I was a bit delayed in posting my January and February accountability updates, so I thought I’d be timelier with the one for March. Also, I don’t have as much to share this time around, so this won’t be as epic a post to write (or read).
For those who are new to the blog, these monthly reports are where I share what came into and left my closet, what I wore, and how I did with my shopping budget and item limit. Sharing what I bought, what I culled, and how much I spent helps me to stay honest and on track with my wardrobe and shopping goals. I’m also going to update you on how I’m doing with my theme for the year, “balance.” I want to make sure to at least check in on my 2016 theme each month, but I also plan to share more in-depth thoughts from time to time. I think it’s important to keep our goals “top of mind” as much as possible.
Since I will be packing so much into these monthly updates, I’ll go into less detail in each section than I did in past years. In many instances, I’ll just give general summaries of what I bought and what I purged rather than doing an itemized account. However, when I feel it’s valuable to do so, I’ll elaborate more on particular items or in certain sections.
What Left My Closet and Why
I always start these reports with what left my closet during the previous month. During March, I removed five items from my wardrobe:
- 1 pair of shoes
- 2 jackets
- 2 tops
Here’s a look at the items I opted to pass on, along with some notes as to why:
I wrote about four of these five items in my post on using the “coin toss method” to help make wardrobe culling decisions. The shoes, long blazer, and grey tank were wardrobe “benchwarmers” that I just didn’t love and wear, so I’m happy to be passing them on, along with the feelings of guilt that were associated with them. For a while, I second-guessed my decision to return the black moto jacket, as it’s difficult for me to find jackets that aren’t too short on my tall frame. However, after subjecting it to the wardrobe “first impression test” recently, I ultimately decided that returning it is the best course of action. Something better will come along that I won’t hem and haw over.
As for the white tee, it was a mistake purchase from last December. At the time, I thought I’d finally found a white tee that wasn’t too sheer and fit well, but I found that the neckline was too high and the top was just too long and drapey overall. Fortunately, I found a better white tee (perhaps the “holy grail” at last?) in February, so I’m passing the one above on. I may keep it as a sleep tee, but it’s no longer in my “out and about” wardrobe.
I’ve already designated some more items to purge from my closet this month, so look for this section to be longer in my next accountability update. Later this week, I will share another exercise that has helped me to gain deeper insights into my wardrobe. I look forward to encapsulating what I learned for you shortly and I hope some of you will opt to take on the exercise yourselves.
What Came Into My Closet
This part of my accountability update is usually divided into the following sections:
- “Out and About” Wardrobe (to be included in my item limit for the year)
- At-Home / Workout Wardrobe
- Shoes and Accessories
This month, however, it’s not necessary to make such a division, as I only purchased one new item:
When I saw the above cardigan in a resale shop with the tags still attached, I was very happy. Anyone who has been reading this blog for a while knows of my affinity for stripes, and I love this cardigan. It’s soft and cozy and is a good layering piece. I’ve already worn it twice and love it (you can see one of my outfits featuring this cardigan below). While I’m pleased with this purchase, I plan to stop buying long open cardigans now, as I already have quite a few and would like to add some alternate style and shape toppers to my wardrobe this year.
I’ve decided to purchase no more than 36 “out and about” items this year (see this post for more information), as I already have a lot of pieces in this area of my wardrobe. I would like to focus more on my shoes and at-home clothing this year. Each month, I will list my “out and about” purchases, when I bought them, and how many times they have been worn thus far. For the sake of completeness and comparison, I will also share the at-home items, shoes, and accessories I have purchased and include the wear numbers for those pieces as well.
“Out and About” Purchases:
- Burgundy polka-dot long-sleeved top (January, worn once)
- Burgundy waffle top (January, worn three times)
- Teal waffle top (January, worn twice)
- Black straight leg cords (February – not yet worn)
- Black lightweight trousers (February, worn twice)
- Dark wash straight-leg jeans (February – worn twice)
- Black blazer (February – not yet worn)
- Cobalt/black tunic (February – worn once)
- Black/grey print reversible puffer vest (February – worn twice)
- Black long vest (February – worn once)
- Denim vest (February – not yet worn)
- Black knit pants with zipper details (February – worn once)
- White crew-neck short-sleeved tee (February – not yet worn)
- Black and grey striped cardigan (March – worn twice)
NOTE: The black knit pants were originally placed in the at-home category, but they fit so well and look like regular pants that I have decided to use them as part of my “out and about” wardrobe. Thus I have moved them to item #12 above. Also, since I opted to return the black woven moto jacket, it no longer appears in the above list.
