Category Archives: Style

How to spend less on fashion but get more – mend and make ‘new’

Love clothes shopping? But fear you spend too much? Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to spend less on fashion but get more. Well, welcome to part 3 on the series of how to enhance your wardrobe on a budget. If you haven’t read the guide on saving online or the one on saving money on fashion in store, go check them out.

In this post, we’re focussing on how to enhance your wardrobe by refreshing what you already have or creating new items. New clothes without having to shop!

If you’re like me and you love a bargain, then I’m willing to bet you’ve experienced one or two shopping fails. By that I mean, hems coming down on skirts or buttons coming off when you really could do with looking SHARP.

Why does this happen? Well 50% of the time it’s down to the fact that you’ve worn that precious piece of clothing to death and the other half of the time it’s probably because it was cheaply made. Yup. That’s the problem with buying clothes at primani….they won’t last.  Anyway, it’s a good job you’ve found this guide on how to make your clothes last longer! So let’s begin.

Mending

The first reaction when clothes rip, buttons fall off or zips break is to throw them away and replace but it’s so easy to fix them, and even make them look BETTER!

Hems

We’ve all been there. Hell, at school we ALL suffered from the issues of a loose hem. Well, the problem now is that we don’t have our mums to rely on to fix it. Some of you now even have daughters whose hems need controlling! Fortunately, unlike your parents, you have a bit of genius technology on your side to make this problem so much easier to fix. Hem tape.

This amazing product means you can do without a needle and thread and fix a loose hem in minutes, all while doing the ironing!

All you do is snip off a piece of hem tape a little longer than the area to be re-hemmed, slide it into the area, and iron over it. The adhesive on the tape melts with the temperature of the iron and sticks the material in place, wash after wash!

For a great guide on how to use it, check out Brit + Co.

Buttons

Your button falls off, and typically, it’s at bra level. Damnit. You could chuck the top/shirt/jacket/dress away OR you could replace that button….and the rest of the buttons and make it look even better that it did before.

This is where a trip to John Lewis is called for. Yup. Yes they’re great at Customer Service, yes their electronic prices are the best you’re going to get offline, but they’ve also got one of the best haberdashery sections you’re going to find. Period.

Take the garment you have in mind to ‘re-button’ and let yourself go wild with options. Just bear in mind the size of the buttonhole.

Different buttons could make the clothing look so much better as shown below by the AMAZING Tilly and the Buttons. If you want to learn anything to do with making and mending clothing – from the very basics to creating your own wardrobe – she is your girl.

Courtesy of Tillyandthebuttons.com

Another great guide on stitching buttons can be found at the lovely site Plum Deluxe.

Ripped seams

Maybe you ate too much? Or you wore a bra that gave too much ‘oomph’? Or you simply caught what you were wearing on something and it ripped? If it’s along a seam, then it’s very easy to mend. You just need a needle and thread that matches the colour of the fabric.

Cut a length of thread, thread it through the needle until it’s halfway through and tie both ends together several times over so you end up with a big thick knot. Then when you stitch it through the clothing, each stitch will be twice as secure. For tips on how to sew different items, check out this great article from thespruce.com.

Fixing faded clothing

It’s so easy to pick out a person’s favourite clothing. For me, it’s black skinny jeans. I wear them to death, and with a 2 year old, I spend a lot of time chasing him around on all fours so the knees are pretty worn. Rather than replace them, a quick cycle with some black fabric dye makes them as good as new.

‘Un-shrinking’

Did you know you could even do that to clothes? If you’re like me and you’ve done some proper damage to a lot of the wardrobe by using the tumble dryer too often, then you should read this guide from the Tips Bulletin. It covers every type of material and there’s a lot of great advice in there.

But it’s not just a case of mending, dye is great for making clothes look better and that brings me nicely on to my next section on how to enhance your wardrobe even further….

Enhancing

A few years ago I bought a royal blue dress off of eBay. It was from Oasis, it fit me well but it was very frilly and bright and I wore it once.

A few months ago, I used fabric dye to change it to black and now I have a dress I love that’s just the right level of understated, that I can wear for work and out and it’s bang on trend with it’s frilliness.  And it probably cost me little more than 20 quid.

But that’s not the only way to make your existing wardrobe look even better.

Cut offs

If you’re shorter than average like me, you have a great advantage as you can buy long length clothes and make them edgey by cutting them to the length you need and fraying the ends.

This is very simple to do. Just cut to the length you need with fabric scissors, or super sharp kitchen scissors, and then pull at loose threads to create more of a frayed effect.

For a more detailed account of how to do it, check out InStyle’s guide here.

Sequins and embellishment

Slogan tees are hot right now but there aren’t that many in the high street so if you find one, chances are you’ll meet someone wearing the same thing pretty quickly. So, why not create something of your very own?

