Don’t you hate it when you’re proud of yourself that you actually managed to cut down on clothing purchases the past 6 months and then the sales hit? Yeah, me too. I bought not one, but two striped tops these past two weeks. Because as we all know, you can never own too many striped shirts or sweaters. So let me tell you about my new two purchases and while I’m at it, which striped tops I think are worth your money.
The Isabel Marant Étoile sweater probably doesn’t qualify as your typical classic striped top but it’s a stripe nevertheless. I figured a hint of colour would do my wardrobe some good. I cleaned my closet a few weeks ago and I had to conclude that white, black and navy blue make up for 99% of my wardrobe. I first spotted it at the Bijenkorf in Amsterdam but after trying it on, I quickly did an internet search and found it for €40 less and free shipping. Easy decision right?
The A.P.C. top turned out a little different than I expected from the pictures but it made me like it even more. It looks black and white but is actually more of a creme colour with navy blue stripes. It’s quite boxy, has a boat neck and the 3/4 sleeves are always a plus in my book. So different enough from my Comme des Garçons shirts to warrant to purchase. D. was a bit sceptical and asked: “Are you sure you like those splits on the sides?” He knows I like my clothes as simple as possible. But yes, I do, on this shirt.
As for brands that I recommend if you are looking for a breton shirt?
Comme des Garçons Play. They come in different colours and everyone loves that red little heart on the chest. I’ve gotten so many compliments and both of them still look wonderful. I’ve had one of them for at least 5 years and wear them regularly. I prefer the mens version because it’s not as fitted and a tiny bit longer.
Saint James does the striped shirt as no other. T-shirts, long sleeves, knitted sweaters… And I’m also a sucker for heritage brands. They do different styles so there’s something for everyone. I personally prefer the unisex Minquiers Moderne shirt and can also highly recommend the Maree II merino sweater.
Another favourite brand is Petit Bateau. The Bayure shirt ticks all the boxes. Not too fitted, slightly boxy and a boat neck.
A.P.C. has different striped shirts every season. So it’s pretty hit or miss if you’re as particular as I can be. The one above is currently on sale (also comes in a dress). The new version is up now on the A.P.C. website. I also recommend the striped t-shirts if you’re looking for one.
To be honest, I don’t own any striped tops by Uniqlo. But I’m impressed with the overall quality of the brands clothes so I’m 99% sure these shirts will not disappoint. This particular one resembles the fit and colour from that A.P.C. top apart from the longer sleeves.
Upon request, my purchases of 2018. Better late than never I suppose. I’ll keep the introduction short because we know how this works, right? While I’m a little embarrassed by the number of purchases, I feel that this year will be better. We’re halfway through March and I have only purchased three things so far (one of them, my dream bag). If I keep this up and go for a maximum of 1 item per month, I would be very content. I’m still not sure what triggered last year’s shopping sprees. Maybe I felt a bit bored with my wardrobe or maybe it was because I didn’t plan any purchases in advance and just went with it. Even though I keep a list throughout the year on my phone, I never took the time to reflect on it. Anyway, here goes…
Purchases January until June
Ah yes, shoes! If I’m not buying coats, I’m buying shoes, apparently. The year started with a pair of Aeyde Neil boots (discount). A modern take on the Chelsea boot with a square nose. These were a replacement for my Massimo Dutti boots. I absolutely love them and just brought them to the cobbler for new heels. The G.H. Bass Weejun loafers were also a replacement. One of my old loafers had an actual hole in the sole.
The other pairs were not a necessity but just something that I really liked such as the electric blue Vagabond sandals (sale). I have gotten so many compliments on those and they’re extremely comfortable. What’s next… two pairs of leather flat sandals. The first pair, pictured on the left is from Zara. They reminded me of the YSL slides for a fraction of the price. The other pair is from H&M. Very simple and clean with delicate leather straps.
Finally, I ordered a pair of Repetto ballet flats. Such a classic purchase and also, on sale. At first I was a little hesitant because of the toe cleavage but I enjoyed wearing them. Unfortunately our train station has the most awful paving tiles and it damages all the noses of your shoes so I only wore them to work twice. As of last week the bus now stops at a different location so that’s a relief.
Not pictured but a fun addition; my Whitney Houston t-shirt from Topshop. I had to have it. It’s BrWhitney bitch! The Mango linen blouse on the left is really nice although it obviously needs some serious ironing every time you wash it. The light yellow t-shirt is from H&M. I really liked the look with white trousers. Just a subtle pop of color. The blouse from Ganni was a bit risky I suppose, as I don’t wear prints very often. But combined with my flared jeans it’s a totally different look from my usual uniform.
I threw a bunch of old white t-shirts out before summer. The replacements include a simple white tanktop, a white linen Isabel Marant t-shirt (sale) and two Uniqlo t-shirts (discount). I highly recommend those Uniqlo tees. They’re thick and the fit is lovely. A finally a classic Saint-James striped knitted sweater made of 100% wool.
