Monday, July 12, 2010

Shopping Chicly

I had the best day yesterday. My mum is in town, and we both met my sister and niece for late lunch and a spot of shopping.

Yes, yes, it was all very nice spending time with my family, blah, blah. What really got me excited though was my clothes shopping. I haven't bought clothes in such a long time from the combined reasons of 'use what I have', 'save money' and 'not skinny enough'.

I bought a pair of jeans, as this is what I wear. I've decided to embrace denim rather than fight it, at a place which makes great, but pricey pairs. They had a sale table with every conceivable style on it. I tried on 75% of the ones in my size. I ended up with a pair reduced from $289 to $69.

I have reconfirmed that skinny leg jeans aren't for me. I have thighs. In skinny leg jeans my legs look like ice cream cones. And of course since I carry extra weight on my top half more, I then look like an ice cream in a cone. I loved the look of them bunched at my ankle above my high heel, but not as my eye travelled further up. And my bum is very round when viewed side on.

I asked for my mum and my sister's honest impressions as I tried on each pair rapid-fire style. I did not once apologise to them for being more curvy than I would like or say things like 'imagine these with five kilos less'.

The style I chose I didn't have on my first try-on pile. They are wide leg flares. As soon as I put them on I knew they were the ones. They fitted my hips and thighs closely, flared out from the knee and all this balanced out the round bum and top half. I'm very happy with them.

Amazingly, they were the same size I've always bought - a 12 here, which is a US size 8. My husband noticed this and said 'see, told you you were still the same size'. He's a doll.

I was going to buy a second pair which were a slightly different flared style in grey denim. My sister looked unsure about them. When I said to her I wanted another pair 'just for work', she replied 'is that really what you want?' as in don't settle for them. Such wise words, I put those ones back.

If I'd bought both it would have been the blue ones I wore most and they grey ones would have languished, not quite right.

I also bought a top from a different store, a soft, slinky t-shirt knit with no sleeves and a scooped hem a bit like a men's business shirt. The shoulder area is slightly shoulder-padded and ruched. But it's the colour I love best: orange-red. The warm red really suits me if I do say so myself. This was also reduced, from $89.90 down to $11.90. And again, I have not gone against what I wear and try to change myself. This top doesn't need to be ironed and it's a bit dressier than a t-shirt.

If I was going against what I wear and tried to change myself, I would have bought a cotton fitted shirt. Then only worn it once a month when I was in an ironing mood. I do want to find a new white cotton fitted shirt as I don't have one at the moment. That is the only exception I am going to make.

I have a hard time trying to think about the purported French way of shopping, by purchasing at full-price and being picky. I do think you can sale-shop and be picky too. And I was incredibly picky yesterday.

Out of at least a dozen pairs of jeans, I took one, and out of the same number of dresses and tops, I bought one top. I also did not buy a pair of earrings, as I wear the same faux diamond plain studs, pearl studs or small gold hoops every day. No other earrings are ever worn, and if they are, I feel uncomfortable in them.

My husband and I own and work in a retail shoe store. When we reduce items, it doesn't mean they are terrible. It simply means the kind of customer that wears them doesn't shop with us, or we bought too many, or it's a seasonal style only and we now have a broken size range. Or sometimes in sale time (twice a year at the end of winter and summer) we reduce just about everything, including classic styles.

Sometimes it's our favourite shoes in the shop that we have to reduce to get them moving, and it's just because the kind of customers we get are different to our own personal style. A French woman purchased a pair of a gorgeous style that we reduced once. I loved the shoes but they hadn't sold, so we reduced them.

She exclaimed over them and bought a pair, couldn't believe they were on special. They looked great on her and she wore them exactly how I would have (I was thrilled!) She was so stylish and chic, and it really brought it home to me that everything that is on sale isn't 'unwanted and picked over'. The French woman was canny in her shopping in that she knew her style, knew a bargain and knew quality.

I hear customers giving helpful advice to their friends like 'don't buy it just because it's on sale' which I would say too, but I think don't be suspicious of items on sale. I wouldn't have bought the jeans or top at full price yesterday, but only because I have clothes I can wear.

But if something comes up that you know is your style on special, I say grab it. When we were leaving the jeans store, my sister told me the jeans I chose were very 'relaxed French chic' in style. I don't think she could have said it better to make me to glad of my purchase.

Worn with high heels and my new red top, or with a Breton top, I can channel Jane Birkin in the 60s/70s.


  1. Those new jeans sound fantastic! I really do think mindful shopping is the way to go.

  2. sounds like you took a very commendable approach to shopping!

    brooks brothers sells AMAZING white oxfords that don't need to be dry-cleaned and are wrinkle proof! Nordstrom also sells a less expensive version by Foxcroft.

