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THE ART OF BEING EFFORTLESS

This post is really important to me, as it is essentially the culmination of things that I deem to make me a sensible, stylish adult. Now that I'm 23, and will be 24 in the coming months, it's time to start taking myself a bit more seriously. In this post are a collection of things that I bought in the latter half of 2014 up until now that everyone ought to own in some variation or other. I'm incredibly proud to have all this, especially because aside from the perfume, I bought it all for myself.

Over the past year I've been re-evaluating my style. While I've always been very drawn to dark colours (who am I kidding, black on black on black), simple cuts and varying textures, I've realised that I've been buying a load of shitty versions of things that I needed one of that was high quality and would last me forever.

I'm emptying my wardrobe, donating to charity or selling the things that might rack a few quid together and focusing on attaining decent things rather than splurging at Primark and getting through 4 'pleather' bags in a year.

So, here we are,

the art of being effortless

. Here's what you'll need, and not much else, starting from the feet up. 

Generally I hate 'girly' shoes, opting for boots, loafers, Dr Martens or Vagabonds instead. When I saw these in TK Maxx I knew I'd kick myself if I didn't buy them. Originally £75 from Carvela Kurt Geiger, they were £50 cheaper than they should have been, and that's a hefty fuckin' saving in my opinion. If you're a pumps kinda person, I strongly suggest you ditch the Primarni and invest in a sturdy, timeless pair such as these. The gold contrasting the black suede is just gorgeous.

You can buy these ones here on the Secret Sales website.

Next up, you're going to need high denier tights. If you wear a lot of body con stuff like I do, I'd recommend the

100 Denier Magicwear Bodyshaper tights

. Even though they are a bit faddy, they certainly do make you feel a bit more confident. While I've been dissing Primark for some things, for basics it's a whole other kettle of fish. You can pick up 100 Den and 80 Den tights in there for pennies.

Following that, you'll need to capsulize your wardrobe and have a selection of high quality, well made items that you can throw on and will go with everything. I feel like at this point in my life there's not much room for tatty old t-shirts. Luckily I've never been a fan of colour, so aside from my old uniform from when I worked at Cath Kidston and the odd pastel summer dress, I've not got too much in my wardrobe that wasn't carefully considered. Black goes with everything, duh! I'll be doing a post soon on the sorts of wardrobe essentials I've acquired, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

Arguably the most important thing you'll need at this time of year is a timeless, chic and super cosy coat. I bought this

Slim Coat from COS in the sale

, and for a cashmere/wool blend I thought that at half price, £75 was really reasonable. I can totally understand why people would be drawn to the vibrant coloured overcoats that Topshop offer each year, but I don't see the point in throwing £80 at something that isn't going to be 'on trend' next year. The key to choosing a proper coat is longevity, quality and the question '

Will it go with all my stuff

?'. Go for a dark colour, charcoal or black are the epitome of effortless, and go for a well structured design with clean lines and enough room for a jumper.

Accessories!

Oh, accessories. This is something I've basically kicked myself over for the past year. While I bought a bag in a charity shop for a fiver about 5 years ago and still wear it (I even used it today), the lining has ended up in tatters and it's impossible to find anything in it. If I had all the money in the world, I'd buy

this Givenchy Antigona bag

, but I don't, so this is what I have instead.

Teddy not included in bag purchase

I have no idea what this bag is actually called because I got it in store, but it's from & Other Stories. I usually would have talked myself out of buying it because at full price it was £95. However, they had a 20% off day PLUS my beautiful friend Xandria works there and so I got another 25% off the discounted price. PLUS she wouldn't let me give her all the money for it, which obviously caused me to burst into tears in the shop. I don't know how many people in the world are as wonderful as Xan, but I doubt it's many. This bag is the perfect 'on the go' bag, as well as being an ideal size for nights out and can even justify me carrying around a grotty old Goldsmiths tote bag for extras. I love the deco-style seamed design, it's just lovely. You all know I'm a sucker for Deco design.  

The little purse is also from

& Other Stories

, which was £10 in the sale. I needed something to keep my Oyster card in, as I'm terrible for losing them, and my old AllSaints purse is falling to pieces. I have the

Elissa purse

which I bought when I worked there. I was kind of asking for it to turn tatty, serves me right for buying a sequin purse. Anyway, this little zip purse is perfect pocket size and goes with everything.

