I Wore Supermarket Fashion For A Week & It Changed My ENTIRE View On Shopping

by Lauren Sharkey
Lauren Sharkey

When you think of high street fashion, brands like the following come to mind: ASOS, Topshop, H&M. A mention of George, Tu, and F&F, however, would usually result in awkward silence. Because, admit it, supermarkets aren't the first place you go to for a wardrobe update. But I am here to change your life for I wore British supermarket fashion for an entire week and didn't hate it.

I'm OK with saying that I'm a fashion snob. While a money-related situation means I can only afford to buy high street items, I will only shop from certain brands and turn my nose up at quite a few others. So when I agreed to wear nothing but clothes from supermarkets for an entire week, I thought I had set myself an impossible task.

I was first initiated into the affordable supermarket cult by Sainsbury's Tu collaboration with a couple of Graduate Fashion Week designers. After seeing that the designs were as far away from fuddy-duddy as I could imagine, I began to look more into the collections offered by Sainsbury's, Asda, and Tesco and realised that you could create an entire summer wardrobe from each brand's offerings.

So here's what I managed to come up with. Note: As I'm freelance, I did have to put a bit more effort in than my usual T-shirt and jeans look but didn't wear anything that I wouldn't be comfortable leaving the house in.

Day One

Lauren Sharkey

Annoyingly, I started this week-long diary on a Saturday so bear with me. My first day of supermarket style was a pretty hot one and I was not looking forward to the task of finding something that wouldn't leave me sweating. It was also my partner's birthday so I wanted to make an effort and not wear my usual all-black outfit. At a first glance, this red cold-shouldered top wasn't me. (I can't stand frills and flounces.) But after trying it on and pairing it with matching red culottes, I was sold. The outfit kept me feeling cool and was summery enough to stop any unwanted "why are you dressed like it's winter?" comments.

Cold Shoulder Layered Top, £10, George

Ribbed Culottes, £10, George (now sold out online)

Laser Cut Detail Ankle Boots, £10, George

Day Two

Lauren Sharkey

The next day, my family had a BBQ so again, I was required to find an outfit for a day spent in the sun. My go-to occasion look is always a jumpsuit so I couldn't be swayed from this sleeveless stripy number. The material's a lot thicker than it looks — meaning there's no chance of any see-through moments — and the belt cinches everything in at the waist nicely. Shoe-wise, I chose a pair of baby blue sliders for comfort and ease. They'd work just as great around the pool on holiday as in your own home.

Striped Wrap Jumpsuit, £25, F&F (now sold out online)

Ridged Sliders, £5, F&F

Day Three

Lauren Sharkey

Work from home day is every day for me so I never see the point in throwing on my best clothes when the only person there to appreciate it is me. Saying that, I do want to look presentable enough to answer the door to local deliverymen who most definitely have not seen me in my pyjamas and dressing gown. This black jumpsuit from Sainsbury's is loose enough to be super comfortable all day. When I did manage to venture outside, I threw on an equally casual denim jacket and a pair of black and hot pink sandals. Simple.

Black Jumpsuit, £18, Tu

Oversized Denim Jacket, 22, F&F (now sold out online)

Black and Pink Cross Strap Sandals, £14, Tu

Day Four

Lauren Sharkey

Today, I had a meeting which meant looking relatively smart. It was also a bad day for hay fever sufferers so excuse my puffy barely open eyes. This navy plissé top and matching fitted trousers screams office attire (doesn't it?). OK, so the top's slightly cropped but I work in fashion and can totally get away with it. To top off my work-appropriate outfit, I opted for a pair of bright orange (and backless) loafers. See, I am trying when it comes to colour.

Plisse Knot Front Top, £7, F&F

Side Stripe Slim Fit Trousers, £16, F&F

Orange Pointed Slip On Loafer Mules, £16, Tu

Day Five

Lauren Sharkey

Instead of spending my entire day cooped up in the house, I was delighted once again to have an opportunity to escape and meet a friend. Although this look is predominantly black, I felt like the ruffles and ties were a stretch for my usual minimal wardrobe. The stripy top and fitted trousers are both from Sainsbury's Tu collaboration with Graduate Fashion Week designer Laura Gillings which is excellent if I do say so myself. I couldn't quite face wearing any of the louder pieces (there are bright orange stripes FYI) but this kept me comfortable on a day when the weather was interchangeable to say the least.

GFW Stripe Colour Block Top, £16, Tu

GFW Ruffle Hem Slim Trouser, £22, Tu

Orange Pointed Slip On Loafer Mules, £16, Tu

Day Six

Lauren Sharkey

Full disclosure here: I spent most of the day in a tracksuit. But when it came to going out for a quick evening drink, I obviously had to change. Another piece from Tu's GFW collection came in handy. This time, I really pushed the boat out, going for a ruffled and striped lilac skirt. I teamed it with a cardigan worn as a top (because granny cardis are so in right now) and a pair of black ankle boots for ease when it came to walking on grass.

Crew Neck Cardigan, £8, George

GFW Striped Ruffle Skirt, £20, Tu

Laser Cut Detail Ankle Boots, £10, George

Day Seven

Lauren Sharkey

I couldn't resist ending the week with another jumpsuit. It was pretty hot so I went for a sleeveless red style that screamed "I'm ready for summer." I started this seven day experiment with the firm belief that I couldn't stray from my usual style which was pretty much plain and black. But this look proved that I can pull off something much brighter and with a pattern (no matter how subtle). Also I put red and pink together and it didn't look that bad... Now, where's my CFDA Award at?

Embroidered Jumpsuit, £12, Tu (now sold out online)

Black and Pink Cross Strap Sandals, £14, Tu

I hate to sound overdramatic but a week wearing nothing but clothes designed by and sold in supermarkets has completely changed my view on what fashion is. While I probably wouldn't source my entire wardrobe from a supermarket, each range has plenty of basics and stand-out pieces that will tide you through the summer and winter months. Plus each garment's quality was as good as, if not better, than some of the things I've bought from other brands at five times the price.

So the next time you're doing your weekly shop, take a minute to browse the clothing aisles. You never know what you might find.