Tag Archives: Shopping

♥ A Bear and a Spreadsheet



I have looked at my unnamed teddy bear (I never got around to christening him) a great deal more than usual this week; I suspect as a reaction to watching Brideshead Revisited (the movie) last weekend and seeing Sebastian Flyte with his bear Aloysius.  Yes, I know it’s been out for an age but I am only just getting around to catching up with a raft of films I missed when they were first released.

Now on to something completed different but trust me there is a tenuous connection.  It may be a sign of incipient insanity but from late 2009 I have kept a clothes spreadsheet, diligently entering the cost and details of everything I bought since then and daily updating the spread sheet on the basis of what I am wearing that day (clothes purchased pre the end of 2009 are not included as it would have been impossible to remember when I purchased them and their exact cost) to arrive at a cost per wear figure.  It’s not time-consuming, it takes about 15 seconds to enter each new purchase and a similar amount of time daily to update the sheet.  It ‘s extremely satisfying to see the cost per were reduce the more I wear something but also very sobering when I look at the per wear cost of items worn infrequently.  I think that the only sane conclusion from studying the spreadsheet is that I have too many clothes; I have in mind as a project for next year to buy less and to properly sift through my closet and remove the bulk of rarely/never worn items.

Now back to the nameless teddy and the tenuous connection.  I bought his blue-striped shirt in Camden Passage in Islington when I lived in London, if I were to work out the cost of the shirt per sq cm it could well be the most expensive separate I ever bought. However unnamed teddy has worn it every day (except for sporadic-shirt-washing-days) since 1990, so on a cost per wear basis it’s almost certainly  my best buy.  Sadly nothing on my clothes spreadsheet comes anywhere close.

Is there anyone else out there who keeps a cost per wear spreadsheet?

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♥ My Rules//Clothes Buying



It has taken me a couple of decades to formulate a loose set of rules through which I try to filter and regulate my clothes buying habits.  I don’t mean to be prescriptive or to offer them as a universal panacea for closets stuffed with inappropriate, unsuitable or unworn clothes; they are just a personal set of guidelines that have helped me avoid mindless random purchases.  I  am sure you have your own clothes-buying rules; here are mine.

At the beginning of the year I make a list of gaps that need to be filled in my closet, if I am exceedingly honest when writing this list, it is minuscule.

I resist the temptation to buy on impulse.  If I feel I am about to utter that oh so dangerous familiar phrase ‘I’ll take it’, I walk away, even if it is just to have a coffee, I find that space for reflection is often enough to dissuade me from purchasing.  I can always go back in a few days to have another look if it’s something that has really caught my imagination.

I don’t buy a piece without being able to answer yes to the following questions: does the item suit me, suit my lifestyle and have I got at least three other items that I can pair it with?

The next question is; is it worth it?  A very subjective judgment but I bear in mind that a blouse costing €15o could turn out to better value than a dress costing €100 depending on the amount of times it’s worn.

On the subject of an item’s worth, I never buy  designer items at full prices, as I feel that they are mostly priced at a level that the market will bear and not at a level closer to their intrinsic worth.  Most of my clothes are from the High Street with the odd high-end pieces that I acquired in the sales or at an outlet. .

I don’t buy items that don’t fit me.  This may seem obvious but it has taken me more years than I care to remember to stop myself from buying, in the sales, things that would only fit if I lost a bit of weight, or that need to be taken in (taken up is ok) before I can wear them.

I buy mostly neutrals with the odd splash of colour, this may sound unremittingly boring but it least it means I have a selection of separates which I can mix and match.

That’s it but I have to confess that I occasionally bend the rules!

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♥ Shopping my Closet



I have never fully understood the manic merry-go-round on which, what was ultra fashionable a mere six months ago becomes sooo last season and what was fashionable  many decades ago becomes the dernier cri in desirable this season.  I confess that I have a fondness for the policy espoused by one of my favourite shops Agnes B, of having a small permanent collection of popular timeless pieces, which acts as a backdrop to the myriad of different garments in each new collection.

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♥ My Favourite Things//Two



Vintage Blouse:  
I like to buy vintage pieces from time to time; it’s a great way of getting something original and individual.  Vintage isn’t about trends, so the items I buy tend to have a longer closet life as I base my decision to purchase  on suitability and not fashionability.  I found this pink lace blouse in Jenny Vander, a vintage shop in the centre of the city, which I think is Dublin’s longest established vintage outlet. I love going in there in search of something out of the ordinary.  Mostly I am content to browse but from time to time I come across an item that not only fits me but is also a fit for my lifestyle.

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♥ Favourite Shops//Bow



If I were a tourist in a foreign city Bow is exactly the sort of shop I would like to stumble upon; Dublin is fortunate to have this unique addition to the city’s retail landscape.  Bow is co-owned by three talented people, Ellis Boyle (creator of ethereally pretty clothes), Margaret O’Rourke (jewellery designer and founder of her own label MoMuse) and Wendy Crawford (finder of vintage treasures).  The mix in the shop is thus clothes, jewellery and vintage items.

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Filed under Designers, Dublin, Fashion, Shops/Shopping, Style