Quality Over Quantity; How I’m Getting to Grips With My Shopping Habit

I think it’s fair to say that having a wardrobe full of clothes and nothing to wear isn’t an uncommon problem among Irish women today. We all know that feeling don’t we? Staring into our wardrobes with eyes glazed over by the sheer multitude of items we see, and yet totally underwhelmed by our lack of choice.

So Many Clothes, Nothing To Wear

In the last eighteen months I’ve accumulated alot! Now in my defense, this is largely due to the fact that as somebody who suffered from intense body shame for years, I’ve had to slowly but surely build a wardrobe of clothes that I love. Living in a body I hated, up until January 2017 I only owned clothes that I felt “flattered” my shape i.e. loose fitting and black. When I finally turned my relationship with my body around and discovered that actually, I don’t need to be “flattered”, I was faced with the monumental task of chucking everything I had and starting over again.

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This was a gradual process and over the course of 2017 I became more and more daring in my own personal style and built a wardrobe full of clothes that I loved to wear for all the right reasons.

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So far this year has been a different and altogether less positive story. While last year I was buying pieces because I really wanted to try to make a statement by wearing them as a fat girl and felt empowered by my choices, this year I’ve been buying mindlessly with little or no sense of direction. In fact, my shopping habit has become borderline compulsive, which definitely isn’t good.

I now look into my wardrobe(s) and am met with a vast sea of pieces that I’ve bought but never worn. Some of them I haven’t worn because they really don’t fit me so well but I still kept them anyway. Others I haven’t worn because I put little or no thought into buying them and either don’t have anything that I can style them with or really don’t feel they’re my style at all. It’s maddening.

I’ve thought quite a bit about this lately, probably because some of the women I’m following on Instagram have been talking a lot online about buying less and opting for timeless, investment pieces rather than disposable, trend driven, fast fashion (Rosemary Mc Cabe, Sophie White and Sarah Hanrahan to name a few). They’ve got me looking at my wardrobe and thinking, what do I really want?

Creating That Capsule Wardrobe

I think what I really want is to focus on building a collection of key pieces that will not only last through season after season, but also represent my own personal style. This is the whole idea of a capsule wardrobe and because everyone’s personal style is a little bit different, I think everyone’s capsule wardrobe will look a little bit different.

I’m still trying to figure out what my own ideal capsule wardrobe would look like, which is tricky given how recently I’ve begun to experiment with fashion, but I know it would contain the following:

  • Some high quality pairs of boyfriend/mom jeans in black, white, light wash and a couple of other variations
  • A collection of really good slogan t-shirts that wash well and hold their shape
  • A number of midi length tea dresses
  • Good footwear for all seasons i.e. three or four pairs of Birkenstocks for summer, high quality suede ankle boots for winter, along with four or five pairs of Nike/Adidas trainers that can be worn year round
  • A decent denim jacket for summer and another one that’s borg lined for winter
  • A summer trench in camel and a winter cocoon coat in a bright color like pink or white
  • A really well tailored co-ord suit in a bold print
  • Some nice high-waisted wide leg trousers and a really nice, crisp white shirt

I’m spending lots of time looking through the feeds of my favorite plus size fashion bloggers right now and trying to identify key pieces that I know I’d like in my capsule wardrobe. The one thing I do know is this;

It will be full of pieces that I’ll take out of storage year after year, no matter what the trends of the moment are.

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Focusing On The Fit

In addition to only buying capsule pieces from now on, I also really want to spend more time and effort making sure that the clothes I already own/ do buy in future fit me perfectly by taking them to be altered.

I currently own seven pairs of jeans, but really only wear three because the other four are too big on my waist. So rather than just continue buying more jeans, I’m opting to have the four taken in so that the fit is just right.

Similarly I’ve decided not to buy a new dress for Rosie’s communion next month, and instead have a dress I bought last year but only wore once taken in.

I’ve also decided to have a pair of camo trousers that I recently bough on Asos taken in at the waist but also taken up on the leg so that they have a three-quarter-length look. I have two other pairs of tapered jersey trousers which are also recent Asos purchases that need taking up an inch or two on the length.

This is definitely going to become common practice for me in the months ahead I think, as I go through everything I own and decide on how to alter it in order to get the fit right so that I can maximize the amount of wear I get out of them. I think the tiny cost of having a pair of jeans altered (approx. €10) is infinitely more responsible than simply replacing them with another pair that will probably be too big on the waist too!

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I have to say that I’m feeling really really positive about getting to grips with my shopping habit at last and focusing my energy on quality over quantity! Unfortunately it does mean that my regular plus size fashion feature (which has been one of my most popular features on the blog), Fridays Five A Day, will be put on hold for the moment. But it’s all in the name of personal growth so I guess I gotta take the hit! Maybe I’ll figure out a way to incorporate regular fashion features in the blog that are less focused on disposable fashion. Who knows?

Do let me know what you think of my plan and if you’ve ever considered taking steps like these in the past by leaving a comment in the comments section below!

Sarah x

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