Cool Weather Wardrobe Planning 2015 – Part One

Within the next couple of weeks, the cool weather season is going to start for me.   I know that many of you have been pulling out your warmer clothes for weeks now, but the seasons are a bit “off” where I live.  Our summers don’t typically start until sometime in July and they generally last until late October or early November.   As such, I don’t even think much about my cool weather wardrobe until right about now.  I say “cool” instead of cold because anyone who has ever been to San Diego knows that the temperatures never really drop that low here…

In today’s post, I’m going to share the process I’ve outlined for reviewing my cool weather wardrobe and planning for any updates I need (this process can be used for any season).  In between today’s post and my next post, I will follow this process and report back on my findings.  I’m going to “walk my talk” and put my method to the test.   I hope that perhaps a few of you will do so as well so we’ll have more input on how well this works.  I’m definitely open to changes to make things easier and more successful, so your suggestions are welcomed as well.

Cool weather wardrobe planning

What process do you use for seasonal wardrobe planning?

Even if you’ve already started to wear your warmer clothing, I hope you’ll still find this post interesting and helpful.  Also, if you live in the southern hemisphere, as I know many readers do, you can easily adapt my process for your warm weather clothing, as it’s the concepts that matter most, not the specifics.   Those who have already done their seasonal review and switchover process can save this post for the next time the seasons change, which could be within a matter of weeks for those in four-season climates.

As I covered in my last post, I did quite a bit of shopping over the past few months and don’t have much shopping budget left for the remainder of 2015.   Consequently, some of the items I’d like to buy for the cool weather season will have to be purchased in the early part of next year. That’s okay, as the cooler weather usually lasts through June (we have “May Grey” and “June Gloom” here) and I’ll have plenty of time to wear any new pieces that I pick up.   In addition, analyzing and planning for the coming season now will allow me to sit with what I outline for a while, review it a few times, and make any necessary changes before I end up buying too much.

Step One – Review Your Closet

In planning for an upcoming season, the best thing to do first is review your existing wardrobe.  If you store your out-of-season items away, take them all out and go through them.  Ideally, try things on to make sure they still fit you well and suit your lifestyle and desired style aesthetic.   Set aside anything that doesn’t fit your current body or doesn’t “spark joy” (see this post for more on that concept), as well as items that need to be tailored in any way.

For items that don’t fit, think about whether they will ever realistically fit you again.  If you have gained or lost weight recently but think your size may shift again soon, hold on to your favorite pieces but move them to an alternate location for the time-being (i.e. another closet or an under-the-bed box).   You only want to store things that fit your current body in your main closet.

Pieces that don’t “spark joy” should be passed on to someone else.   Perhaps you have a friend or relative who might appreciate these items, or you can opt to consign them and earn a little cash in the process.   Alternatively, there are many charities to which you can donate the items that no longer serve you.  For more suggestions about dealing with your closet cast-offs, see this post from the archives.

Lastly, anything that needs to be tailored (or dry-cleaned, if that applies to you) should be dealt with as soon as possible. Many people have “to be tailored” piles that gather dust for months or even years before they ever make their way out of their houses.  I suggest that you plan a day within the next week when you will make your trip to the tailor.  But before you do, I encourage you to make sure you’re not falling victim to “the dark side of alterations,” where you’re trying to make things work that should really be passed on to their next home.   I have spent too much time on this “dark side” myself and have tried to virtually re-make many of my garments, often against the wise advice of my tailor.  In some cases, the best path is to follow that over-played song from the movie “Frozen” and “let it go”!

After you have reviewed your wardrobe as outlined above, integrate the next season’s items into your closet.   If your closet is small, you may need to do a full switch-out and store pieces for the season that is ending somewhere else.   However, you may want to keep a portion of those items in your main closet to cover the “cusp season” when you may need garments for both cooler and warmer weather.

If you’re lucky enough to be able to fit everything in one closet like I am, you may decide to move things around and put your wardrobe for the incoming season front and center so it’s easier for you to access.   I currently have all of my warm weather items on the left side of my closet, but I may opt to move them to the right side and then place my cool weather clothing at the left for easier access.

