I have been on a hunt for a dress, one dress, and after what feels like dozens of unsuccessful hauls, I’ve decided to take a break from looking. So with no new clothes I thought what better time to go through my wardrobe and look for things that I have loved for very many eons? We’re talking about anything from 3 years to 8 years ago.
Blue swing cami (Topshop)
When I was 17, I got a job at Dorothy Perkins, for those of you who don’t know Dorothy Perkins is part of a collection of British brands including Topshop and Burton owned by Arcadia. When you work at an Arcadia store you receive 60% off of certain items as part of your “uniform”, but it had to be from your store. When I was 19, I moved to Cambridge to study and thus moved stores, this time, to a Burton, since it was a men’s clothing shop it meant that I could purchase my uniform in any Arcadia shop I wanted. Of course I mostly went to Topshop.
This blue swing cami was one of my “uniform” purchases.
Could this top fit me better? Yes. This is a size 8 and I feel like that was probably their smallest size at the time, I tried it on and it seemed to fit so I bought it. Fast forward to a year or so later and I have sewn the straps an inch or so shorter and I definitely would prefer a 6 for a smaller width. But it is a swing top which means it’s meant to be a little loose aesthetically so it’s passable, and I have gotten away with it for a few years now so obviously it really doesn’t matter that much.
I love this top because it’s simple and versatile and adds colour to my outfit. I also feel that it looks smarter than wearing a normal vest top or cami, I’d happily wear this top with a skirt to work but for some reason I feel underdressed when I wear just a normal vest top. Maybe that’s just me, but I need to buy swing camis in all sort of different colours.
White shirt (H&M)
It’s a classic, it’s versatile, do I really need to explain more? My white shirt wearing occurrence has dropped recently, however, I genuinely think I will never not have a white shirt in my wardrobe for the rest of time. Watch this space.
Black maxi skirt (H&M)
I can get very particular if I know I want something, I get an idea in my mind and I will search forever and a day until I find the perfect fit. My great-aunt once told me that it’s a family trait because she’s exactly the same. In 2012, I think, I wanted a maxi skirt. A black, chiffon-y, maxi skirt with a slit. During this time, I was still unsure that someone as short as me should be wearing maxi skirts because won’t all of them just be too long?
Maxis were everywhere and so was maxi skirts, and black maxi skirts in particular. In jersey material, with slits and no slits; in see-through flowy material with a short insert skirt, no slits; with a stretchy waistband; with slits on the front, and so on. It seems silly and like it’d be something straightforward enough to find, but I genuinely could not find anything I liked, there was always something wrong.
Until I found this one in H&M. And just like 50% of my wardrobe, I bought it a size too big. I mean it’s not humongous on me but the waistband does sit on my hips as opposed to my waist, but that’s an easy enough fix, just add a belt, that way it also pulls up the skirt which makes the length perfect for flat shoes.
I have gotten so many compliments from this skirt, from just wearing it with a vest top and being stopped by strangers in Cambridge, to colleagues at work, but my most favourite though is standing in my kitchen during third year about to head to work; I was wearing the skirt with (what is actually a playsuit) a black wrap top with lace cap sleeves and my then housemate’s then boyfriend walks into the kitchen and asked where I was going, I was later told by said housemate that the said boyfriend thought I was dressed well enough to attend a Cambridge Formal. It can definitely be dressed up and maybe one day I will wear it to a formal event but I just love the floaty-ness of it and how it’s so easy to wear.
Blue wide leg trousers/sailor trousers (Dorothy Perkins)
If I remember correctly, these trousers were bought in 2010/2011 from the sale for about a fiver? I remember working at Dorothy Perkins and seeing these in the sale rack, they were obviously very old stock; I had not seen them or anything like them in the store before, they were the only pair in the whole entire sale, it was marked down ridiculously low. I think, and cannot be certain, that they were only £5 because throughout my time at Dorothy Perkins, I had been able to find and buy things for a fiver, usually incredibly old stock, namely a pair of black boots and a coat(!!). I remember these trousers being really cheap but I can’t quite remember if it was fiver cheap.
Anyway, not relevant anymore. I think the colour is what drew me in, I love this shade of blue and I loved the shape of them. I tried the trousers and fell in love with them but it took a little convincing before I bought them. In my mind I had nowhere to use them, no event that would call for them, but I couldn’t let them go so I bought it and it sat in my wardrobe for about 4 or 5 years before I took them out and actually wore them… After hemming them last minute with double sided tape, if I remember correctly, before we rushed to our Biomedical trial (completely sleep deprived but that’s a different story).
I have now worn these trousers a few times to work, it felt too dressy the first time I wore them but eventually I get over the worry of looking to dressed up and my colleagues got used to me dressing up.
I can’t remember when this skirt was bought exactly, but I remember wearing it to school and being in the science library during year 12. So let’s assume it was bought around 2009/2010. I love this skirt, I love the print and the colours and it’s just perfect for pairing with a simple top and off you go. It’s so easy and effortless and great for the summer. This is actually from the kid’s section. Oh the joys of being petite. (On the rare occasion that I do buy kids clothing, my biggest worry is that I will find a child wearing the same thing as me and all I’d be able to do is stand there awkwardly and hope no one notices.)
