what i bought in April

Kept & Returned | What I Bought in April

OK, so I’m just going to begin this post by indulging myself in a quick freak-out, because OMG, it’s MAY, people. MAY.

Now I’m going to make some of those annoying, “doesn’t time fly!” and “It feels like just last week we were celebrating Christmas!”observations. Because everyone enjoys those, right? And with THAT out of the way, let’s move on to my monthly spending report…

This month I continued with my ongoing mission to build a wardrobe that works for my lifestyle, and I’m pleased to report that I successfully managed to resist the temptations of ASOS and Chi Chi London, and instead of buying a prom dress I’d never get the chance to wear, I bought a pair of boots instead:

camel knee boots and matching bag

Item 1: ALDO ‘VITALY’ camel knee boots

Yeah, I bought winter boots in April: I KNOW. In my defence, it snowed more in April than it did in January, so they were actually a much more practical purchase than you might think. Also in my defence, I’d had my eye on these for ages, and had planned to buy them in the winter sale, only for them to sell out before I got the chance. Story of my life, huh? Earlier this month, though, I was clearing out the secret Pinterest board I keep in order to stalk items of clothing online, and I found a link to The Boots. I clicked, purely out of curiosity, and lo! They were back in stock! And on clearance! To be completely honest, the LAST thing I wanted to do this month was buy boots I wouldn’t be able to wear until Autumn, but, well, I DID say I was going to be sensible, and I HAVE been searching for camel/tan boots for my entire life, basically, so I figured this was the kind of “sensible” purchase I’d be grateful for eventually, even although I’d rather have bought a prom dress NOW.


I’m slightly less pleased to report, however, that I failed in my other mission of the month, which was to track down a replacement for the pair of Zara jeans that are constant rotation right now, and which I’ve had to start rationing my use of, because although they are still wearable, I suspect they won’t be for much longer – especially not if I keep wearing them like they’re the only clothes in the world. For reasons I’ve never really understood, most of my jeans eventually do this thing where one knee – just one, mind – will start to go white, and that’s the stage the Zara jeans reached recently. (It’s the right knee, just in case you were wondering.) This was a cause for concern, because a) no one wants to walk around with one white knee, do they? and b) jeans are just the WORST to shop for, seriously. My requirements are short, but specific: the replacement jeans must be…

  1. Skinny, but not skintight: this is the main stumbling block, because most jeans these days are so tight on the leg that they make me feel like I’m wearing Spanx. And I hate that.
  2. The perfect mid-blue wash. Not light blue, not dark blue: mid blue. Oh, and with none of that “giant faded patch on the thigh” nonsense, either: I’ll fade my jeans myself, thanks.
  3. Little to no distressing. I do have some distressed jeans, and I’m not totally opposed to them, but the current search revolves around non-distressed (or at least minimally distressed) jeans.
  4. Short enough that I don’t have to hem them. Yes, I know I could have my jeans hemmed. No, I don’t want to.

With that set of requirements in mind, and given that Zara had been the provider of The One Jeans, I naturally turned to them first in my search for a replacement. I was out of luck, though, because…

black blazer and blue jeans

Item 2: ZARA cigarette jeans

SERIOUSLY, people: SERIOUSLY. These were straight-up the most unflattering jeans I’ve ever had the misfortune of placing on my body: I just couldn’t get them off fast enough. I wanted to take them off as soon as I started to put them on, in fact, but I knew you were all depending on me to show you the ugly jeans, so I took one for the team and grabbed a quick photo.

(Yes, I know my torso is blending into the wall in this photo: if only that were the worst thing that was happening in this photo!)

I’d ordered these thinking the cigarette leg would be the answer to my “all jeans looks like leggings on me” issue, and… well, yeah, I guess they don’t look like leggings: I’ll give them that. Unfortunately they don’t look like cigarette jeans, either: I’d say these would be better described as boyfriend jeans, mom jeans, or just plain ol’ hideous jeans, really. In fairness, I’m wearing a size larger here than I usually wear – I decided to size up based on what they looked like on the Zara model, but I honestly don’t think the correct size would’ve been a whole lot better, really, and I’m in no hurry to find out, either.