Step Two – Ask Powerful Questions

After you have gone through all of your clothes, shoes, and accessories, take some time to answer the following questions:

  • What wardrobe gaps, if any, did I notice?

This can sometimes be a bit tricky, especially since it’s usually been months since you wore that season’s items.   Ideally, you’ll want to make some notes about this at the close of each season (so do that now for the season that is ending) and review and revise those notes during your pre-season wardrobe review.  If you are keeping an outfit journal like I am, you’ll likely have made notes of the pieces you find yourself wishing you had.   What I’ve started doing is keeping a running list at the back of my outfit journal so I don’t have read back through all of the entries to see what I have been wanting along the way.

  • What items in my closet need to be replaced soon?

This question should be a bit easier to answer.   Perhaps you’ve noticed that your favorite sweater has become threadbare or has developed excessive pilling.  Maybe a much-loved pair of shoes has lost its luster, become overly scuffed, or the heels have worn down.   In some cases, pieces may still be in good shape but are looking somewhat dated and you’d like to replace them with a more updated style (more on this below).    But before you immediately opt to replace something, ask yourself if you still love the item.  Would you still want to wear it if it were in good physical shape or in a more modern style?   Sometimes we may have moved beyond a particular item and can easily pass it on without needing to replace it.  Give this some thought before immediately adding something to your replacement list.

  • What new trends have I seen that I would like to participate in or in what ways do I want to update or modernize my wardrobe?

Most of us receive catalogs and magazines or read blogs that cue us in to the upcoming seasonal trends.   There are usually far too many to participate in them all, but perhaps a few have “called” to you.   If you’re lucky, you may already have the requisite pieces in your closet, which is often the case with color or pattern trends. For instance, burgundy is a really hot color for fall and I already own a decent number of garments in this hue.   In some cases, however, we may need to shop in order to adopt certain trends.   I recommend selecting no more than 3-5 trends to take on, as trends move quickly and you don’t want to buy too many items and rarely end up wearing them.   A little can go a long way with trends, so select your favorites and leave the rest for others who are more passionate about them.

Some of you may not be all that interested in trends.  You may pay little attention to them and not worry at all about following them.  However, you may feel the desire to update or modernize your wardrobe in some ways.   Perhaps you’re tired of wearing certain styles or silhouettes and have been thinking about moving in a different direction.   For example, you may have been wearing skinny jeans for the past few years, but now you’re thinking of adding some boot-cut or wide-leg jeans to your closet.   Or maybe you’ve been wearing mostly blazers but would like to add a long-line vest and/or a duster cardigan to your assortment of toppers.  Make note of any pieces you want to add to your closet to inject new life into your wardrobe and keep your style moving forward.  Sometimes just a piece or two can go a long way toward having you feel more current and can give you some additional variety for your outfits.

Step Three – Construct Your Shopping List

Use your answers to the questions above to put together your seasonal shopping list.   Don’t worry about the order or number of items just yet. We’ll cover that in the next step.  Just write down the items you’ve identified as wardrobe gaps, your replacement needs, and any trendy or update pieces you wish to buy.   Get them all down on paper (or screen) in no particular order.

Take a minute to review your list to make sure you’ve captured everything, and then see if there are any edits you wish to make.   Perhaps let your list sit overnight and come back to it the next morning.  Sometimes when we review things a second time, we are viewing them with new eyes and are easily able to see changes we’d like to make.

Step Four – Prioritize

Once you have your list pretty well sorted out, it’s time to set some priorities.  Most of us won’t be able to buy everything all at once and we may have designated too many items to buy for just one season.  You may need to push some of your items out to next year if you have more on your list than your budget will allow.   Even if you have a large clothing budget, there will probably still be items you need sooner than others, especially in the category of closet replacements.  If the boots you wear every other day are on their last legs, they should probably be at the top of your list and one of the first things you focus on when you go shopping.

