I have mostly completed my wrap-up posts for 2015. The only other post in that category I will be doing is a purchase analysis of everything I bought last year (see January through June review here), which I hope to share with you next week. In my all-star, benchwarmer, and LIWI updates (part one | part two), I outlined a number of goals for my wardrobe and shopping for this year. In today’s post, I consolidate all of those objectives, refine a few of them, and add a couple of new ones that I hadn’t previously mentioned.
I am going to stick to the same clothing budget as I had last year, $2500 for the entire year. It worked well for me to reduce my budget from 2014 to 2015 and I may reduce it further next year. But since I am still working on revamping my wardrobe after having refined my style over the past year and a half, I think that sticking to the same budget is my best approach for 2016.
I realize that my clothing budget may seem very high to some of you (and I’m sure it seems quite low to others). A clothing budget is a very individual thing based upon many factors, including where one lives, her lifestyle, and her level of disposable income. The reason I am revealing my budget is for the sake of accountability, and I certainly do not suggest that readers should do what I’m doing. I also don’t wish to discuss or dispute my budget here. It’s basically between my husband and me and he’s quite pleased that I’ve been able to decrease my spending over the past few years (you can see how much I used to spend in this early post).
My clothing budget for 2016 will cover the following:
- “Out and about” clothing
- At-home clothing and workout wear
- Sleepwear, undergarments, socks
- Accessories and jewelry
As in 2015, I am going to work from a quarterly budget, but this year I will be allocating larger amounts to both the first and third quarters. I have learned from the past few years that I tend to spend more money on clothing and related purchases both early in the year and during the summer months. Looking over my financial records for the past five years, I saw that my biggest shopping month has always been July. This can be explained by two factors, the start of warm weather and the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. As a result of these two reasons, I purchase both summer and fall/winter items during July, so I definitely need to allocate more of my budget to that time. In addition, I often shop more early in the year to fill cool weather wardrobe needs as that season gets underway (“winter,” such that it is, starts late here).
Here is how I have decided to divide up my 2016 clothing budget (I may end up revising this somewhat later in the year):
- Quarter 1: $750
- Quarter 2: $375
- Quarter 3: $1000
- Quarter 4: $375
I think this allocation of my budget will work better for me, but I will have to make sure not to shop much during the second and fourth quarters. However, since it’s my desire to move more toward seasonal shopping anyway, this will be good practice for me. I will aim to do the bulk of my shopping during the first and third quarters and only buy replacement items and perhaps a “passion piece” or two in the other quarters.
I did not have an item limit last year and I ended up buying too many things, even though I did not exceed my budget. I purchased 70 garments in 2015, most of which fell into the “out and about” category. I would like to cut that number way down this year, so I have decided to implement an item limit once again.
Several members of the “End Closet Chaos” Facebook group have opted to purchase no more than 36 items this year and I have decided to join them. However, since I haven’t been overbuying in most wardrobe areas, I am going to confine my item limit to “out and about” clothing only. I would like to focus more on my shoes and at-home wardrobe this year anyway, so it will be good to rein in my “out and about” purchases in the service of that goal.
Each month when I do my accountability updates (my January update will be posted shortly), I will let you know how I’m doing with my 36 item limit for my “out and about” wardrobe. I will also share totals in my other wardrobe areas: at-home clothing, shoes, and accessories. I didn’t report on my purchase totals until later in the year in 2015 and I think it would have been helpful for me to have kept track earlier. Most of us aren’t aware of how much we’re buying and that often lead to our buying more. Awareness is often a very important step toward making changes.
Frequency of Wear
- Wear 2/3 of my clothes and shoes 5 or more times.
- Wear 1/3 of my clothes and shoes (a sub-section of the group above) 8 or more times.
- Aim for at least 30 “ultra all-stars” (items worn 12+ times), double my number from 2015.
- Aim for a single digit “benchwarmer” number (items worn only once or not at all).
Basically, I’m looking to double my statistics from last year in the top three goals and halve my number of benchwarmers, which is pretty ambitious. The “elephant in the room” with these goals is that I need to buy much less (hence the item limit above) and focus a lot more on shopping my closet and wearing what I have. As long as I keep my “out and about” clothing purchases to the goal I have set (36 or fewer), I will have a much better chance of meeting the goals above.
I’m going to continue to focus on wearing the clothes, shoes, and accessories I love most this year. While I may challenge myself to try to wear my “benchwarmers,” if I find that I’m not happy with them once I put them on, I will get them out of my closet (unless they are part of my “dressy” capsule, which I may designate to a certain area of the closet). I would rather have fewer pieces that I love and feel fabulous in than a packed closet that includes a lot of sub-standard items. I believe that I will continue to improve both my wardrobe and my style this year and that my purchases and my outfits will have a greater success rate.
Shopping Focus – Clothing
As I mentioned earlier, I would like to place a greater level of focus on my at-home wardrobe. If I were to create a pie chart of my life activities and a second pie chart of my wardrobe components, I would quickly see that my closet is out of balance along with the rest of my life. I spend the bulk of my time at home, so I need to spend a larger chunk of my clothing budget on that section of my wardrobe.
Here’s what I need in terms of at-home items, as well as sleepwear and undergarments:
- “Athleisure” pants that are comfortable to wear at home but can also be worn to run errands, go on walks, or for casual activities.
- Short-sleeved and long-sleeved tops for working out, walks, and wearing at home (such as pieces from Athleta or GapFit).
- A new pair of walking shoes (my existing pair will need to be replaced this year).
- A lightweight jacket for the warmer months (my existing jacket for this purpose is over 6 years old and needs to be replaced).
- New slippers for wearing at home (this is a fairly urgent need).
- Replacement underwear (I am gradually purging those pairs that are worn out or stretched out).