VERDICT: I’d have returned them twice if I possibly could have.

There was, however, one good thing to come out of that Zara order, and it was this blazer – shown here with the orginal, and apparently irreplaceable, jeans: pray for them, please:

black blazer and blue jeans

Item 3: Black Zara blazer

If you’ve been paying attention and/or stalking me, you might recall that Terry bought me the white version of this blazer as a birthday gift last month. I’d had a black blazer on my shopping list for ages now, and I’ve been wearing the white one constantly, so I figured I may as well get it in black, too, so at least I’d be able to switch things up, sometimes. Like, sometimes I’d wear this exact outfit with the white blazer, other times I’d wear it with the black one: TOTALLY different look, I’m a genius, really. Anyway, I have, indeed, been wearing this on the regular, so…


(Does anyone else feel like this post is NEVER going to end? Seriously, Amber, just GET ON WITH IT.)

As well as that Zara order, I also placed an H&M order this month and, look, there’s no easy way to say this, but one of the things I ordered was another trench coat. Yes, it was.

powder pink trench coat

Item 4: H&M powder trench coat

Honestly, I spent ages coming up with different ways I could possibly try to justify this (“But this one’s pink!” “I don’t have a FLOWY one, though!”), and what it basically comes down to is that there IS no justification: I’m just a bit obsessed with trench coats, obviously. I’d say I could stop any time, but I actually don’t think I could. Is there some kind of support group for this?

Anyway, this trench is from H&M, and I actually DID order it because it was blush pink and flowy, and I’d just been looking at photos of women on Pinterest wearing pink, flowy trenchcoats, and had managed to convince myself that my stubby-legged self would be transformed into one of these bambi-like creatures if I only had one of those trench-coats. Then I opened up the H&M website, and there it was.

“It would look so good over an all-white outfit!” I told myself, excitedly.

“Or over an all-black one!” my self responded.

“I think it might look good over that floaty pink skirt you have,” said Rubin. “You know the one that’s always a bit tricky to wear, because you never have the right outerwear for it?”

OK, Rubin didn’t say that: it was still me: or the little devil-horned part of me that likes to lead me into temptation. (There’s an angel-winged part of me too, somewhere, but I don’t see her much these days. I’m actually wondering if she’s OK, now I come to think of it?) That devil-me made a good point, though, and the fact that the trench was out of stock in my size when I found it just re-affirmed the fact that I probably wouldn’t be able to live without it, so when it came back into stock, I had it in my basket (case) before you could say, “FFS, Amber, enough with the trench coats, already!”

Anyway, it arrived, and my thought process went like this:

ME: OMG, TRENCH IS HERE! <rips open package>


ME: OMG, TRENCH IS… just a thin piece of material, actually, with no lining whatsoever. So, basically just a very long top, then, as opposed to a useful piece of outerwear. Or, like, a coat that you just wear for show, rather than to keep you warm? Do people do that? WHY THEY DO THAT?




pink trench coat with side split

And yes, it has these giant splits up each side, which, WHY? Why would you DO that to an item of clothing? Or, I mean, I KNOW why: it’s to make it all “edgy” and “fashion forward” and stuff, and, as far as I’m concerned, when fashion designers decide to make an item “edgy”, what they normally mean by that is, “Let’s take a perfectly nice, useful item of clothing, and do something really stupid to it. I know! What about a giant split down each side?”

Yeah, I’m just not the “edgy” type, apparently. WHO KNEW.

Verdict: Returned

Oh, and Item 5…

Was the blue stripe version of these trousers, which I already have in white, and which I bought almost entirely because of this photo of Kendall Jenner wearing an almost identical pair. No photos of these because a) I really set myself up for a fall there by linking to that photo of Kendall Jenner, and suggesting  might copy her outfit and b) I think the photos in this post are already bad enough, really, Sorry about that, by the way:  it’s completely impossible to get decent indoor photos unless I set up the studio lights, and I just can’t be bothered dragging them out every time I order something new, hence the crappy photos. I’ll try to do better next time…

Liked this post?? Take a second to support Amber on Patreon!
  • Giggling over the trench. WHY INDEED.

