Two Years Later: 2014 Purchase Update

I have done quite a few purchase updates on this blog over the years. I feel it’s helpful to look back at what we bought to see which items were successes and which were failures.  When I first started doing such reviews, I did them a few months down the line.  However, I’ve come to understand that such a time interval is not long enough for a true analysis in most cases. Thus, I started to review my purchases a year later beginning this year (see HERE and HERE).  A full year gives us enough time to see what we are and aren’t wearing and how it’s working out for us.

Since I didn’t do too many purchase updates in the early days of the blog, I thought it would be fun and interesting to look back at some of my earlier purchases. I probably should have started with 2013 (the year I started “Recovering Shopaholic”), but I opted to look back at what I bought in 2014 for this post. I will share my shopping wins, failures, and a few pieces for which it’s not an easy call.  I’ll also point out some patterns and lessons among the hits and misses that will help to guide my future purchases.

What I Bought in 2014 – A Basic Overview

Subtracting returns, I bought 51 “out and about” items over the course of 2014 (clothes and shoes – I will cover accessories below).   These items can be broken down into the following categories:

  • Tops: 13
  • Toppers: 17
  • Pants/Jeans: 5
  • Skirts: 8
  • Dresses: 4
  • Shoes: 4

Here’s a quick look at all of my 2014 clothing and shoe purchases:

2014 purchases

I purchased these 51 “out and about” items in 2014.

Where and How My Purchases Were Made

I thought it would be useful to look at my retail vs.  resale purchases, as well as my online vs. in-store buys.  I bought 37 of the items shown above from a retail store (73%) and 14 at a consignment or thrift store (27%).  Fourteen of my purchases were made online (27% – this doesn’t count items that were returned) and the remaining 37 were done in a store (73%).   The photos below show my retail items, as well as those pieces bought in a resale store.

2014 retail purchases

These 37 items were bought from retail stores in 2014. 

2014 resale purchases

I purchased these 14 garments in resale stores two years ago. 

What I Still Have

Out of the 51 “out and about” items I bought in 2014, only 22 remain in my closet (43%), as shown below:

2014 purchases I still have

I still have these 22 items that I bought back in 2014.

Of the above items, just two (black velvet coat and black faux-wrap top) were purchased in resale stores!   The majority of my 2014 resale acquisitions (12 pieces) were not good buys, which is why I dramatically curtailed that type of shopping last year.  In late 2014, I did an extensive analysis of my resale shopping from 2012-2014 and the cold, hard facts scared me straight!  Now I rarely shop in those types of stores and I am far more careful when I do.  This type of shopping is risky at best, but I do still enjoy the “treasure hunt” aspect of it and the possibility of finding styles I love that aren’t currently trendy (and thus can be hard to find).  I just tread lightly when I venture into consignment or thrift stores these days.

A full 29 of the garments I bought two years ago are gone and most of them were purged either later in 2014 or in 2015, having only been worn once or twice.

2014 purged purchases

These 29 purchases from 2014 have since been purged from my closet. 

A few were culled this year after more wears (e.g. grey blazer, hound’s-tooth top, and red/grey Henley), but none of these items received anywhere near a normal level of usage.  The issue in most instances was fit, although color factored into the equation as well.  While I thought that both white and grey were good colors for me, I ended up feeling that they washed me out.

The Good News – My Best Buys of 2014

It wasn’t all bad with my 2014 shopping, though.  Some of my current wardrobe “workhorses” were bought that year.  Here are what I consider to be my best purchases from two years ago, 17 pieces in all:

2014 best purchases

I consider these 17 items to be my best purchases of 2014. 

Interestingly, some of these pieces did not become closet mainstays right off the bat.  It took me a while to get on board with the slimmer fitting jeans, caged sandals, and sheer striped shirt, but now I love all three items.  I don’t wear the sheer top or the velvet coat very often, but I’m still happy to have purchased them because I feel great whenever I put them on.  The pants in the top row were originally supposed to be for “out and about” wear, but I have repurposed them for wearing at home because they are fairly loose and are comfortable for that purpose.

