Saturday, May 18, 2019

Shoes & Bags

* This post contains affiliate marketing links.

Lately I've had a lot of people asking me where I get my shoes & bags and I have a confession... I buy most of them at TK Maxx. Before you ask... This post is not sponsored and I have no relationship with TK Maxx other than my undying love and affection for the one that's close to my flat. I visit it at least once a week, but usually more than that. It's one of my happy places and I find it stress-relieving to browse the bargains. 

I'm also someone who struggles significantly with finding shoes since the online boom because I need to try them on and I like to buy them in person. Of course I do buy the odd pair of shoes online with most recent purchases being from Amazon, ASOS and Marks & Spencer, but my feet tend to fall between sizes so it can be tricky and involve a lot of returns. TK Maxx is one of the only places in my hood that has a big selection of shoes, so to avoid hassle and maintain some regularity of actually going shopping I buy a lot from there. The bargains are simply a bonus!

When it comes to bags, I'm just not that into them. Don't get me wrong... I love changing up my bags, getting interesting prints & colours and having something of quality on my arm, but I'm not the kind of girl that will drop a mortgage payment on a bag. I've done it before and I didn't feel that it provided me with any amount of joy that justified the price tag. It's just not my bag... (Pun intended!) That said, I do like having something nice and since I'm not particularly bothered about whether or not I have this season's It-bag, I love a good discounted option. Lately almost all of my bag purchases have been from TK Maxx and I have been getting so many compliments.

The thing about shoes and bags that always gets me is that if you have a great pair, whether it be high quality you love or you're simply attracted to timeless style, they will last through the seasons. When I'm shopping for shoes and bags, I rarely go for something super trendy unless it just happens to be my own personal style. Most of the shoes and bags I've had in my life have been recycled year after year. I've been known to wear the same pair of black heels for a decade because I'm pretty certain about what I love when it comes to my footwear. Of course I've bought the odd pair of shoes or bag here and there that never gets worn - it happens to all of us, but I could easily pull out at least 5 pairs of shoes from my wardrobe that I've had for more than 2 years (one pair I can think of was purchased from Banana Republic in 2009!), so whether or not something is from the latest season isn't a priority for me. I also really hate getting rid of a bag or a pair of shoes before they're falling apart... We spend so much time and effort wearing them in and getting used to them that it's a shame to part with them prematurely.

When I'm shopping at a place like TK Maxx, I have a few ground rules that I follow. I wouldn't suggest going there with a very specific idea in mind of what you want. I mean, you can and sometimes I do, but you should prepare to be disappointed just in case what you need isn't in stock at the moment. The stock of these stores seems to change like the weather and many times an item is only available in one or two sizes. It's better to go on a little adventure to see what kind of treasure you can find. Whether you're shopping for clothes, beauty products, shoes, bags, scented candles or whatever you like, here's a few things to keep in mind...
  1. Be open-minded. Keep in mind that you might find something you're looking for if you look, try on and keep your eyes peeled. You might also find a new style that you never considered for yourself before.
  2. Don't just look for brands you already know because you might be missing out on a wonderful new find. I notice a lot that TK Maxx has a tendency to sell American brands that I recognise from home that aren't usually sold elsewhere (or at least not that I've seen) in the UK. If you keep an open mind, you might find a new brand you really love that you can only find at TK Maxx. 
  3. Be patient. It might take a while and some browsing to find something you love. If you don't enjoy browsing, this is probably not the shopping experience for you or you might be better off going online to use the search function.
  4. Keep checking back. Whether you're shopping in-store or online, the stock changes quite regularly. Likewise, I've noticed my local TK Maxx doesn't stock the same things that are found online, so sometimes I look in both places.
  5. Try multiple sizes, particularly for shoes. Keep in mind that the sizes might be American, European, British, etc. and that all brands fit differently. When I'm shopping for shoes at TK Maxx, I make sure I browse and try on everything I like from sizes UK 7 to UK 8 1/2 because the sizes can vary so much. Likewise, I notice that sometimes the shoes are organised by size incorrectly because they're international. For example, a US size 7 is usually a UK size 5. If you normally wear a UK 7 and find a shoe that's way too small, it's probably for that reason, so don't get discouraged. Try on more styles in 7 and look for the small one in the size 9 section.
  6. The time is now. What you see and like might not be there tomorrow, but you can always return it if you think for a bit and decide you don't want it. It's ok to buy a sweater when it's sunny or a swimsuit when it's cold. In fact, I recommend it. If you don't, you'll be looking at the same time as everyone else and your choice will be limited. 
  7. Look for classics. A little black dress is a little black dress. If it fits well, suits your style and makes you feel pretty, you're going to wear it forever. I found these black and white Zara heels  and this classic style Dune bag at TK Maxx and I just know I'll still love them in 20 years if they last that long.

Finally, I'll say that I'm super impressed with the range of brands available for bags & shoes at TK Maxx. Some of my favourites are Dune, Zara, Karl Lagerfeld, Brooks, Steve Madden, New Balance and Toms. Some new brands I've discovered are Beth Jordan, Carvella, Miss KG and Bessie London. I've rounded up my favourite bags and shoes available now at TK Maxx. Simply click the arrows on the right to scroll through and click on the photo to shop directly.


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