It’s so simple that I first did it when I was 12 years old. Simply get a t-shirt that you like, a long length of sequin trim and some fabric glue. Then, and this is the most crucial stage, find a SIMPLE pattern or phrase that you’d like to spell out on the top.

Draw it out on a sheet of A4 paper (any bigger and it’ll be too big for the top), cut out the shape and then use that as a guide, by placing it on the tee. Using a fine pen, draw out the pattern and then starting at one end start to glue on the sequin trim. You may need several layers to create the desired effect. Once complete, use a needle and thread to stitch a few key sequins in place to secure the embellishment, and then you’re done.

Another way of doing this, and with slightly larger sequins, can be shown by the lovely A Pair and a Spare here.

And if sparkle isn’t your thing, you can do simple embellishment of clothing to MATCH designer clobber with my save or splurge guide here. How to enhance your wardrobe (and trick people into thinking you’ve spent a fortune!).

Finally, there are plenty of ways to extend the life of your wardrobe just by pairing oldish clothes with new accessories. Becky Goddard-Hill over at Family-Budgeting.co.uk has a fab guide here that’s well worth reading.

So next time you’re tempted to throw something away because you think it’s past it, and pull out the credit card, see if your creativity can save you a bit of money.

How to spend less on fashion but get more – In Store

Welcome to part 2 in the series of how to find all the best fashion deals! If you haven’t read part 1 yet – how to save money on fashion online, then go there now….and then come back here to read on about fashion offers in store. Thank you muchly 🙂

Anyhoo, I mentioned at the start of the series that it’s hard to put a figure on your monthly clothing spend. And that’s not just because we really don’t want to (eek!). It’s also because we don’t tend to go out on a regular basis for clothes. Instead, we buy when we need to replace items, or to restock our wardrobe during sales periods or at the start of a new season. Well, regardless of how often you purchase clothes and how much you spend, I’m sure you’d love to spend less.

So let’s crack on with tips on how to grab fashion offers in store!

Buying fashion in store

As easy as online shopping is, the downside is that you can’t see the item on the hanger. Nor can you touch the material or try it on to see how it fits you. Often those three factors can be huge in determining whether you buy something or not. So if you buy online, you run a huge risk that you’ll be dissatisfied with the item and have to return it. Annoying.  In fact, according to research by the BBC, 2/3rds of clothes bought online are returned.

And yet, we still buy clothes online because we know it’s so easy to find a bargain. But don’t think for one moment that deals can’t be found when shopping on the high street. There are loads of tricks to find fashion offers in store!

Have a plan

Browsing is dangerous. Yup. That’s a strange statement right there. But it is dangerous. If you enter a clothes shop with a open mind and money to burn, you’ll end up spending quite a lot.

So, the best way to keep a limit on your spending is to decide before you walk through the door what you intend to buy and stick to it.

And every time you’re tempted by something else, make a mental note to think about it again later and run through these questions:

  1. Do I need it? i.e. will I wear it lots and will it go with a lot of clothes I currently don’t wear but should?
  2. Will it suit me? Think in terms of colour, cut, style and age-wise
  3. How can I buy it more cheaply? Unless you can find a way of paying 50% of the full price for it, wait for the sale!

Vouchers

If you’re venturing out to the shops, you’ll know which retailers will be there, so before you leave, check online to see if there are any in store voucher codes available for those places. Just as you would search online for vouchers and codes to get a discount on your favourite retailers’ website, you can often apply most of these at the till in a store too. Always check terms and conditions before you do though.

In store cashback

My favourite cashback site, Quidco, has a great tool whereby you register your debit or credit cards securely on their site and then when you buy anything in store at places like Debenhams or Jojo Maman Bebe, you’ll automatically be credited with a percentage of your spend as cashback in your Quidco account! Just visit Quidco now and click on the Ways to Earn and High Street tabs.

For more info on how cashback sites work you can read my guide here.

Wait for sales

If you’re like me and patience is not one of your virtues then this will be a tough one. The thing to remember, however, is that sales take place a lot more frequently than they used to and you could save yourself as much as 60% of the full price.

If waiting seems too hard, sign up to the retailer’s mailing list (if it has one) as you may get advanced notice of when the sales are to start which at least means you have a date to focus on!

Buy quality over quantity

Technically this requires you spending more upfront rather than less, but you’ll realise the savings over the long term. Cheaper clothes are typically made with cheaper materials which don’t last very long and will need replacing fairly often. And more trips to the shops mean more temptation to buy other things! So if you’re buying items like white shirts (that you don’t want to go see-through very quickly) or a staple jumper (that shouldn’t stretch beyond your knees the first time you wear it), seek out a good quality version and see it as a long term investment.

Charity shops (particularly in wealthier areas!)