    Although that reminds me, I need to continue my hunt for a really great trench coat…

    That blazer is super cute!

    May 2, 2016
  • Ginger


    I would have returned the trench, too. The flimsiness would probably have been a deal-breaker, but the slits? Really? Bummer, but at least you still have the money!

    My mother wears out her jeans exactly the same way. I think it’s the right knee, too. So weird!

    May 2, 2016
  • Liz in Paris


    Aha, so I’m not the only one with the One White Knee Issue (OWKI). I have a perfect-fitting pair of darkish wash jeans from German brand Mac that have been cursed with the OWKI. Like yours, it’s the right one. So I only wear them for hiking etc. now and will be obliged to get another pair when I’m in Germany at the end of the month. What a sacrifice (not!).

    May 2, 2016
  • Try Primark for jeans – they had a style called ‘relaxed skinny’ last time I was in there that came in different leg lengths (I know that because I can only buy the jeans they have in a 34″ leg). I tried a pair on and they were skinny, but not legging-like. Only £10 too if I remember correctly and I don’t think they had any fading etc.

    May 3, 2016
  • Catherine


    I’m in the midst of trying to find the perfect pair of jeans too at the moment. My trusty River Island skinny jeans in the perfect shade of blue, in the perfect length that I don’t need to have them hemmed are on the outs. And River Island decided that this season it would all be jeggings, and high waisted aberrations. Top Shop and Zara also disappointed. Who actually looks good in mum jeans?!

    May 3, 2016
  • Sophie


    I saw a super nice powder trench coat in the window of Marks & Spencers – It’s twice the price, but it’s v. similar (but without those super weird slits. Just why?) http://www.marksandspencer.com/belted-trench-coat/p/p60081905?prevPage=srp

    Boyfriend jeans, yes. Mom jeans – nope. I’m not super picky with jeans, I used to live in Topshop Jaimie jeans (as I can get the petites version as I really need a 29″ leg) but I fell in love with the Primark skinny high waisted jeans. For £10 I just can’t go wrong, but I just have to put up with them being longer than I’d like! I’m kind of the opposite with regards to skinny-ness as I just want a pair that don’t get baggy as soon as they hit your calf.

    May 4, 2016
  • Moni


    About the trench coat: Couldn’t you have had that slit sewn shut? I wouldn’t say that’s an impossible task, and if you like it that much that you are sad to send it away again…
    About the jeans: They don’t exactly look wrong to me. They may be a bit short, perhaps? But from this angle I wouldn’t say they look ill-fitting or unflattering. But I do understand the search for the perfect pair, and if you don’t feel good in them, it’s perfectly okay to return them.
    I will no longer wear jeans that I do not at least 95% agree with, either. And if I find them, I also wear them to death. You can’t imagine how many times I’ve patched my jeans up between the thighs, because the rest was still good, and it takes SOOOO long to find a proper replacement…

    May 12, 2016
      • Moni


        I totally agree. 🙂
        Just wanted to say that they didn’t look that bad from the outside. (You should have seen some of the jeans I have tried on so far… I understand the feeling of not being able to get them off fast enough…)
        Have a nice weekend!

        May 13, 2016
  • Wendy


    I just ordered a blush trench coat from Boden. It is your fault 🙂

    May 14, 2016
  • Diana


    Hi Amber,
    I’m reading your blog from several years already but have never commented. This post however with the Zara jeans made quite a story for me 🙂 just like you and many more gals I was searching for the perfect relaxed jeans. Not too bagy, not boyfriends, but not skinny either and no high waist (high waist is totaly unacceptable in jeans for me). But couldn’t find this balance anywhere. Until I saw your post and realized that what is ill fitting jeans for you might be my perfect pair. Right after reading the post I opened the site and… the jeans were not available in my size 🙂 I didn’t give up and checked few days later and what a nice surprise – this time they had my size. Ordered them and they arived today. Amber, these ARE my perfect relaxed jeans. I love them 🙂 thank you for sharing your review and taking a picture even not liking the fit. Actually the jeans look good on you in my opinion but I understand that they are not the style that you’re looking for.
    Thanks again and keep the good work – I ‘m in love with your writing and would read whatever story you write 🙂

    May 20, 2016