Don’t spend, sew! (and style)


At the beginning of every season, The Women’s Room does a personal wardrobe edit (yes this is anally retentive, but we work in fashion remember, we like this sort of thing) where all clothes passed their prime are sent to the charity shop in order to make way for new, exciting purchases.


This time the edit has been very thorough, mostly because it was a way to fill the time we would normally spend in shops (how hard is it to give up shopping? so, so hard….). Moth holed cashmere was dumped, old black opaque tights (so mottled they’re looking patterned) were thrown and scraggy old T shirts ditched.


However, this season, it’s unlikely that there will be a rush of new styles filling up the vacant spots, due to the inappropriateness of spending money on anything other than essentials, even if we’ve got the cash. For anyone brought up in the 50s and 60s, saving rather than spending is the natural default button in times of economic crisis (do you think Gordon has thought this through?)


Conspicuous spending is definitely out, even Net-a-Porter, the designer on-line boutique is sending out its orders in low-key brown paper bags so as to not attract attention. Spending now requires long, complex arguments with yourself (or other half) on why –with a wardrobe full to busting- yet more is needed.


So this weekend we swapped spending for sewing and styling. Despite careful wardrobe auditing, there are still gorgeous items in our cupboards that we don’t/can’t/wont wear any more. Why not? After hours spent identifying and trying on all of these ‘redundant’ items the answer was often that they weren’t ‘working’.


In the case of the two pairs of beautiful wide leg Margaret Howell trousers, they were all too long as they had been bought to be worn with high heels, which make our legs look lovely and long. But somehow when you reach for clothing in the morning, high heels seem too much of an effort and sexy long legs give way to comfortable flats and something else.


So the trousers were hemmed to wear with Converse trainers and now stand a much better chance. Likewise the asymmetrically cut T shirts that seemed such a modern idea but look odd on their own were finally made to work with layers of finer knit vests we’ve had for ages but never thought about using. Hardly worn posh clothes too smart for everyday were roughed up and made to work with casual cardis and jeans.


A long hard look was given to the remaining troublesome items. Most had been bought in haste (two in the sale) and all were a bad fit. And like everything that doesn’t make you look if not fabulous then at least lovely, they had to go. What’s the point of keeping them? So a stitch or two and a lot of restyling produced new outfits and will definitely make everything work harder.


And it kept us out of the shops.


There’s also the added advantage that if we should just happen to find ourselves shopping in the sales, we’ll have a bullet proof reason for buying.

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