It may be helpful to prioritize your list items either numerically or by month.   For example, if you have ten items on your list, you may opt to purchase the first four in November, the next three in December, and the final three in January.  Of course, you may be limited by what you’re able to find in the shops or online, but it’s helpful to have some sort of roadmap so you won’t be as easily distracted by what you see when you start your shopping process.   If you have a large budget, it’s still a good idea to designate what you want to focus on first so you stay on target when you begin shopping. I know from personal experience how easy it is to blow a large sum of money on “nice to have” items that don’t really serve my needs while running out of budget for the things that would really make the biggest difference in my closet.  I’ve done that more times than I can count…

Step Five – Shop

After you have prioritized, it’s time to shop, provided that you have the money to do it now.  Some of us will have to wait a little while before we buy anything, but it’s still a good idea to do the planning now so we’ll be prepared when the time comes.   If, like me, you don’t have much more money available to you for 2015, you’ll have to really consider what you need most right off the bat for the coming season.   I may only be able to purchase a few items from my cool weather list this year, so I’d better be sure they are the ones that will benefit me the most once the new season gets under way.

When you shop, make sure to take your shopping list with you.   It may also be a good idea to decide how much you want to spend on each individual item, as well as on each given shopping trip as a whole.   You may not know how much certain things will cost, but it’s helpful to designate a range so you keep on track.   Even if you usually shop at brick-and-mortar stores, it may serve you to do some online research first to get a sense of what’s out there, which stores you want to visit, and how much the items on your list might cost.

Mette from “The Yogastic Shopping Planner(who shared her recovery story here last year) uses a shopping calendar that itemizes which things she’s going to buy each month.   Since she knows what she’s going to buy, she creates a monthly Pinterest board on which she “pins” potential purchases.   This helps her to get a sense of the possibilities, and seeing them all next to each other, she’s better able to narrow things down and see what will work best for her.   She seems to have a very good track record with her purchases, as she has been reviewing what she bought a year ago (see her last review here) and has had far more hits than misses.  I may decide to follow at least part of her process simply because it works!  I mention it here in case some of you may also wish to do the same and/or follow Mette’s wonderful blog.

Step Six – Review Your New Purchases

You may think that shopping is the last step in the process, but it’s really not.   When you get your new purchases home, you should try them on again as soon as possible to make sure you still like them.   Many times, the way we feel about items shifts once we see them in our own mirrors, with our home lighting, and paired with our existing pieces.  Don’t just try the new pieces on; put together at least one outfit with them and preferably three or more.

Ask yourself if your new acquisitions are at least an “8” on a scale of 1-10 and if they will truly serve the closet needs for which they are intended.  Don’t settle for less!   Often, if we settle, we’ll continue to look for a list item even after we have already ostensibly fulfilled it.   We only want to buy a list item once, so if you find yourself continuing to browse and check out other options, do yourself a favor and return what you bought, as it’s not really going to work for you.

The at-home review is a very important part of the process, so don’t skip it.  Usually, we just take things out of the bags and hang them up in our closets.   Don’t do that, and especially don’t cut the tags off your new pieces until you’ve tried them on and ensured that they will work for you.   Do the at-home review as soon as possible and return anything that doesn’t pass muster.  Some stores have very short return windows.  You don’t want to have to keep something sub-standard simply because you didn’t take the time to do a return.   Take care of it as soon as possible and ease your mind – and your wallet.

I know that many of you don’t have a lot of time to shop, but if you keep things that aren’t going to work for you, it’s like throwing money down the toilet.  None of us want to do that!  It’s better to take longer to find what will really serve our needs, even if that means we have to make do with what we have in the meantime.   Most of us have plenty of clothes anyway, so it won’t hurt us to take the time to find what will really make us smile.  Remember, the enemy of the best is the good!   We need to keep our standards high when we shop and aim to buy things that are as close to “10”s as possible.

Conclusion

So there you have it… the seasonal review and shopping process I just came up with this week.   Now it’s time for me to put it to the test with my own wardrobe.   Before my next post, I’m going to go through steps one through four with my cool weather wardrobe.  I will share what I come up with later this week.  In future posts in the coming months, I will update you on steps five and six.

