personal shopping guidelines daarboven

While I try to maintain a high standard when it comes to clothes and accessories and I am annoyingly picky, regrettable purchases are always lurking around the corner. Over the years I have come to rely on a few rules of thumb that have proven themselves very helpful. Now, I am by no means an expert but I figured I would share them and hopefully they can be of use to you too. So here are my self-imposed guidelines for shopping part I:

Try different sizes

I own clothing ranging from size XS to XL. Size is only a number or a few letters and doesn’t matter to me as long as the garment fits perfectly. Brands aren’t reliable at all when it comes to sizing. I’m sure we are all familiar with the concept of vanity sizing, right? So please don’t let the size of a piece of clothing bring you down or dictate your purchases. No one will be able to see the label anyway.

Stay away from items that are too trendy

Once in awhile a trend comes along that I’m eager to try such as those checkered blazers or coats that are seen all over the place right now. But fortunately for my wallet, most of the time the result is not at all what I expected or I know I won’t wear it after that particular season. Nevertheless, I believe you can be on trend while still remaining true to your own aesthetic. Take flared jeans for example. Those were very trendy last year of maybe even the year before (I can’t keep track of time anymore, I’m too old). But ultimately, the design, in the right color, is a classic and can be worn at any time.

When in doubt, size up

It’s always better to size up when you’re not completely sure about a piece of clothing or shoes. Clothes can be adjusted and/or taken in by a tailor and you can place an extra insole in your shoes to get a better fit. Although to be honest, I don’t recommend buying your shoes too large either. However, when something is too small, chances are you are never going to wear it because it makes you feel uncomfortable.

Check the men’s section

You can find some really nice pieces of clothing in the men’s section. And from my own experiences, the quality is sometimes even better than women’s clothing. I suspect it has something to do with the fact that men don’t buy as many clothes as women and therefore need garments that last a lot longer. I could be wrong though. Things I especially like from the men’s section are cashmere or merino wool sweaters. I’m sure for some of you the button downs can work as well but those are generally too tight on my hips.

What are your personal shopping guidelines?

Ah yes, if you have been reading this blog for a while you must know that spring and summer are my most dreaded seasons when it comes to wardrobe planning. However, last year I think I did a good job in regards to planning and purchasing new clothes. My list consisted of three potential purchases but I only ended up with two; a black camisole and a pair of high-waisted white trousers. The latter made me realise that I don’t have to wear jeans all summer, solely out of habit, and that they’re a great alternative for skirts and dresses which I rarely wear.

I did succumb to fast fashion once again (will I ever learn?). I’ve come to realise that I very much prefer to invest in clothes and accessories that I can wear all year round instead of just one season. So summery trousers are not something I’m willing to spend a lot of money on. But, as always, they do need to meet all of my requirements; natural fabrics, machine washable, high-waisted for the illusion of longer legs and preferable wide-legged. We all have our problem areas (even if they’re only visible to ourselves) and mine are my thighs or better said, those darn saddlebags. So I try not to emphasise them when I wear something tucked into my trousers. Straight or wide trousers are my best option.

I tried several options such as these and these but I finally fell for the green trousers below. I have to admit though, I left the tags on because they’re a bit trendy and out there for me personally (you can see me wearing them here) and we have only been blessed with two warm days so far. But if I do keep them, I have my summer wardrobe sorted. I have compiled a few collages of how I would wear them with garments and accessories that I already own. What do you think? Yay or nay?


From left to right, top to bottom: Byredo Black Saffron perfume (€110) , H&M trousers (€50), Straw hat (similar here), black loafers (similar here), Samsoe & Samsoe camisole (old)

From left to right, top to bottom: Yoisho straw bag (€30), H&M trousers (€50), Escentric Molecules, Molecule 01 perfume (€90), &Other Stories sandals (sold out), Adam Lippes t-shirt (€100)

an ethical and sustainable gift guide

This blog is by no means an example on how to lead a sustainable lifestyle. While I do spend a good amount of time reading about ethical brands and slow fashion and try to invest in quality items that will last a long time, I unfortunately, on occassion, still give in to fast fashion and things which may not be produced under the best circumstances. That said, I thought it would be a nice idea to challenge myself to come up with a gift guide that is slightly different from most other gift guides that are currently taking over the blogosphere. All products are cruelty free, sustainable, ethically produced or focus on slow fashion.