- A few sleepwear tops and maybe another pair or two of bottoms as well.
In terms of “out and about” clothing, here are my priorities for the year (small quantities within each category, ideally 1-2):
- Pants other than black and denim (straight-leg, perhaps burgundy or cobalt)
- Shorter, slimmer skirts (hitting no longer than mid-knee)
- Bright colored and/or printed bottoms (skirts, pants)
- Alternate shape tops / toppers (i.e. tunics, asymmetrical tops, vests)
- Tops with special details (those that stand alone and don’t need too many accessories or a topper to look “finished”)
- Dresses and skirts to wear in cooler weather (long-sleeves, heavier weight)
- Sleeved tops to wear with skirts, as well as less fitted tops (no more fitted, ribbed tank tops)
- Alternate toppers for pants/jeans beyond open cardigans and long coats (hip-length jackets)
I plan to refine this list down to specific items moving forward, but this is a good start that will help me to better target the shopping that I do early in the year.
Shopping Focus – Shoes
Shoes are going to be a big part of my buying focus for 2016, as I feel a number of my shoes need to be purged or replaced (see this post for more specifics). I would also like to add some non-black shoes to my closet. While I know I will continue to love and wear black shoes, I would like to broaden my horizons a bit and add a little color and pattern to the mix.
Here are the shoes I see myself buying over the course of 2016:
- Non-black ankle boots (either burgundy or cobalt)
- Black peep-toe wedges (low heel, comfortable – to replace my existing pair)
- Metallic flats or low heels (closed toe or peep-toe, to replace two pairs that I have passed on)
- Printed flats or low heels (closed toe, perhaps in black/white print or grey-toned leopard print)
- Printed sandals (wedges, perhaps in a black/white print)
- Bright colored sandals (casual style in a jewel tone)
- Metallic sandals (around 2” heels, replacement for my existing pair in a more modern style)
Yes, that is 7 pairs of shoes, but I plan to get rid of quite a few pairs and I haven’t placed much attention on my shoe wardrobe for several years. Through writing in my outfit journal and looking at my outfit photos, I have seen that my shoes are often the weak link in my ensembles. It’s difficult for me to find stylish shoes that work for my “fussy” feet, but my efforts will pay off in my being a lot happier with what I’m wearing.
Shopping Focus – Accessories
I don’t see myself buying too many accessories this year, as I have a large collection already, many of which are not worn very often. I mostly want to shop my closet when it comes to purses, scarves, and jewelry. My scarves in particular haven’t been worn much in recent years, so I am going to be very sparing in terms of purchases in that category (I bought one in January and that may be it for the year).
Here are the accessory items I am interested in buying this year:
- 1.5 inch black belt to wear with jeans.
- Bright colored purse (preferably cobalt or burgundy, but I am also open to other jewel tones such as purple or emerald).
- Black wide cuff bracelet
In terms of jewelry, any purchases that I make should be very strategic and well thought out, not impulse buys! I really need to make sure that any jewelry pieces I buy are different from what I already have.
Here are some thoughts on potential future jewelry purchases:
- Any additional colored earrings should be dark blue, purple, red, or burgundy (no more black, silver, grey, light blue or green earrings).
- Additional long necklaces should be in another metal besides silver (I have more than enough silver necklaces) or include some stones or beads in the colors within my palette (cobalt, burgundy, turquoise, purple, or green).
- I shouldn’t buy more short necklaces unless they are different in style from what I currently have and include color (cobalt, burgundy, or purple).
- Any new bracelets should be modern in style (not too “delicate”) and include color (not just plain silver).
It was helpful for me to review my 2015 re-cap posts and consolidate all of my wardrobe and shopping goals for 2016. Through doing so, I was able to refine some of my objectives and add a few additional ones that I didn’t think about earlier. I now have this single document to which I can refer throughout the year to ensure that I am on track for ending the year on a positive note. I will report in periodically on my progress with each of these goals, either in my monthly accountability updates or in separate dedicated posts as necessary.
I feel that I have a pretty good handle on what I’m trying to do this year in terms of my wardrobe and shopping. The goals that I have introduced in this post will all help me to achieve my overarching objective for 2016, which is to create more balance in my life. I still feel that I dedicate too much time and energy toward my clothing and my closet, but I believe that getting clear and concrete about what I want to do in this area will help to free me up to focus more on other areas of my life. While I will continue to write about wardrobe management this year, I will also be writing about other topics that are near and dear to my heart, including behavior and psychology, cultivating a full life, minimalism, and photography (another photography interlude is coming soon).
Now I’d like to hear from you:
- What are your wardrobe and shopping goals for 2016?
- Have you set a clothing budget for yourself?
- Do you plan to stick to an item limit? If so, what is included within that limit?
- Do you track how often you wear your clothing, shoes, and accessories? How many times per year (or month) do you want to be wearing the various pieces in your wardrobe?
- Have you created a shopping priorities list to help guide your buying this year
I invite you to share your goals in the comments section of this post. Then when I report in on my goals throughout the year, you can do so as well. That way, we can help to support each other on accomplishing what we hope to for the year. You may also wish to join the “End Closet Chaos” Facebook group, as a lot of members there help each other to stay accountable. It’s a very helpful and supportive group that is now over 500 strong. New members are welcome anytime and you can be as active as you’d like there (lurking is fine, too).
May Be of Interest…
Susan B. of “Getting Out from Going Under,” who authored a guest post here last week, has written about “Recovering Shopaholic” on her blog. Check out her latest post, in which she shares some of my thoughts on compulsive shopping and debt. Susan’s blog and book are excellent resources and I encourage you to check them out.
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I also invite you to join the End Closet Chaos private Facebook group, where you can interact with others about the topics discussed here.