Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Chloe Likes Sensible Shopping- Looking After What You Have

As a child, it was firmly drilled into me, particularly at this time of year when people wanted to know what I was after from 'Father Christmas', that if I wanted nice things, then I had to show I deserved them by looking after what I did have. Unfortunately, I was a chronically messy child, which didn't help things....

As an adult, I aspire to own nice things- I'm desperately saving for an iPad, I've been fortunate to win over £100 worth of handbag in the last 6 months, and as you might have read in the last edition of Sensible Shopping, I splashed out on some riding style boots costing over £250 several years ago, that I still wear religiously all winter. I work hard for the money I have, I try to spend it wisely, but all that can be wasted if you don't look after those things that you've spent your cash on.


A Thrifty Mrs wrote this fab post on insurance, which, despite the slight wince it causes me, and the thoughts of 'license to print money' that cross my mind, is in my opinion, a necessity. But what about simple things like your clothes?

I bought my winter coat from H&M 2 years ago. It cost me around £40, and I still love the shape, style and weight of it as much as the day I bought it, but this year, I realised it was starting to look a little tired. A button went walk about, and some of the others were looking a bit scratched and battered, and having had a stint in storage- and I don't just mean under the bed, when we moved house in the summer.

At one point, I was tempted to look for a new coat, and as sales and reductions hit I may add a new coat to my collection, but by looking after my trusty favourite, despite it being inexpensive, it's back to being my old friend.



1. Buttons. These are genuine vintage WWII ARP buttons. I bought them from a charity shop when I went in to donate something, as they were right next to the counter. There were 9 in the bag, including the 2 smaller ones used on the epaulettes, and the cost me £1. They've really lifted the coat as these are silver as opposed to the dull gold of the previous ones, and have lifted the shabbiness that the scratched, loose ones were giving to my coat. A quick, easy and inexpensive fix.




2. Sticky tape. I have more rolls of brown tape on the go than any girl ever should, but it turns out that it's pretty handy for more than just parcels, removals and storage. Lint rolls are all well and good, but when you're wool coat has plaster and brick dust, hair AND lint clinging to it, it's time to bring out the big guns. Parcel tape is cheap, it's sticky, and by dabbing at the coat, I removed all the nasties in about 5 minutes. Back to black!

3. Lastly, if you wear your coat on public transport a lot (check) or it has been stored somewhere (check) or maybe it's just been hanging somewhere near food smells/cooking (sometimes check), then fabric coats can hold odours. I try and give my coat a weekly spritz with a fabric spray like Frebreeze or similar to keep it fresh.

Shoes are the other thing I've chosen to invest in. My feet have been most thankful, but if you don't look after even good quality shoes, they won't last.

Aforementioned boots, Steve Madden


1. Keep a good quality suede protector in your cupboard, keep it well replenished, and spray new suede shoes before you wear them, and once a month thereafter. I love suede, I do, but there's not much worse than ruining them because you didn't see the puddle ahead of you...

2. Polish often. I have clear and black polish and a very standard set of 2 shoe brushes. I try and polish my boots once every 2 weeks, and any shoes I've been wearing particularly regularly too. Polishing protects the leather, helps to water proof, and generally helps keep your shoes looking smart and as good as new. It's also a great excuse to listen to a podcast you've been meaning to get to or catch up on last week's X Factor.

3. Store your shoes to prevent damage. Whether it's on a rack, in clear boxes (which you can buy cheaply from eBay or Amazon) or in original boxes, keeping them separate and stacked rather than thrown into a cupboard or wardrobe has several benefits- it prevents damage from heels or embellishments or water, it makes it much easier to find both shoes of the pair you're looking for on the morning you wake up late for work, and means you are more likely to see and remember what you have when planning an outfit or shopping.

4. My last tip is to find a cobbler you trust. markets are great places to find a cobbler, and always ask your grandparents if they live in close proximity. Having a pair of shoes resoled can be the difference between replacing them or not, and helps prevent any damage to the stitching or body of the shoe. If you wear boots or heels a lot, be aware that there are often metal pins which are covered by the nylon heel caps or plastic/rubber soles, which when exposed can be slippery. I learned this the hard way when I landed on my dodgy hip after slipping on a marble floor in Germany. My winter boots cost £25 to have the part of the heel rebuilt from wear, and a man sized rubber sole put on them, that's a tenth of their cost which has given me 2 further years out of the boots, so far.




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