Stylist Trudi Bennett on how to shop in changing times

Trudi Bennett Wardrobe Flair

Stylist Trudi Bennett from Wardrobe Flair. Image supplied.

As we come out of one of the strangest times we have known, not only are we are about to head back into a world that’s been most definitely been changed by it, we’re also heading into a new season.

What has this got to do with fashion you ask? I believe these changes will in fact influence many people when it comes what they buy this season and how they look at clothing in conjunction with life outside ‘the bubble’.

When we strip back fashion, take away the trends, seasons, influences, colours, shapes and lengths, we get to what brought me in 2005 to set-up my Personal Style Consultancy, Wardrobe Flair. I’m in the business of helping to create confidence. Leaving the house feeling the very best you can with the size, shape, colouring and cut on the budget you have. Representing yourself in a way that makes you feel confident and courageous in your day to day dealings.

Covid-19 has exposed some pretty big home truths for a lot of people. They’ve thought about their happiness, their relationships, their jobs, their work/life balance. While these are big things, they have also started to think more about simpler things too. Getting dressed in the morning is a pretty simple, yet powerful thing.

It starts your day as you mean to carry on. As much we laugh and have ALL done a ZOOM meeting or catch-up with our trackpants or pjs bottoms on, it does feel weird and it doesn’t inspire us to do well in whatever we are doing.

While we think about getting dressed, we’ve also been pondering ‘do I really need this many clothes?’ How many of these do I actually wear that make me feel great? As someone who clears out people’s wardrobes, I can tell you the average is about a third. One third of all those clothes are what you actually wear and feel good in. Bit shocked? Probably not.

So we’re thinking about how many clothes we need, and this leads us to think about where we are going to buy them. Will we add more to our wardrobe with fast fashion pieces that are very much ‘on trend’? Or is it time to think about supporting our local designers and those we know have their clothing ethically made? Having less clothing, but better quality could for some be the solution to the coveted capsule wardrobe.

Trudi Bennett Wardrobe Flair

There’s some great garments to be found in pre-loved stores.

Finance will play the biggest part in our choices. If you have lost your job or have had to take a wage cut, or someone in your family has, this might mean buying higher-end clothing isn’t an option for you. How about you start putting some thought into the wonderful industry that is pre-loved? This is another simple concept. If something doesn’t fit, look good or isn’t liked by one person, does that mean it needs to go into a land-fill even though realistically it’s only been worn twice?

I’ve been helping client’s shop in pre-loved stores since 2005. It’s an option I’ve always given for personal shopping and I’ve converted many a person who initially thought it might be a bit ‘yuck’ – with misconceptions of smelly, dirty clothing in bins filled with clothing rags. Instead what I’ve shown them is how to source excellent, original, well-made clothing in gorgeous fabrics that are hardly worn, at an astoundingly good price.

If you’re going to attempt pre-loved shopping for the first time to pick up some winter or workwear items, here’s what I suggest. Make a LIST of what you think you need.  Have focus, otherwise you’ll walk in and be overwhelmed with the racks and a different set-up to what you’re used to.  Once you know what you need, just do those racks. The key to pre-loved shopping is little and often.  Check the quality, fabric, colour and shape of the item at the rack, not the changing room. This way you take less in to try on, but what you have has a better ‘strike rate’.  Lastly, don’t be obsessed with your usual ‘size’. Rather, use your eye, or put the item up against you to check size. Pre-loved items can be slightly stretched or may have shrunk a bit. Overseas brands also often have different sizing to NZ brands.

As we come out of this odd time and start thinking about heading back into work and society, maybe think about embracing this new thought process? This is the time to experiment in this new world about what we feel is important.  So as we move into this new season, this may include thinking about things you may have never thought about when it comes to clothing and fashion. There really is a ‘fit’ for everyone when it comes to cost, confidence and conscience.

Images supplied.

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