The perfect wardrobe

A couple of weeks into the summer sales and my closet is aching. That’s right, aching. A closet can’t ache, you say? Well, mine can, and I feel for it. The rail is slowly bending and buckling, carrying too much weight, there are clothes thrown over the doors that haven’t got a home at present, and closing the wardrobe can no longer happen without a certain amount of well timed pushing and shoving. I  think the odd time I can hear it moan, a slow, tortured groan as the rail sinks a little bit further.

I am moaning with it, as I am once again scanning the house for space, for another free box to store some winter jumpers or a five centimeter gap of rail space in my boyfriends’ wardrobe, where I could sneakily dump one of my winter coats to make space for the new additions. It’s a losing game, as I have long exhausted the options, filled all the gaps, stuffed all the cracks.

There is one thing I have never had and I have wanted all my life: a decent wardrobe. I have never had enough space to house my belongings, which is a real bother, because they are precious to me. Half of them are always stored away somewhere else, crammed and inaccessible. Forget about shoes for the moment – shoe racks must all be designed by men as they tend to fit a maximum of eight pairs and take up half a wall. Eight pairs?! And where will the other 70 pairs go? You’ve got to be kidding me. But wardrobes are just as bad. I have moved many times and so far every single house I rented was a complete and utter disappointment on the closet space front.

It might sound a little excessive that I have so many clothes, they do not fit into a double door wardrobe. Extravagant, people like to tell me, to spend money on so many clothes, when you can get away with a clever 2.5 item capsule wardrobe. Is it really that excessive? What about the book lover whose collection doesn’t fit onto the standard sized Ikea BILLY shelf? Or the music lover whose CD collection doesn’t fit into a fifty pouch CD wallet? Some people like to collect the things they love, and for me, it’s clothes, shoes and what have you. Yes, but you don’t need all these clothes, do you? Of course I don’t need them. Who needs a collection of crystal figurines, or stamps, for that matter? It’s pointless to ask for the purpose of things that people collect because they love them. They have no purpose, except to bring a smile to the face of the owner.

So, this is my dream, and one fine day when I buy my own place, I am going to turn it into reality: a walk in closet. No more plastic boxes with shoes shoved under the bed. No more clothes that disappear between other clothes. No more bending rails. It will also mark the end of a period of occupation of my boyfriend’s closet, which I imagine he will be happy to hear. The wardrobe of my dreams will have:

  • visibility and accessibility: everything will be on display. There won’t be any clothes stuffed into dark corners any more. My walk in closet will not have shelves beyond my reach and sight. Out of sight out of mind, as they say. I have to store clothes I don’t wear often because I simply do not have the space to keep them in my wardrobe. But this mostly just means that they go from “not worn much” to “not worn at all”.
  • space:  clothes should have space to breath, there should be gaps between hung up garments so that you can see what you have and that they do not crinkle or hold humidity.
  • appropriate storage: plenty of racks for shoes, drawers for underwear and socks, ample rails for clothes, including high rails for floor lenghts gowns and long coats, shelves for hats and bags, a little rack for sunglasses and plenty of  boxes and chests for my jewellery.
  • full length changing room mirrors
  • seating and nice light, to enjoy my walk in wardrobe with a friend and a glass of wine.

It may be years away, but a girl can still dream!

Summer Lace

Lace has been another huge trend this summer, revived by using bold colors and pretty pastels rather than the traditional black. The lace trend is set to continue into autumn/winter but really, lace is a classic and will never go out of fashion. Garments resembling lace have been around since roman times, and real lace has been in widespread use since the 16th century.

While black lace is perfect for evening dresses, the colorful versions are playful and romantic and work as well for daytime as for evening. If you choose a colorful version, go for a classic cut, so it won’t go out of fashion quickly and you’ll be able to wear it for years. If the full on lace look is too much for you, choose a dress with a subtle lace inlay.

These are my favorites, available now on www.asos.com and www.warehouse.co.uk.

                     

From left to right: Pink lace dress from Asos, Pink Skater Lace dress from Oasis, Coral Lace dress from Oasis, Yellow Lace dress from Warehouse, Yellow Anglaise Dress from Asos, baby blue Midi Tea dress from Asos, embellished Prom dress from Warehouse, dress with lace inlay from Warehouse.

