The British have a love for the cheap and cheerful, and – although tides are most certainly turning – many see it as a badge of honour to have bought a whole high street outfit for £15, never mind the quality.
With this in mind, I decided to set myself a personal challenge in the UK’s biggest bargain shopping destination, PRIMARK.
While my personal fashion blog will soon have more details on my Primark experience, for the purposes of this post you need to know these things:
- Until yesterday, I hadn’t set foot in a Primark store since moving to London and owned no Primark items, bar one eBay purchase.
- My challenge was to create three different outfits that didn’t scream ‘Primark’ – this wasn’t about just throwing on a dress owned by a million other people.
- To save money, I used one pair of my own shoes and I ended up adding a grey AA vest as I forgot to buy a top. In total I spent £40.
So, how to shop at every girl’s favourite bargain destination without looking like every girl…. here are a few things to bear in mind.
Avoid the obvious: From the military jacket from a couple of years back to the sell-out floral tea dresses, some Primark items are so ubiquitous that it’s impossible to walk down the high street without bumping into a mirror image of yourself. So skip these.
Alternative inspiration: Like every other UK high street store, Primark’s summer stock has been heavily influenced by Luella SS08. It’s cute, but it’s generic. When you’re shopping, think of other collections that could inspire your look. Although I didn’t quite pull it off, my first look was inspired by Chloe Sevigny’s Opening Ceremony line. Probably not something which the designers had in mind.
Change it up: Every Primark top is going to have been bought by a million other people, especially if it only costs £1. But what if that top becomes a skirt? Primark handbags are ridiculously cheap, but using a vanity case as a bag adds something different and at ensures that others won’t be carrying the same, Think about how you can reappropriate garments for different uses.
Up the accessories: Primark accessories are super cheap so it really is worth stocking up on these. Why spend £15 on your wayfarers in Urban Outfitters when you can pick them up here for £2? And I’m pretty much in love with the belt in the second outfit.
Shop outside your section: The easiest thing you can do to avoid the generic Primark look is to take a look in the men’s sections for oversize t-shirts and jeans like the one’s I’ve used in the second outfit. Try the kids too if you’re lucky to small enough.
But which outfit do you think is the most successful?
Items in these photos
Denim Waistcoat £8
Gingham Skirt £10
Vanity Case, worn as bag £8
Pearl Chain (also worn round wrist) £1
White wayfarers £2
Men’s Jeans £8
Heart Sunglasses £2
Tube Top, worn as skirt £1