Just to confirm, this is not a sponsored post and the clothes I am discussing are ones I bought myself.
When I was doing my PhD, I didn't have much income but I lived at home and also didn't do much besides study and work. On a Saturday, it was highly likely you'd find me in my PhD office for some of the day, but that I would then head out shopping afterwards. The shopping tended to be of the clothes variety, as distinct from the necessities and essentials variety.
I find it ironic that now, with a greater income (but also greater expenses, it must be said) and theoretically more time, I very rarely go shopping. The flip side is that when I do go shopping, I seem to make the most of it.
Earlier this year, I decided I needed more exercise gear, and particularly more running gear. In theory, you can run in a basic t-shirt and shorts but it is much more enjoyable if you have fabric that doesn't stick, chafe, ride up, or gather sweat. Clothes with secure pockets are also more useful than you might think. My shorts and leggings have a pocket to fit keys, but on my long runs I carry dates (the natural equivalent to gels), and they need somewhere to sit before I eat them.
On my first shopping expedition, I bought the Adidas t-shirt pictured above, which has a small zip pocket in the back and fancy-pants fabric that feels nice and dries out quickly. I have a pink version of this top too, and they are my favourite t-shirts to run in.
And, last but also not last, I bought a Lorna Jane top that I expected to like a lot but actually like only a bit.
The liking 'a bit' is largely due to the built-in sports bra, which I'd intended to remove but found to be firmly attached. The elastic around the bottom of the top also tends to ride up. In all, it is a top that works very well for cycling but not so much for running.
It does have a great pocket though.
If I'd stopped there, I think we could have called it a productive shopping trip that would see me through quite a few months of activity. However, I didn't stop.
I went online.
I have known about wiggle.co.uk for some time, but only started using the site this year. Originally an online cycling store, Wiggle now stocks everything from bike equipment to running clothes to water bottles to sports shoes to Nuun tablets. What is more, there is now an Australian offshoot, available at wiggle.com.au . The prices are so much less than in 'real' shops that you may alternate between joy at the lower cost, and despair at the years you paid full price.
The photo above captures what I bought in my second shopping hit, all ordered online and delivered promptly. I love both of the long-sleeved tops, and the new hat has a longer brim than my old running hat. The Nuun tablets were featured in my April In My Kitchen post, and also pictured in the above shot are running shorts, compression socks, and regular socks.
Think I stopped there? Not quite, I'm embarrassed to say.
My final purchase in this month-long shopping binge was the above top from No Meat Athlete, a site I have a lot of time for. The tank top is pocket-free, but has the added bonus of featuring a running carrot. It's not every day you get to wear a running carrot.
I think it is safe to say that I've reached the end of my clothes shopping now, and expect to have a lengthy break before the next bout of spending. I will be wearing the above for at least a few years, and quite possibly for 10 years if my previous track record is anything to go by.
I am delighted to have discovered an online option for exercise clothes, which I find more expensive than I'd like, but where quality really does make a difference. Whilst I don't usually buy clothes online (the few time I've tried haven't resulted in purchases I like), exercise gear tends to be more consistently sized and easier to judge from images than other sorts of clothes.
On the topic of actual exercise, I am quite pleased to have navigated the post-race danger zone after my half marathon last month. Previously, I have found my motivation for running to dip after organised events, and/or have gone on to injure myself soon after such events. After an easy month of training I'm feeling good, and am looking forward to a 12km fun run in a week.
What's your approach to clothes shopping - love, hate, frequent or occasional?
And what about online shopping?