- Blue-striped long-sleeved top (January, worn seven times)
- Dark green long-sleeved top (January, worn four times)
- Purple striped long-sleeved top (January, worn seven times)
- Light green/teal short-sleeved workout tee (January – don’t track wears)
- Sheepskin slippers (February – worn daily, don’t track wears)
- Burgundy ankle boots (February, worn five times)
- Bright blue scarf (January, not yet worn)
- Purple beaded earrings (February, don’t track wears)
Here’s a summary for the year as of the end of March:
- Items Added: 22 (14 “out and about” garments, 5 at-home items, 1 pair of shoes, 2 accessories)
- Items Purged: 15 (1 jacket, 4 tops, 5 pairs of shoes, 2 scarves, 3 pieces of jewelry)
Please note that returns are not included among the purged items count. I also don’t report on returns made within a given month.
As you can see, I’m wearing my new at-home items a lot more often than my new “out and about” pieces. This is a big reason why I’ve decided to limit my purchases in the latter category. It may not be as fun to buy things to wear at home and for walks and workouts, but those are the items that truly end up earning their keep in my closet. Of course, there’s some cross-over between the categories and I’m aiming for that to be the case more often, but there are some garments that I’m just not going to wear when I’m sitting around the house. Some of you might do so, but I know myself and what I will and won’t wear at home. I think I look a lot nicer when I’m at home than I used to, but I want and need to be comfortable!
March Budget Report
My clothing budget for 2016 is $2500, the same as last year’s budget. Like in 2015, I am working from a quarterly budget, but I’ve opted to allocate my money based upon my traditional shopping patterns:
- Quarter 1: $750
- Quarter 2: $375
- Quarter 3: $1000
- Quarter 4: $375
My first quarter budget was $750. As of the end of March, I had spent $736.42 on clothing and related expenses (clothes, shoes, accessories, alterations), so I came in under budget by $13.58. If I didn’t opt to return the black moto jacket, I would have been over budget by about $50, so it was actually a good thing that the jacket didn’t work out for me (at least in terms of my budget commitment).
As it stands, I have a fairly small budget set aside for the second quarter. I’m going to see how it goes and may decide to increase the number somewhat. I have some items that I’d like to purchase this quarter, including one or two lightweight toppers (one for my at-home/workout wardrobe), a few workout tops, a pair of lounge/workout pants, a belt for jeans, some new underwear, and at least one pair of shoes (see my 2016 shoe plan in this post). If I find all of these items this quarter, I may end up increasing this quarter’s budget and reducing my allocation for the third quarter. My third quarter shopping will mostly be for my warm weather wardrobe, which I generally don’t start wearing until mid-June or early July (save some unseasonably warm days). I like to take advantage of summer sales, as well as the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, so that’s why I’ve designated so much money to quarter three.
I’m still working on shopping more deliberately and making better purchases. I’m going to continue reviewing what I bought last year and how successful it was (see my first post in that series here) and will share my April 2015 update very soon.
What I Wore
In each accountability update, I do a quick recap of the items I wore the month before. Here’s a quick look at what I wore during March:
- Clothing items worn: 47 (note that some items worn only at home or for walks/workouts are not shown):
As an addition to these updates, I’m going to share how many items have been carried over from one month to the next to see how my wardrobe continuity is going and how versatile my items are. Close to half (22) of the garments that I wore in March were also worn in February.
- Shoes worn: 5
Most of these boots were also worn in February. The only ones that weren’t were the black boots at the top left. I know that it’s kind of overkill to have three pairs of black ankle boots. The new ones at the top right are the pair that I usually wear (8 times last month), but the other two pairs also have their usefulness for wearing with certain pairs of pants. The boots in the top middle (5 years old) have a very low heel, are the most comfortable, and look good with boot-cut jeans. The boots at the top left (6 years old) were my go-to before I added the new pair to my closet at Christmas. I still wear them occasionally and plan to keep them for the time being. My cost-per-wear for those boots is probably in the pennies at this point!
- Scarves worn: 5
While I have some solid scarves as well, I’ve found that the printed ones are worn more often. These five are probably my favorites out of my current collection.
