Seeking Style Inspiration: Spring Dressing When Not Buying

I am having to avoid magazines and shops.

Only two months in to my year of buying Nothing New and I’m starting to struggle. New collections are springing up in store windows and magazines are full of fabulous tailoring and denim outfits that under other circumstances, I’d be keen to try on and buy. Old habits die hard. Instead I am looking for inspiration on what to do with what I already have, and as I mentioned before, there’s quite a lot in my wardrobe. So I’ve been scouring my favourite style blogs for inspiration and here’s what I’m playing with currently.

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Exterior Exotica

I love a decorative coat or jacket, which I tend to categorize as ‘evening wear’, due to the fancy-fabric. But inspired by Giovanna Battaglia, above, spotted on Tommy Ton’s wonderful website, I will be teaming mine more with double denim from now on. I think Giovanna is wearing a Valentino coat, I love that oblong of print on the front – it’s a bit like she’s got a work of art attached to her. I might (carefully) look at seeing if adding a beautiful section of print to one one of my coats might work.

I’ve got a woven/embroidered ethnic coat that I’ve hardly ever worn in my collection of nine coats. I’ve always thought I looked like I should be selling carpets in Istanbul ‘s Grand Bazaar in it. But I spotted something similar on Sandra Semburg’s blog (top image) and thought the look had a relaxed and stylish charm. I might wear it with trainers rather than long boots.

Double Jacketing (DJing?)

I have our occasional guest blogger and constant source of inspiration Sue Evans to thank for this J Crew spot. Sue featured it on her facebook feed and I immediately thought double jacketing might be a good way to work my collection of jackets (26, regular readers may remember) a bit harder. I’d never think to put linen with velvet, as shown here, but it looks great.

Layered Pattern Bravery

One of my go-to blogs over the last month has been Anne Bernecker’s street style site. I am SO fed up with seeing the same old fashion show attendees turning up on blogs – I love Sarah Harris and Yasmin Sewell, but really, enough already – and Anne makes a point of featuring women who are deeply stylish every day (ahem, including our very own JK).

I was inspired by the pattern combinations on the above image from Anne’s recent posting. The stripe and geometric print combo is just heavenly and I love this pattern mash-up concept, although I’ve always been a bit of a wimp about actually wearing it myself, despite purchasing things with that work well together. So I will be practicing this with my 29 shirts (plenty of which are printed) and 26 jackets. I’m going to start with just playing around with top half patterns though, I’ll probably balance a printed jacket and shirt with jeans or a plain bottom to start with. But I WILL be braver (and this is creatively brave and not mad, as middlagedad is happen to sometimes comment).

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The Ankle Sock and Sandal Combo

I don’t know about this one….(BTW before we finish Layered Pattern Bravery, what about these lovely layers above? Seen on The Sartorialist). I still think the black ankle sock with sandal thing is a bit weird, not least because it doesn’t flatter the calf much, unless you have slender sapling-like legs. However, this is what we all thought of wearing trainers with silk skirts and stupidly giant beanies with fur bobbles on not long ago and look how that turned out. In practical terms, extending the life of the summer sandal makes sense, and adding a warm sock could see us venturing out next month in this look. But, well, it’s a bit daft, right? What do you think? Hands up whose rocking this combo already….








  • Sue Evans says:

    Go Amanda !!! You can make all these work — especially the decorative coat option ( that’d work with socks and sandals !). I have a passion for a decorative coat too but as I never go anywhere in the evening, have always worn them dressed down, usually with an everyday tutu skirt (!) and chunky flatforms and coloured tights. The other thing I did when not buying new clothes for a year (I was saving up for a house) was reimagine my clothes — by cutting up old shirts, sweats or tops and attaching them to something random but vaguely coordinating (this is where that pattern clashing could take you). It’s wonderfully simple and immediately gives a quirky individual look that I think would suit you ! Get customising !

  • Yvonne says:

    Wonderful post and love everything except the socks with sandals as I have thick ankles (so sad). I just got back from 10 days in London for art, art and more art (haven’t visited since 2005). Noticed how distinctly individual many people in London dress. Much more so than D.C. where we live (moved from Aus last year) or even New York from my observations.

  • Hi Amanda – loved this post! I’ve been wearing delicate socks (Darner or Antipast) with chunky sandals for a few years now. Also hides lack of a pedicure! ;)

    Just wanted to ID the woman in your Layered Pattern Bravery section: she is Odessa Paloma Parker, the young fashion editor of Canada’s national paper, The Globe and Mail. She’s known for mixing prints! Her Insta is fun too.

    Thanks for brightening my cold Canadian mornings! Xo Sydney

  • Amanda says:

    Sue, ‘usually with an everyday tutu’, this is why I love you…..! Thanks for the motivation and inspiration and the idea about re-imagining, I’d like to do more of this but need to build up a bit of confidence! I love sewing so I’m going to try this.
    Sydney, thanks very much for the shout out on Odessa Paloma, she is awesome! I’m going to follow her on insta. And I hadn’t thought about the pedicure angle, that’s a very good point! Yvonne, I’m with you on the ankle socks and sandals and glad you had fun in diverse London! Ax

  • Poppyseedbagel says:

    I’m another one who is ‘not buying new’ in 2017. I am finding it easier than I thought it would be, but I don’t think I am as keen on fashion as Amanda is! I did ‘accidentally ‘ buy a lovely top last Saturday (my son added it to the pile of clothes we were buying for him) but I realised it added nothing to my wardrobe that I didn’t already have. So it’s going back – I just have to find time to return it…

  • Jan says:

    I have a friend who regularly invited me to a swanky shop’s new season fashion shows. It was great fun but way too expensive for me BUT I enjoyed looking at the new season’s trends and thinking how I might achieve the same look by just tweaking what I already had in my wardrobe. I thought the Oxfam fashion show mentioned in the 1 March blog “Future of the Fashion Show ” sounded interesting . Charity shops can be another source for inspiration. There used to be a clothes show on TV some years back where three invited guests each had varying amounts of money to spend in order to achieve whatever ‘look’ was on trend that week. I always found that the most interesting was the guest with the least amount of money who, with the help of a fashion advisor, trawled charity and vintage shops to put the look together. I guess you could do something similar trawling your existing wardrobe selection.

  • Sarah says:

    The double jacket picture is absolutely gorgeous! I’ve been really interested in mixing textures recently and the velvet and linen combo just blew my mind! The yellow colour is amazing. The wide bottom hems of the trousers also look great. It really is artistry when it comes to developing looks out of items you already own – so much more difficult than buying new but it develops a deep sense of style that I love to see. Thanks for the inspiration!

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