There is probably nowhere you’ll pick up a better bargain on a good brand name than a charity shop. Having volunteered in one as a teenager, I can assure you that the sorting process is incredibly thorough and it’s rare that anything other than a high quality brand, in nearly new condition or better, will get on to their shelves. So you can be sure that you’ll pick up something great and it will only cost you a few quid.

Even better, a fellow money blogger, ThriftyMum.com, recommended to me to visit charity shops located in wealthier areas as the stock is likely to be very high end!

Check out bargain retailers and supermarkets for basic items

Pants, t-shirts, basic jeans and kids clothes are always great items to buy from the supermarket. Stores like Asda and Sainsbury’s have some very good clothing brands under their belts and the prices are great. While they’re never going to be bang on trend, don’t underestimate these stores for the basic essentials.

Haggle

You may be surprised to hear that it’s not just at the market that you can haggle on the price of your purchase; major retailers will do it too. According to a survey conducted my Moneysavingexpert.com of its readers, it’s possible to successfully haggle for a cheaper price in TK MAXX, John Lewis, Debenhams, Clarks and M&S!

So go get your negotiation face on and see what you can achieve.

Shop with an honest friend

My final piece of advice on spending less on fashion in store is to take a friend with you who will be able to tell you straight if something suits you and is worth buying or not. Stores play a lot of tricks on customers in the changing rooms by using soft lighting and  flattering mirrors to make you think you look better than you do so get someone to give you honest feedback and it could end up saving you a fortune!

What was the last thing you bought in store? Would you try haggling?

 

How to spend less on fashion but get more – online

I recently hosted a Twitter chat organised by the UK Money Bloggers community on how to save money on fashion. With over 100 financial experts in the group, you can only imagine how much helpful advice was flying about in 140 character form.

If you missed the twitter chat, and my radio interview on Share the next morning (HOW DARE YOU?!), don’t despair for there are plenty of ways to catch up! A full round up of the chat can be found here, and for the radio interview, just press play below!

But if you want more than that, and NEED a detailed guide on how to spend less on your fashion needs then read on!

But first…

How much do you think you spend on clothing each month? According to a recent survey by Ariel, the average Brit spends over £1,000 on new clothes every year. That’s £83.33 a month.

Maybe you splash the cash every week or perhaps you have a splurge at the end of every season to exploit the sales, and to get your mitts on the new trends?

Well whether you love clothes shopping or you hate it, you probably wish you didn’t spend so much on it. Wouldn’t it be great if you could learn how to bag a bargain every time?

In this series of posts, I’ll cover every which way of saving money in the clothing department but the first area of focus is fashion offers online!

Buying fashion online

In this fast-paced world of e-commerce, consumers have a lot of power. There is so much competition that retailers are bending over backwards to take our money. It’s true.

What this means is that it’s now possible to NEVER pay full price for any clothes you buy online.

1. Cashback

Before you visit a retailer’s website, visit a cashback site.  By logging on to Quidco or Topcashback first, and clicking through to the retailer you need from that site, when you buy something, your purchase will track through the cashback site and you’ll earn some money back on your purchase! It sounds complicated so read my foolproof guide on how cashback sites work.

2. Voucher codes sites

Similarly, check for voucher codes. There are so many sites to choose from so I recommend googling the retailer name followed by the phrase ‘voucher code’ and checking through the sites that come up for the best deal. You may find that a deal has just expired so be patient as it will be back!

3. Think beyond the brand

If you can’t find voucher codes or cashback on the brand you want to buy, think about which department stores or online sites sell it as one of a number of brands.  For example, Net-a-porter sells a wide range of designer brands and it offers cashback!

4. Share your data

Once you’ve made it to the retailer’s site, look out for pop ups or headers that mention discounts when you sign up to their mailing list or spend over a certain amount. All the retailers want in return is your email address and thats a small price to pay for a money saving offer. What’s more, they’re likely to email you with future offers so you can keep on saving! 

5. Be patient

It used to be the case that retailers only held sales on big calendar days like the 27th December and we’d all go to bed early on Boxing Day to get ready for shopping the next day. Nowadays, however, there are sales far more frequently. if you see something you really want to buy, save the link and check back a few weeks later and you may find it’s heavily reduced.

6. Discounted gift cards

I’m willing to bet that you have been given a gift card at some point and you didn’t use it. You either forgot it was in your wallet or the brand just wasn’t your cup of tea. Well, there’s a way to make money from that!

Zeek is a website where you can sell gift cards at a discount to get the money to spend on the brands you like PLUS you can buy other people’s gift cards at a reduced price! So go have a look and you may find your favourite brands on there.

