Let’s be honest, wine and shopping is a match made in heaven. So much so we dedicated a whole evening to this dream team (which we lovingly named Wine O’Clock). Held in partnership with Principal Hotel Company at their Manchester outpost, we treated some of our Finery Females to a peek of our new collection while they enjoyed their favourite tipple. But it’s not just us who are partial to the odd tipsy shopping spree, as journalist Polly Vernon explains below.
Definition: modern retail concept, relating to the uptick in online fashion purchases that occurs at a specific point in the evening, and is believed to be the consequence of a whole lot of women internet shopping while under the influence of a glass (or three) of rosé. Or a nice dry white. Or, y’know: just gin. Usage: ‘Make free with the cocktails and fire up the laptop, lady! Wine O’clock approaches and I want to buy things!’ (NB Contrary to popular belief, and also the fact that ‘wine’ and ‘nine’ rhyme, wine o’clock does not strike bang on 9pm, but rather retailers agree, around about 9.17).
Ah, the singular joy of Wine O’Clock! How it joins women together, how it bonds us, regardless of nationality, age group, sartorial leanings or budgetary restrictions! We are, all of us, united by a single strong instinct: to get a ‘lil tipsy, kick back and shop. Whatever our time zone, wherever we find ourselves at that precious point in our day – sofa! Pub! Back of an Uber! Round a good friend’s with a bottle of prosecco for every ex you ever wished dead, and one more for luck! – we will drink, and we will click. Take me. My first ever online fashion purchase was wine influenced (it was eight or so years ago, early days in the grand scheme of online fashion shopping; I was nervous, I needed Dutch courage and the guidance of an already-initiated stylist friend). The booze was cold, white and probably Pinot, the shopping occurred in a furious flurry; by the time it arrived, and turned out to be an excellent pair of jeans, I’d endured and recovered from a hangover, and semi-forgotten about the shopping, so welcomed it into my life like the unexpected, very tasteful gift it seemed to be.
Since then, I’ve bought tipsy, and I’ve bought sober, and I have learned somethings about the advantages and disadvantages of both:
1) Shopping while slightly drunk can be freeing. Protected by booze’s warm glowy hug from the onslaught of all usual doubts and anxieties - can I get away with this; who do I actually think I am? Will this make me look like mutton? Yeah, but what will (insert name of that person you think is a friend, only sometimes, you wonder, because of all the judgement, here) say if I get this? – distanced from all that, you can get a better sense of yourself, and shop more bravely, more boldly, more confidently, as a result. A Wine O’Clock shop will typically embrace colour and patterns that a sober shop would not; it’ll play with new trends, new silhouettes. Thus, Wine O’Clock shops have a greater capacity to move your look forward, to release you from fashion ruts, to inspire you to mix things up a little.
2) Wine can make you a little detached from practical pre-purchase questions, like: yes, it’s an undeniably stunning full-length ball gown, however: how many balls have you been to lately, and how many are you planning on going to, and please don’t kid yourself you’ll fling a biker jacket over it and dress it down for coffee dates, because you can’t, you won’t, you’re not Carrie Bradshaw, and this is not New York circa 2002.
3) Wine O’Clock shopping is often very influenced by whoever happens to be standing close to you at the TOTW (Time Of The Wine). It is not uncommon for a woman in a bar, to end up in squiffy conversation with another woman in a bar, inquiring after the provenance of her outfit, and then purchasing elements of said outfit, on the spot, on her smart phone (because she thinks this other woman is totally cool and she totally loves her, which is weird, because they’ve only just met). This can be very good, or very bad from a fashion perspective, depending on how similar these two women are in terms of height, shape, vibe, colouring and so on.
4) ‘But how drunk am I actually?’ is often a very good jumping off point for a prospective Wine O’Clock shop. If you: drop your phone while trying to start the shopping process, take three goes to remember your passcode, find the security code digits on the back of your credit card look unusually blurry, that your head starts spinning when you look up from the card, and that you can’t quite work out how many fingers I’m holding up right now… Leave it ‘til the morning, eh?