All of the items shown above are very true to my current style aesthetic and fit my narrow color palette. You can see a lot of black in there, as well as some cobalt and other jewel tones.  There are three pairs of jeans in the mix, which is in line with my casual lifestyle.   I believe that all 17 of my 2014 “all-star” purchases will be in my closet for at least a few more seasons or until they wear out.

What Didn’t Work and Why

Almost all of the 2014 purchases that didn’t work out are long gone from my closet, as mentioned and shown above.  Just one questionable item remains (a black maxi-skirt), but it will likely be gone soon since I have recently purchased a replacement.  Here are the 30 pieces that I consider my 2014 “misses”:

2014 bad purchases

These 30 purchases from 2014 are what I consider to be buying mistakes. 

What do these items have in common?  Almost all of them had one or more of the following three problems:

  • Poor color (for me)
  • A fit issue of some kind
  • Style mismatch

Color issues

These eight items were in colors that are no longer in my palette:

2014 purchases - bad colors

These 2014 purchases were purged from my closet because they were bad colors for me.

I’m moving away from grey and I now only wear white as part of a pattern.  I love red, but the two red pieces above are more of a tomato red and I look better in a cherry tone of red.

Fit problems and “fussiness”

The 13 pieces below had some sort of fit issue:

2014 purchases - fit issues

These was some sort of fit or “fussiness” issue with these 13 items from 2014. 

Sadly, I tried to rescue a few of them through alterations (read more about this problem here), but it didn’t end up working out.  Other items were just “fussy” and uncomfortable to wear for one reason or another.  The hardest item to let go of was the hound’s-tooth top, as I really loved the look of it.  Unfortunately, however, it would never stay in place and I had to re-adjust it anytime I moved around.  I no longer want those types of clothes in my wardrobe, so the top has to go.

While clothing fit is something we can generally evaluate well in the fitting room, fussiness can be another issue altogether.  It’s helpful to move around a bit when we try things on, but we can’t fully replicate our daily activities while confined to a small mirrored room.  We just have to do the best we can and realize that some shopping mistakes are bound to happen no matter how careful we are. Granted, I hope that I won’t make as many mistakes in the future as I did back in 2014, and doing these types of purchase reviews can only help that cause. I also hope that by seeing and reading about my mistakes, you may be able to avoid such errors yourselves.

Style mismatches

My style aesthetic has changed a lot since 2014, mostly as a result of my work with Bridgette Raes, my outfit journal, and my “Love it, Wear it” Challenge (LIWI).  Consequently, some items that I may have liked a lot two years ago do not garner my favor in 2016, including these seven garments:

2014 purchases - bad style

I purged these seven items as a result of style issues. 

I no longer like flared midi skirts and I’m also moving away from knit blazers and open cardigans (although I still have a few that I like).  The black jacket at the top left was something I should have never bought, but I was dazzled by the designer label.  I didn’t love the wide lapel and I thought I would replace the tan buttons, but I ultimately decided that would be too much work for a jacket I was only lukewarm about.   It’s always important to remember that it doesn’t matter who designed a piece if it’s not in line with our style, is in a color we don’t like, or doesn’t suit our body or lifestyle.

A Few Items Perched on the Fence…

Finally, there are a few 2014 acquisitions that I’m not sure were good or bad purchases:

2014 on the fence purchases

I am “on the fence” about these four items I bought two years ago. 

Since there are just four such items, I will go through them one by one and share my thoughts.

