I was just checking out Advanced Style today, Ari Seth Cohen’s blog depicting some very fashionable older women. It made me long to be one of these women when I’m older; they’re artists, and their wardrobes are their carefully curated collections.
I particularly loved this quote from one of the women photographed
"…Fashion today is all about ‘me, too; me, too.’ Style says ‘only me.’”
I love how these women dress for themselves alone. I wonder if that freedom from other people’s expectations and standards comes with age, or if these women have always been brave enough to trust their own vision.
The other thing I love that’s consistent in the blog is the attention to detail that the women have. Hats, gloves, shoes, bags, accessories - they’ve thought of it all. It’s something my generation is losing a bit I think, and while I appreciate that no one expects me to wear lipstick while buying milk, I miss the attention to detail.
Anyway, it inspired me to take more risks and be more authentic. I hope that inspiration lasts. In the meantime, check out the awesome blog.
(Photo: Ari Seth Cohen, Advanced Style)
THE FIVE DOLLARS GUIDE TO HIGH STREET SHOPPING
If you’ve been reading this blog, you’ll realise that my aim for this year has been to spend no more than $100 on any item of clothing (or shoes or accessories for that matter). So where do I source my less expensive clothes? And what tips do I use to sort through the cheap clothes to find the gems?
Obviously op shops and craft markets are great places to pick up one-of-a-kind items. I’m incredibly lucky to live in a city that has both those things, and I can certainly provide my recommendations to anyone in the Melbourne area who is interested. But I also buy a lot from chain stores because the clothes are inexpensive and on trend, not to mention easily available. So here are my favourites of the high street brands that deliver value for money.
1) COTTON ON
Admittedly, some of their stuff is not great quality. But I love the jeans, they have some really cute knits for winter, and the sunglasses are ridiculously cheap. Take a discerning approach with Cotton On – don’t buy it just because it’s cheap. Feel out the fabric, try it on, and don’t be disappointed if you only get one season out of it.
PROS: On trend, affordable, accessible.
CONS: Sometimes of questionable quality.
The giant online retailer dominates for a reason. It’s affordable, ships to Australia for free, and I find that the sizing is some of the most consistent for online stores. I love that you can watch videos of the clothes coming down the runway. Always use that function, it tells you so much about how the fabric moves and will sit on you, which makes online buying much easier.
PROS: Offers local returns in Australia. If it doesn’t fit, you send it back to a NSW address, not the UK.
CONS: The website is huge and can be overwhelming. Either stick to searching for specific items or check out the “New In” section regularly, rather than trying to wade through the back catalogue.
3) COUNTRY ROAD
So this isn’t a dirt cheap brand. But the loyalty programme is the best I’ve joined. You can get bargains and “spend and save” offers that make good quality basics more affordable. I love the waxed jeggings and the pure wool cardigans, especially for travelling.
PROS: Excellent loyalty offers and good quality basics.
CONS: An older customer base means a lot of longer hemlines and sizing that runs very large.
4) BIG W
OK, hear me out on this one. The Big W ‘fashion’ brand, Emerson, was introduced to the store to be more trendy and frankly it’s worked. I wear a lot of the stuff on this site and for good reason.
PROS: Ridiculously cheap. So cheap.
CONS: Quality varies wildly. Be discerning.
Another more expensive brand, with absolutely gorgeous clothes that suit my more preppy moments perfectly. But given my $100 limit, I can barely afford a t-shirt there at the moment. Luckily, the online store has great sales. Seriously, if you love something at Marcs, try it on and then cross your fingers that it goes on sale in your size. I’m not talking 80% off here, but a $300 dress can certainly come down to a more palatable $150-$200.
PROS: Good quality fabrics in fun colours and great cuts.
CONS: At the more expensive end of my budget.
Next week, I’ll put up a blog about how to shop inexpensive clothes – what to look for in fabric and fit so that you don’t suffer buyer’s remorse. Look out for it!