On to the jeans/trousers department. As I mentioned in this post, I was excited to discover the wide legged jeans trend for summer. I’m over skinny jeans and currently prefer either a straight or wide pair of jeans. I especially like the pair on the left, from Topshop. The white jeans can be a bit tricky of course but I like it paired with my A.P.C. striped t-shirt from last year and loafers.
While I would rather buy jeans with a little less stretch material, I do tend to go for Topshop jeans when I’m looking for something specific like those flared jeans. I’m only 1.65m and you can’t tailor a pair of jeans like that. It changes the whole silhouette and will look out of proportion. These are a perfect fit in a length 30 though.
Are you still with me? I totally understand if this post is testing your patience LOL. But alas, it is what it is. I can’t make it any shorter. Anyway, I went to visit Vicky in Antwerp and we did some shopping. I ended up with a bikini (sale). The high waisted bottoms are a big thumbs up. A crushed velvet blazer (sale) and a pair of chinos (sale). I think that was the most shopping I did all at once since years.
And to end these 6 months, I bought not one but two dresses. The first one was a white midi button dress by Zara. I have to confess, it’s still hanging in my closet with the tags attached. When does one wear a white dress? As pretty as it seems, it’s not very functional. If I don’t wear it this summer, I’ll sell it. The other button dress by New Look was very much a succes.
Purchases July to December
The last 6 months were somewhat better in terms of shopping. &Other Stories is my favorite store for blazers and I picked up 4 blazers with a discount. I don’t know, I find them so useful because they easily make every outfit work appropriate, they can be worn as jackets when it’s a little less cold and they’re excellent for layering. I paired these blazers with a wool black turtleneck.
And for my final purchases of 2018… The Filippa K Pointelle sweater (sale) I had my eye on it for a while but I didn’t want to pay full price for it. So I was happy when I found it on sale. The Dr. Martens were a nice addition when temperatures dropped and it was snowing. I talked about these for over a year and took the plunge on Black Friday. You know how everyone always tells you these are indestructible? Not if I’m wearing them. I managed to damage the nose on a piece of metal on the first wear. Shit happens, I guess.
That makes a total of 28 purchases. I got rid of some old pieces of clothing that were worn out. Mostly tops. Those get a lot of wear year round. Regarding replacement buys, I’m very happy with every single one of them although some are slightly different from the item that I discarded. I no longer believe that there is such a thing as ‘the perfect garment’ that you will wear forever or that clothes and accessories are ‘investments’ unless you’re buying a Birkin bag. While I might think the G.H. Bass loafers are the best out there, I might think very differently years from now when I need a new pair.
As Vivienne Westwood said: “Buy less, choose well, make it last.” I fully agree but don’t expect them to last forever. Just be mindful of your purchases and buy things that will compliment your existing wardrobe and make you excited to get dressed in the morning. Love them until they no longer look presentable and replace them with something just as nice or even nicer. It’s a never ending process and you’re allowed to enjoy it.
So what’s the plan for 2019? Personally, I’m not big on shopping bans. I don’t see that working for me to be honest. That would be too much of a restriction. Like I said at the beginning of this post, I would be content if I bought a maximum of 12 items this year. So I’m back to a short list of things that I’m currently interested in. But I’ll get back to you on that some other time!
Will we ever get enough of the breton shirt? I sincerely doubt it as it has been a classic for decades. Think, Picasso, Audrey Hepburn etc. I admit, I took me a while to finally appreciate this timeless piece. My first striped top was a cheap black/white shirt years ago. It didn’t get the wear it deserved. Mostly because my closet was filled to the brim and also because it looked awful after just a few washes. Quality brands such as Saint James and Petit Bateau were still unknown to me.
After that, I decided to save up for a Comme des Garçons shirt which I bought at Dover Street Market in London. I’m usually not one to go for visible logos but I couldn’t resist that tiny red heart. As of recently, I’m now the owner of two Comme des Garçons shirts, an old H&M blouse and an A.P.C. t-shirt (my latest addition). All striped but still different enough to warrant the purchase. Which brings to mind the question: how many striped shirts is enough?
Do you own any striped tops? What is your favourite brand?
Another year, another overview of my purchases. Albeit an extremely late one. My apologies! There is a lot to catch up on. Although I didn’t write about my acquisitions throughout the year, I still keep a list on my phone which I update on a regular basis. The document also shows lists from previous years so that’s a pretty good reality check whenever I need one. I haven’t been as strict as I used to be and that definitely reflects in my purchases. But let’s see what I bought first before I tell you about my findings and plans for this year. Be warned though, it’s a long post!
