Handbags and Gladrags

I haven’t bought any clothes AT ALL for eight months. I’m not a big clothes shopper at the best of times – but even for me, that’s a long time.

I’ve been Husbanding My Resources like billy-o since my husband left the marriage in February.

I’ve cut back my food bills, my energy bills, my water bills, the amount I spend on running a car and the amount I give to Sky.

It was OK over the summer – I own lots of summer clothes. I do a good line in linen trousers, smart tops, casual tops, sundresses, comfy sandals, dressy-up sandals.

But my winter clothing selection is a bit thin.

I need new jeans – my grey jeans got splashed with bleach, so they’re not fit to be seen; my black jeans are OK, just not in the prime of life anymore; my skinny blue jeans (my favourite of all the jeans) have a hole in one knee and are wearing very thin on the other. And my boot-cut jeans just look dated somehow and have been relegated to housework.

Give a girl a good pair of jeans, and she can conquer the world. But first she has to find a good pair of jeans…

The underwear is starting to look a bit sorrowful – the underwire of my #1 bra is making a bid for freedom, so that needs to be added to the list. Shopping for bras is a nightmare.

And last but not least my handbag is elderly. At least I know the handbag will fit. You can’t go wrong with handbags.

I don’t particularly enjoy clothes shopping. I find the whole ‘I love this, I’ll try it on, oh it doesn’t fit’ thing frustrating and demoralising.

To everyone out there who blames themselves when clothes don’t fit, I can confidently report that they still don’t fit even if you’re a standard size 10 and tall and skinny like all the magazines say you should be.

It is not our fault.

Women come in a greater variety of shapes than men. A man can buy a shirt based purely on the size of his neck, and be reasonably confident that it’ll fit!! Also manufacturers, it appears, have never met any actual women… There’s a general assumption that the taller you are, the wider you will be! And also that if you’re a 10 (or whatever) at the top, you’ll be a 10 at the bottom too.

Anyhoo, having arrived in Leeds, I had shopping to do. I headed for M&S – always reliable for underwear (and you want reliable underwear…). Also the last pair of jeans I bought were from Marksies and I was happy with them. You have to start somewhere.

I bought – a pair of jeans (black, skinny, size 10 regular), two bras (black, 34 *ahem* D), and a new handbag (also black).

Turns out M&S were having a 20% off sale for their Sparks Card holders. I hold a Sparks Card – saved seventeen quid. Happy days.

I also signed up to M&S energy, who are promising to save me £13 a month on my current bills, provide me with a smart meter (the saga with EDF is still ongoing, and I’m bored with it now) and will give me a £20 M&S voucher as well. So all in all a good morning’s work.

I really didn’t want to linger – looking around the shops at things I can’t afford to buy right now isn’t my idea of a good time. I’d bought the stuff that I needed, and that was all I needed to do, so I headed home for lunch.

But to be fair, clothes shopping isn’t my most favourite thing even when money isn’t tight – at least now I have a good excuse for not doing it.

The eagle eyed among you may have noticed that it’s three days since I last posted – that’s because Mental Health Awareness day fell on a day when I don’t normally post, and I thought it was important to post something on the day – so that post was a day early. We’re back to the usual schedule now!

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8 Comments Add yours

  1. Athene says:

    I have stopped buying new jeans after watching the Stacy Dooley programme about the true cost of new jeans – I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the range and quality available in charity shops, although it does require a bit of shopping around and patience. Not trying to make a point, we all make different choices; I buy most of my clothes from charity shops or on eBay, but not bras, underwear or shoes. I don’t think I could go eight months without buying any clothes, you have done very well.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I didn’t see that programme, but you make a fair point. I know anything made of cotton is problematic – the trouble is, when you’re on a budget, you have to go by the price. Beggars can’t be choosers. Sadly, ethical clothing (and food, and anything else) comes with at a price which at the moment I can’t afford.
    It’ll be interesting to see how long it is before I shop for clothes again!!


  3. SisterStay says:

    I like charity shops too but what you save in money, you spend in time. Just know what size and brand suit you best and leave a permanent search on eBay. Then, when your lucky number comes up, you get an alert to say so. Easy peasy!

    Btw, I haven’t heard the term “like billy-o” since I was a kid. My mum used to say it and it made me very nostalgic to see it written in your blog. 🙂 Thanks


    1. Haha!! When I wrote ‘like billy-o’, I actually thought ‘I haven’t heard that for a long time’!! But it’s absolutely what I’ve been doing!


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