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I did a very reasonable thing the other weekend. I walked into a shopping centre close to my house. It’s not great – on weekdays it closes at 6.30pm and the selection is limited to the most obvious high-street retailers. But they have them all. Which means that you can pop from one to another systematically looking for the items you want until you find them.
There is more choice online, you say? Yeah, I know. But there’s also Outnet.com and Net-a-Porter has a sale on. You get where this is going? I am trying to buy a flat in one of the most expensive cities in the world. I should not be buying designer clothing even if it is discounted and the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen.
You can so easily end up spending ridiculous amounts of money
And I’m not just talking about your Guccis and Pradas here. I also mean brands like Reiss and The Kooples and Sandro, where you can so easily end up spending ridiculous amounts of money. Asos? I will reconsider when they stop using models who look so obviously ten years younger than me.
So I went to ALL the usual suspects and came away with a pretty good summer wardrobe. As with most of my shopping, practicality was just as important as beauty and price.
When I struggled to zip up the playsuit I was trying on (who puts a zip at the back of those things?), it went to the immediate reject pile. Why, you may ask. Well, there may come a time this summer when I am expected to use the bathroom on my own.
Strappy maxi dress £19.99, Sam Edelman sandals £14.99, both TK Maxx
As some of my favourite summer items – an ankle-length sleeveless 1990s Laura Ashley dress and a coral calf-length pleated skirt from a charity shop – are beginning to succumb to tear and wear, a maxi dress that I could embellish with various belts seemed like a perfect option.
Black denim skirt H&M £14.99, V-neck blouse H&M £12.99, faux suede flats Accessorize £27
Having a plain short skirt gives the flexibility to dress it up or down and I love having pockets, while the blouse will be equally suitable under a blazer come autumn.
Dress shorts H&M £19.99, embroidered top The Kooples £81*, slipper shoes Next £30
I do own several pairs of shorts already, but it’s nice to have something slightly dressier that can easily replace a skirt. The cotton top is breathable even in hotter weather (in case we get some).
*OK, I may have cheated a bit there and got carried away with online sales.
Would you like to know how to dress like a catwalk model for one millionth of the price? Talk to Helen.