I hope my process will also be helpful to at least some of you.   If you use it, I’d love to hear how it works for you.  If you use any alternate method, please share that, too.   No one system will work for everyone, so the more ideas we put out on the table, the better.  I’m not wedded to my own ideas and I’m definitely open to suggestions.  I’m figuring things out as I go along and course-correcting as necessary.   I don’t have all of the answers, not by a long-shot.   But part of what I’m doing here is sharing my process and what I learn along the way.

We’re here to help each other shop more consciously and make fewer mistakes.   We’re all trying to cultivate more workable wardrobes and become happier with what we’re wearing.   However we can help each other is a wonderful thing.   I learn at least as much from you as you do from me, if not more. So share away…  I still try to respond to all comments, but I won’t always be able to do so.  But no matter what, please know that I read and appreciate what you have to say and I value my readers very much.   I hope that whatever season you are currently in, your wardrobe is serving you and supporting your life, as that’s really what it’s all about.


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Comments

  1. I am in the midst of several of these actions. Yesterday a gave a zip back buffalo plaid flannel I LOVED the style of to a GF because it was too short and boxy. Poor fit no matter how in love with the style I was.
    I also have my black work jeans in the car to get the waist taken in so I don’t have to pull them up all day. Did this with 2 pants and 1 short earlier this year and it the best $17 alteration yet!
    I keep all my clothing in the one closet all year (coats and jackets in a spare bedroom) and also simply switch items around a bit seasonally. Pants on tiered racks move to the inside over the door valet hook and the tiered skirt rack goes to the far right, where the pants had resided all summer. Sandals and open toe shoes move to the side of the shoe rack and closed toes and flats come front and center.
    As for the shopping, I’m also running low on funds but do have items in mind. I have berry colored Uggs on the list but they will wait for a big (black Friday maybe?) sale or next year’s budget. I actually think spacing out your season’s purchases a little is good in that you get to get the feel for what you’re buying before you go overboard on what might seem a great idea but doesn’t work out so well in reality of our lifestyles.
    And finally, a big YES to trying out your newly acquired items. I am sending back the recent sweaters, one for a smaller size, the other for being a not quite right shade. No settling with brand new items!

    • Oh, and as for the things to be replaced – I now tend to get rid of them at the end of their season, whether I have a replacement yet or not. And so they are not hanging around at the start of next year’s season sitting there asking me, “why do you still have me here, unworn for 2 years?!” This is the case with my red and berry sweater scenario (purged the cardigan versions early this year) and also what I will be dealing with in spring/summer with my replacement white tee for the tired one I’m soon to ditch.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      Seems like you’re doing well and on track with your seasonal switch-over, Mo. I agree that taking in the waist on pants is money well spent! I have to do that with almost all of mine. I also agree that it can be good to space out seasonal purchases, as sometimes what we think we need (or even really want) doesn’t end up being all that right on. I know the list I’m coming up with is probably too long, so only being able to buy a few more things this year will likely be a good thing. I haven’t usually been one to get rid of things before I had found their replacement, but if I’m not wearing them anyway, why keep them around? I think it’s kind of like a “security blanket” to do so, but not really necessary.

