A little over a month ago, I posted a long overdue update on my wardrobe and shopping goals for 2016. That update covered my budget, item limit, frequency of wear, a basic overview of what I bought, and my goals for the remainder of the year. I had also planned to review my progress with the shopping list I created back in February, but the post just got too long. As I feel that it will be helpful to look at my shopping priorities and how I have or haven’t addressed them, that will be the focus of today’s post.
A Cautionary Tale – Don’t Do What I Did
Before I delve into a discussion of my shopping list and what I’ve bought, I want to say a few things. First of all, I think that if we go through the trouble of creating a shopping priorities list, we really need to be reviewing it on at least a monthly basis. That way, we’ll be much less likely to get off-track with our purchases. Of course, it’s perfectly understandable that we may need to make some revisions to our list, as many things are subject to change in our lives, including our bodies, our lifestyles, and what we are and aren’t wearing. I would never be one to advocate rigid adherence to what one planned many months ago.
Unfortunately, I have not gone back regularly to review the shopping focus lists for clothing, shoes, and accessories that I compiled at the beginning of the year. Sure, I’ve looked at these lists a few times here and there, but I really should have kept these lists in my purse or on my phone where they could be front and center each and every time I go shopping. In addition to that, I should have taken a few minutes each month to review and update my lists as needed. Yes, it would have been nice to have included these reviews on the blog at least quarterly, but I definitely should have done them for myself and I plan to do that moving forward.
A New Approach for 2017
In fact, what I plan to do for next year is something that I discussed with Mo of MOderate Wardrobe last month that she wrote about in her most recent blog post. Each year, she puts together a shopping list using a one-page template (shown in her post) and she crosses the items off the list as she makes her purchases throughout the year. What she and I both plan to do in 2017 is only buy one new item every other week for a total of 27 pieces for the entire year. Neither of us plans to include lounge wear, workout clothes (what she refers to as “gear”), sleepwear, and undergarments in that number (and I likely won’t include shoes and accessories, either), but of course these items will count toward our yearly clothing budgets.
This type of shopping plan will allow for more careful consideration of what we purchase and I think it will be a very beneficial way to approach buying. I will still get to have a “shopping fix” on a regular basis, but I won’t be able to go “off the rails,” spend too much, and bring too many things into my closet at any given time. I still feel that I have too many items and a primary reason for this is that I’ve continued to bring too much in. Slowing down my purchasing will allow me to gradually downsize as things wear out or as my style evolves such that certain pieces no longer “spark joy.” I’ll also be forced to be more deliberate about what I’m bringing in, which I believe will lead to a more workable wardrobe that better meets my needs.
I’m sure I will write more about this in the future, but I wanted to share this now in case some of you may want to do the same thing for 2017. This way, you’ll have some time to review your closet and plan the purchases that will add the most “bang for your buck” next year. I have yet to construct my shopping list, but I’ve been making some notes about what I see as wardrobe gaps and replacement needs. I’m sure today’s update post will also assist me in making at least some preliminary choices.
Purchase Update – Clothing
When I created my shopping list back in early February, I decided to place a greater level of focus on my at-home wardrobe. I did so because I saw that my closet was out of balance for the activities 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.
I’m pleased to report that I have purchased almost all of the items on my at-home wardrobe shopping list and many of them have become wardrobe workhorses! Here is the list, as well as update notes on each item and photos in some cases:
- “Athleisure” pants that are comfortable to wear at home but can also be worn to run errands, go on walks, or for casual activities.
Many of the above pants will be worn for “out and about” occasions as well as at home and for walks. I will discuss some of them below under the out and about category. They are mostly fairly recent purchases, but the pants at the top left have been around since February, have been worn many times, and are very comfortable.
- Short-sleeved and long-sleeved tops for working out, walks, and wearing at home (such as pieces from Athleta or GapFit).
I’m very pleased with the new tops I’ve bought this year for my at-home wardrobe. They have all been worn many times and I feel comfortable and attractive while wearing them.
- A new pair of walking shoes (my existing pair will need to be replaced this year).