  1. Black knit moto jacket: This jacket is great in theory, but there are two issues with it that have led me not to wear it very often.  For one, it needs to be worn closed, as it doesn’t look good open. I almost always prefer to wear my jackets open, so that’s part of why I haven’t reached for this one much.  Also, while the vibe of this jacket is perfect for jeans, it’s too short to look good styled that way. It looks better worn with skirts and dresses, but the past two summers were very hot and I rarely needed a topper.  So I’m not sure if it’s worth keeping this jacket. I may wait until the end of this summer to see if I wear it.
  2. Black mixed media jacket: I love the look of this jacket and have taken lots of photos of outfits in which I could wear it, but then I never actually wear those ensembles!  I think it may be because I haven’t really embraced the look of a jacket that is shorter than the top it’s covering.  I like the look on other people, but I haven’t worn it myself. I feel that I really need to “bite the bullet” and just wear this jacket because it fits me perfectly and has the sort of edgy vibe I want to incorporate into my style.
  3. Blue sandals: I got these sandals because Bridgette Raes convinced me that colored shoes would be versatile in my wardrobe (here’s a post where she talks about this).  However, I don’t seem to want to wear colored shoes, as I always reach for my black and metallic pairs.  Maybe if these shoes were cobalt instead of turquoise… I’m not sure what to do with them and also feel guilty because they were a gift from my mom and I haven’t worn them much.  Just like with the black moto jacket, I’ll probably see if I wear the shoes this summer and then decide upon their fate.
  4. Cobalt cardigan: I bought this cardigan as a topper for skirts and dresses, but it’s really too long to wear that way because the proportions end up looking “off.”  I wore it with pants recently and liked the look, but the ¾ sleeves are borderline short on me.  I’m going to wear it one or two more times to see what I think. If this cobalt cardigan ends up being a miss due to the sleeve length, I will definitely pick up another one, as I can see a cobalt cardigan of this length being a wardrobe staple to wear with pants.

I really shouldn’t be on the fence about anything I bought two years ago, so I’m going to make decisions on the above items very soon.  It was helpful to collect my thoughts about these pieces and share them here. I don’t see all four of them sticking around until the end of the year, but I do hope the mixed media jacket will make its way around to being a closet favorite.

About Those Accessories

I don’t have photos of all of the individual accessories I purchased back in 2014, but I did write about them on the blog in my accountability updates. I bought 36 accessories that year, broken down into the following categories:

  • 13 pairs of earrings
  • 8 bracelets
  • 5 necklaces
  • 7 scarves
  • 1 belt
  • 1 purse
  • 1 watch

Of these 36 pieces, I still have just 15 of them (42%):

  • 9 pairs of earrings
  • 1 necklace
  • 3 scarves
  • 1 watch
  • 1 belt

Here’s a breakdown of the accessory items that I purged:

  • 4 pairs of earrings
  • 8 bracelets
  • 4 necklaces
  • 4 scarves

It’s a good thing that I have cut way down on my accessory purchases, as I definitely made some bad buys back in 2014.  Many of my accessory failures were impulse buys at resale stores or sales items from retail establishments. I particularly fared poorly when it came to bracelets and necklaces!  I think a big reason for my poor accessory buys in 2014 was that I had an item limit for my purchases but did not include accessories in that number. Consequently, I used accessory buying as a way to get my “shopping fix” and wasn’t very smart about what I bought.

One of the best things I did to improve upon my accessory purchases was my “Love it, Wear it” Challenge last year.   That challenge showed me what I did and didn’t wear and really helped me to learn what types of pieces I should and shouldn’t buy.   It also taught me that I don’t need nearly as many accessories as I thought I did.  I now more happily wear the same pieces over and over again and don’t crave the same level of variety that I once did.  Even though I have an item limit in place this year (see my 2016 wardrobe and shopping goals) that does not include accessories, I have purchased very few.  Now if I can just get to the same place with my “out and about” clothes!   In time, I’m sure I will, as long as I continue working on it.  The same is true for you…

Conclusion

This post ended up being longer than I thought it would, but you know how I love my statistics!  I feel it was helpful for me to write about my 2014 purchases, what did and didn’t work, and why. I’ll go back and review what I bought in 2013 shortly and I’m sure my numbers for that year will be worse than what I shared today.

Of course, a purchase could still have been a success but no longer be in one’s closet. Some items do wear out after multiple uses or we may move on from a given style even after wearing it a lot for a time.  It will be interesting to see what I think about my 2013 purchases long after the fact.  I will also continue to review my 2015 purchases a year later and will write about my May and June 2015 buys in the next week or two.

Your Thoughts?

Now I’d like to hear from you.  I know that not all of you track things to the degree that I do, but you probably have some thoughts about the items you bought two years ago.

  • How many of your 2014 purchases are still in your closet?
  • What do your purchasing successes and mistakes have in common?
  • What advice do you have for those who are looking to increase their buying success percentages?
  • What questions do you have for me and your fellow readers on these topics?