Jewellery is ridiculously important. I always feel like jewellery is one of those things that you feel really guilty about spending money on because it's the ultimate luxury. I can kind of justify spending a lot on clothes because you

need

clothes to be comfortably accepted in society. Jewellery is different, there is literally no real

need

for it, just a whole lotta

want

. I'm really bored of throwaway jewellery as I probably mention too much on this blog, and I've developed a life-long devotion to shiny lil' things made of precious metal.

The trick to buying quality jewellery cheaply is to shop independent. Keep simplicity and minimalism in mind for timelessness and maximum wear for your money. Why on Earth would you shop from a high street jeweller when there are so many incredible jewellery designer/makers around? A few of my current favourites are:

-

V Jewellery

-

Oh My Clumsy Heart

-

EA Burns

-

Smith/Grey

-

Jenny Sweetnam

Check out shops like

Parla

in Boxpark and

Celestine Eleven

in Shoreditch, and keep your eyes peeled on blogs and say goodbye to green fingers, gooey ears and stained necks forever.

I feel like when it comes to developing a signature scent, there are perfumes that will represent different periods of your life. When I was like 13 I got my hands on an old bottle of

YSL Opium

that my mum didn't want, and became obsessed with this idea of smelling like a woman. Not like a girl, like a

woman

. After that, I wore

Victor and Rolf's Flowerbomb

for a while, followed by

Chanel Coco Mademoiselle

which I feel like every feminine person I know has been through a phase of.

For the past 5 years or so I've been wearing

Coco by Chanel

. I'm still obsessed with smelling like a woman, I'm totally attracted to earthy, oily, musky but beautiful scents that remind you of places and feelings. This just sinks into my skin and makes me feel like more of myself. I fluctuate between this and

Eau Duelle by Diptyque

 which Amy bought me for my birthday last year.

I don't really buy into the whole 'you need a million products and you need to buy this fancy pants blow dryer else your hair will fall out and you'll die' kinda thing, so I stick to the bare minimum when it comes to my hair. Obviously, I dye and tone it, but this means that I need to make sure it doesn't dry out and snap in half like it did when I used to bleach it. (Who remembers when I had long hair?!) I suppose the only secrets I have are that I try to only brush my hair when it's wet in the shower with conditioner in it. I always leave my conditioner on for about 5 minutes because I tone my hair at the same time as conditioning it, so I kind of have to anyway. When my hair is damp, I rub Argan Oil through the ends. This has honestly saved my hair from a fate worse than death, it is incredible. Don't use too much else you'll end up with greasy ends, just about a pea sized amount if your hair is a similar length to mine. Super, super soft.

Beauty wise, just go with what you know. Choose three or four lipsticks that will get you through any situation. You'll certainly need a classic red, a statement lipstick, a day-to-day wearable lipstick and lip care products. Once again, I'm all about quality and not quantity. What's the point in spending £30 on 6 lipsticks that are all smudgy and rubbish when you could buy two incredible, long lasting, timeless ones? I buy each of my signature colours perhaps once every two years, which definitely works out cheaper in the long run and I remain satisfied with the quality and the execution of the products I buy, rather than constantly searching for more and more to replace things I didn't actually like that much.

Nails are something I've grown to adore, I have been a life long nail biter. I stopped biting them about a year ago and painted nails has quickly become one of my most obsessed over beauty habits. For nails that are always gorgeous, you'll need an oxblood, a red and a black varnish. I can't go any further without recommending

Seche Vite

 - it's as good as everyone says. One of my best friends, Kim, is a

WAH Nails

girl and right before the WAH/Bleach Christmas party she told me off for not owning it. It dries your nails to perfection (like the quality of gels) in about 3 minutes which means no more smudges, no more fabric prints, no more blemishes at all, ever!

I think ultimately, all I can say is that I'd recommend careful consideration in every aspect of your life, and especially when it comes to fashion and beauty. It's always tempting to become overwhelmed by what all the beauty bloggers say, and it's tempting to go on a Primark or Missguided haul, but at the end of the day - who cares?

I'll care about the stuff I buy now when I'm still using it and still loving it in 5 years, and so will you.

I guess that's it for this S U P R E M E L Y long post. Hope you enjoyed it! 

Love, Sarah.