The RTW Debate

I’ve been enjoying a little RTW indulgence since completing my three month fast at the end of the year. I justified this by buying things I couldn’t actually make for myself: namely a couple of pairs of Winter boots, one or two (ok so maybe three of four, Chris of handmadebychris I’m invoking the ‘cashmere rule’) cashmere cardigans from the Boden sale and a couple of pairs of high-waisted jeans (the only type of jeans I’m buying from now on). So far, so good! These are all investment pieces that will last me for many years and they’re totally plugging the gaps I’d identified during my fast.

In theory, although I’m not (yet) placing myself on another RTW fast, I shouldn’t need to buy anything else for the next couple of months and then I’ll reassess what gaps there are in my Spring/Summer wardrobe and take it from there. Although living in Northern England doesn’t require a great deal of warm weather clothing sadly…

But then whilst browsing the end of the sales rail in my local M & S, I came across this. And I was annoyed because this is exactly the kind of dress I’m make for myself. It’s blue 😉 (and black and silver), a knit fabric, super comfy (kind of stretchy sweat-shirting) and really easy to wear (with black jacket for work or cardigans for casual). I could totally make this, but for the lovely price of £9.99? Probably not. And could I actually find this fabric? Possibly something similar if I had the time to look around for long enough, but in the short term probably not. So I bought it, and it’s been worn and admired already (it’s incredibly warm too). But I’ve broken my rules and feel like it’s a really ‘naughty’ purchase.

So I’m interested to hear your views on this readers 🙂 Do you apply similar rules to yourself, banning any purchases you could easily make for yourself? Do you find this ‘price and time’ problem too? And should I be so annoyed with myself for buying such items?



RTW Fast, Two Month Treats


Hurrah! I’ve managed to go a whole two months without purchasing anything RTW. To celebrate, I put in another, little order to Guthrie and Ghani. I also purchased the lovely fox and anchor fabrics for my son’s two shirts, see here and here if you haven’t already seen them (still very proud sorry). The above two I purchased originally to have another attempt at Tilly’s Agnes top, after my last attempt didn’t quite go to plan…

However while the inky-spotted fabric would make a perfect Agnes, the black-and-white-striped fabric is much thicker than I’d anticipated, so I’ve changed my plans accordingly. Despite my misgivings about how flattering my Coco dress was around my middle section, I’ve been surprised to find myself reaching for it again and again. I guess comfort won out on this one 🙂 So as this is the perfect weight for another, I’m going to go ahead and make one! One of you was kind enough to send me a link to a blogger who’d added bust darts to her version of the Coco, so I’ll definetly be looking back at this again. I do also think that the solid, black blackground of this fabric will be far more flattering than the off-white of my previous one, despite the horizontal stripes.

Next Friday my school, like many others up and down the country, will be celebrating Children-in-Need day (an annual, televised charity event for those of you outside of the UK) which requires us to wear onesies (errr, never going to happen) or pyjamas to school. Unfortunately I really don’t think I have a pair that are passable for wearing out in public and I promise I have had a good look through. Now, I’ve given this a lot of thought and while I could have purchased some flannel fabric (harder to source than I’d thought) to sew myself a pair of pj trousers to match either my failed Agnes or my Savannah camisole, this kind of seemed almost as frivolous as buying RTW ones as it wasn’t part of my reward pile. So I’ve given myself permission to buy a pair and a matching fleecy gown. In my defence I’ve purchased a pair that I don’t think I could have actually sewn and this is a considered purchase not a rash one. Am I forgiven?

The last rather random shot below (and OK, yes I might be trying to change the subject super fast) is a very cute selection of knitted toys that D (our lovely reprographics lady), who helps with our knitting club at school, bought in on Friday to show us. I thought I’d share them with you too 🙂


RTW Fast – Almost There…

So, I’m well over half way through my three month, self-imposed, RTW fast and it really hasn’t been anywhere near as difficult as I’d anticipated 🙂 So, if you’re attempting the same yourself, or are even vaguely considering it, here’s what I’ve learnt so far:

  1. I’ve actually enjoyed it! Now this really has come as a bit of an unexpected surprise, but it’s been liberating just not even vaguely thinking about clothes shopping!
  2. It’s given me more free time, something I can’t be alone in craving more of. If I do have to pop into town (and I really have avoided it, unless it was truly necessary) it’s been so much quicker without so much as a quick glance in any clothes shop windows.
  3. My bank balance is looking far healthier, obvious but so gratifying! It’s amazing how a £20 pound top in the sales here, or a £30 reduced jumper there really do add up to quite a lot over a couple of months. And do I actually wear these impulse buys? Mmmm…
  4. I have indeed worn my me-mades more often as a result 🙂
  5. I’ve enjoyed just slowing down a bit, having a good sort out (though slowly and thoughtfully) and considering the clothes I do have more carefully – what works and what doesn’t, what’s plain uncomfortable, what’s seen better days, etc, etc.
  6. What’s also pushed me to wear more me-makes is downgrading their status. I have a tendency to ‘save things for best’ (is this a typically Northern trait?) but I’ve enjoyed wearing some of my ‘best’ every day, either for work or just out and about with the kids.
  7. When I do allow myself to go shopping again, I now have a much clearer idea of what I actually need.

And here’s what’s helped me get through almost seven weeks of my RTW fast, with the exception of only an M and S reversible sports bra (reduced to the princely sum of £2.50) to dint my armour. Well, I never promised to be a saint, but for me this really is very good going 😉

  1. Genuinely wanting to save some money really helped me stay focused, after our very expensive, family holiday to Disneyland this Summer.
  2. Being busy elsewhere in your life helps: new A-Level syllabuses at school have kept me incredibly busy reorganising and reinventing resources.
  3. Avoiding the shops, and all those pretty much all-year-round sales signs really worked for me to avoid temptation completly. Sales are my real downfall…
  4. Ditto, unsubscribing myself from the endless flow of marketing emails, and not even opening the ones that do manage to seep through.
  5. I have to do a twice-yearly changeover of my Winter/Summer clothes, so choosing to complete this fast during a changeover period was a useful distraction: being reunited with old favourites is just as good as buying new stuff. I still have a box of heavier, Winter stuff to unpack, but I’m saving it for a ‘treat’ later this month, when it gets really cold and I’m craving something new, although to be honest, I really haven’t felt like that too often.
  6. I’ve got rid of an awful lot of stuff, which has meant I’ve got more space in my wardrobes and have refound some new favourites that had been there all along.
  7. Less choice generally has meant that when I have made myself something, I can now ‘see’ it far easier and I’ve therefore been reaching for them more often 🙂

None of the above is revelationary, of course (apart from maybe the first one), but I’ve found it really therapeutic to make myself do this. It’s so easy to get caught up in the consumer-led society we now live in, but the thrill of something new or mindlessly bagging myself a bargain really does seem to have lost a little of its shine for me. I guess it’s a bit like my annual, dry January challenge, which is never quite as hard as I think it’s going to be, but just forces me to reconsider my habits once a year.

So, this is what my wardrobes (weekend/leisure on the left, work stuff on the right) looked like once I’d cleared out the clutter and bagged up all the high-Summer stuff:

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Believe me, this is far better than they’ve been for a very long time! Clearly the bottom of my work wardrobe still needs a good sort out (next job on the list), but it’s now apparent that while I have a lot of neutrals, which is good, I can’t help thinking a little bit more colour and print would be nice… It’s just lovely being able to ‘see’ this!

Anyone else been having a good, wardrobe sort out or a RTW fast? Have you found it equally as satisfying or a little more trying?