Ah, the turn of the season! Always the toughest part of the year for a (partly) reformed shopaholic! It’s been a long time since I cared all that much whether my clothes were considered ‘fashionable’ (I want people to like them, of course, but because they genuinely look good, not because someone in a Marketing role decided this is what everyone is going to be wearing this season…) but the change of the weather and the flood of new inspiration via Instagram and Pinterest never fails to get me craving ‘newness’ like nothing else! It happens in Spring, but it’s the creeping onset of Autumn is when my shopping urges are at their peak. You see, I’ve never felt like I look that great in Autumn/Winter clothes (Christmas sparkle aside!) I’ve always found it easy to waft around in the floaty, strappy styles of Summer and feel pretty and stylish with very little effort indeed, but that all changes when the temperature drops. Colour goes out of the window. It’s all about layers, adding bulk and wrapping up, and honestly, it makes me feel more than a little dowdy. Autumn seems to be the domain of those impossibly cool, casual girls too. You know the ones. Those annoyingly stylish girls who still manage to look utterly adorable in an oversided jumper and jeans, with a trendy hat at a jaunty angle atop their perfectly disheveled hair. I see them frolicking in piles of rust coloured leaves on Instagram, clutching their pumpkin spiced lattes and toffee apples, and die a little inside, because pop that same outfit on me and I just look like I couldn’t be bothered to get dressed! My only saving grace this time of year is work, where I can stick a pair of long stiletto boots under a smart midi dress and at least still feel a bit put together, but my urges to acquire more and more new stuff in the missguided belief it will make me feel better about my self image are still kinda hard to keep in check!
So I still have a long way to go in terms of letting my emotions rule my consumption, particularly of things I don’t really need, but I am getting there, and one of the things that has really helped me is by keeping a wish list! Or a thrift list, if you will, since I’m trying not to buy anything brand new at all this year! Having a list of items that I’d like in order to close gaps in my collection or to work with specific pieces I want to get more wear out of has really helped me to fine tune my focus and stop having my head turned by all the Christmas sequins! It’s not foolproof – there will still be the odd frivolous purchase here and there, because as long as you’re being conscious in your decisions I think it’s ok to treat yourself sometimes – but it does help.
Here are the pieces on this year’s thift list!
A long red and/or camel coat
I already feel a bit ridiculous suggesting I might need two new coats this year (let’s be honest – I don’t NEED anything on this list truth be told) but I’m actually quite happy with my track record on coats. Unlike many other parts of my wardrobe I don’t actually have one in every style and colour conceivable and I haven’t bought one in years (unless you count jackets, which I’m not, in order to maintain that little moment of smugness..) My coats, while few, have been carefully selected to meet my needs. I have a belted burgundy one which is my ‘smart’ coat, a black swing coat which is more of an every day wear and looks fab over short dresses and tights, a collarless houndstooth coat which is lightweight so tends to be my ‘going out out’ coat, and my favourite, a pastel blue straight coat from Oasis I picked up on eBay a few years ago, which I always pull on when I want a little more colour in an ensemble. I could get by perfectly well without adding to these if it weren’t for one problem – my style has changed quite a lot over the last two years, particularly since I had Bailey. It isn’t the coats so much that are the issue, it’s what I’ll be wearing underneath! You see, my days of wearing 50s style full skirts or wiggle dresses are now very few and far between. What I’m far more likely to be rocking at the moment is a swishy, midi length skirt or dress, and my existing coats are mostly that awkward, just-above-the-knee length that just doesn’t quite look right with anything longer. I normally solve this by wearing a leather jacket and a big scarf, but there are times when you just want to wrap up in a snuggly coat, particularly now that it seems we’ll be doing all our socialising outdoors this Winter! I’d also like a bit of a colour injection, which is why red is the shade I’m most fervently looking for, and camel – well, I could live without it, sure, but I don’t think anyone ever regrets buying a good quality camel coat! Here is one of my favourite’s for second hand style inspo, @lookfabulous.forless, absolutely rocking both red and camel coated perfection…
EDIT: Since writing I have actually managed to source BOTH! I have a gorgeous long red vintage coat which I’m completely in love with, and there is a camel Topshop number on it’s way to me via eBay…! Both will be featuring here very soon, I’m sure!
Faux Fur Jacket
Yeah, ok, this is also technically a coat that I don’t need, but I have wanted one for a very long time, and I’m sticking with the ‘we can only have fun outdoors’ excuse for now… Not massively fussy on the style or colour, but leopard print, like this one from Just Fab, is the most lusted after, because if you’re going to be extra enough to wear faux fur, you might as well go the whole hog, right??
