My new season resolution? To improve my shopping skills and buy clothes that I can really wear, says Suzie Coen.
It’s time to turn over a new shopping leaf: this will be the year I become the clever consumer I know I can be. No more pointless purchases. It’s actually a relief to know that never again will I be forking out on shopping for “edgy” flatforms that look like breeze blocks and give me the gait of Frankenstein’s monster.
This year, I vow to buy quality over quantity. And before I buy an item, I’ll ask myself: is it flattering, is it interesting and will it go with loads in my wardrobe? And because I’m going to shop less, I plan to wear everything more. My new mantra is: “Love it, buy it, wear to death.” So next question, where to start?
UNDERSTANDING YOUR BODY SHAPE IS A CRUCIAL FIRST STEP.
For me, that means slim-fit tailoring that skims my size 12/14 frame, a strong shoulder for balance, and anything that accentuates my waist. I deviate from this at my peril… Getting outfits right involves certain physics – based on lengths, widths and proportions. Figuring it out and dressing for your real shape is the key to a happy-ever-after wardrobe.
BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING, TAKE A TIP FROM TRINNY.
Buy yourself a good bra – one that not only fits properly but makes the most of what you’ve got. Trust me, this one is a game-changer.
NO MORE OF THAT “I’LL HAVE WHAT SHE’S HAVING” ATTITUDE.
I’ve done it, you’re probably doing it right now – scrolling model vids from your go-to brand or stalking your current fave influencer on Insta – and thinking, as we always do, “I want to look like her, I’m going to give it a try!” And sometimes it works! And sometimes, well, it doesn’t. I know… I see you with me, in that winding return queue in Zara clutching your brown cardboard box which might as well have “disappointing on” stamped on it. Here’s the thing: unless you’re a supermodel, not everything will work on you. So be kind to yourself and don’t compare. Be inspired by fashion, of course, take notes, adapt it, and make that version work for you.
SNAP OUT OF THAT “MY LOOK” MINDSET.
It’s good to have your own style, but it’s not the same as sticking to one look year in, year out. Experiment a bit. Women (myself included) are really good at deciding which things don’t work on them. As in: “I really don’t suit animal prints/florals/stripes”. This is usually based on one bad experience years ago. It’s a bit like having a difficult break-up and resolving to remain single for the rest of your life. Try it again now – you might like it. Likewise, take a risk with sizes when shopping. If you’re a size 12, the chances are you think like a 14 and maybe you like to get things a bit roomy, just in case. Well, don’t. We want to see your figure here. Getting the bigger one is not some kind of economy… that’s toilet Duck, not clothes.
SAY NO TO SAFE AND EASY.
Anything “useful” should be banished. This is fashion, this is “express yourself” time, you have all those years in the Twilight Home to wear the cosy zip-up top and the comfy flat shoes. Never ever think “practical”, “bargain”, “could-come-in-handy”, “looks pretty hardwearing”… not unless your first thought was “I love it and I have to have it”. You are not an unfurnished apartment that needs a quick Ikea makeover to make it look basically habitable.
LET GO WITH LOVE.
So your Topshop faux afghan coat gave you some good service. It’s over. Get rid of it. Lose anything that you haven’t worn for two years. There may well be another boho seventies fashion moment, but I guarantee it will be different enough to make last time’s look dated. While you’re at it, decide now that three is the magic number. Three pairs of black trousers, three polo necks, three pairs of boots… No one needs more (apart from Liz Hurley, who obviously can’t live without 18 pairs of white trousers).
MAKE FASHION YOUR FRIEND…
The one who makes you laugh and feel good about yourself, and who you sometimes want to do shots with on a school night. Fashion is supposed to be fun. Take part in the new-season trends you like and simply ignore the rest. Sometimes it might just mean changing your shoes to keep your look current, and that’s fine. There is joy in choosing what to wear every day – just make sure you’re dressing for yourself and not to keep up with other people.
Photography by @greceghanem. This article originally appeared in the Spring 2022 issue of IMAGE Magazine.