I invite you to share your thoughts on the above questions, as well as whatever else you want to say about this post.  I hope you have a wonderful weekend!   I’ll be back soon with more essays about shopping, wardrobe management, personal style, and living a fuller and more meaningful life.


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Comments

  1. Anyone who doubts the power of data needs to read this post. Not just the tracking of the purchases but also the consistent outfit journaling, the LIWI exercises….everything you did to get a clear-eyed view of your purchasing habits worked and has gotten you a long way from where you started.

    How many of your 2014 purchases are still in your closet?
    I wish I had known to track my purchases that year like you have. I believe less than 10% of my purchases survive in my closet, only two years later. Sad but true. I’m happy to have honed my closet to only what I love, but damn, there were a lot of casualties.

    What do your purchasing successes and mistakes have in common?
    Successes = most came after I learned more about myself and streamlined my style.
    Mistakes = almost all purchases prior to working on my self/style were random and unfocused.

    What advice do you have for those who are looking to increase their buying success percentages?
    Read this blog and Marie Kondo’s book.

    What questions do you have for me and your fellow readers on these topics?
    If you have pared down your wardrobe to a point that you’re happy with, what were your top three tools that helped you to do so?

    • Debbie Roes says:

      Yes, it’s been a long, hard road, Jane, but I am finally getting to a better place with my wardrobe! It sounds like you are, too, which is wonderful. Hopefully you have forgiven yourself for all of those casualties. I mostly have, as long as I see myself getting better. Thank you for including my blog in your advice for those who want to increase their buying success percentages. As for your question, I will ask it in the Facebook group and if I get enough good responses, I will share them in a future post!

  2. I thought I had my wardrobe in Montreal all sorted out but I have discovered now that the weather has heated up that I have way too many sweaters and not enough out and about summer tops. I don’t have any data on past purchases but I know I have bought lots of things that turned out to be a waste of money. So I will be a lot more thoughtful when I look for more summer tops. I have a better idea of what colors, styles and fabrics will work for me now, so I feel confident that there will be a lot less mistakes going forward.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      It must be hard to have to maintain wardrobes in two different cities, Tara. I have a hard enough time managing my wardrobe for this ONE city! It’s good that you are aware of what your current challenges are so you have a better chance of overcoming them. Best wishes to you with bringing together your summer wardrobe!

  3. 2014 was the first year of my wardrobe project, and the first year I wrote down all my purchases. As expected, many things I bought back then are no longer in my wardrobe. Wrong color, wrong style (but I’m glad I tried some of those styles). I also wasn’t diligent about returning items that were “almost ok”, or “ok if…”. Lastly, because I had big gaps in my wardrobe, I did not always have the chance to hunt the perfect items and could not always afford the best quality because I had to divide my budget with many items.
    Considering all this, I was surprised of how many items I have not only kept but consider as wardrobe essentials. I’d rate the year 2014 as “surprisingly good”, though I definitely made way more shopping mistakes than I do today. In spite of all the issues listed, I tried my best, and it shows.

    I’d say for me the biggest lesson of 2014 was “Pay more”. Even though my shopping list was long and I had a budget, I made a decision to buy quality over quantity. I stopped buying cheap jewelry altogether and committed to buying only “real” pieces even though they seemed blindingly expensive compared to mall costume jewelry and I knew that instead of buying something nice whenever I wanted, I would need to save for months just to buy one small thing. I stopped shopping cheap chain stores even though it was hard for me to pay $100 for jeans when I knew that from a cheap store I could have bought three pairs. But I grinded my teeth, paid prices I still considered wild…and learned that most of the time, higher price means better quality and items that I love more, and that last much longer in my wardrobe. I now need less thing because the things I buy are more satisfying. Today, I’m not even tempted to buy cheap things in the mall, and rather save up for the really good stuff. “Pay mor” was a big and a hard lesson, but so good.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      Thank you for sharing this wonderful success story, Sara! “Pay more” is a great lesson to have learned and to continue to apply in your life. I used to be all about “more is more” and ended up with a lot of sub-standard items. I am doing a lot better with spending more on my clothes, shoes, and accessories these days and I’m happier with my wardrobe as a result. I still have some improvement to make in that area, but I’m getting there. It helps to be patient, too, which it also seems you’ve learned quite well. Good for you for getting to such a happy place with your wardrobe!

