Monday, May 30, 2011

My Shopping Rules- OR - How to never wear the same thing again!

This post is a bit of a departure for me.
As I am sure you have gathered from my many other posts, I don't usually write too much.
This is mainly due to the fact that I believe a picture is worth a thousand words (how cliche) and that I don't particularly always enjoy reading other people's rants and raves or what they ate for breakfast.
I assure you - this is not a rant and I have no breakfast to tell you about.

Many of you are aware of the controversy surrounding many of the more famous fashion/style bloggers. Some of the controversy centers on how they can afford to wear a brand new expensive outfit every single day, have time to photograph themselves in it and still have a life.
If you walk away with nothing else from this post please remember:

1. You Too Can Never Wear The Same Thing Again

2. Great Style Is Not Necessarily Expensive
As you will remember from THIS POST, I talked about re-wearing an outfit. By this I meant that I wore the exact same thing, not just the same shirt or the same shoes. There is nothing wrong either of these things. There is also nothing wrong with wearing something "different" everyday. I will explore the latter in this post.

At the end of my Grade 12 year, a girl in my class commented (or lamented?) that she had "never seen me wear the same thing twice". I was flattered but knew that it was not really true. She had never seen me wear the same combination of things twice. There is a big difference.

Those of you who visit this blog on a regular basis have seen my very recent series of three outfits which all use the same dress as their base. They all look different from one another.  Ari from Ari Sunshine made a really great point when she commented on one of those posts and said (I paraphrase) "it is very important for a person to be able to combine individual pieces of clothing well"". This is absolutely the truth. 
You don't need to have a billion dollar budget in order to wear something "new" everyday, or even to have a stylish wardrobe. The bottom line is this: if you don't know how to properly put together an outfit, or match one piece with another, you can make even a designer ensemble into a boring flop or a fashion faux pas.
Don't get me wrong - I do have very expensive pieces in my wardrobe but I also have a plethora of cheaper (thrift store vintage) pieces and some that were FREE. I don't mean Free - as in a sponsor gave them to me free. I mean free as in - they were discarded by friends/colleagues/family members or the dregs of a garage sale (The ubiquitous "free" pile).
The key to having something new to wear every single day is NOT an unlimited budget - it is being smart with your money, working with what you have, taking care of what you have and always looking for the potential in every piece/place that you see/go. Shop smart.

The following are some of my shopping rules. Follow at your own discretion.
1. Cheaper is not always better
2. Expensive is not always better
3. Shop Everywhere - (thrift, boutique, high end, hardware store etc.)
4. Don't buy clothing on credit. Never. If you can't afford it - move on.
5. Don't only buy from the Sale rack
6. Don't only buy regular price
7. Shop online but adhere to a limit (see#4)
8. If you want something expensive - save up for it (see#4)
9. Never shop with a friend (if at all possible)*
10. Know what you already own
11. Never shop near closing time - you will impulse buy
12. Keep a list (wants/needs/inspirations)
13. If at first you don't find it - keep looking

*A lot of people don't agree with this but friends or shopping buddies if you will, can really hinder you while you shop. They have different expectations (they want to go to another store perhaps), they may have more or less money than you (we don't want awkward situations) and they may not have your best interests at heart or share your vision for whatever look you are creating. In severe instances women will even stop other women from buying things that look fabulous on them because they are jealous. I also feel guilty if I make people wait too long for me to try on garments. Obviously I do shop with other people - it just isn't my preferred modus operandi. If I am planning on looking for something specific I prefer to go alone or split up and meet at a predetermined location.

I have broken down the prices of the individual pieces to show that looking good doesn't have to cost a lot of money. I haven't listed the stores the items came from (those are in the original posts) but I am sure you can guess that almost all of the items under $10 came from a thrift store. And yes - the dress really did cost 25 cents.
(Click on the photos to see the original posts.)

More Outfits After The Jump!

