Well, clothes more than fashion, but you get my drift.
Something miraculous happened to me the other day - I got paid. It's been a long time.
I think I last got paid before Christmas. Or between Christmas and New Year. A long time ago anyway. It's all a long and complicated story to do with a company takeover and a change of invoice system, etc, and then my invoice not being processed, but one way or another I was without income for several months.
Usefully, it gave me the opportunity to think about what I most needed in my wardrobe. Given that I lead a practical life, mostly in jeans and tees, boots and sweaters, I have decided to up my game a little and elevate my basics rather than buying more formal clothes that I end up never wearing.
First and foremost was boots. With my hopeless, poorly feet, I am on the hunt for knee-length boots (to go with skirts) that are either flat or have up to a 1in heel, riding-boot style, but in colours. There's the rub. I fancy red and purple and teal, etc, in leather or suede, but nearly all flat boots seem to be in black or brown, and coloured boots have heels I can't walk in. But most of all, they must have a thick, comfortable sole, so I can walk about without feeling like The Little Mermaid.
"Why not try DMs?" said the DH one day, as I was whingeing on again about the lack of comfortable footwear for women.
I must admit, DMs had never crossed my mind. I still think of them more as skinhead gear than as anything a respectable person would wear, though I remember my old friend Charlotte wore nothing else back in the 90s.
I did a search for Doc Martens and quickly came up with the Elena boot from Brit Boot. This was the only stockist that still had my size (6, to wear with socks), and I fretted they would be gone by the time I had enough money to buy any, but yesterday, oh joy, I found they were still there, and £168 later, they were mine.
Ouch. I have never paid so much for boots before, but comfortable footwear is becoming such a necessity that it's time to stump up. I got them in teal, which was the colour I wanted, but in any case, the other colours were gone. The sole is a little obvious for me, so next month I'll be trying the DM Haley boot, which doesn't get as positive write-ups but is a little neater in appearance.
Next up, a couple of teeshirts I've had my eye on for ages. Our brown, acidic well water not only stains everything rust-coloured, it actually eats cellulose fibres such as cotton and linen alive. Wool, silk and microfibre cope much better in our water, so I went on a hunt for wool teeshirts, should such a thing exist.
The Eddy baselayer from fair trade UK company Finisterre is made from merino wool from rare-breed British sheep that are non-mulesed. At £45 for a tee, they are whoppingly more expensive than I would normally pay, but I hope they will last much better than my simple cotton tees. They also, apparently, have the advantage of being wearable for days without picking up any sweaty smells - a lot of people seem to wear them for trekking as they can be worn day after day without washing.
Next, to undies. My sis bought me some great, comfy boy-shorts from M&S for Xmas that actually come up to your waist and hug your arse without heading straight up your crack and sawing you in half, so I logged back onto the site to look for similar pants in other finishes. I plumped for these lace ones and similar cotton ones (the patterned ones I wanted weren't available in my size) and while I was at it, I bought a bunch of vests, leavened a little by lace edges.
In summer, when I'm not wearing a dress, I like a cotton cardi or blouse over a vest, so this bit of lace detailing, I hope, will lift my basics a little and help me to be less bored with my daily uniform.
And finally this month - it is finally, as it's nearly April and I just dropped 400 euros on more wood for the endless winter we seem to be having - I logged onto Lands' End and got a couple of pairs of velveteen trousers in a jeans cut, along with their ponte jersey trousers (because I had a coupon). I haven't tried proper trousers from Lands' End before, so it will be interesting to see what they're like.