  4. Lynn Fox says:

    I also started tracking my wardrobe in 2014. I was surprised to discover that I still have and am wearing 42 of my purchases out of 53. 9 charity shop purchases have gone, they were inexpensive experiments on style and color that didn’t work. 1 cardigan has been given to a daughter, and 1 dress that I rarely wore has gone. I dyed 1 cardigan a more useful color and have worn it since. The dress my husband bought me has barely been worn but remain-his taste more than mine. In the previous year I had had a lifestyle change and took the opportunity to look at what I needed and wanted to wear in my new life. I also reduced my clothes budget so knowing what I really needed and wanted became more important. I don’t limit number of items purchased or in my wardrobe, just the amount spent. I buy quality items in sales, good quality second hand items, and occasionally pay full price – if it’s worth it. I track what I wear for what activities and weather daily and review regularly. It’s a reality check. It shows you what you don’t need, occasionally what you do need, and what you really wear.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      It sounds like tracking has been very helpful for you, too, Lynn. Your success rate for 2014 was quite impressive. Sometimes using charity shop purchases to try out new styles or colors is a good way to go even if they don’t work out. It’s good you were able to pass on a cardigan to your daughter and dye another one to better suit you. Your point about tracking what you regularly wear for activities and weather is a good one. My outfit journaling has shown me that I need some cropped pants or shorts for summer, as skirts and dresses don’t work for all of my activities. Time to stop making other types of purchases and fill that need!

  5. This is a great post, Debbie. I love the idea of looking back over a few years to see what I still have, wear, and love, and what I’ve passed along. I find that I “love” an item and buy it, only to wear it for a while then decide it’s not for me..for many reasons ie. color, fit, garment quality, etc.. I’m going to start tracking these reasons like you to help provide some data for my future shopping.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      I’m glad this post has motivated you to start some tracking, RM3. You don’t need to be as detail-oriented as I am, as any tracking you do will serve you well. Starting with the reasons why you let things go is a good place to begin. Good luck and please let me know how it goes for you!

  6. Wow, your data collection is amazing. I’m very technically and computer challenged so I wouldn’t even know how to start doing anything like this, lol.
    I can say this though, I have loads in my closet from 2014 and before. In fact, I’ve barely shopped this year at all. I’m wearing what I have. My son recently graduated and even though I was tempted to go out and buy a new dress for the occasion I decided not to as I have SO many beautiful dresses. Instead I bought new shoes to upgrade an older dress and saved the $$$.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      No need to do as detailed tracking as I do, Carolyn. A friend of mine just used a notepad to list what she bought and why and what she let go of and why. Her tracking was just as helpful for her as mine has been for me. You may not even need to do it, though, as it seems like you are already doing quite well with your purchases. Good for you for wearing one of your existing dresses to your son’s graduation! You will likely get more use out of the new shoes you bought, as you can pair them with some of your other dresses and upgrade them, too.

  7. I bought around 50 items in 2014, and still have most of them – I’ve throw away about 5. However if I’m honest I’d only count about half as ‘successes’. The remaining 20 are worn, some of them quite often, but I would not buy them again. I’m aiming to decrease the total number bought/year, and more importantly to increase the success rate, however I’ve come to accept that there will always be a proportion of purchases that ultimately don’t work, its part of the process of experimenting and of evolving a style. My advice to others would be not to throw things away too quickly, they can come into there own unexpectedly. Also, there are lessons to be learned from studying what we already have, and what it says about us. The plan for the summer is not to shop, and to reflect on what I have… I’ll report on how that goes!
    Alice

    • Debbie Roes says:

      Thanks for sharing your numbers, Alice, and for being so honest. As I said, it can take a while to know if something was a success or not, and not everything we hold onto and wear is necessarily a good purchase. I agree with you that we will always have some items that don’t work, especially when we are evolving our style (like both of us have been). You’re right that it can be a good idea not to be too hasty in letting go of things. I often store them in another closet for a while and review them a bit later. Shopping our closets can be extremely beneficial, as we usually don’t need as many new things as we think we do. Best wishes with your summer project and please let me know how it goes for you!

