I know, I know, here you are gearing up for Christmas with thoughts of cosy nights in front of the fire watching Home Alone and stuffing your face with mince pies, and I’ve come along to ruin it by talking about Summer, showing you pictures of bikinis and generally making you jealous with talk of my impending honeymoon.
What can I say? I’m sorry? The truth is even I’m finding it a little strange to be talking about sunshine and holidays in December. This is the first time I’ve ever skipped out on a British Winter, and this Christmas will be my first Christmas abroad. It’s all very surreal to be imagining Christmas Day spent on a beach rather than slobbing on the sofa, to imagine wearing a bikini instead of a Crimbo jumper and to imagine eating Indonesian delicacies rather than a Turkey dinner. But it’s hugely exciting too – our first married Christmas will hopefully be one to remember, and for perhaps the only time in my life – this Winter I’ll be enjoying Summer!
Of course planning for a winter of sunshine while the rest of the country gears up for the cold, dark and festive, does prove tricky and one challenge I hadn’t anticipated was how difficult it would be to shop for a summer holiday, in winter. With us having not been on a sunshine holiday for over a year (our last two trips were New York in Winter and Venice in Spring) I didn’t have much of a holiday wardrobe to fall back on and with it being our honeymoon, I was keen for at least a few new items that would feel a little special. That being said most of my concentration in terms of outfit planning over the last year was firmly fixed on wedding outfit planning, and so shopping and spending money on honeymoon items often fell quite far down the list.
With Autumn/ Winter collections starting to emerge in stores around August time now, holidaying later in the year can mean a more difficult shopping experience. The latest sunshine holiday we’ve taken in the past was in early October, and I remember even then finding the hunt for bikinis and summer dresses tiresome, so I knew that a December/January trip would prove even more of a challenge.
I learned to be savvy when it comes to this type of topsy turvy shopping and so if winter sun is also on the agenda for you, these are my top tips for shopping in the wrong season.
It might feel a little silly (and depressing) to be spending money on items you can’t wear for a good six months (especially when you’re in the midst of a terrible British summer like we had this year) but if you have a holiday in the calendar for later in the year it makes sense to start buying up your essentials, like bikini’s, dresses and sandals, ahead of time when they are actually still on sale. Even though my mind was on the wedding, I tried my best to purchase one honeymoon item a month over summer just so that I knew I’d have at least a couple of bikinis at the ready should I struggle to find anything nearer the time. My big mistake was not buying sandals over the summer, as when I realised how tatty my current pairs were come September time it was really difficult to find the styles I wanted for a reasonable price and in my size. If you regularly holiday in the winter then it makes sense to buy up your holiday wardrobe during the summer months and keep it on hold.
Shop the sales… but don’t go crazy
Tying into the above tip, the summer sales are key if you’ve not yet had your holiday at that time, and the late summer sales most definitely your friend. By the end of the sale period, most of us are super keen to see some new stock arrive in stores, to start thinking about autumn and buying new season. Very few people care about the summer stock by this point, and especially the high summer stock such as bikini tops and denim cut offs. If you’re clever, this is when you can swoop in and bag some major bargains, ticking off your wish list as you go. The trick is not to go too crazy though – browsing online in places such as Asos and Missguided will no doubt bring up a multitude of very reasonably priced items all of which could be worn on your holiday – but even though getting something for £5 is hard to resist, spending £50 on ten pairs of shorts just because they are cheap is unnecessary and you’ll end up with too many items that will rarely get worn. I had to stop myself on a few occasions when I’d notice my online basket suddenly racking up over £100 on what I thought were cheap and easy beach wear items. Instead I found searching for the items I needed rather than endlessly scrolling was the best policy, shopping at stores I knew were good quality and being able to get a bargain much more worthwhile, and shopping in store even better as I could quickly rule out the pieces that were less than perfect. I managed to get a couple of bikini sets in the sale at Topshop that I’d actually had my eye on full price, and picked up denim shorts online as this was something I didn’t have. All of the pieces I got in the sales are key items that I’d liked pre sale anyway and I avoided the riff raff that gets thrown on the sale rail every season and would no doubt fall apart within a few wears.
Consider what you really NEED
Like any shopaholic, I get easily lured by all things new and shiny, especially when I’m shopping online. But with most of our funds tied up with wedding costs, I knew I didn’t have a lot of spare money to splurge on honeymoon clothing. There was also part of me that didn’t want to take lots of rubbish with me on this trip – normally I’d be all over the cheap beach shorts and bargain Primark kaftans, but this time something stopped me. I want my honeymoon wardrobe to feel special, to be memorable in the way my wedding wardrobe was and to feature pieces I feel really good in. Of course I’ve shopped on the high street and picked up bargains on Asos like always but I haven’t gone crazy with endless amounts of tank tops and cover ups. Instead I wrote a list of the items I really wanted to wear on honeymoon and where possible tried to only shop for those pieces. I knew I wanted at least one stand out evening dress, a pair of good quality sunnies that could last through the trip and and a statement one-piece that looked amazing, so that’s what I hunted down. Look at what you already have in your wardrobe and figure out the essential items you need then you can throw in a couple of indulgent purchases if you’ve already got the basics.
The best tip for shopping for summer clothing during a British winter is of course to shop overseas, where summer is still on the horizon. December might be a month of rain, wind and snow for us in the UK but of course on the other side of the world they’re getting ready for BBQ’s, beach time and donning their flip flops so it’s not as if there isn’t summer clothing on sale anywhere. I found shopping online on US or Australian sites that shipped to the UK, the best way to find good quality swimwear out of season. I treated myself to a couple of Victoria’s Secret bikinis now that they ship to the UK (because I’ve always wanted one) and found bargain designer pieces on websites such as Revolve Clothing, Zalando, Shopbop and such like. Dedicated swimwear sites such as Swimwear365 and BeachCafe are also worth a look as they stock the key styles all year round. I use Shopstyle and Polyvore to hunt down the items I want too – the above Barbie swimsuit from Wildfox had been on my wish list for months but was sold out everywhere in the UK. I eventually tracked one size down on Zalando and couldn’t have been happier. If there’s something you want, there’s usually a way to find it, although I’ve been telling myself that about the Eugenie Kim ‘Do not Disturb’ hat for months and I’m still no closer.
Shop vintage and second hand
It’s safe to assume that vintage or re-sale shops and websites are rarely seasonal so you might just be able to find what you’re looking for at any time of the year. I’m not suggesting that you buy a second hand swimsuit but you might be able to find bargain designer sunglasses, shoes or accessories when you need them. I found my Louboutin sandals above in a designer re-sale store in Highgate and immediately crowned them my honeymoon heels. I’m also a total Vestiaire Collective addict, and since finding a lot of my wedding items on there couldn’t resist rummaging for honeymoon too – the elusive Eugenie Kim hat still eludes me but the great thing about Vestiaire is that you can set alerts for the things you want, so if any Eugenie Kim hats come online, I’m the first to know! Also don’t discount sites like Depop – I picked up a couple of great dresses from Never Fully Dressed on Depop, and you can guarantee there’s someone selling the items you need.
That’s how I got around my back to front seasons this year, do you have any tips for shopping out of season?