  3. hi fiona,

    i so agree with you. just about everything here (southern california) goes on sale. you just have to be patient. i love that you didn't buy the 2nd pair of jeans either.

    i wear brooks bros. no iron shirts all the time. they are a little stiff but always look smart. my favorite though is a gap mens small white shirt. it's so soft and wrinkly, it's like pj's.


  4. I'm glad you posted this. I think the key is to be picky regardless if it's on sale or not and you did that. Just imagine that new red top with your chignon and sheer red lipstick!

  5. Well done on your restrained purchases.

    I came to the comments section to say exactly what Stephanie said: be picky regardless of whether its full price or sale.

  6. I'm with Stephanie too. Alot of clothes are for $5 or less here in Thailand. You also get quality ones too. But my friends knows me that just because it's on cheap I don't buy it as I don't need it or doesn't quite fit right.
    Thanks for the post Fiona!

  7. Merci for all your thoughtful comments.

    Black is the New Black and Janet, the Brooks Brothers shirts sound amazing. Do you have to put them in the drier, or can they be line-dried and not ironed?

    I will have to investigate if they deliver outside of the US.

  8. I think they hang dry - the saleswoman said the shirts are given some sort of treatment to remain wrinkle resistant without drycleaning that can diminish if put in the dryer. My finace loves the mens version as well!

  9. Yay! I don't use a drier and was worried they needed one. We do own a drier for 'emergencies' but due to the gigantic size of our new Fisher & Paykel Aquasmart washing machine it's now parked sideways. It saves us a lot of money that way.

  10. Fiona,

    I have been meaning to ask you about your sheer red lipstick. I have been afraid to wear red because I think it might look to severe on my 40+ year old face. But sheer red might work. Is it a common brand? Would you mind divulging?


  11. Adrienne, the couple of sheer reds I have are by Dior, but they are years old now so probably wouldn't be available still (I used to work for Dior).

    Just in case you find a shop with the oldest Dior stock possible, they are:

    Dior 003 Show It
    Dior Addict Ultra-Shine Lipstick Shiniest Red 650
    Dior Addict Lipstick 649 Red Interference

    From other brands just ask if they have sheer lipsticks (not gloss, gloss is good in pink, but red gloss can look too toffee-apple and garish) and try the red ones.

    You'll soon see by trying them on your hand if they are sheer or opaque. Trying lipstick on your fingertip-pad is the best way to see how it will look on your lips, as this area is the same brightness as your lips.

    I have noticed I can look washed out in natural pink lipcolours now, and soft reds pep up my colouring.

    You certainly don't look 40+ in your photos!

  12. Thank you for the information, Fiona, I need to go blush brush shopping anyway (unfortunately) and will try to find a sheer red lipstick.

    I love Dior makeup, and our Macys used to carry it, but no longer. I order DiorShow mascara online because it's my favorite but I hesitate to order a lipstick online until I know it looks great on me.

    That's a great tip about trying the lipstick on your fingertip instead of your hand. It makes perfect sense!


  13. Good job on your shopping (and great deals too)! I'm trying to be just as thoughful in my shopping. I frequently buy something on sale just because "it'll do" and have ended up with a closet full of "it'll do's"!! No more!!! I take a solemn vow - if it's not right, it won't come home with me!

  14. Jackie, it's hard to leave a bargain sometimes, but it must be done. Otherwise it just needs to be decluttered in the future, and you've spent money and energy on it in the meantime.

    I'm just gearing up to clean the 'it'll dos' out of my wardrobe. I've been waiting until I'm skinnier, but that day may never come. I've been living in limbo! I'm getting my La Bella Figura book out and going to work on the weekend.

  15. You wear a US size 8? You're tiny! I WISH I was that size.

    As I'm in the midst of a ferocious decluttering spree, your idea of being picky makes sense to me. If you don't absolutely love something, it'll probably just end up as more clutter. I need to be more picky. Sometimes, I buy things on sale just because they're cheap. How silly is that? I have to remind myself that I don't have to buy it if I don't love it. (Even if it is discounted!)

    Sounds like you had a great time with your mom. :-)

  16. Lyn, I may be a size US10. I just checked an international dress size conversion chart to make sure I was correct.

    Yes, we did have a nice time having our mum stay. It's always great to get together. She likes to check out the 'big city' shops when she's here, and because I don't go shopping often it's fun for me too.

    I agree with you regarding decluttering. It IS really hard not to buy a bargain, but I force myself to think:

    - is it exactly what I want
    - do I already have one the same or similar
    - where will I store it and do we have room for it
    - will I want to look after it
    - do I need it right now or can it wait
    - how good is the bargain and can I get it cheaper elsewhere

    The payoff in not buying something is a serene and spacious home. Something I'm working on!

    Having regular decluttering sessions cures you of shopping too.

  17. Ooh. Good things to consider when buying something.


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...