  2. I live about 220 miles north of where you live on the California coast, with similar weather, but with the exception that we have a higher damp factor in the winter. Also our home does not have good central heat and we often need to bundle up indoors in the winter. A few years ago I downsized my wardrobe and now all of my clothing for both warm and cool weather fit inside my closet so I can easily see and reach for whatever I need depending on the weather. Like Mo I also now get rid of what is worn out, or is no longer working for me at the end of the season. I try on all of my cool weather wear and decide what to keep or toss. At the end of last winter I purged my well loved, worn out charcoal open cardigan, and I have already replaced it. But I will keep the tags on until I wear it, just in case. I also need a replacement pair of shoes, which have been ordered. And I have also already purchased an additional pair of jeans to carry me through winter of 2015 and spring 2016. My weight is the same so hopefully what fit me in March will fit me now. Ideally I’d like to purchase one more sweater, but it might need to wait until January. Although I have not shopped a lot this year, my budget is smaller now and I’m more cautious with how I spend. Although planning, dreaming and shopping is fun for me, I don’t really need anything else right now so I might opt to save my money for later when I have a true need or find something that calls to me. Trend-wize this year I will be right on the mark because Burgundy is a staple color for me in winter and I also have a few pieces from previous years. Otherwise, think of me right along with you, pulling out the cool weather clothing, and charting our way into the fall and winter, with a California beach twist.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      After reading what you and Mo wrote, Terra, I’m now more inclined to get rid of things before I find a replacement, especially in cases where I’m not wearing the item anyway. If something is truly worn out or we no longer like the style, there’s little sense in keeping it around. Your point about keeping tags on our purchases until we’re sure they work is a good one. I’m always surprised when I read about people who cut the tags off right away without even trying the item on again. That’s risky business… It must be really nice to feel like you don’t need anything. I probably don’t truly need much, but the desire for new things is definitely still there. I hope that will quiet down now that I’m getting my wardrobe in much better order.

  3. Wow! This approach is thorough. I think I’m going to have to ease into this system.
    Here’s where I’ll start and why.
    1. For items that don’t fit, think realistically about if they will ever fit again. It is frustrating to be moving around hangers in my closet that have pants or tops that haven’t seen the light of day in the past season(s). Not only frustrating, but depressing too!
    2. “Sometimes we may have moved beyond a particular item and can easily pass it on without needing to replace it.” For me, it is sometimes a knee-jerk reaction to replace a much-loved item. But I have noticed that many times, the replacement isn’t worn or loved nearly as much. Now I realize that I have “moved beyond” it.
    3. “Construct a shopping list”. Prepare, don’t succumb to the what the stores want to sell.
    4. The “at-home” review of purchases, trying on, pairing with existing outfits. Most of the time, my purchases sit in their bags for quite a while.
    Thanks for the excellent article.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      I think it’s great that you decide which parts of my process work best for you and that you are willing to take on now, Gayle. If we try to do too much, sometimes we end up getting overwhelmed and do nothing. I like that you said what you’re going to do and why. I wish you the very best of luck with everything! So glad you liked the article.

  4. About 7 weeks ago I switched my wardrobe over to cool weather things, had a colour drape session and a new palette from that and a big KonMari session trying things on. I felt the wardrobe was a bit thin at the end of that. I have been sewing brown, berry and burgundy knit pieces. I bought (spread out over multiple weeks) 3 drape cardigans in dark green, navy and burgundy. I have been wearing my flat tall boots in brown and black and my brogues in black patent, navy and burgundy. I bought some tan ankle boots. I was eying up some burgundy ankle boots but I hesitated. I’m trying to be more thoughtful in my purchases so have done a lot less thrift shopping recently.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      Sounds like you have done a lot in recent weeks, Ruthie. The new pieces you bought seem to be good choices, and how wonderful that you have been sewing new pieces as well. It’s good to hesitate when we’re not sure about purchases. If you find yourself still wanting burgundy ankle boots down the line, that might be a good time for you to buy them. Being thoughtful with our purchases is always a good thing and it seems to be serving you very well.

  5. Thank you for those wonderful words, Debbie! That means a lot to me :-).

    And your article is thorough and to the point as always. The review of the items when you get home is totally key. I recently purchased a skirt and was very unsure whether to keep it or not after the initial try at home, but I put some effort into finding a whole bunch of outfits and it ended up working so well with a lot of things in my closet :-).

    My powerful question for culling is “Would I buy this item in a thrift shop in it’s current condition”?, and I’ve recently started thinking about “Is this an item that the future me will be glad to inherit?” as proposed by Who What Wear recently (http://www.whowhatwear.co.uk/buy-it-for-life-shopping-theory-reddit), when I purchase something.

    And yes, my calendar is still going strong :-).

