Monday, 28 April 2014

My Grown Up Wardrobe

work-wardrobe-1
work-wardrobe-2
tops - boutique by jaeger, shoes both m&s, skirt - jigsaw, cardigan - uniqlo

I mentioned back in January that I was looking to update my work wardrobe, as most of what I own for work I've had since I started my job four and a half (eek!) years ago. On top of just freshening up what I own, I also wanted to start trying to buy a few more quality things, and not just repeating the same mistakes of the past, as I tend to buy cheap work clothes and wearing them until they fall apart.

I am starting to get a bit of a reputation for my shoes breaking at inconvenient moments (during a meeting, on a work trip to Dublin...) which is not exactly the sort of reputation I am going for!

I have a real difficulty with spending a lot of money on one item of clothing though, even if it is something that will last for a long time. I think the problem stems from worrying I will go off the item, and not end up wearing it much and it being a waste of money, and also the magpie in me thinking 'oh but I could have four things for the price of this one thing...' Or just the worry that actually more money doesn't always mean better quality, and it may not end up lasting any longer than the cheap version.

I am always up for an experiment though, and for a shopping trip, so having saved up a bit of money to start updating my work wardrobe, I went to Westfield last week and forced myself to only visit the more upmarket high street shops. I popped into Hobbs, John Lewis, M&S, Cos, Jaeger and Uniqlo, with a shopping list consisting of shoes, skirts, tops, jackets and knitwear.

Previously I probably would have spent about the same on a shopping trip (which is a quite lot of money, but I always save up and don't go very often), but on more, cheaper things. I am really happy with everything I got - the shoes seem sturdy, the skirt and tops feel well made, and the materials are all much more luxurious than I would usually get. I love the little detailing - the Jaeger tops (both the same in different colours) have a pretty scalloped edge, and the patterned shoes have a little gold heel. My dry cleaning bills will admittedly go up as well, but I am hoping that with a bit more care and attention (something I am very guilty of not giving my clothes) I will get a lot more wear and use out of these than their cheaper equivalent.

What's your opinion on the subject? Is more expensive clothing worth it?

16 comments:

char said...

I love what you've chosen. I sometimes think it would be better to have a capsule wardrobe for work, but I'm a bit hopeless at it.

Anonymous said...

Since returning to work last year, I tend to have a mix of more expensive quality items and some (mainly tops) from bargain rails.

I tend to avoid cheap shoes for the very reasons you mentioned. I lost a heal once at a very inconvenient moment.

I am also a charity shop addict and have often managed to but quality items for just a few pounds. Earlier this year I bought a designer black trouser suit, ideal for the office, for less than £10.

Rebecca
Http://rebeccatriestrousers.blogspot.com

RuBee said...

I've started to spend more on a couple of good quality trousers, skirts and shoes then supplement that with cheaper tops or the occasional cheaper printed trouser, but being a primary school teacher surrounded by paint, glue etc I don't like to spend too much! Also a lot of my old dresses often work there way into my work wardrobe, especially when I know I'm doing something messy with the children!

Jane said...

I've started moving towards buying better quality stuff but to be honest at the moment I don't think I'm really ready to invest that much more money in my wardrobe - my tastes still change quickly and my body changes every year, something that fits perfectly today might not 6 months down the track!

Natasha said...

I'm all for paying more for good quality, but I'm always worried that I'll pay more and find out it's not really better at all. I buy a lot of clothes on sale, so that helps. It's a great way to get good quality basics for less. I love those black shoes.

Sherin said...

I've had to update my work wardrobe the last few months too.
I find it hard to buy things that are really expensive too. I know it's more worth it, but really can't justify it. I've settled on a nice middle ground though - the likes of Mango and Warehouse are perfect for good quality that isn't too expensive.

Lily Lipstick said...

I love what you've picked. I am trying to invest in better quality work wear, especially with summer coming up although I hate how a lot of higher end high street pieces are dry clean only! I do find it scarier splashing out on a pricier item when in the past I would have quite happily spent the same amount on a few cheaper items - silly really! x

Matthew Pike said...

My advice would be you probably will see the quality rise when paying more but it's not always the case. I like to go off recommendations with brands, especially from people who like similar things. It's trail and error for sure. I still can't fault Uniqlo for the price.

Buckets & Spades

happimess said...

Lovely bits. I started buying better quality a couple of years ago and don't regret it one bit. I have pieces I regularly mix and match and often get complemented as they are not the bits you can buy now.
It's worth doing but take advantage of the sales!

Saskia B said...

I think I'm starting to (finally!) realise that quality is over quantity, especially with work clothes. I'm glad you found some lovely go to pieces. I'll be keeping an eye out for the same!

Saskia / girlinbrogues.com

Maria Fallon said...

I have a real mix in my wardrobe- some of my nicest work clothes are from Tesco for example but it's the more expensive ones that last, Gap, Hobbs and M&S are my favourites!

Maria xxx

Katie Frank said...

your choose is very good. i have so many clothes so my warderobe isn't enough for that ://
http://coeursdefoxes.blogspot.com/

Style Eyes said...

I love your picks. In answer to your question is more expensive clothing worth it, I would say depends. I never buy from shops like Primark partly because of ethical concerns but also because I don't like the quality of their clothes. Not all expensive clothes are better quality though, I think sometimes you just pay for the name. I really love People Tree and Marks and Spencers for work clothes, I think they are fairly priced and great quality.

SJP said...

I'm very lucky in that I can wear what I want (within reason) to work so I haven't encountered the need for overly smart clothing before, but I do think investing in clothes is worth it. We spend a ludicrous amount of time at work so it makes sense to buy quality, comfortable and stylish pieces.

Chloe Martin-Brown said...

The highstreet is such a minefield, and also, I've been so guilty of buying Chinese knock offs on eBay that last all of 2 washes lately as well. But point in question that today I'm wearing trousers from Uniqlo which are now 3 years old, and Clarks shoes of a similar age and both look (almost) as good as the day I bought them. Sometimes It's not just about the cost, but where things are made or their design. I don't find Uniqlo to be criminally expensive, and they do great deals, but their fabrics and design are amazing, and their goods last. American Apparel can be great for better quality basics and I'm considering a trip to an outlet village or similar for my next big wardrobe overhaul to try and lessen the blow on everything else!

Dizzy Tea said...

I am fussy with the cloth price tags as well, but last autumn, I have invested in a Massimo Dutti quilted raincoat. It cost much higher than I'd have spent on a regular basis but I have to say, it's the best money I've spent on my closet so far. I am coming around with the idea that stable pieces worth the money indeed. I will consider this for shoes, coats and good jeans from now on.