If I went through all of my clothes, shoes and accessories and wrote down where everything was from – I’m not saying I’m going to, but humour me – I reckon the result would be an embarrassingly short list. I’m a creature of habit and convenience when it comes to shopping and (excuse me while I admit something that will no doubt be sacrilege for many of you) I don’t shop online all that much, so my shops of choice broadly tend to be those within easy reach of my office. I go out at lunchtime, do as much damage as is possible within a 50 minute window and I come back with my spoils, where I promptly proceed to do a ‘haul’ to my teammates.
Much as I love that little routine (in particular I have a penchant for proudly displaying the items from the ‘haul’ that I think people will find most ‘out there’), of late I’ve started to become less enamoured with buying as many armfuls as I can afford from the usual suspects – in my case Primark, New Look, Zara, Topshop, H&M and a couple of others, and more interested in whatever else might be out there, undiscovered by my uncultured shopping habits.
Shopping in that way is just not doing it for me in the way that it once was – I mean it is, obviously, because I’m a weak-minded individual whose stupid little eyes light up when she sees a sale sign or a new in drop at one of my usual fast fashion go-tos, but more and more I find myself wanting to add something that feels a little more special. Something that I haven’t seen 7 people post about on Instagram already and something that’s not ‘SO gorgeous babe’ based purely on the fact that it’s from the new in section of a well known, much-loved high street behemoth.
And before you rush to call me a hypocrite (I’ll call myself one thanks, because I am) when you see the next fast fashion item to be added to my wardrobe pop up on Instagram, just note that I said less enamoured. I started at far-more-enamoured-than-your-average-person anyway, so I’ve still got a lot of love and affection for my main gals; I’m just interested to dabble in a few more independent or less well-known brands.
I want to start looking beyond my usual culprits to find things that feel a little more like ‘special’ purchases. Things that aren’t another £10 top or £20 dress or £5 necklace that three people I know already own – or, as is more likely, as well as some of those things. And that’s all well and good, but the problem of course lies in that I have no idea where to start, because I’m not the kind of cool person who knows a load of cool brands. Plus, I buy a lot of avocado, and naturally as well as being the reason I’m unable to own a house it’s also the reason I’m unable to purchase myself expensive gifts.
Here goes, though; I’m starting with jewellery. In the days of old, my jewellery wardrobe was the most shameful collection of Primark 5 for £2 earring packs and New Look ‘statement’ necklaces you could ever lay eyes on (nothing wrong with buying jewellery from either, I hasten to add, I just don’t even want to count the corpses in my jewellery history that went that odd brown shade or bent in two after 5 minutes).
I don’t want my whole jewellery wardrobe to be from the same old fast fashion stores, but I’m not in a place to be buying high end, essentially. If you’re not buying cheap costume jewellery, though, it sometimes seems like the alternative is the stuff beneath glass cases in intimidating jewellery stores – lots of which is lovely, of course, but not the sort of thing I would buy for myself (and unfortunately I don’t have a queue of suitors lining up to purchase me such things either). I want pieces that are chic and cool but also affordable, that feel somewhat more grown up and hand picked than my fourteenth pair of Primark hoops.
Enter Lisa Angel. And when I say enter, that’s actually a throwback, because probably the first time I heard of Lisa Angel was about 5 years ago now. In the interests of full disclosure, the two pieces from their delicate collection I’m wearing here were purchased with a voucher they very generously provided, but I’ve actually been happily spending my own money there for years and will continue to do so.
Usually when I’m doing anything with brands, I like to incorporate them in a natural, non-intrusive way – but the fact of the matter is, I love this place and actually the most natural thing I could possibly do on this occasion is just tell you that. They are my first port of call for friends’ birthdays – the price point is perfect for gifting when you want to get something that feels a bit more special than something from H&M and they can personalise a huge amount of the range – but they’re my favourite place for a bit of jewellery self-gifting too. Somewhere you can spend time choosing a piece that feels personal and like a treat, but without straying from a comfortable price point.
I think I’m finally finding my feet with the ‘minimal’ side of my style, (which will never be entirely minimal) and these adorable little hexagonal hoops and spinning disc necklace play into that perfectly. They’re understated, with just the right amount of detail to elevate them beyond your standard hoop and circle pendant, and that’s what I want to channel for my jewellery wardrobe going forward.
Clearly, I’ll still love enormous tassel earrings from H&M and spontaneously picking up rings that will make my finger go green, but these additions to my collection feel like they’re a step in the right direction. Plus, they go so perfectly with my unflattering, man-repelling grandad trousers and cute little ‘it’ top from Topshop – bought on a mad lunchtime dash to the nearest high street shops, of course. Little steps, people.
If you can recommend any cool independent brands – for clothes, shoes, accessories, whatever – that are also affordable (ethical/sustainable would be a bonus too), hit me up in the comments. It’s time I started deviating from the same five high street giants a little more often, and I’d love some suggestions on where to start!
What I’m wearing
Earrings – C/O Lisa Angel (Use code SOPHARSOGOOD15 for 15% off until the end of June) | Necklace – C/O Lisa Angel | Top – Topshop | Trousers – H&M | Bag – Zara | Sliders – Primark
Photography: Robert Poor