7. Go second hand

Try Preloved and Ebay for incredibly well kept second hand clothing. You could get your hands on some fantastic brands that have barely been worn and spend very little.  If you don’t fancy shelling out on postage, you could check out local preloved groups on Facebook and go and pick them up yourself.

How’s that for a round of how to find the best fashion offers online? What techniques do you use?

And remember, if you fancy joining one of the UK Money Bloggers’ twitter chats one week, you can find us at #MondayMoneyUK every Monday at 8.30pm.

I’ll be back soon with the next in the series, covering fashion offers in-store!

The five things I’m lusting after this month – March

In a post I published a few weeks ago, I said that in order to succeed with a savings plan, you need to allow yourself treats. Little rewards for keeping focussed.

Well, this post is a round up of the style treats that I’d LOVE to reward myself because I’ve been bloody good at saving money over the last few months.

If you are a Feast Style Thrive follower, you’ll know that I got into a bit of a sticky situation financially at the start of the year and had to borrow some money. As a result, I’ve had to adopt a very strict savings plan to cut my spending in every area and look at ways of making additional money on the side. All legit obvs.

It’s working well and my bank balance is looking a lot rosier. I should be able to pay those new debts off soon too!  However, I’m not going to lie and say it’s been easy. It’s been hard work. Beans on toast for dinner, the occasional bowl of cereal for lunch, a ban on all clothes shopping for 2 months and I’ve swapped nights out for a lot of time on the sofa.

But, because I still have some way to go (and I need to keep motivated), I’m going to reward the efforts so far.  Here are the style treats I’ve got my eye on.

My Lusts

Jimmy Choo Nude Patent Leather Sandals, £495, 2. Mango Quilted Chain Bag, £19.99, 3. Jo Malone Mimosa and Cardamom Perfume, £88 for 100ml, 4. J Crew One Shoulder Ruffle Dress, £174, 5. Mango Asymmetric Black blouse, £35.99

So, I realise it’s probably a bit of a stretch to get all of these things right away, particularly as I’m still supposed to be in serious saving mode, so I have a plan.

My plan to get them all (and still stick to my savings plan)

Here’s how I’m going to do it.

I’m going to get the Mango bag and blouse now. That’s a £55 spend so not too bad.

I’m going to allow myself to buy the dress but only if the price gets reduced by 50%. So I’m going to watch the web like a hawk for cashback or voucher code offers or a sale.

I’m then going to get my husband to buy the perfume duty-free from the airport when he flies next month and that can my treat for April.

And the shoes, well they’ll be my big reward when I’ve paid off my debt.  You cannot find a better incentive than that!

What are you saving for? And have you allowed yourself some style treats along the way?

Save or splurge: Red Fendi Sweater

I love clothes and one of the MANY reasons I try to be good with my money, and save up what I can, is so that I can spend it on filling my wardrobe. The question is…..do you buy cheap and plenty or do you go for fewer, but expensive items? It’s save or splurge time!

Regardless of whether you like to save or splurge, here is my guide to getting this very on-trend lovely little red embellished sweater from Fendi….or one just like it.

Fendi £730, netaporter

Splurge

If you want to splurge and buy the real thing, it’s currently available at net-a-porter. Off you go! Wait…what? You don’t have the funds yet? But you really want it? Ok well, follow the free 5 day FeastStyleThrive e-course and you’ll have made that money in no time.

All you need to do is enter your email address in the box below and the guide will be with you in a jiffy.

Oh and when you do come to buy it, make sure you sign up to cashback site Quidco first and click through to net-a-porter from there. The site is currently offering 3% cash back on all purchases which amounts to a £21.90 saving on this £730 jumper. Not bad eh?

Save

If you don’t want to splash out but want to be up to date with this season’s trends by wearing a jumper very much like this, then here is the solution.

Step 1. Purchase a simple and plain red jumper. Here are two very affordable options currently available on the high street.

Warehouse, £20
White Stuff at Zalando, £45.99

Step 2: Buy a few packs of flower buttons in black and white. The below are available at Etsy.

Etsy, £5.05 plus shipping for a pack of 6 black or 6 white

Step 3: Carefully stitch on the buttons along the neckline, 2-3cm from the top of the material.

Step 4: Don your on trend embellished red sweater with pride. It only cost you approx £60!

How to wear it

Now because I think this is quite a polished style of jumper, if you pair it with the wrong things you could look mumsy. And we don’t want that. The way to avoid that is to wear a cut on the bottom half that directs the eye away from the jumper. You don’t want all the attention on the bottom half, you just want a balance. So, avoid plain black trousers or jeans, blue denim and flat simple pumps. Instead, pair it with statement trousers in cigarette, flare or wide leg or a below the knee A-line or godet style skirt. And BIG statement shoes. It’s also important if you want to be on trend to wear red with red (or with pink) so keep that in mind too.

Now which option would you choose? Save or splurge?