  1. Everlane continues to be one of my favourite brands. I bought one of their cashmere turtlenecks last year and am very happy with the quality. Too bad that the shipping and taxes are so high. But if you don’t mind or live in the US, this leather wallet would make a great gift option.
  2. A collaboration between two great brands; Aesop and A.P.C, this fabric wash is specifically designed for hand washing delicate garments. Formulated by Aesop chemists, it contains extracts of Pettigrain, Lemon and Cedarwood. The latter a great natural moth repellant. For any wool or cashmere items that don’t need immediate cleaning but you would like to keep fresh between washes, check The Laundress wool and cashmere spray. Made with natural ingredients, non-toxic and fully biodegradable.
  3. The Merchant & Mills Rapid Repair kit contains everything you need for the occasional fashion emergency. There’s no need to throw something away just because you lost a button of a coat or tore a small hole in a knitted sweater.
  4. I wrote about this particular lipstick before. For all of you Dutch people who love MAC’s Ruby Woo but are looking for a cruelty free alternative, make sure you try HEMA’s Longer Lasting lipstick in 06. It’s absolutely spot on and less drying than the ‘original’.
  5. The kiss stud earrings by jewelry line Winden are designed and handmade in New York City. The materials used are almost exclusively manufactured in the USA, the majority of which are recycled.
  6. This palm leaf print bikini by Danish brand Underprotection is made from eco-friendly material, certified by the Fair Wear Foundation. All of their styles are ethically produced in New Delhi, India, in collaboration with a small local factory.
  7. Kiko’s bright lift serum is one of my current favourite skincare products. It gives your face an instant glow. Paraben free and not tested on animals.
  8. In The Kinfolk Home: Interiors for slow living, Kinfolk founder Nathan Williams showcases how embracing that same ethos—of slowing down, simplifying your life, and cultivating community—allows you to create a more considered, beautiful, and intimate living space.
feb-mar-apr-shoppingreflections

I know, I know, in a previous post I mentioned how I wanted to do a monthly update on my shopping habits but unfortunately life got in the way. Which isn’t so bad really because that left me little time to do some actual (online) shopping. So for this one I’m keeping it short and simple. These past three months I only bought two things; a new pair of jeans and a reusable shopping bag. Not bad right?

I could have done better in the jeans department though because I ended up buying a new pair from Topshop. I did some research on more conscious, environmental friendly brands but I haven’t been able to find what I’m looking for just yet. I’m super short so most jeans are much too long for me and these Jamie jeans are an excellent fit. They hit just above the ankle. I do feel that they sag a little after a couple of wears but I think I also lost a bit of weight. Let’s just go with the latter, just to cheer me up on this gloomy day.

Next up my Susan Bijl reusable shopping bag. Since the start of this year stores in the Netherlands can no longer hand out free shopping bags. A great initiative obviously and also a great excuse to buy another bag as I don’t fancy carrying around designer bags with vegetables and shower gel. When you live or work in Rotterdam it’s hard not to be familiar with The New Shoppingbag and with good reason. It’s  made of 100%  super strong ripstop nylon used for manufacturing kites, it’s water repellent and folds up really small. And it’s always nice to support a ‘local’ designer.

So that’s it after three months. It might seem as though I’m really happy with my wardrobe and I don’t need anything right now but I will definitely have to start looking around for summer clothing soon. Mostly tops as I wear them all year round (underneath sweaters and cardigans) and some can no longer be seen in broad daylight.

How did you do the past couple of months boo boo, shopping-wise?