- Necklaces worn: 3
I really should wear necklaces more regularly, as they have a great capacity for adding visual interest to otherwise simple and potentially boring outfits (those “chicken outfits” that Bridgette Raes writes about). The three necklaces above are definitely among my favorites.
I don’t track my earring and bracelet wears, as I have less of an issue with using those items regularly, especially since I have pared down my collection considerably over the past two years (see my most recent jewelry inventory in this post).
- Purses carried: 1
I have been carrying the same purse for the past two and a half months now. While I don’t need a lot of variety in my handbags and still love this one, I think I’m ready for a change this month. I plan to switch out my purse soon and will bring the one above back at bit later.
Here are a few of my favorite outfits from March 2016:
Please excuse the poor quality of a few of the images. My husband usually takes my outfit photos, but I occasionally have to take “selfies” when he’s not home and the lighting by my full-length mirror leaves to be desired. However, since those were two of my favorite ensembles, I wanted to include them in this post.
I didn’t get out and about last month as much as I did in February, as I have been experiencing more health challenges and haven’t been up to it. When I did get out, I sometimes had to wear outfits I didn’t like as much due to the significant bloating that I’ve been having on and off (not sure why, but both my hormones and my digestive tract are seriously out of whack). This issue really underscores the importance of having a versatile wardrobe, which includes some bottoms that have “give” to them and can accommodate weight fluctuations. The black pants at the left in the second photo are the ones I originally thought would be for at home and workouts only, but they actually work quite well for days when I’m feeling bloated and am not up to wearing jeans.
I’m quite pleased with the new reversible puffer vest and long black vest I bought in February. Both are comfortable and give a new look to some of my basics, such as jeans and knit tops. Between those and wearing more of my scarves and necklaces again, I was pretty happy with the majority of my March outfits.
Balance Goal Update
I’m not going to go into too much detail in this section this month, as not a lot has changed since my last update. I’ve still been hit or miss about going to bed at the desired time (12:30) and I’m still spending more time on Facebook than I’d like to some days. One thing that has shifted, however, is that I periodically have days when I spend little or no time on Facebook, which helps me to get a break and feel better about the time I do spend there. I’ve also been doing well at working on key tasks before logging onto social media or doing activities which I don’t consider priorities for that given day.
I continue to make progress on decreasing my backlogs, but I also realize that I need to stop them from accumulating in the first place. I’m happy that cancelling my magazine subscriptions and instead using the Texture app has dramatically cut down on the time I spend reading various publications as well as my feelings of “FOMO.” I just read magazines when I feel like it and if I miss some issues of my favorites here and there, I’m okay with it. I need to do the same with blog posts and online articles, as I still want to spend more time reading books and less time on other types of reading.
I’ve been doing better at “batching” my health appointments and errands and concentrating these activities into two (or sometimes three) days per week instead of virtually every day. This has helped to increase my productivity and decrease my stress levels. I’d still like to increase my “full life” activities such as walks, movies, photography, personal growth, and face-to-face get-togethers, so that is going to be more of my focus this month and beyond.
I continue to feel like my life is out of balance, but I’m glad that I’m taking time each month to look at how I’m doing with my 2016 theme. For this month, I’d like to re-commit to going to bed earlier and staying off my computer late at night. I’d also like to re-commit to daily backlog elimination and email times and setting my key tasks for the following day before I go to bed each night. I think these activities will make a big difference in both my health and my level of life balance. I sometimes sabotage myself and don’t do what I know is good for me, but each month (or even each day!) is another chance to change my actions and do the right thing. I hope to have something better to report on the balance front next month, but I do feel I’ve made some positive changes already this year.
So that’s it for my March accountability update. Now it’s your turn to chime in:
- How did you do with your shopping and wardrobe during March?
- If you have one, how is your theme for 2016 coming along?
- What successes and/or challenges did you experience in these areas?
I invite you to share your wins and setbacks, as well as any questions you have for me or others in this community. Some of you have opted to share your accountability updates each month, too, which is great. There is strength in numbers and in declaring our truth on a forum such as this one (many readers also share their accountability in the “End Closet Chaos” closed Facebook group). We’re here to encourage and support each other, so please feel free to ask for help if you need it. I wish you all the best for the month of April and throughout 2016!
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