I have not yet needed a new pair of walking shoes, as my existing pair is still going strong (I don’t walk as much or as far as I used to). I will move this item to my 2017 list, as I know I will need a replacement pair sometime during the next year.
- A lightweight jacket for the warmer months (my existing jacket for this purpose is over 6 years old and needs to be replaced).
Did I really need to buy four new toppers for my at-home/workout wardrobe? No, I didn’t, and I actually wish I hadn’t purchased the second one, as I don’t love it as much as I thought I would. I will likely wear that jacket and the purple robe primarily at home when it gets colder and use the other two options primarily for walks and when I’m out and about. The black jacket is new, but the cobalt one has already been worn at least twenty times. It’s perfect for cool evening walks.
- New slippers for wearing at home (this is a fairly urgent need).
I have worn these slippers many, many times since I purchased them in February. Sadly, they aren’t all that durable, so I will need to add slippers to my 2017 shopping list as well. I will aim to find a longer lasting option next year, as I wear slippers all day every day during cooler weather.
- Replacement underwear (I am gradually purging those pairs that are worn out or stretched out).
I’ve purchased quite a few pairs of replacement underwear and am set for this wardrobe category for the time being. I will make sure to include replacement underwear on my shopping list every year, however, as I need to replenish my supply on a regular basis.
- A few sleepwear tops and maybe another pair or two of bottoms as well.
I have not purchased new sleepwear items, but this need is becoming more urgent, especially pajama tops. If I don’t end up buying new sleepwear pieces this year (I’ve mostly exhausted my 2016 budget), I will make sure to do so early in the New Year.
I’m very happy that I made this wardrobe category a priority this year, as I’m now much happier and comfortable in my clothes when I’m at home, out for walks, and at the gym. I also like how some of the clothes above will do “double duty” for when I’m out and about as well. I feel that my at-home purchases have almost all been successful ones.
“Out and About” Clothes
I listed the following items as my “out and about” purchase priorities for 2016:
- Pants other than black and denim (straight-leg, perhaps burgundy or cobalt)
The pants on the left and right were also shown in the at-home category, but I actually think I’ll wear them more for out and about occasions. Although they are from an “athleisure” brand, they look polished enough to wear for most of the events of my life. They are also far more comfortable than most of the other pants I own, which is great in light of my nerve pain and other health challenges. They are very recent acquisitions, but I love them and feel they will broaden my wardrobe horizons considerably, especially since all of my other pants are either black or denim.
- Shorter, slimmer skirts(hitting no longer than mid-knee)
While I have certainly tried to find these types of skirts, I haven’t had much luck! It seems as if most retailers are only selling maxis, minis, or corporate-style pencil skirts these days. This item will remain on my list for 2017.
- Bright colored and/or printed bottoms(skirts, pants)
I’m happy to have purchased four items that fall into this category. While it’s not obvious in the photo above, the pants towards the right are a black and white pattern rather than a charcoal grey. These four new bottoms will expand my outfit possibilities, especially since they all look good with black and I have lots of black tops and toppers.
- Alternate shape tops / toppers (i.e. tunics, asymmetrical tops, vests)
I’m excited to have found so many great alternate-shaped tops this year and I feel they have helped to improve my overall style. The cobalt and black tunic is now one of my favorite items in my closet. I wish I would have selected more non-black options, but I think I’ll wear the black tops more often now that I have added some pants that aren’t either black or denim to my wardrobe. I want to add a few more asymmetrical pieces to my closet in 2017, as this look is very much in line with my current preferred style.
- Tops with special details(those that stand alone and don’t need too many accessories or a topper to look “finished”)
All of the tops above were bought at resale shops during the past few months and none of them have been worn yet. That isn’t too alarming to me, however, as they are all to be paired with pants and I’ve only been wearing skirts and dresses recently. I do feel good about these items, though, as they are in line with my defined color palette (though the red is a bit of a “wild card”) style preferences. I will say, though, that I think I have enough cobalt garments in my wardrobe now!
- Dresses and skirts to wear in cooler weather (long-sleeves, heavier weight)
No luck yet with this list item, but I do plan to try to get more wear out of my existing pieces by pairing them with warmer toppers and possibly tights. I will keep this item on my list for 2017.
