One way or another I usually avoid clothes shopping in January. I’d rather leave the house with my face pack still on to go buy milk at the shop, which I have done when I had totally forgotten it was on. One of those gel ones that start peeling away from the face all shrivelled, making me look like a snake shedding its skin. Oh the shame and the odd looks.
The sale rails line the shops, with items that, frankly, no-one wanted in the first place, and the transitional buy lacks any conviction or commitment, like a great big man giant standing with his one foot in Europe, his one foot in Africa, and his (great big) dangling bits hanging in the Mediterranean sea, carefully testing the water, not sure which way to go. It’s unlikely that shoppers will part with their dwindling post-Christmas funds to buy winter clothes (despite freezing temperatures), whilst they dream of spending their next salary on a holiday somewhere exotic and warm.
But I have a 40th birthday party looming and the freezing temperatures leave me less than enthusiastic about the dresses in my wardrobe. I decide that I will make an attempt to brave the murky waters of January shopping by combining it with a coffee morning with a friend. This particular morning we all oversleep and we are running tragically late. Instead of making an early morning beeline for Bluewater, I need to return home from the frantic school run to get dressed (no, I didn’t do the school run in my pyjamas, tempting as it might be). The trousers I choose are far too big and a last minute outfit change causes chaos, I make my breakfast smoothie, in haste I add cumin instead of cinnamon. For good measure, I accessorise my coat with a lashing of the offensive smoothie as I fly around in panic. I am an hour late. As I get to my car, the remote control key will not open the door, the manual one is damaged. Colourful swearwords, a quick fiddle with the battery and a speedy lurch down the road, I nearly crash into another car, besieged by my panicked tardiness.
The universe is trying to tell me something: ” You hate shopping in January”. Or maybe I should not have stayed up late reading about breadcrumbs. I don’t mean the type you blitz up in food processor with parmesan and chorizo to make an excellent coating for chicken, I mean those ones that have something to do with websites (still a total mystery). As I arrive at Bluewater (now an hour and a half late), it occurs to me that the car’s remote might not be so kind to me on the way home (mental note to buy battery or at least allow a little extra time).
A couple of hours later, I leave Bluewater empty handed. Perhaps it was the plethora of sale rails, perhaps it was the calamity that was my morning, but inspiration was in short supply.
Luckily my second attempt, this time in the West End, proved to be a little bit more fruitful, so here are my January picks from the High Street, which definitely has more than a hint of the eighties, largely due to the white boots I am a little bit obsessed with.
January High Street Selection
Faux Fur Collar Biker Jacket from Zara – £89.99
This Zara jacket has been around for a while, but I am so over thick jumpers and multiple layers, this coat should do the job nicely to keep stay warm without the bulky knitwear.
Belt with metal studs from H&M – £8.99
I’m not a huge fan of the over-done cowboy buckled studded belts, so I was very pleased to come across this toned down version at H&M
White Blondie T-shirt from It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll London – £20
You can order this online (or pop to their shop in Baker Street), but keep in mind that the t-shirt comes up very small. I bought a size Large and I usually wear a size 10. It’s also more of a dirty white than a pure white, which makes it look like you have hauled it out of the back of your wardrobe from a very long time ago. A lived-in, favourite, worn-it-to-death look t-shirt.
Ruffle Cross Body Bag from Topshop – £35
Relaxed High Jeans from H&M – £34.99
White Leather Shoe Boot from H&M – £49.99
These shoes are my favourite purchase, love the heel as I can still move quickly (when all those calamities make me late) and my feet won’t hurt for a week after a night out. They are also available in Black (happy days).
If a t-shirt with an icon from days long gone is not your thing, then you might prefer these options:
He Loves Me Blouse by Boutique at Topshop – £60
Gorgeous blouse, made in Britain (nice to see a little UK manufacturing going on). It is silk, so it’s dry clean only, you might have to think twice about wearing it in the presence of grubby paws and sticky fingers.
Sheer Stripe Funnel Neck Jumper from Topshop – £42
Beautifully fashioned and versatile piece of knitwear. Great shape. The stripes are sheer, but over-all the look is not indecent. But don’t wear it to work if you have a lechy boss.