Summer Leather

Colored leather has been a huge trend this year, and now is the right time to pick up some of these beautiful pieces in the sales. Leather to me is timeless. Go for a classic cut and you will be able to virtually wear it forever.

This is how the designers did it:

                    

Clockwise, from top left: Nappa leather dress by Gucci, Yellow Leather Skirt by J Crew, Leather Jacket by Carven, Blue Suede Skirt by Burberry Prorsum, all on sale and available from www.netaporter.com.

If you thought on spending a little bit less, why not snap up one of these beautiful pieces from the highstreet:

                  

Clockwise from top left: pleat side leather dress from Warehouse, leather shift dress from Urban Code, leather jacket from Warehouse, pleated leather skirt from Oasis. Available from www.warehouse.co.uk and www.asos.com

How to handle the summer sales – 5 top tips to get full value out of half price

It’s that time of year again. Summer has just about started (for some of us, sorry UK and Ireland!) and ironically, so have the sales. I can remember a time, about five or six years ago, when the sales were just plain depressing and no proper bargains were to be had anywhere in the western hemisphere. People had money, or thought they did, and were spending heavily. It was a time when I wouldn’t flinch at handing over 70 Euros for a nice top, even though I was earning very little. It was what it cost, and if you weren’t willing to part with that kind of money, you had to wear something ugly. Nice clothes were selling out quickly and nobody was holding out for the sales. What was still available in the end of season sales wasn’t anything you would have bought in the first place. I’m not saying bless the recession but really, apart from the collapse of the world economy, the breakdown of the housing market and the rise in unemployment, it has been a god send for us compulsive shoppers. Yes, you may take this with a pinch of salt.

For my part, I haven’t bought ANYTHING at full price in about a year. I don’t have to – I only have to lurk around my favourite stores a bit more often, and usually the item I desire will be available in some sort of mid season sale at half price within a few weeks of arriving in store. This speculative wait works for me 95% of the time. I forget about the other five percent I couldn’t get on sale. Half price or not, you can’t have everything.

If you want to get the most out of the summer sales, here are my top tips for how to do it:

1. Go early

If you want to get the best bargains, you have to be the first in the shop when the sale starts. High street chains can be a bit erratic and they are not going to tell you when exactly they will put up the 70% off signs, so you’ll have to be on their case. Walking past a few times a week is crucial – or exchange information with your equally fashion enthusiastic friend or colleague.

2. Know what you want

Before you even approach the sales rack (which is probably chaos, and blocked off by buggies and dangerous looking women with elevated elbows), know what it is that you want to buy today. How do I do that, you wonder? I follow the collections of my favourite labels either instore or on their website. By the time the sale starts, I already have two or three things in mind that I would like to get, but wasn’t willing to pay the full price for. So in amongst all the chaos, look for the items you wanted anyway. Knowing what you are looking for will focus you immensely, and you are reducing the risk of coming home with some neon green bodycon dress that you got because it was the only cheap thing in your size.

3. Don’t forget the rules of “What not to buy

They apply to the sales equally. You do not have to get something because it is cheap. Something cheap you are not going to wear is still money wasted.

4. Accept the queue

There will be a queue for the changing room when the sales are on and the shops are busy. Live with it. You absolutely have to try things on before you buy them as most shops have a no returns policy on reduced items. Unless of course you have followed point 2, and already tried on what you are going to buy today before it came on sale.

5. Shop the web

We all know the problem – you have found your favourite dress, the last remaining one, at half price, and coincidentally also at half your size. “I will lose some pounds,” you keep saying to yourself, and buy the dress that you will never be able to fit into. This may sound cruel, but to be good at the sales game you have to be honest with yourself. You will live a much better life accepting your figure and having another pie than trying to slim yourself into a dress. But don’t despair! If there is a will, there is a way, and nowadays you can get ANYTHING you want on the internet. A woman who was smarter and quicker than you might have beaten you to the dress in your size, but there is a good chance it is still available on the website.

So, happy shopping!