Tan stiletto boots
Boots are, once again, not something I could wholeheartedly say I need any more of. That said, there is a very specific gap in my collection that I am finding rather annoying, and even more annoying is my struggle to rectify it! A few years ago I found the perfect boot – a slim fitting, soft leather over the knee boot with a slightly pointed toe and a modest but perfectly adequate stiletto heel. I bought them in the Christmas sales from Dune and while I winced a little at the price, they fast became one of the best style investments I ever made. They are simply perfect. Except for one thing. They only came in black! Ever since I have been looking for something similar in tan, but they just don’t seem to exist. In fact, I wrote about this very conundrum way back in 2017 and still, they elude me, even more so now that I’m trying not to buy new. Now, I’m not expecting Dune to somehow read my mind and start selling this exact thing, but it would be great if at least someone, anyone, could bring out something along the same lines. I’m not so fussy. I’d accept suede. Doesn’t have to be over the knee. I’d even tolerate a bit of slouch. They just have to be tan, pointy of toe and slim of heel so that I can wear them with my smarter outfits, but for the last few years it seems to be a rule that all tan boots must either be flat or chunky, and it’s driving me mad! If I do ever stumble across them I suspect they will be the thing that breaks my high street shopping fast, but I’ll be seeing it as another investment so will quickly forgive myself. I wear my black ones pretty much constantly for work, so much so I’m starting to fear the day when they finally fall apart, because let’s face it, that will spur another relentless search for a replacement pair, and honestly, there are only so many hours in the day… I originally ended this paragraph with a lament about the fact I couldn’t even include an image because they didn’t exist, but one last Google search turned up the goods, and ASOS might just have answered my prayers! We shall see…
Yellow ankle boots
So, I started writing this post three weeks ago – such is life as a working mum – and as it happens I’ve already found these! But I’d already set out the header sections so I’m writing about them anyway. You’re welcome… My ankle boot collection has grown somewhat over the last two years, but with the exception of my red pairs – which have already featured on my Instagram feed at least twice a week since the weather turned – most of them fall very much in the ‘neutral’ camp. Well, not strictly true. I have a gold pair and a silver glitter pair, but I think we can all agree those aren’t exactly for every day wear! Anyway, they’re all great – very versatile, get plenty of action this time of year, but just not very interesting. Since falling for the charms of the aforementioned red boots I’ve realised it’s much easier to wear them than I thought, so have been looking for something else a little brighter so I can cheer up those duller winter ensembles. Cobalt blue is an option I considered, and I’ve been trying very hard to resist a pair of fuchsia Carvela ones I spotted on Depop, but in the end I decided yellow would be the perfect shade as it’s such a happy colour, but also will work well with the khaki, forest green, burgundy and red hues I so frequently wear throughout the latter end of the year. Well, I found these New Look beauties on eBay for £6 last week, they’ve already been worn and I absolutely love them! Job done!
Black pleather pleated midi skirt
Pleather. Not a fabric I own currently, and not a fabric I imagined to find myself lusting after, but here we are. For the last few years now midi skirts have become a favourite of mine, espcially when layered over long boots, and for some reason I can’t stop thinking about a pleather one. See, the thing about midi skirts is they don’t really mix with the British winter. Sure, they look good, as long as it isn’t blowing a gale so it ends up around your neck, or pissing it down so it clings awkwardly to your legs, but that is 90% of the weather in the UK from October onwards soooo…. Oh, and don’t even get me started on the static issue when you’re wearing tights!! I feel like a pleather one would be the perfect solution for this issue though. It’ll stay (mostly) put in the wind and the rain would run right off it. Plus, I’m a spiller, so hidden perks and all of that…! This one is by Marks & Spencer, but they are everywhere right now so I’m confident I’ll be able to pick up a second hand one without any issue.
Red tartan trousers
I have a little ritual every year of putting off tights as long as I can. I hate the buggers. I hate how they feel, especially when the elastic goes and you feel them slowly rolling down over your belly as you go through the day. I hate how they wrinkle with almost any shoe other than boots. I hate how they pick up dog hair even after I’ve left the house and lint rolled myself to death. They just suck. So in that little gap before I finally give in to the cold and the desire to wear my tea dresses, trousers become king for me, especially for work. I have a pair of black watch tartan trousers that I love wearing even years after getting them, so wanted to expand the collection since they always bring a smile to my face. I picked up this Primark pair second hand a few weeks ago and absolutely love them – the muted tones work perfectly with my existing pieces – but I really want some bright red ones. This exact pair do also come in red, and come up pretty frequently on eBay, but I’m currently watching a super high waisted pair, so watch this space…
I’ve never been a lover of jumpers. They have a purpose, of course, but I never feel like I look particularly great in them, so most of mine have been selected for cosiness and dressed down days. I have a rather glaring smart jumper shaped gap as a result, and I feel like a camel coloured one might just be the answer. Something in a soft, fine knit – much like this Boden one – that I can tuck in without it looking bulky, but also wear loose. That’s the dream! Let me know if you spot one!
A few years ago blazers weren’t really a ‘me’ kind of thing. They just seemed so corporate, and even though I like to dress smartly for work I didn’t feel at home in them at all. Kind of like a child putting on their parent’s clothes for dress up – I felt like someone might spot how awkwardly I wore it and deem me immediately incapable of having a grown up job and have me escorted from the premises! That is probably a symptom of Imposter Syndrome that would be best discussed with a therapist, but I digress…. Anyway, they’ve become more of a feature over the last couple of years since I worked out how to style them a little more casually, and I’d love to add a long, boxy, androgynous one, preferably in houndstooth mainly because I keep seeing rather lovely ones about at the moment, but also because I think it’s a great print that adds a bit of interest but is still easily paired with any colour (and even some prints!) If I’m honest, it’s this exact H&M one that I really want, but we will just have to see what I can find in my usual thrift spots…
Keep ypur eyes peeled for me! What’s on your thrift list this year?