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5 Things That Ought To Come Free With Clothing…

Clothes are complicated. More specifically, wearing clothes is complicated, and the dressier, the more complicated getting dressed becomes. How often do we spend a day searching high and low for that perfect night-out dress and matching shoes, only to get home and realise… ah, actually, in order to wear this outfit I’ll need boob tape, nipple flowers, a whole new strap to alter my bra, plasters for the inevitable blisters, gel pads to protect my feet as much as possible, and lots of sellotape to remove every. single. speck. of. lint. Of course, then there’s always something missing from your secret ‘getting dressed fixer-upper’ box, and so back you go to the shops. Repeat as necessary for each additional look-perfecting item you remember to purchase. Some shops are considerate (and sneaky) enough to place these magical products near either the garments for which they will be required, or near the checkout area as a tempting last minute purchase. Wouldn’t it be easier though, if clothes came with the items that perfect them? It makes sense, I think; most other products follow this general rule. My camera came with a (pretty useless) cleaning kit. My flat pack office furniture came with a (very utterly useless) toolkit. Why don’t we sell clothes with those additional items? I’m not saying that models should start parading down the runway with a plastic sandwich bag of clothing-maintenance supplies tagged to their bums, but hear me out, you know that shopping for a night out would be much simpler if shops offered a freebie essential with certain items of clothing… for example:

1. Shoes & Plasters

I can think of a list of things that ought to be sold along with shoes… sandpaper, gel pads, wet wipes, those little scuff-removing, shoe-polishing kits that they sell in pound shops and on the end of supermarket aisles… the ones that probably don’t work. However, if there is one thing that really should come free with all shoes, it’s a big, fat box of plasters (or band aids, for my lovely American readers).

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Shoes: Nicholas Kirkwood. £395. Available here. Plasters: Available here.

2. Handbags & mini-vacuum

Like those tiny little desk hoovers that are usually shaped like a mini Henry Hetty. I’m tired of having to empty out my bag every week and turning it upside down to bang out the mass of biscuit crumbs that have accumulated on my tube journeys, most often also losing the spare change/USB sticks/spare house keys/favourite lipstick that were also hiding in the one nook/cranny of my bag that I did not check – or I realise (on turning my bag upside down over a bin, that one of the inner pockets was not zipped up).

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Marni. £1,050. Available here. Mini Hetty Hoover. Available here.

3. Fur/wool/feathery/fluffy garments and a lint roller

There are certain high street shops, such as H&M, who have long had the clever idea to place a cart of lint rollers strategically close to the checkout, and more than once they’re doing so has reminded me, just as I reach the front of the queue, that yes, I do actually need a lint roller if I’m going to wear this fur coat this winter. I think they should take it one step further, however, and start selling pocket-sized rollers with the garments, tagged to them alongside those little plastic pouches with spare buttons that get lost almost immediately on removal. Call me crazy, but it has to be done, because I always buy a lint roller… and then after a quick swipe of my outfit in the morning, I’ll leave it at home… and then by mid-afternoon, I look like I’ve been trampled by a thousand malting cats.

Then again, I now see a flaw in my idea – like the spare buttons, I’d just remove the lint roller, use it, and leave it at home… huh.

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Bottega Veneta. £6,690. Available here. Lint roller. Available here.

4. Blue jeans and dye fixatives

I have a pair of dark blue jeans, which I bought, oh… two years ago now. I know the drill. Always wash out the excessive amounts of dye before wearing new jeans, unless I’m going for the smurf look. However, they have been through the wash what must by now have been a few hundred times, and they have been washed with dye fixative a dozen times, and yet, you can guarantee that I will have to spend a week after wear scrubbing my legs each night with as many exfoliating products and mitts as I can lay my hands on, and having to awkwardly reassure anyone who sees me in a skirt that no, I do not have a circulation problem… they’re just stained blue. I’ll be stuck in a constant loop of scrubbing my legs until they look red, rather than blue, and therefore convincing myself under the overly-flattering lighting of my bathroom, that the stains have been buffed away. Only the following morning, as I step out confidently in a mini-skirt do I realise that actually, no, still smurf.

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Frame Denim. £235. Available here. Retayne.

