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2nd October 2020

Accounting for Style #6: A sensible start and winter wardrobe temptations

A final-year English Literature student tracks their attempts to budget and spending on fashion and beauty over the course of a month
Accounting for Style #6: A sensible start and winter wardrobe temptations

Accounting for Style is a series at the Mancunion Fashion & Beauty section in which anonymous Manchester students track all of their fashion and beauty purchases over the period of a month. Get a glimpse into the way your peers spend their money on their style, the splurges and the savings…

Age: 20

Degree: English Literature

Yearly maintenance loan: £8,703.00

Rent: £439 a month including bills

Part-time job: I’m a Bookseller at Waterstones and also do some freelance writing.

Monthly budget: I allow myself £100 for non-essential purchases every month. This isn’t just dedicated to beauty and fashion purchases, as it also includes dates, train tickets and going out for drinks.

Extra cash: Sometimes my family will give me some extra money, but quite often I will use this to help with essential payments.

Fashion and beauty spending habits: In all honestly, I’m much more of a saver rather than a spender. Although I’ll occasionally treat myself to a substantial purchase, my fashion and beauty buys are often limited to the essentials. I shop on the cheaper side, loving brands like Primark, PLT and Revolution – although I have a huge guilty pleasure when it comes to Zara. Quite often the items I buy from Zara are pieces I will wear for years on end, I don’t feel as guilty for shopping from brands that aren’t the most sustainable. I’m lucky to have been sent quite a bit of makeup over my years of blogging and I own a few holy grail palettes, meaning I don’t often have to remake these purchases.

Monthly estimated spend on fashion and beauty: I doubt that I’ll spend more than £40 this month, if I’m completely honest. However, I do need to stock up on some essentials as I move back to university and the seasons change, so perhaps I’ll end up a little over this budget.


Monthly Spending:

Thursday 3rd September: £7 – My first Primark visit in weeks (maybe even months)! I know it’s a love-hate store, but personally it’s my go-to for affordable yet stylish items that I find myself wearing year after year. They had lots of adorable pieces in store as their autumn collection was finally out, but I was committed to only getting items that I needed or really wanted. I picked up a layered gold necklace for £2 as gold jewellery is a personal favourite of mine and is an effortless way to look like you’ve put more effort into an outfit, although I can never justify jewellery that is more expensive! I also found a lovely pair of checkered trousers that will be a statement piece for the winter – I wear a lot of skirts and dresses with tights so I thought these would be a nice way to mix it up. I was committed to paying £10 to fill this gap in my wardrobe but when I got them to the till they were only £5 – what an absolute steal!

Checked trousers and gold necklace
Checked trousers and gold necklaces. Photo: Daisy Bradbury @ The Mancunion

Tuesday 8th September: £6.87 – I started the process of moving back to Manchester ready for university to start, so I needed to pick up some essential body care items from Home Bargains. Nothing extravagant, just a new pack of razors, shampoo, conditioner, and body wash which totalled £6.87 – an essential purchase which I won’t have to make again for a short while.

Thursday 17th: £139.99 – I honestly don’t know what happened on this day, I just went a bit crazy! For some reason, everything that I stumbled upon in Primark was gorgeous and right up my street. I couldn’t help but pick up a few autumn essentials. This included an adorable black pleated maxi skirt with white and brown flecks, a fluffy bucket hat that I’m dying to wear, and a square-neck button-down jumper since I find this cut flattering on me. I also purchased a neutral checkered scarf ready for the colder months, and an autumnal floaty dress complete with shoulder pads, an on-trend style staple!

Cream jumper, pleated maxi skirt, floral dress, scarf and fur bucket hat from Primark
An unexpected Primark autumn haul. Photo: Daisy Bradbury @ The Mancunion

As if that wasn’t enough, I made a somewhat guilty but gorgeous purchase in Zara. Yep, you guessed it, this pair of £95.99 boots are now proudly in my wardrobe. I know this is a massive splurge, but I literally live in black boots in the winter months and so having a good-quality pair is a must (gone are the days of cheap Primark boots that fall apart after 2 weeks). They’re leather with silver hardware and buckle details and are stunning – I can’t wait for the weather to get cooler so I can start wearing these! Although these were technically a Christmas present from my grandparents, I’m still including them as they’re too stunning not to be featured!

Zara black leather boots with buckles and silver studs
Zara leather ankle boots with buckles and silver studs. Photo: Daisy Bradbury @ The Mancunion

Monday 21st: £30 – I needed to venture into the centre of Manchester to pick up some books for university, and somehow found myself browsing in the shops. I bought a jumper that caught my eye and also two pairs of jeans since I’m loving a more relaxed, baggy fit with mom jeans lately and needed some new ones in my collection.

Wednesday 23rd: -£30 – I finally found the time to try on the jumper and jeans that I bought and honestly, they were not the one. It’s so frustrating not being able to use the fitting rooms in stores lately as it results in misfires like this, as the jumper was boxy and bland, whereas both pairs of jeans did nothing for my figure. I decided to return all of them, so at least I saved £30!

Total spend: £153.86

Overall verdict: I definitely spent a lot more than I was expecting this month! I started off being very sensible but I went off the rails in the middle of the month – I still don’t understand how I managed that! Although I do feel a little bit guilty about how much money was spent on clothes, I know I’ll get a lot of wear out of each item, not just this year but also in the future. If I’m completely honest, I have a lot of clothing from 2015/16 that I still wear, so I know these will be long-term staples in my wardrobe. It was interesting tracking my purchases throughout the month, as I had no idea I’d end up buying so much, and it’s eye-opening to see where my downfall was!


Would you like to anonymously track your fashion and beauty purchases for the period of a month for Accounting for Style? Email [email protected] to express your interest or come along to our Zoom meetings every Monday at 5:15pm.

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