    • Debbie Roes says:

      I loved your post about the skirt, Mette, and how you created so many outfits with it. You are always willing to be adventurous in what you put together, too, which is good inspiration for those who are more conservative in their style (hmmm, do we know anyone like that?). But if we try things and they don’t work, what is the harm, really? Thanks for sharing the article (may be in a future links round up…) and the question you ask when culling. Between the question in the article and your question, we could all get a lot better at both shopping and paring our wardrobes down.

  6. I am just now sorting through the winter wardrobe as it’s getting pretty cold here and won’t be long till the first snow falls.

    Yesterday I went shopping for winter shoes. I definitely need new snow proof boots this year as my old pair are no longer waterproof but wasn’t sure about what else I might need (if anything.) So, I held back from any purchases and decided instead to pull my entire wardrobe of footwear out onto my bedroom floor à la Kon Mari and see what I own. In all fairness I did put EVERYTHING out and so the pile includes winter/summer, practical/pretty etc. BUT wow, I have a WHOPPING collection of shoes and boots, a large percentage of which I do not wear. There are some old time favorites, no longer worn as they are out of fashion but still in beautiful condition and my go-to shoes but the rest ….. !!!

    I have 3 pairs of hiking boots and I don’t hike, 3 pairs of Birkenstocks which I hate the look of on me, a collection of too old, shabby, uncomfortable and other dubious attributes. I picked out the ones that spark joy or are useful (rubber boots don’t exactly spark joy but they are very necessary here) and that leaves about 80% of non-joy sparking stuff. I also seem to have relegated a lot of the unloved as “useful for dog-walking.”

    This was a great exercise. Firstly it’s clear why I love the ones I do love, the gaps and the fact that there are way too many schlepping around shoes it’s become obvious that I have been in search of the perfect run/schlepp around shoe/boot and have not really found my nirvana here.

    • Sharon Wright says:

      I loved the ‘non-sparking joy stuff’ phrase & plan to use forthwith! Your reply gave me a giggle & I can quite identify. I have my clothes bought for dog walking (a friends dog – happened twice) hiking (maybe 3 times) lots of foxy heels (rarely leave house & then it’s only to buy groceries)

    • Debbie Roes says:

      Good for you, Carolyn! I’m going to do the same thing soon with my shoes. I have been paring down since I started the blog and haven’t bought too many new shoes, but I know there are some I can pass on now. It wasn’t clear how many of the 80% you opted to get rid of, but even if you take baby steps in that direction, you have come a long way in understanding what you love and don’t love and why. That is a very good thing and some excellent progress…

      • When I told my boyfriend how many shoes were on the pile he kept repeating “What?…What?…What?” Lol.
        The Kon Mari method for dumping everything in a single category does really work to make you see the excesses. I do tend to keep shoes as I love them and I also look after them so they last me many years – I have several that are over 10 years old, still in lovely condition.
        After sorting the essential practicals – Rubber boots, Ugg boots, Teva’s, a pair of trainers the rest were up for crunch time.
        – 2 pairs went immediately in the bin
        – 2 pairs went to my son’s girlfriend
        – 25 pairs went straight to the donation bag and will go to the Syrian refugee collection taking place at my son’s school. They were chosen because they are bad styles for me, uncomfortable, colors that no longer worked, too many in one category.
        – 10 went into “archive” – they are old faves but not often worn and include evening heels
        – summer and winter joy-sparking essentials went straight into the wardrobe
        -the rest need more evaluation. I was tempted to dump them all just to be minimalist BUT I have often pulled out old shoes to rewear for a season so I don’t need to be drastic about it. For now I am going to put them away in a separate box and then repeat the Kon Mari with these ones in a couple of weeks so I can see them again with fresh eyes.

        • Debbie Roes says:

          Thanks for clarifying your shoe KonMari, Carolyn. You did SO well with it! How great that you passed on so many pairs of shoes for Syrian refugees. I like the idea of having a shoe “archive” for old favorites. Just because things aren’t worn often, it doesn’t mean we have to get rid of them. I can understand why you wouldn’t want to get rid of more shoes right away. It makes sense to put the ones you’re unsure of away for a little while and review them later. I will likely do the same after my next KonMari session, which will be soon. And I’m definitely going to put all of the shoes out on the floor like you did. I didn’t even address shoes when I did my first KonMari back in May, but I’m going to look at them this time for sure.

