Too poor to be a FASHUN blogger? Here’s what I do…

How do fashion bloggers afford all their FASHUN lifestyles? With seemingly endless bank balances for designer bags and new trend pieces I’m just baffled.. Too poor for that? Me too! I have a full time job, at certain times of the year a 12 hour day definitely wouldn’t be unusual but I still struggle to live in London on a decent wage. I’m not particularly frivolous with my money… yes I probably eat out too much and no I don’t ‘Need‘ that cookbook but generally speaking I’m not THAT bad. I now stay at least a bank cards length away from sites like ASOS because I just can’t afford it.

Don’t mistake me.. I’d love to be able to afford designer bags/shoes/jewellery/life but it’s not something that I can really justify in my current life stage. Outside of ‘gifting’ I don’t doubt that the glamorous people I follow on SnapTwitStagram (or whatever the cool platform is these days) work hard for their money. But this is to all the people out there that can’t afford those lovely Gucci loafers, Chloe bags or pricey eyelash extensions. This is how I try and make the most out of my wardrobe with the money that I have.

  1. Invest Wisely and Infrequently
    When it comes to being more spendy than thrifty I like to look to key good quality stores like COS. This is a shop which has great quality fabrics and cuts (admittedly they wrinkle more than a sneezing pugs face) which are seasonally transitional an seem to live outside of ‘trends’. This is a great place to invest in ‘classic’ pieces like a white shirt, trousers, knitwear because they stand the test of time. As a shirt can cost £50 so this isn’t a place to shop frequently but definitely keep an eye out for key pieces and rummage through the sale sections for the following year.
  2. Haunt the sales of good quality shops
    Leading on nicely from my point above it’s key to stalk the sale sections of the top notch shops. I’m not talking about those frankly horrifying unorganised rails of Zara/Newlook/Topshop at the end of season sale a) because these tend to be trend pieces that are destined for the trend graveyard aka clothes you won’t be wearing in a few months and b) because the quality of the products just isn’t as good as you hope it will be. My favourite gems when it comes to shopping in sales are:
    COS: (of course) I always pick up my knitwear in the sale
    M&S: there’s a reason your granny shops there. Good quality merch. This skirt was £2.50, they do great reductions
    And Other Stories: you can find some real gems in the shoe section at the right times of year
    Whistles: although the clothes are normally still hella expensive – wait for the 25% off code which Grazia has once or twice a year
  3. Buy kids shoes
    If you’re up to a size 6 women’s shoe in the UK… you can be saving up to 50% on your shoes. This works best for trainers which for adults can be eye wateringly expensive. The only downside is that you don’t always get to pick from the full selection of colours but it’s just SO MUCH CHEAPER.
  4. Invest time in looking after your clothes
    My number one piece of advice when it comes to getting the most out of your wardobe is look after it. I’m a big advocate of trying to make your clothes last as long as humanly possible and here are some of the things I do.
    £9 magic de-bobbler for your clothes
    – Keep your whites white. I use Dr Beckman Glo White (it’s around £12 for 24 sachets) just like my mum and granny used!
    – Pick up some laundry bags for embellished and embroidered garments and your fancy pants
    – Look after your shoes. Especially trainers by remembering to wash them and keep them white using a whitener.
    – Keep it stain free. Wash ASAP and definitely don’t iron in a stain. For big stains try a powder stain remover – I find Vanish really good but for      small stains I opt for a targeted stain remover 
  5. Keep it neutral/classic
    When it comes to picking up new wardrobe essentials I always opt for neutrals blacks, whites, greys, earthy tones that aren’t ‘on trend’. Trendy colours tend to look a bit cheap and ‘done’ after a year or so because they are EVERYWHERE. Spend a little more money on better quality fabric and cuts.
  6. Find the cheapest type of ‘trend piece’ and see how you can make it work
    Trends come and go so the best way to update an outfit and add a bit of ‘interest’ (to use a FASHUN word)… laymens terms means make a ‘boring’ outfit more up to date and jazzy. The easiest way to do this is to look at lower cost statement pieces – I tend to focus on 3 key areas.
    Accessories: This is the easiest way to update your look. Focus on statment jewellery, neckties, scarves, hair pieces etc
    Shoes: Go jazzy, with new shapes or bold prints so that you’re perking up a simple outfit
    Bags: I’d go for colourful leathers or unusual shapes to make a statement. Not too expensive and can really pull together an outfit
  7. Can’t afford the original try and find the closest thing
    a) Can’t afford that gorgeous Celine crossbody? Shop around and find a similar style in a highstree store (Zara is great for affordable bags)
    b) Try it on for size. This is a tricky one to recommend. I’m not saying… ‘go buy a dupe’ exactly I’m suggesting that before making a designer investment you try the size, colour, style out within your life. The best way I’ve found to do this is by shopping somewhere like Jessica Buurman – you can pick up something which is almost identical, see how it fits into your life and decide whether to take the plunge.
    Mui Mui Ballerina dupes
    Gucci Dionysus dupe
    Stuart Weitzman knee high dupes
    Bvlgri Serpenti snake head bag dupe

