Monday, 30 July 2012

Shopping with Olana

One of the things about having an illness like M.E., anything that restricts your ability to go out, is that it makes shopping difficult.

For obvious every day things I personally use Tesco Online. Most supermarkets offer similar services these days. The charge for delivery with Tesco varies throughout the week. I usually go for a Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon as it seems to be the cheapest. I believe, but could be wrong, that Asda offer free delivery; the Asda delivery drivers are not allowed to enter your house though, which is a problem for me as I cannot carry the heavy boxes through to the kitchen. If you are up to going shopping in Iceland, you can save yourself all the packing etc by having your shopping delivered to your home if you spend over a certain amount.

For non food items I tend to frequent Ebay, Amazon, Preloved, Gumtree and Argos. I tend to look through all five, quickly comparing products and prices, before deciding upon a purchase, if I decide to purchase at all. Ebay & Amazon have aps you can add to your phone, so you can shop from your bed if you need to, or simply follow things you've already bid on / bought. I had always thought Amazon only sold books, but apparently they sell nearly everything these days.

What has actually lead me to writing this blog post though is clothes shopping. I find shopping in general quite stressful. Super market shopping is the worst, so I'm very thankful that I can do that online now. Shopping for clothes can be equally difficult though. Firstly because walking from shop to shop to shop for hours is painful and exhausting, but also because the high street shops all seem to carry similar clothing, which is just getting further and further away from my tastes every year. Over the last year I've done a lot of window shopping online, and am now starting to buy a few pieces of clothes that I feel are far more me than anything I've ever owned before.

For the last ten years, I've had no income (I still have no income mind you). I have relied upon my (ex) husband for money, and therefore, for clothes. His approach to clothing is that if it costs more than £5 it isn't worth it. Occasionally I'd be allowed to buy a dress at around the £20 mark for a Christmas party or similar occasion. The problem with sticking within that price bracket is that you are not only forced to shop in high street stores, but in their sale rails. So, you're getting the stuff that no one else wants to wear. For the last ten years I've been wearing mostly synthetic clothing, that is either uncomfortable, or doesn't fit properly, and I very rarely actually liked it much.

I've been posting pictures of a few pieces of clothing that I would like, to Facebook, and I've discovered that I'm not the only person who doesn't enjoy shopping in the high street stores. Many of my friends love the styles I'm showing them, but have no idea where to find them. Most of them work full time so don't have the ability to look around online like I have been. So, if you like the styles I post today, have a look at all the links I put at the end of the post.

I described myself the other day as a 'guppy'; a little bit goth, a little bit punk, but mostly hippy. I didn't take into account boho or steam punk though. Basically, I'm anything but main stream.

It all started with Witchfest last year. You can, but don't have to dress up for Witchfest. I decided I wanted to. I'd never 'dressed up' before. A close friend of mine helped me, because I just didn't know where to start. We started with this underbust corset (without the skirt part):

Added the white version of this skirt:

And this short black peasant blouse under the corset:




I enjoyed dressing up, and decided to redo my miserable excuse for a wardrobe. There were a few things I needed to get used to though:
- in the real world good clothing costs at least six times what I am used to paying for it.
- (theoretically) if you pay the price for clothing it will last longer, so it's worth saving for items you really want.
- when buying clothes from Asia you need to add one or two sizes to their sizing; always check sizing charts for measurements (returning clothes to Asia is a nightmare).
- when you're buying natural fibres it often means that they are going to be hand wash only, and cannot be tumble dried. (I've risked many clothes on a 30 degree wash and they've come out fine though). Most sites do not tell you in advance of such limitations.
- dealing with small online vendors means dealing with real people running their own businesses. You get a much nicer service than if you're going to high street stores. I've had to swap and change many items, even with a bigger website like Corsets UK, and not had problems for doing so.

I'm just going to post pictures of some of the items I have bought over the last few months. I will link the pictures directly to the pages to buy them from. Please explore these websites more thoroughly, and follow the links at the end of my post, as you will find so many treasures, you simply will not believe it.

These trousers are amazingly comfortable. The elastic went in mine, but it was very easy to fix. They state that they are hand wash, but have been through the machine here several times without any problems.

These haven't actually arrived yet, so I can't give a review of them, but I'm excited. I've always wanted faux leather leggins, but the ex always frowned at clothes like these.

Turquoise is my all time favourite colour, so this bag caught my eye as soon as I saw it, and I love it. It's a very large bag, designed to sit perfectly across from shoulder to hip. My only niggle is that I can't find anything in it because it has no partitions; so I might add some!

I have this top in brown. It's very comfortable, and again it goes through the washing machine despite pretending it doesn't want to. My only grumble is that I get the cord in my food, in the washing up bowl, and it gets washed every time I wash my hands. That is a bit obvious from the design though.

Blue Banana sold this on Amazon. They have high street stores, and a website too though. They're one of the few alternative stores who have become quite popular and well known (and pricey). I have quite a few of their products in my wardobe!

This top is really cute. I keep meaning to buy the other one that's similar. Very comfortable. Machine washable. Yay all round!

The picture doesn't really do it justice, but this top is fantastic. It has a lace up neck and lace up sleeves. The length of the neck makes it really warm despite the fabric being quite thin.

Surprisingly thick fabric, I am finding I tend to wear this top on colder days. I keep having to pull the back down so that the web around the neck stays in place.

This is a case of making sure you look at the sizing chart before purchasing. The first time I bought the skirt it was far too tight, but now I have the right size I love it.

This bolero cost me £5! It looks and feels like it cost £50. Everything on this site is £5, so I highly recommend it. Sometimes you need to be patient, waiting for items to be in in your size, as everything sells very quickly.

My top isn't quite the same as this one; none of them are the same. I actually bought mine from his store in the Oasis Markets in Birmingham. I highly recommend visiting if you can. If you have a blue badge you can park right outside. It's a building of about five floors, with several mini stores on each floor. Hippy Buddy is one of them; I bought several items from him, and am more than happy with all of them. The other stores in the Oasis are all hippy, boho, Victoriana, etc, with a few tattoo parlours, and a beauty salon thrown in too.
Whilst updating my look I had to get some new glasses, so why not change my glasses style too? I went for these, which just so happen to match my hair which is now black with pink streaks down one side. Select Specs do good quality frames at the best prices I've personally found online.

I hope you have enjoyed shopping with me today. Please do have more of a mooch around the stores I've showed you.


Stores I've shared items from:

Corsets UK

Dangerous FX on Amazon

Blue Banana on Amazon

Nomad's Clothing

Bizbusy on Ebay

Altshop-net on Ebay

Lotus on Amazon

Park Walk

Kate's Clothing

Argoth

Chosen Gifts on Ebay

Everything5Pounds

Hippy Buddy

Select Specs



Further stores to explore:

Ashen Soul on Facebook

Sassis US on Ebay

Dark*Dream on Ebay

Osiris Fashoin on Ebay

Black Rose

Gypsy Moon

Sharpe Designs

Pure Burlesque on ebay

Tuniquewear on Ebay

JennyzImpressionz on Etsy

Kinky Angel

Siesta

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