Saturday 21 October 2023

Joyful wardrobe - wearing clothes that bring you joy

 October is here and I've already begun a new joyful focus, but I'm here to reflect on my joyful focus of September with you right now, which was "Joyful Wardrobe". 

As many of you know each year I choose a "word of the year" this years word is "Joyful" and each month I've had a different focus which relates to this word, I've explored all sorts of aspects of joy in my life so far this year from family to my body to home education and more. This months focus probably sounds terribly frivolous, but it's an aspect of my life that was sucking joy before. 

I had found myself in a real rut when it came to clothing.  I had a few items that I loved and I had worn absolutely to death and I had filled in the gaps with hoodies and jogging bottoms.  It was getting to the point where I literally had nothing to wear that didn't have holes or was made from jersey!  I was feeling pretty down about my wardrobe and not really knowing what to do to improve it. Part of the problem related to having been pregnant or breastfeeding for so long, so maternity clothes or clothes adapted or otherwise suitable for breastfeeding have been my mainstay (I'm still breastfeeding so I still had to take this into account) and also just generally feeling unattractive and frumpy in whatever I wore.  I'd pretty much given up hope of looking nice. 

I had no idea what to wear, no idea what I liked, not much in the way of a budget to spend on new stuff and a deep dislike for clothes shopping! 

I really do despise shopping in clothes shops, I don't know what it is about the mirrors or the lighting but I always find myself feeling fat and ugly in shop mirrors, add to this the time pressures (must get back to the car before the ticket runs out, or back home before the baby freaks out or before whoever is looking after them needs relief) size and colour options and I have found myself standing in a shop totally overwhelmed hating life!

Not a good starting point!

But not one to be put off I was determined that I was going to do something about my wardrobe so I began to add to a board I started a few years ago on Pinterest, pinning outfits that I had seen online and liked.  I called this board "finding my style" and it has really helped me to work out what I actually like.  My board now has nearly 300 pins to inspire me in my search for my own fashion tastes and styles.  

I am not the sort of person to follow fashion, I never have.  For one thing I've never really been able to afford it, and for another I'd much rather wear styles that suit my body shape and personality than styles that are on trend.  So if you're thinking that this post might help you be on trend then you'll be disappointed!

If you'd like to take a look at my Pinterest board click HERE

Here are some examples of outfits that I have pinned:


Hopefully you get an idea from all that what sort of outfit and style I like.  I'm sure these aren't the height of fashion, but I really don't care, that's not something that's important to me. I just want to feel comfortable really, whilst also not drawing attention to myself as something the cat dragged in!

The next step I took in switching up my wardrobe was to start purchasing items.  Now as I mentioned before, I'm on a tight budget so I knew I couldn't go into actual shops and buy anything like this new, so my search began in the local charity shop.  I had an idea in my mind of what I was looking for and anything that vaguely fitted the bill in the charity shop, I would buy. It didn't matter too much if the items I bought ended up looking terrible or not fitting properly because they only cost me a pound or two, so not great loss, I could donate things back to charity and feel good about it at the end of the day.
Unfortunately however I wasn't always able to find what I was looking for in charity shops.  

Then someone mentioned the website Vinted to me so I decided to take a look and to my joy I was able to find exactly what I was looking for second hand (and sometimes brand new) at a fraction of the cost of the stuff in the shops (most of which I didn't like anyway!)

So this has been a whole new, exciting thing for me! I choose an outfit I pinned on Pinterest, then I look for each item or something similar on Vinted. I've picked up some real bargains, it's been brilliant and I've revamped my whole wardrobe for less than £100.

I will confess to you now that I did make one dirty purchase from Shein (I know, I know) but aside from that and some essentials that you can't but second hand (if you know what I mean) from ASDA, everything I've bought has been second hand either from charity shops or from Vinted or Ebay. 
Honestly it's been like opening up a whole new world of clothing for me and I've really enjoyed it.  Of course I've had some disappointments, where I've got things home from the charity shop and found they don't fit or look ridiculous, and a couple of things from Vinted which were too big or the colours weren't quite as expected, but apart form that it's been great and I highly recommend it.  The other thing that's great about buying second hand is that you can buy branded stuff for much less (you might not care, but I do think that some brands produce better quality clothes than others.  There is a whole lot of fast fashion items on Vinted so you do need to filter thought all that to get to the good stuff) and you can buy better quality materials for much less too.  Second hand wool and leather items are great buys on Vinted especially if you object ethically to buying these materials new.  No harm has been done to an animal by buying second hand wool jumpers or leather boots. I would argue in fact that this is much better for animals that buying plastic shoes and jumpers which will never degrade. 

So all in all my September joyful focus has been a great success, possibly my most successful joyful focus so far and definitely my most enjoyable.  
The best purchase for me was a cardigan that was the same as one I bought about 15 years ago.  It was a cardigan that I loved so much it was full of holes and coming apart.  I had looked a few times on ebay to find a replacement, but I had very little hope with it being over 15 years old.  Then one day to my absolute joy I found one on Vinted, same size and everything.  I can't tell you how happy I felt receiving that cardigan through the post, it was like going back in time and having my old cardigan back but brand new, it was like it hadn't been worn.  I am so pleased with this purchase, I bought another one that I found in a  different colour!  I've also bought a second pair of my favourite jeans. 

So if you feel like your wardrobe isn't bringing you joy I highly recommend this process of pinning styles you like on Pinterest then finding similar things second hand online, it's been a fun and really enjoyable process that I will definitely be carrying with me into the future. 

Here are a few terrible pics of some of my new clothes: