I’m feeling pretty chirpy today – hope you are too. It’s got a lot to do with the arrival of autumn; a season that, as a rather freckly Scot, I’ve always far preferred to summer. Bare legs and backless dresses are fine if you’re a Californian girl but I’ve always felt autumn to be the season best matched to my style. Call me a saddo maybe (you wouldn’t be the first!) but I still get a back-to-school thrill the first morning that it’s chilly enough to wear tights. Funky tights are, to my mind, one of the biggest bangs you can get for your buck, lifting an outfit from boring to eye-catching for the same price as a couple of cappucinos.
This autumn I need new clothes. Being pregnant last autumn I didn’t buy much and what I did is mostly unwearable now – thank the Lord. Being a good girl I did a wee wardrobe audit at the weekend, using it as an opportunity to ditch the last of the maternity clothes and to see where the gaps are.
Here’s what I’ve decided I needed in the way of affordable autumn clothes:
Boots – colourful. I’ve been buying black boots all my life and have decided that 2012 is the year to be radical. (In my own small, boot-buying way: I’m not talking full-0n anarchy.)
Coat – Big, oversize coats are the trend this year and the high streets full of them. Fine maybe on a tall girl but I’m not. So, it’ll be vintage for me this year – way cheaper and often far better cut.
Jumpers– Decent ones in classic styles that can be jazzed up with brooches etc. None of those gimmicky knits I’ve been seeing, with Minnie Mouse or a ghost on the front. I’m not five.
Trousers – The area of most desperate need. Looking at my wardrobe I wonder whether, whilst I was busy being pregnant, someone else stole my normal trousers and used them to fix cars, paint houses and roll down hills in. They are, without exception, truly knackered.
Tights – actually, I don’t really need tights but I love them so. Topshop is always my first port of call for funky tights and socks. Their displays of tights are temptation itself to me. (Told you I was sad.)
And that’s it – the basics really. Nothing too fancy or dressy needed, just chilly weather staples.
I’ve already crossed a couple of things off my list. Marks and Spencer had a 25% off knitwear sale last week and I used the opportunity to buy one of their cashmere jumpers. I know cashmere might not sound skint, but I’ve long been of the view that scrimping on basics, like jumpers, is a false economy. I scrimp on one-season stuff – tights, accessories, fashion tops – stuff that I’m buying cos it’s very now. But skimping on boots and coats and jumpers when I live in Scotland is a waste of cash – I really can’t afford cheap jumpers that only last two washes. A couple of years back I was seduced into forgetting this rule by three, jewel-bright crew neck jumpers in Primark. Well, they looked so pretty there on the shelf, all folded like a rainbow. I bought a hot pink one, a purple one and a turquoise one, each costing about £8. Honestly, you think I’d have known better. Though nice at the time, each bobbled within a couple of wearings and none of them made it through the winter. I’d have been far better putting that £24 towards the cost of one decent quality jumper, so that’s what I did this year. Of course, the first stop for cashmere and lambswool and other quality knits should always be charity shops and vintage shops. See, because good knitwear lasts for years it often ends up here, almost as good as the day it was born.
I got my boots sorted too, bought online via Amazon. Here they are. I love Fly London boots and though they usually cost about £145 in the shops I got them for half that on Amazon. It’s the first time I’ve ever bought boots online, but I’d already seen them in the shops and knew I loved them, then just did a quick online search to see where I could get them cheaper. They’re actually bright red in the bigger pic and in real life!
So, that’s just a coat to sort out now, and a couple of pairs of trousers. Accessories don’t count. In my book, you’re allowed to buy those anytime, anywhere, without putting them on a list. And chilly months bring so much more potential for accessories than in summer: hats, brooches, gloves, scarves, tights – love them all.
Because the boots and jumper have already made quite a dent in my budget I’ll be looking to save on the other stuff. The coat will be vintage, so I should get something lovely for about £40. A few years ago I got a gorgeous vintage cape for winter for just £35 and I wear it loads still. And for the trousers and jumpers I’ll be:
- Using a cashback website like Quidco to search for the best deals
- Looking out for brand events – I found out about the M&S 25% off event because I’m on their mailing list. I need to do the same with my other favourite shops.
- Checking out fashion discount codes website, like Fashionvouchers.com before hitting the shops.
- Getting an Invisible Hand – the app that trawls retailers for you and lets you know where the best deals are, before you waste your money.
And that’s about it! Hooray for autumn. Am I the only one who would happily swap summer dresses for a nice coat? Or are you a fan of colder weather too? And what have you all got your beady Skint eyes on this autumn?
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