• Billy Brayshaw

I Could Give Up Shopping, But I'm Not A Quitter.

Updated: Jun 28, 2019

I love to shop, it’s my drug, I actually get a high from it. That euphoric rush of snapping up a bargain, hitting ‘checkout’ or leaving a store knowing that you just made an absolute steal. I honestly struggle to contain my excitement....it gets my heart racing thinking about it! There have been so many occasions I have practically ran out of a store, paranoid a shop assistant will stop me and confiscate the bargain from my unrelenting grasp ( I swear the security guard at Zara suspects me of shoplifting).

Just like every drug has its come downs though, my drug did too. Not long ago, it all became a very expensive and out of control habit for me. After receiving a nice payout from a commercial I did a few years ago, I just got used to living a certain lifestyle, getting what I wanted, when I wanted it. That’s not to say that I haven’t always been a savvy shopper, however, I forgot that whether there is a sale on or not.... spending money is not saving money.

Recently, I have learned to better manage my money. I am happy to say that the old ways of my out of control habits have gone and I’m in a much better position. It was difficult at first but I have adapted. If I thought I was savvy before I am extra savvy now. Here is a few of my personal hints, tips and experiences, for the savvy shopaholic in all of us....

- Choose Wisely -

It was the Summer of 2015, the latest trend was bold, jungle and leaf printed apparel. I loved this trend at the time, so it didn’t take much persuading in me parting with my cash and committing to the seasonal must have attire. The bold jungle print worked wonders for the summer, could even get away with a few bits for winter, but as soon as spring came around it was dead in the water and looked, quite frankly, chavy. (For the American readers, click here for the translation for the word CHAV). This is probably the most important lesson I learned when trying to manage my shopping habits better. What you choose to buy can stay with you for years, or be dead after one season. 'How can you tell what will be dead, and what will stay alive?' I hear you ask. Well this is the tricky part. A good piece of advice is to keep your ear to the ground for upcoming trends. For men, I use GQ Magazine to browse through the galleries of the latest men’s fashion weeks, that way you will always stay ahead of the game. Another top tip is to not focus on the print but rather the cut/fit. More often than not the fitted style of particular items lasts much longer than the print/colour. Take skinny jeans for example, they have been around for a very long time, but they are certainly on their way out. The wider leg and cropped fit is much more in, and chances are it will carry through for many more seasons to come. For the skinny jean once reigned supreme, with peace bestowed upon the seven kingdoms, but now the wide-crop has crossed the narrow sea and has its eye firmly on the throne. (Sorry, been watching too much Game Of Thrones #teamtargaryen ).

- Never Buy Anything Full Price -

I think I have developed a bit of a complex when it comes to this. I don’t care if I’m only saving £1, I refuse to buy anything for the standard Recommended Retail Price. I understand that if everyone was like me then we probably wouldn’t have an economy but if I’m paying for something I need a bit of discount to make me feel like it’s worth my money. This is easier said than done. It’s about patience and persistence. Whether its spending days sprawling through the internet making sure I can’t find it cheaper elsewhere, or vigorously pursuing the world wide web for discount codes, or becoming so balls deep in sale racks, not even Alice tumbling down to her Wonderland hole could compare, I will succeed in getting what I want cheaper than that tedious RRP. It takes time but when you get that bargain, it makes it all worth it. I tend to use websites such as HotUKDeals.com and setup my personalised fashion alerts.

- Become Friends With The Brand -

Dear Dior,

My name is Billy Brayshaw, I recently purchased your Autumn 2017, Blue and Fuchsia Printed Bomber Jacket. I wanted to say I am really pleased with the comfort, fit and style. The colour is beautifully bold and several of my friends have complimented the design. If you could recommend me more similar styles that would be great and please feel free to sign me up to any news regarding your upcoming shows.

Yours Thankfully,

Billy Brayshaw.

Okay maybe this might be a little hammy to some, but it works. Brands love feedback from their customers, be that through email, post, instagram, or facebook etc, it’s all about creating a relationship with the brand you love. I have had some lovely offers and promotions for providing feedback to brands, and generally just received rewards for being a loyal customer. I would always advise a genuine approach though and not just reaching out in hope of a freebie (even though that is secretly what we all want). Instagram is a great tool for this, post it in your story, comment on their pics, follow their accounts, become their best friend! This does work much better when it’s a smaller independent brand, and I would encourage you to explore the brands in your nearest city.

- Be Original -

I absolutely love New York. It’s one of my favourite ever Cities. During my visit there, a few years ago, there was a huge Alexander Wang collaboration with H&M. It was ADVERTISED EVERYWHERE! Nearly every Billboard, on taxis (inside and out), on buses, in print; there was no getting away from it. So when it came time for the collection to hit the stores, the buzz was crazy. It was my shopping dream, it was electric, the excitement, crowds of people everywhere, queues upon queues pouring put from the H&M stores. After walking several blocks, a miracle happened, I noticed a smaller H&M with no queue (or LINE as they say in the US). Hyperventilating. It was the opportunity I had been waiting for, I had to see what all the fuss was about. Heading straight up to the men’s section, the premium rails were decorated with this innovative, fresh and flawless collaboration.... I ended up opting for this wondrous Mac coat, I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it, and its Alexander Wang, everyone wants it, so I want it! Caught up in the frenzy, with my new purchase folded perfectly inside my special edition Alexander W and H&M shopping bag, I was back onto the hustle and bustle of the New York sidewalk. I walked a little, maybe a block or so, every now and again catching glimpses of people with the same bag. I walked a little more and noticed more people with the same bag. Suddenly, it’s all I could see. Mile long floods of the same white H&M store bag I was carrying. There were thousands of them. Like a slap in the face, I woke up from this dream. A dream where everyone was the same, where we all dress the same, and we all buy the same things because the big billboard tell us to. At this point, I realised I was suckered into this purchase, and didn’t actually want it. Why would I want to look like everyone else? I felt like a robot. I got my shit together, went back into store and got my average Mac Coat refunded. Like a flick of a switch I felt human again. I know this seems dramatic, but fashion isn’t just about following trends or something I use just to cover up my nakedness, for me it represents my personality, it’s a statement of who I am. That purchase made me feel like I had lost a bit of my individual self, nothing against Alexander, but I was just doing it because everyone else was, not because I actually wanted it. That’s when it really hit home that it’s not about who you wear, it’s about what you wear and how you wear it! Be individual.

As mentioned above, give some local brands some love. (Defiantly rhymed that on purpose). As much as I love many big brands and high street shops, the truth is my heart actually lies with smaller, local brands. Firstly, they aren’t as expensive which is a bonus and secondly they are always more original. Again, I use instagram to find local fashion inspiration a simple hashtag search normally serves me well: #londonfashion #londonmensfashion #manchesterstyle #manchesterfashion . It doesn’t always have to be local either, maybe a boutique, maybe you know someone who knows someone who makes clothes, or maybe you can even turn your old clothes into current trends (YouTube has tutorials for days on this).

Oooaaaffttt, so there you have it, a few of my hints, tips and experiences, which have certainly helped me along the way with my shopping adventures. I hope you have enjoyed reading this, and if you did, don’t forget to subscribe! I may be adding a little video very soon, but in the meantime, have a browse below of my favourite places to shop.

Yours Sin-Cheerily,


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