly.

    2. Of course, I don't have an Hermes Kelly life either ( see below)

    3. Mine is a Hermes Birkin ...... Holding out for my 50th ...... Two things I really wanted on my ultimate wish list that includes the Birkin was a burberry trench which I got for my 40th present and my hubby got me my Chanel when I became his other half. I use to hunt out bargains on EBay but have purchased a few mistakes so trying to avoid doing that too much, these days my Moto s quality over quantity.

    4. Me too, found a lovely grey one on Ebay yesterday, it was £11k!! My last car was £500, how does that make sense?!

  3. Interesting post. I just love clothes .. and always have from the age of 4 when I wore a handbag .. or even at 6 when I asked Santa for a 'real silver ring'. I think I'm probably driven by people around me also ... I tend to spend more on boots, bags and coats as they don't date so much. it's easy to say that I have enough and don't need to buy more, but each season brings a new trend and then I'm curious and want to have it! For the past year I haven't been working, have been in college and haven't had any 'budget' to speak of. I have to say it was hard ... yet interestingly, I didn't obsess as much over things I would like, as I would have had I had the money to buy. But wow ... I would love to see your wardrobe!!!! I was in awe of your St. Tropez dresses :)

    1. Ha! I have just never thrown anything away so I have loads of things that come back around again. That is the only good thing about having designer stuff, is you are slightly more hesitant about throwing it away or taking it to the charity shop. I once had a Chanel bag, that I did junk though, it was in the grunge era when Chanel was really out, I still think about it now!! What is it about clothes that you love? Have you ever got to the bottom of it. I think I love clothes more on other people than myself as sometimes I see someone who looks exactly how I wanted to look when a bought a particular item but never quite achieved 'the look' myself. Do you like to buy things/own things/ see things?

  4. Ok, well I only buy things I need and they have to go with everything else in my wardrobe. I don't buy designer and don't wear labels. Don't follow trends but have my own style. Having worked in fashion I used to be outraged at the mark up on clothing and the designer clothing was often way way overpriced. You can get the same look at the cheaper end and still get natural fabrics and great looks.

    1. I agree to an extent, particularly since Zara came along, the high street gets better and the designers are chasing margins by cutting quality. All my stuff is probably 15+ years old, and it was definitely better made then than similar items now. I buy designer clothes from the second hand shops in Knightsbridge, the quality of the mainlines is still breathtaking (most of the stuff at Bicester is 'made for outlet' so not a true comparison of quality. I would like to say that I just wear what suits me, but there are occasions when I have a crisis of confidence about an event or 'crowd', where I do get a Ready Brek glow from having a really good designer piece on my body!

    2. I agree that quality was much better 15, 20 years ago. As you know Im also a big fan of ebay for quality items and second hand shops (vintage). I have never been to this "Bicester" place. Everyone who blogs seems to talk about it. Must be good then. You always look stunning in everything you wear though be it new or old or even sourced from ebay. A good body always makes clothes look amazing.

    3. I mentioned to Ash about meeting at Bicester for a coffee, if you can make it, join us and come to see what it is all about. It is just of the M40, it used to be the best place to shop (bargains once included all trousers in Burberry £4, but those days are long gone!), it still nice for a coffee during the week!

    4. Awwww......thanks for the invitation but I have just looked on the map to see where it is and I live near Anglesey, North Wales so its quite a distance, about 5 or 6 hours from me.

  5. I've had a bit of a wardrobe clearout and although I have already spent a bulk of the money I have made on two bridesmaids dresses (damn the daughter) I am trying to fill the gaps rather than be swayed by impulse purchases.

    1. I should do a clear out, but reference Chanel bag above, I know I can never again buy stuff that will get chucked out, so can't quite bring myself to!

  6. I've only worn those Valentino shoes twice - lesson learned I no longer have a high heel life.
    Oh I'd find it easier to spend someone else's money! I never batted an eye when my parents gave me lavish birthday/Christmas gifts but I can't when it's my own hard earned cash, I'm really hesitant now but it's also because I earn less than what I used to.

    1. Tee hee, I need a lesson in this, I am a HOPELESS receiver of expensive stuff since I usually know somewhere where they could have got a better deal and it always riles me if people spend money they don't need to! Even with my engagement ring my first comment was 'You didn't buy this from a jeweller did you?'

    2. Actually it was worse than that, something like 'You didn't give yourself up at the local jeweller did you?' That probably sums up everything you need to know about my approach to shopping!! Amazingly he still wanted to marry me. I guess it showed I would be a lifelong cheap date if nothing else!!


I would love to hear from you and quite happy for some lively debate so feel free to say what you think! ....