    • nutrivore says:

      If your boots aren’t nubuck or suede, try this to weatherproof them. All my bags and shoes get this once a year.

      http://www.amazon.com/Obenaufs-LP-Boot-Preservative-Preserves/dp/B0002X520S

  7. nutrivore says:

    I make a mental list of what hubby and I need for winter at the end of the season (i.e. spring) and look for items on sale ‘cos that’s when they’re clearing the racks of warm weather clothes. I also look in fall for sales (just last week I bought my hubby some cool weather shirts from JCP from last year’s inventory.)

    That way, I usually have everything I need for the next season. I prefer to order online and pick up at the store. Free shipping plus easy local returns. No browsing and I only buy exactly what I need.

    At the end of winter, I cull what I didn’t like/use and see if there are discounts for spring/summer items.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      It’s always great when we can find what we need on sale, Nutrivore. That’s part of why I shop so much in July-August, as that is when the warm weather starts here and also when the end of summer sales are going on. You seem to have a good system in place that is serving you well. It’s taking me a while to come up with a process that works for me, but I’m getting smarter about it…

  8. Sharon Wright says:

    What a wonderful post! I think the point you make about trying on new items is so vital. I often shop during times of stress & have in the past simply forgotten new purchases, especially items bought late in the season. (Tracking & keeping an inventory will prevent this going forward)

    My wardrobe maintenance & shopping habits have improved enormously since following your blog. I shop with intention & tend to buy higher quality items that last a lot longer. I rarely have the feeling of having nothing to wear as I truly love. I find having a well curated wardrobe helps me cope with life’s challenges and I actually enjoy getting dressed without all the angst.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      I never used to try on new items, either, Sharon, and it got me into trouble, as I was often stuck with things that didn’t work for me. Other times, I wasn’t able to find good replacements because I was making returns months later when the next season’s clothes were in the stores. I’m so happy that my blog has helped you with your shopping and wardrobe management. You are so right that having a workable wardrobe can help us better cope with challenges. Some people say, “It’s just clothes,” but since we have to get dressed every day, we may as well wear things that make us feel happy.

  9. hey Debbie, it’s great fun to see you trying out a new analytical approach on the front end – i really look forward to hearing more about about your results/experiences! i think i do use elements of what you write about here, and i think i use a lot of intuition. I always, always have a try-on session after I’ve bought s/thing(s) – it’s one of my favorite parts! And just for reference, i would say I return 30-40% of what i bring home – even if i think what i’ve found in the store is a “perfect” item, it’s totally amazing how different things seem at home!

    Then, after passing that test, i would say that 25% or so ends up just not working for a variety of reasons – doesn’t launder as expected, is fussy in a way that’s not clear during try-ons, hurts/irritates in a spot i couldn’t tell until extended wearing, seemed great but just isn’t, etc… i nearly always buy mid-price or on sale because of this (expensive items I’ve tried i the past just don’t make that much of a difference for me/ my life). this means i often donate new items that have been laundered once, but hopefully that makes them more useful for someone else. i share this because even as a non-shopaholic, you can see the large margin for error for things going from the store successfully into my closet – it’s not so easy and you can only improve so much without expecting a certain number or “write-offs” as cost of doing business, if that makes sense.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      Good to hear from you, Claire, and thanks for sharing about your shipping, returns, and culling process. You raised some really good points. I think it’s unrealistic to expect that everything we buy will work out, no matter how good we get at shopping. The at-home try-on session can eliminate quite a few mistakes (I agree that things look and feel a lot different at home), but certainly not all of them. Lots of things don’t truly reveal themselves until after we wear – and wash – them. This is sad but true. I haven’t necessarily found that the more expensive items are better, either. Some are, some aren’t. I do feel it’s helpful to find brands that work well for us, but even then, there will be some things that are “off” for one reason or another. I agree that there will always be some “write-offs” and we have to expect that.

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