- Sleeved tops to wear with skirts, as well as less fitted tops (no more fitted, ribbed tank tops)
The above are the sleeved tops I’ve been able to find thus far. While the top in the middle is still fairly fitted, its ruching makes it a bit more forgiving. These three tops were all purchased on consignment and the jury is still out on the second and third options. The top on the left, however, is already a favorite of mine. It pairs well with several of my skirts and I’ve also layered it successfully over a maxi-dress.
- Alternate toppers for pants/jeans beyond open cardigans and long coats (hip-length jackets)
I did buy two such items at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, but they’ve since been returned after I decided that I didn’t love the fit. I will carry over this item to my 2017 list and try to get more specific about what I’d ultimately like to find in this category.
I feel that I purchased too many “out and about” items this year and wasn’t selective enough about my purchases. I also neglected to buy a few important list items, especially the warmer dress and skirt options that I know I’ll be wanting in short order. I hope that by using a shopping list template like the one on MOderate Wardrobe and spacing out my purchases to just one every other week, I’ll do better at fulfilling my 2017 wardrobe priorities.
Purchase Update – Shoes
While I indicated that shoes would be a big part of my buying focus for 2016, I didn’t end up buying many pairs of shoes. This was in large part due to poor planning and buying too many “out and about” clothing items. Here’s what I indicated were my shoe priorities for the year:
- Non-black ankle boots(either burgundy or cobalt)
- Black peep-toe wedges (to replace my existing pair – low heel, comfortable)
- 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 (wedge style, 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)
Below are the shoes that I bought this year which fit into the categories highlighted above:
I’m very pleased with the burgundy boots and metallic sandals and have worn both many times. The blue wedge sandals were bought just a few weeks ago on clearance and I’m not yet sure how successful a purchase they’ll end up being. I like the style and the shoes are comfortable, but the blue may be a bit too light for my wardrobe. I’ve tried pairing them with a few outfits but ultimately changed into a different pair of shoes. I’m not used to wearing colored shoes, though, and I think I often aim for too “matchy-matchy” a pairing. I need to experiment with included these shoes in various outfits and I hope I’ll find myself liking at least some of the resulting looks.
I definitely need to replace my black peep-toe wedges soon and I’d like to find a pair of printed shoes at some point, too (but I’m not sure that I will aim for two pairs). I may or may not keep the metallic flats/low heels on my list. I need to outline my shoe priorities for 2017, but I know that I’d definitely like to find a pair of black peep-toe booties, as well as metallic or cobalt boots. I will narrow the list down to 5 or fewer pairs of shoes, but shoes will remain a priority, especially since I’ve been letting go of old pairs of shoes and have a few more that I plan on passing on.
Purchase Update – Accessories
I didn’t plan to buy many accessories this year and I haven’t done so. Back in February, this is what I saw myself buying in this category:
- 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
The only one of those items that I bought was the bright-colored purse. What I actually did was purchase a white purse at a consignment shop and have it dyed cobalt blue. I also found a nice black bag from the same brand at the same store:
I’m not one to change out my purses all that often, but I do like to swap them every month or two, so it’s nice to have two new options. I need to let go of a few old purses that I no longer love and use, but I don’t feel that I have much “closet chaos” related to my handbags.
I haven’t prioritized buying the black belt or cuff bracelet, as I don’t tuck my shirts in and I’m happy with the black bracelets that I have. These items may or may not be on my 2017 list. I’ve mostly focused my accessory buying around hats and scarves in line with my gray hair transition. Both items are helping me get through the rough times as I wait for my hair to grow and am dealing with two-toned hair. Here are some of the hats and scarves that I’ve bought this year (two hats and several scarves aren’t shown).
Regarding my 2016 jewelry purchases, here’s what I had to say back in February:
In terms of jewelry, any purchases that I make should be very strategic and well thought out, not impulse buys! I need to make sure that any jewelry pieces I buy are different from what I already have. Any new colored earrings should be dark blue, purple, red, or burgundy. Additional long necklaces should be in another metal besides silver or include some stones or beads in the colors within my palette. I shouldn’t buy more short necklaces unless they are different in style from what I currently have and also nclude color. Any new bracelets should be modern in style (not too “delicate”) and include color.”
