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“My job is to shop, but I haven’t bought any new clothes for 3 months – this is what I want for spring/summer 2021”

Freelance fashion editor Harriet Davey explains what has influenced the way she shops – starting with not shopping at all. 

For me, shopping is basically my job. As a freelance fashion editor, my everyday tasks include keeping up to date with upcoming collections, compiling shopping stories and finding the best of the best in order to recommend them to readers. When I’m not writing, I’m also a stylist so I often shop for high street and designer brands that will suit clients. The thing is though, this has led to a habit of buying too many clothes. And I’ve only recently realised this is a bad habit, not just for my bank balance. 

While some people like to play sport or an instrument, my hobby has always been to shop. It’s more about the experience for me, meeting up with friends and family (before the C word began), taking time out from running around the shops to have lunch – it’s a day out. Something that I miss, a lot. However, spending all day looking at clothes for work makes it even more tempting to see things I ‘need’. And it has taken a pandemic to realise I don’t need them at all. 

Before lockdown, I would buy something new almost every week. I wouldn’t think twice about picking up anything I liked the look of, to then let it hang in my wardrobe for months before maybe wearing it again, if at all. Or buying a new dress for a holiday just to wear it once. I wasn’t thinking about what I was buying. For me, the thrill of having something new was often as good as the idea of wearing it.

When the first lockdown hit (and I had finished trying out furniture upcycling, air-dry clay and painting), I started the wardrobe detox. What I found was shocking. I had one main wardrobe, a giant clothes rail and several vacuum bags with all my summer clothes in. I actually felt guilty at owning this much, when I realistically only wear about 30-40% of them. After learning that WFH life meant a rotation of about five comfy outfits (mainly stretch waist trousers and joggers), I realised I needed to change. 

Now, I haven’t bought anything new in three months. Although I never put clothes in the bin to go into landfill – I always give them to charity or more recently sell on Instagram – I felt embarrassed at the impact my shopping habit was having on the world. How can one person have such an impact? The fact is, collectively, we all play a major role in recycling waste.

One way I’ve started to reduce buying new is by renting out outfits instead, and it’s surprisingly easy to do. I’ve also started to think more about who I’m buying from, and opting for some more eco-conscious brands. Since changing my ways in general to be more sustainable, help my bank balance and reduce the physical amount of room my belongings take up, I now think long and hard about what I want to buy, before I buy it. With freedom on the horizon, and spring clothes in the ‘new in’ sections, I of course would like a few new items (I’ll be swapping out some old to go to charity), for when there’s events to go to. So I’ve made a carefully curated edit of the spring/summer 2021 items I’ve had on my radar. 

Shopping smarter is all about thinking about what you buy instead of impulse buys, loving items for longer and passing them on to others to create a circular fashion life cycle. 

  • Kitri trench coat

    Kitri coat
    Kitri coat

    Jessie Bush is one of my favourite influencers to follow for both fashion and interiors inspiration. For this reason, the Kitri collaboration has been in my diary since I got the exciting email announcement at the end of last year. 

    I’ve been waiting patiently for this trench coat of dreams to land, and I know it will be a forever buy. 

    Shop Sam trench coat at Kitri, £285

  • Roop bag

    Roop bag
    Roop bag
    I miss handbags. As my collection collects dusts, I’m already thinking about going out in the future with a bag on my arm, heels on and feeling fancy after months in joggers. 

    The best thing about the Roop bags (aside from being adorable) is that they’re upcycled using remnant fabrics, and created using a few clever knots. What’s not to love?

  • & Other Stories cardigan

    & Other Stories cardigan
    & Other Stories cardigan

    I predict big things for shirt cardigans for spring. The lighter, collared style is so easy to style with anything from wide-leg trousers and trainers to shorts and sandals. 

    I’ve had the tab for this & Other Stories style open on my phone for about a month now, and I still think go back to look at it. So it must be meant to be. 

    Shop oversized belted shirt cardigan, £85

  • Otiumberg earrings

    Otiumberg earrings
    Otiumberg earrings

    Gold mini hoops are always a good idea. These earring will become part of everyday uniforms, no matter your style. 

    These Otiumberg earrings are ones to keep forever – the sustainable brand also has a care kit to look after them longer.

    Shop mini graduated hoops at Otiumberg, £103

  • Mango shorts

    Mango
    Mango shorts

    I’ve worn my faux leather Mango trousers every winter for the last two years. For a spring refresh, I would love to wear these dusty pink shorts with collared jumpers and chunky sandals. 

    There’s also a matching shirt to wear undone over a vest top once it’s warmer. 

    Shop belted leather shorts at Mango, £35.99

  • Rejina Pyo shirt

    Rejina Pyo shirt
    Rejina Pyo shirt

    In your face prints get a yes from me. No more wall flowers, I want to embrace spring in all its floral glory. 

    I’m imagining this shirt with jeans and brogues for now and on holiday (at some point) with a bikini top and linen shorts. Ideally with a cocktail in hand. 

    Shop Rejina Pyo Marty floral-print cotton shirt at Harvey Nichols, £295

  • Manu Atelier sandals

    Manu Atelier sandals
    Manu Atelier sandals

    The Naomi slipper is a far cry from the slippers that have been attached to my feet recently. I’ll be ditching the fluffy pairs in favour of a heeled, multi-strap sandal for spring. 

    Available in five different hues, I think I’ll need more time to decide which one to opt for to make sure I get the most wear out of them. 

    Shop Naomi slippers in water green at Manu Atelier, £300

  • Weekday top

    Weekday polo top
    Weekday polo top

    Polo tops are the retro style making a comeback. Although they’re a mini trend, they’re also a versatile style to incorporate into outfits across all seasons. 

    As an update on the classic Breton T-shirt, I would love to wear this pastel jeans and stomper boots.

    Shop Helga polo to at Weekday, £45

  • Aaks bag

    Aaks bag
    Aaks bag

    I dream about being on a beach at least once a day. For me, spring is the time I snap up key pieces for high summer to get ready for a summer holiday. 

    Investing in a great straw bag has its benefits. Lightweight, easy to shove everything into and it’ll never date. This Aaks style is also handcrafted by local artisans in Ghana so it’s a piece to look after. 

    Shop Tia ruffle bag at Aaks, £165

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