5. Coats or Suit trousers from Primark and scissors

I promised myself when I graduated university that never again would never again purchase any clothing from Primark. The only Primark products that are allowed are those ‘tips and tricks’ items like boob tape, gel inserts for my shoes and BOGOF wet wipes that are all so much cheaper than at Boots. I’m not a student anymore, it was time for a high street upgrade. And I’ve stuck to that plan, but this one still deserves a spot on this list, because it always drove me crazy while I was at university. I don’t care if its done as ‘tailoring’ to create a neater silhouette, if I buy an item of clothing with pockets, I expect to be able to use those pockets. I don’t enjoy having to awkwardly pick away the stitches when I get home. Why would they bother with making lined pockets if they’re then just going to sew them up? If they’re going to insist on such madness, we ought to be given the scissors to free our pockets, because you can guarantee that mine have always gone missing.

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Primark Trousers £16 (not available online). Scissors.

This may seem like madness, but I swear it’s the direction that our high street shops should take… then again, it is also 1 o’clock in the morning…

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Wanderer

Why my perspective towards RTW packing changed overnight…

I have 9 days left in England, and so I’m already well into the throws of packing, storing and selling my possessions. The memories of my aching back from last summer convinced me to buy a lovely little 1.6KG 55x40x20 suitcase to replace my quaint little 46x32x15 canvas pinstriped backpack. The only reason I upgraded in size was because I can stuff so much more into a backpack than a suitcase – do you find the same? I began by buying a suitcase that was almost identical in measurements as the backpack thinking, ‘ok, same size, just on wheels. Lovely.’ This suitcase, in fact.

Well the suitcase was almost fine, it easily fit my laptop (case and charger), my camera (lenses, cases and charger), about three outfits… and not much else.

So I went and bought the larger (but still suitable for a Ryanair flight) suitcase, and said to myself that it doesn’t matter if the case is bigger, I’ll still pack exactly what I packed last summer; as little as possible.

That was a week ago. Things have changed a little since then; I’ve realised a few things. I’ve always been a big believer that if you are travelling for three weeks, three months or three years, there is very little difference in how much you need to pack. I’ve never understood people who say ‘well I’m travelling for a whole summer, so I need 200 outfits. But then I started packing… and I realised, as much as I love backpacking, and I’ve always loved having just a tiny backpack (except for the backache) to carry all I need for a few months, I don’t want to do that for longer than a summer. I want to live out of a suitcase.

This realisation started with a skirt. This skirt, actually:

Image from here.

This is my absolute favourite skirt, bought at H&M about a year and a half ago. Every time I travel, it gets left behind simply because it’s made of 10000 layers and would take up half of my backpack. I can deal with that, it’s only a skirt, it just means I wear it as much as possibly for a few months when I come back to England to make up for it. Except that this time, it managed to sneak into my suitcase… closely followed by a pair of black kitten heels. I bought them back in March, broke my foot in April, and so I’ve never worn them besides a few times to break them in around my apartment. And they are just too beautiful to be a waste of £20. And besides, I plan to stop and teach English when I start to run out of money.. I need a suitable outfit for work.

I do need to watch myself though; it’s easy to get carried away and start finding any excuse to justify everything in my wardrobe. A New Look LBD is trying to sneak it’s way in under the same excuse as the kitten heels; work clothes, but so far I’ve been stern and said no; a LBD can be bought anywhere if necessary.

I think my suitcase wardrobe is fairly finalised.

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  1. Pink Midi Dress. H&M A/W 2011. £20
  2. Green Skater Dress. Primark. £10
  3. A trusty black tank top (with lace trim)
  4. Satin cream 3/4 blouse. New Look. £16.99
  5. Nautical Striped top (mine is 3/4 and backless)
  6. Roll sleeved dusky blue t-shirt. New Look. £4.99 (I’ve ripped up the back of mine)
  7. Baggy waterfall pink thin jumper. Vera Moda. £18
  8. White 3/4 Cardigan. H&M £6.99
  9. Black floral bralet.
  10. Brown tweed shorts.
  11. Black suede kitten heels. New Look. £6
  12. Cream/black pointed flats.
  13. Black brogues.
  14. Black waist belt.
  15. Pink scarf. New Look. £7.99

It’s all a bit more chic than my usual backpacking wardrobe, which consists of summer tea-dresses, gladiator sandals and short shorts. But then again, I’m not backpacking this time, I’ve living out of a suitcase, and so why can’t I bring one or two luxuries?

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