I have made very few actual jewelry purchases, but I did receive a number of pieces as gifts and through the swap event at the “End Closet Chaos” group July Texas meetup. The only items below that I bought for myself were the purple beaded earrings and the small corkscrew earrings in the middle of the second image. I may not keep all of the items from the swap, but I do think the black earrings will look nice with my soon to be silver hair. The gifts are pretty much all winners, though, especially the multi-color wrap bracelet.
I don’t think I will buy many jewelry pieces next year, I’m going to make sure what I do purchase adheres to the specifications mentioned above, as I feel those are still excellent guidelines for me to follow. Instead of highlighting what not to buy, though, I will identify a few items to be on the lookout for while I’m shopping.
I would say that overall, I have been moderately successful at adhering to my shopping priorities list for 2016 (I give myself about a B-minus). However, because I didn’t consult my list frequently enough, I missed out on buying a few key items in favor of either too many pieces in other categories or things that I didn’t really need.
As previously mentioned, I would be well served to review my shopping list on a monthly basis so I can refine my priorities as necessary and course-correct to make sure I’m buying the things I need most for my closet and lifestyle. I also need to make sure that I don’t buy things on impulse and that I purchase more moderately to stay within my clothing budget and item limits and avoid “closet bloat.”
Now I’d like to hear from you regarding your shopping priorities for the year. Here are a few questions to spark your thoughts:
- What were your shopping priorities for 2016?
- Did you purchase the items you needed most for your wardrobe gaps and lifestyle needs?
- What would you like to add to your closet between now and the end of the year? How about for next year?
- What changes would you like to make to how you do your shopping?
I invite you to share your comments on the above, as well as any other thoughts you have about this post. I know that some of you used to share your accountability in the comments section of my monthly posts and may miss doing that. If so, you may wish to join the “End Closet Chaos” private Facebook group, as many members check in there about their shopping every month and even mid-month. There are now over 1000 members in the group and it’s quite active and supportive. Since it’s a worldwide group, support is available to you around the clock. New members are welcome anytime and you can be as active as you’d like there (dropping in and out and “lurking” is fine).
Have a wonderful weekend! I’ll be back soon with a purchase review of items I bought a year ago.
As I mentioned in my last post, rather than publishing a “grab bag” of useful links for September (see previous editions here), I will be closing my late September and early October posts with a few links. Here are some articles for you to dive into this weekend:
- “Five Things to Consider Before Revamping Your Personal Style” (Bridgette Raes) – If you’re feeling dissatisfied with your wardrobe and style, you may be tempted to toss everything and start over. Before you do so, however, take a few minutes to read this sage advice from one of my favorite style experts (who also helped me with my style – see here).
- “10 Tiny Steps to Take Towards Your Tiny Wardrobe” (Be More With Less) – If you were inspired by my last post on dressing with less but feel overwhelmed by the thought of actually doing so, check out these tips and start with one or two of them.
- “Your Ultimate Guide to Creating Wardrobe Capsules” (Inside Out Style) – If you’re interested in capsule dressing, there is a lot of great advice for you here, from color palettes to accessorizing, plus links to capsules for different lifestyle needs.
- “3 Outfit Formulas for the Transition to Fall” (Putting Me Together) – Here are a few easy looks to put together for the cooler weather that has kicked in where many of us live. These formulas will also work for spring ensembles for those of you in the southern hemisphere.
- “How to Wear the Same Thing All the Time and Still Look Super Stylish!” (40+ Style) – If you get overwhelmed by trying to put new and creative outfits together every day, why not stick to a “uniform” or formula that can help make the process easier for you? I love Sylvia’s style and I didn’t even realize she was dressing with a uniform until this post!
Thank you for reading! If you liked this post, please share it with your friends and subscribe for free updates by email.
I also invite you to join the End Closet Chaos private Facebook group, where you can interact with others about the topics discussed here.