 Did any of you notice that the bracelets are the same in two of the outfits above?
How about that I use the same belt more than once? Same Vest?
I have posted 26 different outfits thus far, and in them I:
Wore the same boots 4 times.
Wore the same belt 3 times
Wore the same dress 3 times.
Wore 4 different pairs of shoes twice each and the list goes on.
Yet I never really wore the same thing twice. It is all about creativity! Mix and Match what you have in your closet - try new things! Shop at new stores because you never know what you will find. Garage sales are great, as are thrift stores. They always have fantastic things at fantastic prices and it's even better when they are a charitable organization. I love Goodwill* and The Salvation Army because they give back to the community and they carry some amazing things.
Another tip to keep your outfits looking fresh and different - pay attention to your hair and makeup! Change them up to liven your look and stave off feelings of blah.
Enjoy your week folks - go forth and be inspired!

PS. Remember what I said about shopping everywhere? The blue sweater above is from the men's section of a thrift store. That's right - MEN'S.


* The Goodwill link above is for the Alberta website. Google Goodwill for a location near you. It goes without saying that I am promoting these organizations because of the good work they do in the community and not for personal financial gain.


  1. A woman after my own heart! Although I can't imagine spending $1400 for a bag (I would take the money and go to Malta or something), it's one of the things that are possible when you take the time to thrift shop.


  2. I love that first outfit! So cute!

  3. Love your tips! I agree. I love reading blogs with short verbage, and more pictures. Because I follow so many, I can't really read the novel ones in great detail! I used to have this rule that I never wanted to be seen in the same outfit twice, which is why my wardrobe expanded exponentially! Then I realized I could just revamp certain looks (remix them) and still come off like I'm wearing a different outfit! Still hasn't really curtailed my shopping, but I do wear items more than once now! haha

  4. completely agree, lydia! this is a perfect post, your tips are so useful. afraid I might have to bookmark this one too!

    beth xx

    p.s I mentioned you in my latest post x

  5. I couldn't agree more! Not only can it get stressful trying to figure out what to wear with a humongous wardrobe & can bankrupt you, most people tend to always gravitate back to their favorite pieces! I’m a huge fan of thrifting for financial reasons, but also because you have way more original pieces than everyone else and, you’re not hurting the environment with more production! Win win win : ) Loved your piece & how you mix things up to make adorable outfits. that purple dress is amazing!

  6. Great post! And I couldn´t agree more! It´s not about what you own, it´s about how you can combine it! And you´re doing it so well!

    xx Ivana

  7. I completely agree with you! You look Fabulous btw!

  8. Brava!!! in Italian means Very Good!
    Lydia this is an amazing post with a lot of useful tips!!!
    If you don't mind on one of my following post I will refer to this one!!!

  9. Now this one of the reasons I follow your blog. A woman of substance!

  10. i absolutely love the last look! :)

  11. Very well said Lydia!!! WOW you literally got me reading this post over and over again. This is so truthful and great tips. As a blogger who blogs about my own outfits too couldn't agreed more. I do too wear and mix and match all my accessories and wear practically the same ones in my outfit posts! is all about been creative.
    Thank you for such tips doll...


  12. Why are you such a genius?????
    It's true that you have to shop everywhere in order to find the perfect items. Expensive is not always better. Expensive can be crap as much as cheap can be crap. It's all about buyer discretion.
    Twitter: @GlamKitten88

  13. Thank you so much everyone for the comments! I was unsure how a longer post like this would go over - I'm glad that once in a while it's well received. I had such a busy stressful day at work and it was so nice to come back to the computer and see how engaged everyone was! I appreciate your feedback so much :)
    I'm glad that so many people out there agree with me and share the same ideas. It's all about the creativity and mixing it up :)
    Thanks again everyone!

  14. That was very useful. thanks. I also find that I shop better alone. Less pressure

  15. this is cool!
    thanks for the sweet comment!

  16. what a cute outfit. i love the military detailing of that crop jacket..

  17. Lydia, this is a wonderful post. And it harkens back to why I enjoy reading fashion blogs. Unlike magazines (which I also read) the fashion on blogs is, for the most part, affordable and accessible - fashion for real women, not someone who can drop $5,000 on a trendy jacket. We all have to live in a real world, and I love seeing how people create such robust personal styles out of limited budgets or limited amounts of shopping choices, or limited places to wear clothes (i.e. you have to wear a suit every day). Well done!

  18. Lydia...I knew I liked your blog for more than one reason. This is an excellent post. Perfectly put. Thank you for sharing your honest & open self and being so brave in the process!

  19. Thanks everyone! I am so happy that you enjoyed this one :) I'm sorry for the late comments - been super busy!


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