Category Archives: shopping

How to De-Clutter Your Wardrobe in 5 Easy Steps

How to De-Clutter Your WardrobeJanuary is a month of reinvention for many – from starting a new fitness regime to trying to eat better, it’s the month of the detox, the goal setting and plan making. If this time of year is making you think about spring cleaning your closet and tackle your ever expanding floordrobe, then here are my tried and tested tips for de-cluttering your clothes.

Empty Everything

Drawers, wardrobe, rail – the lot. Instead of trying to take unwanted items out, start with an empty space and that way, when you’ve finished organising your outfits, you’ll only be putting clothes back in that you really love and want to wear.

Phone a Friend

If you’re anything like me, you might need to call in the cavalry for a serious de-cluttering session. Before I moved to the States two of my best girls came over for the evening and helped me suss out what I really needed to take. We ate chocolate, tried on multiple different outfits and they offered brutally honest opinions on what suited me and what didn’t.  Make sure to pick a friend/s that you trust and who will give you an honest opinion on that burnt orange and black feather pencil skirt…

Bag It Up

I find it useful to have different reusable carrier bags at the ready – one headed for the charity shop, one for the recycling bin and one for clothes swaps. Sorting out your clothes and separating them immediately will curb your desire to go rummaging back into the cast-offs pile as soon as the coast is clear. If there are some items that you haven’t worn in ages but aren’t sure that you want to part with, place them in a box or bag at the back of your wardrobe for six months – if you don’t take anything out once six months have passed, take the bag straight to a charity shop – without looking inside!

Organise Like a Pro

Find a system that will help you to pick out your outfit quickly – this could be organising your clothes into colours, splitting them into type (dresses, shirts, trousers etc) or grouping together in different categories, such as smart, evening-wear, casual, work etc. Personally I like to organise my wardrobe by type of garment, then colour-code it. Yep, I’m that geeky.

One In, One Out

You’ve finally gotten to a point where your wardrobe or closet isn’t bursting at the seams (woo-hoo!) so don’t spoil it by over-stuffing it with new clothes. To keep unnecessary clothing clutter at bay, use the one in, one out method. It’s easy to do – every time you buy  a new item of clothing, get rid of an old one to make space for it. You could donate it to charity, take it to a clothes swap or if it’s too far gone then put it in your recycling bin.

Additional tips:
It wouldn’t hurt to give the inside of your wardrobe a clean while it’s empty, so grab a duster and some polish before you place any clothes back inside
Make the most of what storage you have – under-bed boxes are great for storing shoes and bags
Aim to de-clutter twice a year – once in January and then again in autumn, ready for winter

So that’s it – a few (hopefully helpful) tips on de-cluttering your clothes to start the year afresh. How often do you detox your wardrobe?

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Fashion Revolution Day: My Self-Imposed Primark Ban

Primark labelsIt’s been over a year since I bought anything from Primark.

It wasn’t a New Year’s Resolution or a spending-ban challenge, but a decision that I’ve flirted with for many years. As today marks the first international Fashion Revolution Day, I thought it was time to open up and talk about this self-imposed ban, and publish a post I began writing over three months ago.

I first started shopping at Primark when I left home for university. I’d never heard of the fast-fashion budget chain before, but with a dwindling bank account – a student loan can only pay for so many haircuts and trips to the pub – I ventured in, guided by my new flatmates.

Seven years later and I found myself relying on Primark to get my fashion fix whenever I needed a new pair of jeans or a summer dress. I watched programmes highlighting the shocking working conditions enforced by supply chain manufacturers and would swear off shopping there for a few weeks, but I’d always come back.

After Bangladesh’s Rana Plaza disaster (a year ago today) that saw over a thousand labourers die when the factory collapsed, I knew something in my shopping habits had to change. This, compounded with blogging for Oxfam Fashion and feeling overwhelmed by the amount of clothes I own (two wardrobes, one rail, a chest of drawers and counting…) led me to cutting Primark out of my life for good.

I thought I would miss the thrill that only finding a bargain can bring – be it a cheap t-shirt or scouring the reduced shelf in the supermarket and finding the exact ingredient you need at half the price. As it happens, I don’t miss it at all. Buying something that has a history or where the design and production of which has been clearly thought out is far more rewarding than any pair of £4 sandals.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love shopping on the high street, in addition to rummaging through charity shops and vintage boutiques, but I feel so much better knowing that I’m slowly withdrawing from brands that offer clothing at prices that are simply too good to be true.

There is a long way to go before I can honestly say that my shopping habits aren’t hurting anyone else, but this sense of mindfulness towards the fast-fashion feeding chain keeps me from absconding whenever I go looking for a bargain.

This is a topic I’ve shied away from talking about but I’d love to hear your thoughts – how do you feel about buying fast fashion, and would you ever consider a similar clothing ban?