What have I found from adopting and unavoidable capsule wardrobe? I’ve found that it’s forced me to be more creative with my outfit combinations and more savy when it comes to picking out investment pieces. However, it’s also made me a bit more cautious and less colourful. I think I will try and work some more colour into my wardrobe through some more versatile pieces like shoes and bags… maybe. 

8 Comments

  1. August 1, 2016 / 7:02 pm

    This is such great advice! I also really struggle as while I love clothes and reading fashion blogs I feel like I can’t buy enough clothes to talk about. Luckily some trends come cheap, others not so much!

    • Lisette @ Spoke + Co
      August 2, 2016 / 10:52 pm

      It’s kinda frustrating to see all the amazing photos and the trendy garb and not be able to afford it! I try and keep it classic perhaps with the odd trend piece x

  2. August 1, 2016 / 8:05 pm

    Wonderful post Lisette! Investing is definitely something I’m learning as I’m getting older – the sales are still my best friend though! I have some gorgeous pieces from Joules that I bought in the sale and they mean a lot more to me than cheaper primark pieces that don’t last. My wardrobe is full of neutrals but they’re timeless and can be paired with so many other things 🙂 Gorgeous photography as always! x

    • Lisette @ Spoke + Co
      August 2, 2016 / 10:51 pm

      Aw katie thank you so much!!! It’s definitely something I’ve learnt as I’ve gotten older. Joules is a gem.. little known fact that Joules is also sold on Amazon so it’s worth checking out 🙂 xx

  3. August 2, 2016 / 10:51 am

    I really liked this post. I also work full time, live in Edinburgh which turned out to be hella expensive if you want to do practically anything 😀 So I do a lot of those things, especially waiting for good sales and buying quality basics. Recently spent 30 quid on a white t-shirt but I’ve worn it 10 times already and it’s in perfect condition.
    P.S. Really like your blog, I followed you on Bloglovin

    • Lisette @ Spoke + Co
      August 2, 2016 / 10:48 pm

      Thanks Mili! Edinburgh is such a gorgeous city I’d spend all my money eating out… I totally think spending a little more money on essentials is worth it. Thanks so much xx

  4. August 7, 2016 / 9:56 pm

    Some great tips chick, I’m the same can no way afford all the new season high end trends. One other good tip is properly looking at what you have in your wardrobe, often I find things similar to something I was gonna buy lurking in the back of the wardrobe
    Lauren
    livinginaboxx | bloglovin

  5. Chris
    September 12, 2016 / 4:04 pm

    (Wow, first guy to comment!) I don’t know about you, but as someone who likes good quality clothes I find sales offers very dangerous. I like to leave something I like the look of in a Safari bookmark for at least a month, to curb impulsive buying. Unless you had had an eye on the thing already, buying in sales is usually impulsive, and you’re buying something you didn’t know you wanted. Buying a £150 jacket half price feels like you’re saving £75, but six months later when you’ve only worn it three times because something’s not quite right, it feels like £75 down the drain.

    Sticking to a few brands, if a little boring, helps. 70% of my stuff comes from Sunspel, now.