  8. That’s a really interesting exercise, Debbie. About 40% of what I bought in 2014 is still in my closet. Of the items I’ve gotten rid of, a few were because they have worn out/gotten shabby (in many cases I would count those as “failures” though — in the sense that they lasted fewer wears than I think they should have) and most were “mistakes” that never got much wear by me.

    I can see that I was a lot more successful in my choices during the middle third of the year compared to the beginning of the year…so I was learning. But on the other hand there is another spate of “mistakes” purchased late in the year. That’s sort of interesting, I wonder if there is an emotional component to that (e.g., doing a bunch of holiday shopping and talking myself into “treating” myself, but not making good choices — in general I suspect that if I have to talk myself into a purchase it’s probably ill-advised), it’s something I’ll watch out for going forward.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      Thanks for sharing, Sarah, and good noticing on the patterns with successes vs. mistakes. I especially liked what you wrote about not making good choices when you are “treating yourself” or when you have to talk yourself into buying something. I’ve noticed that when my emotions are running the show more than my brain, I tend to make ill-advised purchases that don’t stand the test of time. As for your clothes that haven’t lasted as long as you hoped, I don’t think you should blame yourself for that. I have found that clothing quality has dramatically declined in recent years, even at the “better” retailers. We can do our best to choose well, but some of it is out of our hands, sadly.

  9. Hi. Love the analysis and wanted to join in the fun! I have actually been working on my closet since 2009 after weight loss made shopping a possibility and a frustration. I could finally purchase things from the size ranges where there were choices, but I had no idea of a style. I started reading blogs after spending a fortune experimenting with nearly every style that caught my eye and realizing I was still left wanting.

    Since my journey is a little longer on the way, I can happily report that I have retained 70% of my wardrobe purchases from 2014 and still use most. I had a goal that year to ‘up my game’ in terms of quality, wanting to force myself to rather 1. plan purchases 2. buy better not more (with a budget) 3. buy more basics and fewer heros – thinking to use accessories for the style. I had in the years before found a style I liked although I was refining this a bit for every season

    What I kept and what I got rid of per category:
    all bathing suits – I had needed these after finally feeling ok in public and still have all

    kept 6 of 8 dresses – I only got rid of 1) the one I made myself in an attempt to try a new hobby/make a dress at a decent length, 2) the one I settled for ‘on sale’ – It was the color I wanted but not really ‘the dress’ . The ones I keep are all solid colors, in a decent length but not frumpy, or black/white patterned.

    kept 2 of 3 hats – I was trying adding hats and have only kept one that I use in winter, the others were trying to recreate a style I saw on other people but never felt comfortable with myself

    kept 4 of 5 jackets/blazers – the only blazer I got rid of was the rather impulsive chain store purchase. the others are definitely higher end (but not designer) and unique enough that I feel good wearing them

    7 of 9 jeans (but 1 more is on the pending decision list): jeans were part of my ‘get basics’ goal since I had found them to be part of my style. I work business casual. All the jeans really worked for awhile but all purchased (except 3) are from the chain stores in trend styles. I especially still love and use most the higher end ones (again not designer) because they are a touch unique. The 2 I removed already are 1) too trendy (really ripped) and not my color (grey) 2) sale purchase that I tried altering and regretted. Note: I don’t regret purchasing either as they both got good use and filled the gap until I found better versions that I love more. The one pending as an orphan was very loved for awhile but seems to have run it’s course

    I still have all necklaces from 2014 (9) and consider all ‘keep’ even though they are seldom used. I had a 4th goal to try accessorizing (hold over from prior year) – since many blogs push this as a way to ‘change’ outfits. Which for a shopaholic is a great excuse to spend! Luckily I had never bought much jewelry and all the purchases have kept over the 2 years without being dated. I also bought necklaces in 2012 and 2013 that are now left behind. Those were the years of the bib necklace trend and has passed from my style.

    kept 0 of 7 bras – I feel this catogory was a fail. Again, blogs promote foundation garments and I had a pretty limited set after not using bras for most of 20 years. But age had caught up with me so I bought plenty of different styles to put the girls back in place. Most just annoyed me – I find them very uncomfortable and threw them out after finding better versions, in a fit that I can live with the next year.