The first six months
The beginning of 2017 went by fairly quick and easy. The only thing that I bought was a checkered oversized blazer. I wore it to my first day at my new job with black skinny jeans and a pair of chelsea boots. It wasn’t until spring that I started to think about work appropriate clothes for summer. Mind you, my work environment is pretty casual but tanktops or camisoles without a blazer or cardigan are not an option. A white linen blouse (similar here) seemed like a good idea. I actually had that on my list last year as well but I couldn’t find the particular cut that I was looking for. Most of them felt too tight on the hips. But this one was a steal for only €10.
The olive green trousers were another addition to my summer wardrobe. I enjoyed wearing the white linen trousers that I bought last year and figured I could rotate between these and the new green ones. Both are clearly a much better option than my usual pair of jeans on hot summer days. I got some many compliments. A woman even stopped me in the streets to ask me where they were from. They looked especially nice with the Castañer espadrilles. Initially, I bought those in navy but returned them and opted for a black pair instead.
As you can see, I mostly splurged on shoes. I tried to be a wise and ethical consumer for a change and traded in my old worn out Stan Smits for a pair of Veja sneakers. I usually don’t pay that amount of money for sneakers but hooray for discount codes (I rarely buy anything full price). The black strappy sandals seemed like a good idea at the time. I wanted something similar as the Maryam Nassir Zadeh Sophie sandals but I couldn’t get them to work. I’m going to give it another try this summer and if it doesn’t work out, I’ll sell them. Tip: buying items that are ‘inspired by’ when you’re actually eyeing the real deal is rarely satisfying. Go for the real deal if you can afford it.
And finally, I bought three new simple white t-shirts. I go through those so quickly but I wear them pretty much on a daily basis. I get cold all the time so I need to layer up. This one is always tricky; do I buy more expensive, better quality t-shirts for a higher price or a cheaper high street brand? I own a few Isabel Marant t-shirts that are wonderful but they shouldn’t go unseen underneath a sweater. So now I have a pile of ‘nicer’ t-shirts and a few that are cheap but good enough to wear under other pieces of clothing. It works but I would much rather downsize my wardrobe altogether in the near future.
The last six months
To be honest, I can’t recall whether I bought those blue jeans in the last six months or not. I think it was around July, maybe August. Topshop remains my go to brand for jeans. I love that they sell them at different lengths and they fit me so well in the waist. The only downside is that they don’t last as long as I would like them too. Given that I wear black jeans almost every day during fall and winter, I need replacements too often for my liking.
I have a weak spot for coats. Especially when they’re on sale. The black coat looks more expensive than it is and has also gotten me a few compliments. But after I bought it, that long pile coat came online. It’s a bit over the top but I have never worn a coat that warm. I need to transfer three times on my commute to work and the last thing I want, is to be freezing cold. I feel kind of bad for adding two coats to my existing wardrobe even though I got rid of two older ones. There’s simply no excuse other than that I really like them. Might as well be honest about it.
The grey wool H&M Studio blazer is my most worn item of the year. It is simply perfect. I was a bit hesitant at first because it wasn’t exactly cheap, for H&M anyway. But I’m happy that I bought it. It’s a nice touch to my daily work outfits that mostly consist of jeans and sneakers and excellent for layering. I often pair it with the A.P.C. striped t-shirt which I got on sale. Another sale find were the suede foldable flats. Painful or wet feet (it rains a lot here, what can I say), got that covered. Speaking of shoes again, I was also gifted a pair of Reebok sneakers in december.
Findings and conclusion
2017 was definitely the year where I slacked the most ever since I started the 5PFW. My mind was occupied with a new job, a new house, sick pets and the passing of dear family members. I didn’t make a list for each season (6 months) and just bought a few things on a whim. Luckily, most of them were purchases that I still enjoy. But to be honest, I miss the times where I would carefully plan each and every purchase. I’m sure that sounds boring to some of you but it was my way of acquiring things which were normally out of reach, budget-wise. If I look back on the last couple of years, those are the items that I still treasure the most.
On the other hand, as I discussed with Ellya last Saturday, growing older comes with more responsibilities. And those responsibilities cost money. It’s not all fun and games anymore. I would rather invest in my house, do more traveling or put the money directly in my savings account for unforeseen expenses (and the occasional splurge). I also don’t have the time anymore to scour Ebay or Vestiaire Collective for that one illusive, perfect item. Maybe that’s just how it is and your priorities change over time. It would be nice to find a balance though as I still enjoy fashion.
I still stand behind the idea of the 5 Piece French Wardrobe. It has saved me a lot of money and I have made less regrettable purchases than I used to. So I’m not giving up and I will try to find that balance. I will start with an assessment and purge of my wardrobe soon. I would love to see what makes the cut and if it will create any holes that need to be filled and how I will go about that. Because even though we like to fool ourselves into believing that something as the perfect wardrobe exists, it’s really an ongoing process which is never finished.