Week 4: Handbags and Gladrags
Starting 6th December
Something you’ll probably hear at home this month – “the party is next week and I’ve nothing to wear!” We’ve got lots of ideas for you to consider when you’re planning your festive outfits; you’ll soon be looking great for your Christmas party without adding lots to your Christmas spending.
Time to get started…
Our first stop this week is your wardrobe. Before you even think about hitting the shops for the perfect outfit have a good look through the clothes you have already. A study from 2012 estimates that the average household owns around £4000 worth of clothes at any one time – and 30% of it would not have been worn for at least a year! That’s £1200 worth of clothes people probably won’t remember!
The Great Wardrobe hunt
Spend a little time exploring and you may find the perfect item lurking in the depths of your wardrobe. A woman wears 20% of her wardrobe 80% of the time. Even if it doesn’t inspire you straight away, before you rule out the grey suit or the green dress with sparkly bits try
- pairing a dress with a different pair of shoes
- a different tie to usual
- accessorising a top with a jacket, handbag or scarf,
- jazzing up an outfit with some sparkly jewellery, cuff links or Christmas braces
The Great Wardrobe swap
You may find that you have items in your wardrobe that are great, but you’ve worn them many times before and don’t think they’re right for the event you’re going to this year or you don’t have something to pair up with it to make the perfect outfit for this Christmas. You don’t necessarily need to buy something new though. Pair up with a friend of a similar size and see if you can swap items for the party season. Your friend’s dress or jacket or shirt could be part of your perfect party outfit – even if you wouldn’t normally think you’d wear something of the style they prefer. This works for other big occasions too, like weddings or black tie events, and could save you money on hiring a suit or hat.
Swishing is a great way to swap clothes as you use your own clothes you no longer wear as currency to buy something you will. Check out if there’s a swish you can attend.
The Second-hand Wardrobe
If you do find that there’s simply nothing in your wardrobe that will do for the festive season, then why not make your first stop your local charity shops. Charity begins with a dress (or hat or shoes…).
At this time of year charity shops bring out all their party clothes stock, so you’ll hopefully find something great. Don’t just look at the clothes though, as they’re also a great place to pick up unique accessories, scarves, shoes and bags – a cheeky hat or scarf added to something you have in your wardrobe could be the perfect finishing touch. The items pictured here are from charity shops. If you find something that you like but that isn’t quite right, consider the customisation tips below or a visit to your local tailor – be imaginative, you never know what you might be able to create!
If you found lots of clothes you’re not going to wear again take them along to donate whilst you’re shopping.
The money saving wardrobe
So you’ve not been able to find anything at home to wear, nothing in the charity shops so you need to buy something brand new. Here are a few reminders to stop you spending more than you need and adding something else you’ll only wear once to your wardrobe.
- Before you go out, think about what you really want to get – do you just need an accessory to create a different look, do you need a top/shirt or a dress or a new suit?
- Have a look at any items that you’re thinking of donating to charity or you don’t wear and work out what it is you don’t like about them before you go to the shops, so you don’t repeat your mistakes. If you find this happens often, it may be an idea to have your colours done; this involves seeing a consultant who will try lots of different shades against your skin so that you know what will suit you. This might be a nice gift to ask for if you still have space on your Christmas list.
- If you try something on and you’re not sure about it then don’t buy it. If you don’t love it when you first put it on you’re probably going to feel self-conscious in it at the party and then won’t wear it again, so it’s a waste of money and space.
- Take someone with you; a second pair of eyes is always great and very helpful to spot the perfect item in the shops or to talk you out of something awful!
Customise your clothes to dazzle this party season!
Adding a bit of sparkly glam to your outfit can be really easy to do and you don’t have to have brilliant skills with these ideas…
- Clip on earrings can be added to a plain pair of pumps for a dash of sparkle and can be found in many charity shops, or on e-bay.
- Sequins and studs can also be added to many outfits, shoes or bags and can be bought from the haberdashery department in most department stores.
- You can even update a pair of shoes by covering the shoe, or just the heel or toe, with material, or even by spray painting all or part of the shoe
- Dyeing, embellishment and studding are all easy lovely ways to create that bit of sparkle to your clothes without breaking the bank! There are also many tutorials online that give you step by step instructions.
Each household spends roughly £1700 per year on clothes alone. With that type of investment in your wardrobe, it makes sense to keep them looking fresh so you can wear them for longer.
The care labels are there to help you do this so make sure you check out what it says. Download this handy guide to cleaning symbols (644 downloads) , to help make sure you’re washing your clothes correctly. Most care labels will only indicate a lowest washing temperature of 40 degrees but for most clothes, unless they are very dirty, or for underwear and bed clothes, 30 degrees will get them perfectly clean, and there are even some washing products (powders/liquids) that will allow you wash at 15 degrees. This will save you money on your electricity bill and help the environment, as well as keeping your clothes clean. Clothes that are washed correctly will last longer, and stay looking great!
There’s also a few other important things to remember when washing your clothes, to help keep them in great condition. Always wash coloured and white clothes separately to make sure that your whites stay bright and reduce fading of dark clothes by washing inside out, and using a colour wash liquid
Make sure to store your clothes correctly, hang them when not in use or fold neatly, so that they’re always ready to put on. Once the party season is over make time to take any clothes that need it to the dry cleaners, so that they are put away clean and will be looking good for next time you want to wear them.
Something to do this week
This week you can imitate your favourite TV style guru, now is a good week to cast a watchful eye over your wardrobe to find the Gladrags and the Sadrags.
1. Inspect your wardrobe
Is it true, do you have 22 items you’ve never worn or that you only wear 20% of your wardrobe? Have a rummage through your clothes, shoes and accessories and ask yourself “will I wear this?” If you’ve got a few items that you won’t wear and are taking up room either donate them to charity or put them aside for the next swish.
2. Browse the clothes in your local charity shops.
If you’ve never bought clothes there, challenge yourself to look at what’s on offer and send us a picture of the best thing you find. If you already have a favourite charity shop, post a picture on Facebook and tell us all about it.
3. Find your local tailor and get a copy of the price list
It’s amazing what the professionals can do with an item of clothing you think you’ll never wear again. It’s also helpful to know where to take items to have them shortened, taken in or amended. We all buy something in the sale that doesn’t fit perfectly, so if you know where to get it altered you’ll enjoy the New Year sales even more!