    kept 3 of 3 sweaters – all needed and all used in their season. Only one sits a bit on the fence, but is a solid wardrobe need, a basic nearly. It is a summer cotton sweater and I find it just a tad too cream instead of white, and too stiff (cotton sweaters often are). When I find its perfect replacement, I will have to decide, and until then it stays.

    kept 3 of 3 purses – all trendy and none are expensive. They bring me joy when I use them!

    kept 1 of 3 shirts – another area of basics – I tried to get more tops for under my blazers and was trying styles. I only kept the one which was pure white, simple and elegant. The others were trend colors and styles and never fit into my wardrobe. I am glad I tried them, and didn’t use lots of money on each.

    kept 3 of 7 shoes – well, one was a returned, but the others I have removed where all cheaper chain store purchases or sale items. They were on sale for a reason and just were miserable to use. The 3 I kept are the higher quality items again (and only 1 semi designer Ralph Lauren from ebay)

    kept 4 of 5 shorts – again, basics were needed after feeling ok showing legs. The only one I have removed is because of shrinkage or maybe a little weight gain. Hard to tell since the others are still in use and fitting fine.

    kept 1 of 3 skirts – the one I keep is only for formal occasions. The other 2 were used regularly the last two summers but I am now working to find their replacements. Actually, I am trying to sew their replacements. One was too short and I prefer a longer length and the other was trendy. Trendy is fine, but after two years, I don’t find it fits my current version of my style.

    1 of 3 slacks – whereas my jean purchases are mostly in use still, slacks are less forgiving of my weight fluctuations. I still have all 3 but am keeping 2 in reserve for going down a few pounds. They are within one size of my current weight, I love them and they are very flattering when they fit. I believe a small box of orphans is always permitted. :9. The one pair I keep wearing have more stretch than the stiffer pairs I store.

    kept 5 of 15 tops and tanks – as part of improving my basics I purchased alot of tanks and cotton tshirts – most of these are passed on with little use. I think the problem here is the advice from blogs about needing basics and using accessories to make your style. This doesn’t work for me. I feel bleah wearing an uniform and accessories alone don’t make it feel different enough for me. I tried all sorts of colors, materials, patterns, solids, and in the end have kept the black t shirt that didn’t shrink, and 4 other tops that were ALMOST basic but have just one little special element (like a jeweled collar) that makes it special. I feel better in something with just a little difference from basic.

    what I learned from this excersize:

    1. The goal of quality over quantity has paid off – I keep and use the items that are better quality, a little unique and don’t shrink at first wash. I find this especially true for jackets, blazers and shoes. This does not hold for tops, jeans, or slacks where chains give alot of bang for the buck. But I need to pick wisely and avoid sales racks where there are the rests nobody else wanted.
    2. The concept of a uniform varied with accessories was a fail for me – I like each item to be a little unique or lovable and don’t enjoy wearing a totally plain outfit. The accessories cannot make up for the clothes for me. I feel unhappy when I try this. I don’t regret making the attempt since I learned from it.

    Conclusion
    Habits are a changin’. Browsing and shopping are past times I enjoy. But I have my own methods to keep things under control:

    1. I don’t consider shopping to actually = purchasing. I am totally happy to ‘keep myself current’ on knowing the trends, touching them in the stores browsing, and reading tons of blogs about this fantastic hobby. However, I keep purchasing seperate in my mind.
    2. I try to only purchase from a list – I make a list, I browse, I come home, I modify my list after a little ‘falling in love’ at the store, I try the ‘unpurchased’ item in my mental closet with other items in my physical closet, I take a potential matching item with me to the store, I try on the ‘unpurchased’ item, if it passes this test, I might purchase it or I might wait a day to see how I feel about it. Sometimes I still want it, and I go back and purchase. In this way a potential item has to get through many hoops before I buy it. First, I have to remember it. Then I have to be willing to find things to go with it. Then I have to be willing to take the time to go back and try it. Then I have to still have enough love for it to open my wallet. This method, has helped me soooooo much. I find that soemthing I LOVE in the store at first sight hardly ever makes it to step 2 – which is remembering it long enough to get home again. Most of the time I cannot remember it exactly after leaving the store! (Could be age). Since I have no limits on browsing I get to enjoy this hobby without breaking my bank! It may seem ‘silly’ to actually take all these steps, especially the one with updating a list AFTER finding the item, but it works for me. The list part moves the items from impulse to ‘justified’ and gives me time to check if I have similar items at home or if I really have a match with what I already own. I don’t really want to make purchasing ‘easier’ by having a picture of the item on my phone to help me remember it….that defeats the purpose of the remembering test. And I don’t want an app with me that makes it easier to play in my closet at the store. That defeats the ‘take a day and think about it’ process that is built in here. Anything that makes me delay the actual purchase is a test to make sure I really will love the item when I gets home.
    3. I allow for trends – As we know, trends come and go and after tracking myself for years, I have more than items purchased in my excel sheet. I also see my goals for that year, the items I planned for, the trends that are in (because I put in buy trend item x, buy trend color y) and so on. I see from tracking which I actually bought and which just ended up getting missed because maybe I never found the right item. IN any event, I know there have been times when I was so excited to try some new something (usually a color) that I could hardly wait for the right item. In those times I might have bought something good enough. And every single time, those items did NOT stay in my closet. So I can see this and learn. And when I learned to wait for the right item, and by waiting and searching, never found it, I can see that I lived, in the end, without it. And the feeling of excitement, it disappeared, and I have never experienced a feeling of loss for having missed out! So while it is great when I get so lucky as to find a perfect trend item, at my price and my style, it is also fun to just have the hunt itself. And degrading the fun of the hunt, by taking the first thing, just means I need a new thing to hunt for after. Better to wait and find a truly satisfying perfect item and enjoy the hunt.

    I really enjoyed taking the time to think about 2014. I do look at the number but trying to explain what they mean was much more thought provoking. Thanks for the inspiration and putting yourself out there. I identify with many of the feelings you express and wish you the best.

    • Jayne,
      This was so fun to read! Thanks for taking the time to post.
      LizY

    • Thanks for your really interesting story of your process!

    • Debbie Roes says:

      Thank you so much for sharing your analysis here, Jayne! I enjoyed reading it and learned some useful tips from you. I love how you are using the “power pause” and the “remembering test.” You’re so right that using our phone cameras and wardrobe organizing apps can just make it easier for us to buy. I very rarely remember those items that I was super excited about in the stores, either. Sure, it’s a hassle to have to go back to the store a second time, but that’s better than buying things we don’t love or use. Congrats on how well you’re doing with your wardrobe! I’m also going to change how I go these updates in the future and write how many I kept of various types of items. It’s a lot easier to identify problem areas that way and highlight lessons learned. Keep up the great work!

  10. Hi Debbie,
    Great statistics!
    In 2014 I was pregnant. I have bought pregnancy clothes for a minimalist wardrobe especially because I was at home and not working. So I don’t count these clothes.
    I found your blog and start to read about minimalist wardrobe at the and of 2014, so I don’t have a lot of statistics.
    In 2014, I have bought 10 items and received 4. I have 1 shoes waiting for purge and 2 toppers on the fence.
    I didn’t purged my clothes got before 2014, so I finished the year of 2014 with 14 added items.
    Only 14 could be good but I should purge more than I buy!
    I still have items from my university/internship years, and I have bought a LOT! in 2012, when I finally got a job. In 2013, I had health problems and stopped working and bought less clothes (less money+mostly at home).
    I think we should only buy or keep clothes that are 100% perfect and keep focused on our real needs. The quality is important as well. Now, I prefer to search for something “really good” than buy 3 “not so bad” for the same price. More patient and less possessive.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      Thanks for sharing your numbers, Dory! It seems you are doing quite well, but it’s good that you are mindful of wanting to purge more than you buy so you don’t end up with a large wardrobe. I agree with what you wrote in your last paragraph, except it can be hard to find items that are 100% perfect. I usually just aim for 8’s out of 10. But YES, it’s MUCH better to get one really good item than three items that are just okay for that same price. I have purged far too many “good deals” that I only wore once or twice (if at all). Better to have fewer, better items!

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