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Dear Santa… A Christmas Wishlist

Christmas wishlist 2013

Jo Malone fragrances in Earl Grey & Cucumber and Blackberry & Bay / Balega running socks / Deep red brogue Chelsea boots, River Island / Zara mens knitted hat / Listography Journal, Play.com / FujiFilm Instax 90, Photojojo/ Lipstick Queen Some Like it Hot gift set / 2014 diary, Paperchase

I know I said no gift guides this year but I couldn’t help putting together a little wishlist for myself, including a new camera – a girl can dream, right?

This year, for the very first time, Mr Ship-Shape and I taking the plunge and hosting Christmas ourselves. Given that we’ll be spending a fair chunk of money on keeping seven people in food and wine for a couple of days, we’ve decided just to give each other stockings this year, so I don’t expect I’ll find a FujiFilm Instax 90 or a new lens under the tree.

We’ll be using the red and white polka dot stockings that I made last Christmas and filling them with small but thoughtful gifts – I already have a couple stowed away that I hope he’ll like!

When I was younger I was all about the Christmas presents – even a few years ago I could barely get to sleep on Christmas Eve for all the excitement – but now I’m a little older, I’ve reached something of a tipping point. A stocking is lovely and I’ll never say no to a bottle of Jo Malone cologne or a pair of wine coloured Chelsea boots, but they can’t compare to family.

I really am just looking forward to spending time with our respective families, enjoying the company of those I see far too infrequently and setting some of our own Christmas traditions, which may or may not include devising a recipe for Baileys hot chocolate…

What are you wishing for most this Christmas?

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Five Alternatives to Pink Princess Coats

Five Alternatives to Pink Princess Coats

Camel and faux leather coat – Zara  /Plum funnel neck coat – Jaeger  / Mustard yellow boucle wool coat  – River Island / 1970 Soul  straight cut blue coat  – Reiss / Orange boucle coat – French Connection

As much as I loved Raf Simon’s princess pink swan-song at Jil Sander (A/w 2012), the whole over-sized, pastel pink, dropped shoulder, Grace Kelly-esque thang isn’t my cup of tea. The show was nothing short of beautiful and when Carven, Mulberry and Celine followed suit with pink coats for A/w 2013, I knew the trend would stick.

I appreciate the sugary sweetness of it all, but pastel, powder, blush or fuchsia; pink just doesn’t suit me. And what’s more, I don’t even like it.

Yep, that’s right, this blog might be covered in the pink stuff but it’s not my favourite colour by a long stretch, partly because it was always a colour I was encouraged to like growing up because ‘you’re a girl’. Pink is now such a loaded hue that apart from the design on this blog, I tend to avoid it at all costs.

I’ve seen a gazillion pink winter coat options on the high street, compiled on wishlists and featured in blog posts (my fave being Amy’s round up), but what I haven’t seen is some decent alternatives.

Above is a selection of five beautiful high street winter coats for the pink-phobic like me. Are you pining for a pink coat this season or does one of these take your fancy?

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Local Love: The Little Shop on Stokes Croft

The Little Shop on Stokes Croft

One of the many things I love about Bristol is that it is truly a hub for creative people. Musicians, illustrators, designers… we’re lucky to have plenty to pick from in the West Country, and heck, even the US think Bristol is the new London. Six such creatives have set up home in The Little Shop this month to sell jewellery, greeting cards, prints and ceramics.

Situated just beyond Stokes Croft at the start of Cheltenham Road, this venue has worn many hats in its time, acting as a pop-up art space and charity shop in recent months, though thanks to The Little Shop it’s now currently covered in giant pineapples and adorable lop eared rabbits, see below.

The Little Shop graffiti on Stokes Croft

The Little Shop opened its doors earlier this month and sits in the perfect spot to catch commuters on their way home and shoppers heading to Gloucester Road. The reason it caught my attention, aside from the stunning frontage, is that it’s currently stocking my friend Amanda’s jewellery collection.

Asanda Jewellery is no shrinking violet, with studs, rope and bold patterned earrings, chunky bangles and necklaces. Throw in a little tribal print, glitter-filled resin and gems nestled in gold claw settings and you can begin to get an idea of creations that lie in wait for you on the shelves.

However jewellery isn’t the only treasure you’ll find in this quirky shop. The ceramic bowls and mugs by Bee Hayes are beautiful and come covered in strawberries or imprinted with lace doilies, while Amber Elise, who started the shop, has a mix of prints and greetings cards on sale. Other Bristol designers include Rolfe & Wills – one day one of their stunning reupholstered chairs WILL be mine – Alex Lucus and Katy Christianson.

Designers and makers will rotate every few months so there will always be plenty of new stock to enjoy. I’m not about to drop the ‘C’ bomb in September, but if you happen to be on the lookout for unique gifts or greeting cards then The Little Shop could be right up your street.

The Little Shop, 125 Cheltenham Road, Bristol, BS6 5RR. Open 11am – 7pm Tuesday – Saturday, 12pm – 5pm on Sundays.

Ceramic mugs by Bee Hayes at The Little Shop on Stokes CroftAsanda JewelleryPrint by Amber EliseYeti and bigfoot are lovers bag by Katy ChristiansonGloucester Road shopping bag by Rolfe and WillisAsanda necklaces by Amanda SaundersHandmade brooch by Katie Johnston

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