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I shot some photos at home for what feels like the first time in forever, which was so nice. Also the perfect chance to wear an all white outfit that seems best worn and shot in the safety of my own home. I bought these jeans in Amsterdam over the weekend from Arket, which is a shop I have been shopping in more since they started gifted me some things. This was something I wanted to talk about more generally; the sort of chicken and the egg chase of where a brand relationship begins with gifting. Arket has been the perfect example for me, and this is something I want to discuss open and honestly with you. The conversation of gifting has come to the forefront more generally since the new guidelines, which I think is a good thing once I got my head around the best way to get that information across efficiently in an Instagram caption. I think it brought into question how much gifting is good to accept, because after all, nothing endorses something more than spending your own money on it. But on the flip side, the gifting side of this industry is amazing for allowing me to create fresh content (although new clothes is NOT an essential for that), and to keep inspiring you with outfits. I think most of all, we need honest recommendations and endorsements. I think the most organic way this comes through is when you see me wearing the same things a lot, it shows that I love the item and the quality is holding up too. And when you consider how many items I have in my wardrobe, those ones that get worn all the time really are beating down a lot of competition.

Ok, that seemed like a tangent, but hopefully set the scene for this Arket discussion. This was a brand I knew of, had been into store, but never bought anything. There was no huge reason for that, other than I don’t shop loads and rarely just go on a little shopping browse unless it’s a Testing Basics shop. Obviously it’s very much my style, so when Arket asked if I wanted to pick some pieces online, I went for it. Is this bit in itself problematic?? It took me knowing it would be free to take the plunge with a brand I hadn't yet shopped with, or is that just common sense to say yes to an opportunity with a brand you had an interest in? I would love to know what you guys think of that initial moment. Anyway, I picked out some items, and they have since been items I have been wearing a lot. The overpriced but great white t-shirt what was part of Testing Basics, this black silk shirt which has replaced a now tired looking & Other Stories one I had for years, and the black blazer I have been wearing several times a week since I got it. So I suppose this is what could be described as the beginning of an ‘organic relationship’ (this term gets thrown my way by brands daily, but arguably I would say organic is only with brands I have shopped at previously, but is basically used as a term to say that I wasn’t paid to share something), and from this I got the chance to work with them on a paid Instagram last week. I already had items from them that had been sent, so I didn’t choose more items to wear for this specific post, and it was a post based around a lunch learning about the new Spring menus in the Arket stores. Now sponsored content can get a bad rep (I am very fortunate that you guys never really give me stick for it, so biggest thank you ever for that), but in this case it was an attendance and online sharing of a lunch, that taught me more about the brand that made me engage with it even more.

From this moment I headed over to Amsterdam with all this story about Arket and their new menus to share with Ben, and told him I wanted to take him there so he could buy some pieces. So off we went; he bought some shorts and a shirt, I bought these jeans and this knit here which I wore the day I bought it. So the end result of this was me spending my own money with a brand, and also telling someone else to do the same thing - is there a bigger recommendation for a brand than that? Even if my relationship with this brand started off with gifting? This has been such a long story, but I hope it demonstrates a point about how these things work and how beneficial gifting can be for me recommending things to you. And of course, this post has NOT been sponsored by Arket! Haha!



SHIRT: & OTHER STORIES | JEANS: ARKET (try on if you can, I have a very curved back but they gape a bit at the back) | SHOES: MANOLO BLANHIK (the cuts on my feet as so bad from these I can’t even walk around the house in them, but I will not give up)

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