Black shorts (Pineapple)
You know, I think I bought these shorts for about a fiver… I have thing about finding things for a fiver. These shorts are actually dance shorts, and I suppose I’ve worn them dancing before but as an under-thing.
These shorts are something I cannot live without.
A work colleague once laughed at me when I mentioned that I always, always, wear shorts underneath a skirt or dress. (I used to be more lenient with longer dress but due to a fairly recent windy day while wearing a midi dress, I’m more inclined to wear shorts whenever I wear a dress or skirt no matter the length.) But it just seems logical and smart. Sure I might be wearing nice underwear that day but it doesn’t mean I’m happy to flash anyone at any given moment. No thank you, give me my trusty shorts. Not only do they save your modesty, they’re also fantastic for holding up tights.
Imagine it, it’s a nice autumn day, you’re feeling pretty wearing a nice dress, tights, and boots but what’s the one thing that ruins it? Having to pull up your tights every five minutes because they have ridden down. Again. No matter the fit of the tights, the fabric, or the make. Put a pair of shorts on top of your tights and underneath your clothes et voila! It makes such a difference.
Ballet flats (Topshop)
I am one of those people who have been wearing these shoes since they first came out. Or thereabouts. I remember getting my first pair of these and seeing the warning on the bottom of the shoe saying due to traditional construction of the shoe (or something along those lines) they are not intended for extended wear, I was scared of wearing them too much and breaking. Then I realised how versatile they were and I wore them.
Eventually, I just didn’t care about how delicate they were supposedly meant to be, I wore them everywhere, and with anything. I still do. And yes, I hate how Topshop have changed them throughout the years too. Don’t fix what ain’t broke dammit!
For the first time in years, I found the most recent version of these shoes in the sale. Could they be getting rid of these forever? Or are they getting rid of the news one so that they can go back to the original design because they’ve finally realised what stupid mistake they’ve made? All I know is that the newer ‘ballet flats’ they currently have apart from this one looks cheap and tacky so I’m stocking up.
White/multi dress (Topshop)
I believe this was the first ever dress I bought from Topshop. I remember going shopping with my family and my aunties and we found this dress in Topshop in Lakeside. In hindsight, this dress is actually too big, too big for how I like my clothes to fit nowadays anyway. But, it has served me well. I love dresses because you stick one on and you’re done, you’re good to go. It’s an easy summer dress, wear with flats or converses with an unbuttoned denim shirt on top or tied around your waist.
I considered getting rid of this dress this year but during the week where we had incredibly hot weather in the UK, this came to the rescue. I think I bordered on being too casual at work that day but I was cool and not dying from the heat. This is staying in my wardrobe for a little bit longer.
Denim dress (H&M)
Bought in Paris when we went for my 18th birthday… flashes back to Paris…
I love the fabric of this dress, it’s incredibly light and cool, I also lived in this dress during that week where we had incredibly hot weather. The only downside is that it does crease easily.
Cream dress (H&M)
Another H&M find.
I thought it would be nice to add a formal piece and this is probably my most used and most likely to be used again and again piece. Not necessarily because it’s my absolute favourite, it’s one of them, but mostly because it works for more variety of formal events. This was originally bought as my 6th form prom dress, I have worn it out for a fancy dinner, and for a my first ball with the Cambridge Dancers’ Club where one of the professionals complimented me about how perfect it is for dancing. Oh and I have worn it to our ballet Christmas class and dinner. It’s wonderfully floaty, I love dancing in it.
(Mostly called bonus items because they just look a little too loved to be photographed so I took internet photos instead)
Ultimate Strapless Bra (WonderBra)
It seems silly to call this bonus really because I LOVE this bra. I can’t vouch for bigger boobed women but even my small boobs proves to be a pain when wearing strapless bras, but this, this holds great. My absolute go-to for white shirts and blouses too, the simplicity and shape just works well under them.
(Top tip: if you, like Olive, did not know, nude bras are great to wear under white clothing. Don’t do white on white, it’s nearly as obvious as black.)
I need a new pair. My one has been through so much that the “hand support” wiring has snapped in half, however, I do have to say, unlike normal bras the wires do not stab you so I’ve been successfully wearing them still.
(Maybe I shouldn’t say that? Should I be pretending to be on top of everything and that I totally do not put up with old, slightly broken bras? Bras are expensive you guys, there’s other things to buy like food… Also, need I remind you that I’m lazy?)
Heeled sandals (Dune)
Originally bought to go with my cream H&M formal dress, I didn’t end up wearing these to prom. However, I made up for that for the next few years of wear. Another absolute go-to, it dresses up an outfit just enough when you need it to. I think this may need to be retired soon but I just don’t know what I will replace it with.
Well, there we are. Some oldies but goodies.
My wardrobe is full of old clothes, probably older than most people tend to keep but I’m a creature of comfort. I think maybe that’s why I love simpler style clothes, ‘classics’ instead of ‘trends’, I need something that will genuinely stand the test of time. It’d be interesting to see what my ‘oldies but goodies’ are in ten years time and whether any of these will make a comeback.
My two readers, care to share any personal oldies but goodies?