Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you all had an enjoyable holiday season and that 2014 is off to a good start for you. As I mentioned in my last post, I’m going to be doing a series of 2013 “wrap-up” posts in order to close out the year and powerfully start on the next leg of my recovering shopaholic journey.
In today’s post, I’ll be sharing my reflections on the past year in regards to my wardrobe, shopping habits, and personal style. I will recount the ways in which I’ve grown and changed and open up about the challenges I still face. In an upcoming post, I will write about my goals for 2014, many of which will be similar to those I stated upon starting this blog in January 2013.
Reflections on My Wardrobe
I’ll start with the category of my wardrobe reflections. I began 2013 with an overly stuffed closet filled with items that were rarely or never worn. Every time I opened my closet, I was flooded with a sense of dread and overwhelm. I struggled to get dressed each day because there were just far too many choices!
A Pared-Down Closet
My wardrobe is now roughly half the size it was a year ago (I will post an updated closet inventory very soon) and is far more manageable than it used to be. Most of my wardrobe “benchwarmers” are now gone (a final year-end report on those will be posted soon as well) and I’m wearing and enjoying a much larger percentage of the pieces in my closet. While I’m still not wearing many of my clothes as often as I’d like, nearly everything I own got worn at least twice and many pieces made it out on the town far more regularly (I will also share those numbers shortly).
Upgraded Work from Home Wear
One positive change I’ve made is that I’ve started wearing more of my “regular clothes” when I’m working from home. Whereas I used to spend most of my days in lounge wear, I’m now donning casual pieces that I would actually wear out of the house. Not only are my clothes getting more wear this way, I also feel more attractive and polished when I’m sitting in front of my computer. While I’m not exactly wearing business attire, I am dressed much better than I used to be and I’m really enjoying the change. I intend to keep stepping up my style for all of my life occasions, including those when few other people will see me.
Neglected Areas No More!
I made a concerted effort to upgrade previously neglected areas of my wardrobe this year, including my lounge wear, workout clothes, sleepwear, and undergarments. I used to spend so much time, energy, and money shopping for clothes to wear out and about that I neglected to buy new pieces for these key areas of my wardrobe and life. I’m now much happier with what I’m wearing to the gym, on walks, to bed, and underneath my other clothing.
An Ongoing Weakness… Similarity
I still feel that I have too many similar pieces in my closet, including knit pieces, dark-colored bottoms, open cardigans, and striped items. While I like all of these wardrobe categories and will continue to wear them, my future focus will be on obtaining different types of garments. I will write more about this in the personal style section below.
Reflections on My Shopping Habits and Practices
For as long as I can remember, I’ve bought around 150 to 200 new wardrobe items each year. Many of these items were purchased on sale or at second-hand stores. I adhered to a standard of “more is more” and definitely aimed for quantity over quality, as I mistakenly believed that one needed to have a large wardrobe in order to be stylish. Over the course of this year, I’ve come to understand that it’s those with smaller, more curated closets who actually dress the best. Accordingly, I’ve aimed to buy fewer but higher quality pieces. I haven’t necessarily succeeded in this pursuit, but the intention was – and is – there!
Acknowledging My Progress…
As I look back on my shopping habits for 2013, I see that I continued to shop too much and make a number of purchasing mistakes. I haven’t tabulated the actual numbers as of yet, but I will do so and share my findings in another “wrap-up” post. However, I do need to give myself credit for the amazing progress I’ve made since I started this blog a year ago. I’m reasonably certain that I bought less than half as many items as I used to buy. What’s more, I managed to stick to a clothing budget for the first time in my entire life! So before I recount more of my foibles, I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge my gains (pausing to pat myself on the back…).
Slaying the Sales Shopping Dragon
I was able to slay one of my shopping dragons in that I dramatically curtailed my sales shopping during 2013. I even avoided what I consider to be the Grand Poohbah of sales, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. I didn’t shop the spring or fall Nordstrom Half-Yearly Sales, either, and stayed away from the after Christmas sales, all of which had been “must-go” occasions for me in previous years. One weak area for me, however, was online shopping on Black Friday and the subsequent weekend. Most of those purchases ended up being returned, but I really shouldn’t have bought them in the first place. I will do better to take my own advice when Black Friday rolls around this year!
Continued Consignment Catastrophes
I did far less “shopping as a hobby” during 2013 than in previous years. Most of my shopping was done with a list and for specific items, which led to smarter purchases overall. However, one major shopping weakness persisted for me – shopping at consignment stores. Although I was fully aware of the pros and cons of resale shopping and shared some excellent tips for this type of shopping back in June, I continued to make mistakes with consignment purchases. I often bought pieces that weren’t in line with my lifestyle or which weren’t the right size for my body. I also threw good money after bad by trying to rescue ill-advised purchases by means of alterations.
While I’m not prepared to out and out ban resale shopping from my life, I do plan to visit such stores far less frequently and to be much more mindful about what I buy. Since returns are not generally an option with consignment buys, I will only buy pieces that fit me well as is and that I see myself wearing within the next week or so. As with all shopping excursions, I will be prepared to leave resale stores empty-handed if I don’t find items that are at least “8”s on a scale of 1-10 and which correspond to real lifestyle needs.
Personal Style Reflections
At the beginning of 2013, I thought I had a handle on my personal style. I believed I knew what I liked and what worked best for my body and personal aesthetic. I soon learned that this was not the case at all. As I stopped shopping so much and started to really evaluate what was in my closet, I quickly discovered that I didn’t love a lot of what I owned. Much of my wardrobe had been bought haphazardly based upon “good deals,” low prices, “must-have” lists, and for other superficial reasons.
Too Much Similarity and Uniformity!
I’ve happily purged most of the unloved pieces from my closet, but although I was left with a smaller and more functional wardrobe, I found that the “love factor” was not as present as it should be. Many of my outfits adhered to three main “uniform” formulas and I had begun to tire of wearing the same types of ensembles. Because I had purchased multiples of so many types of garments, however, it was difficult for me to create new uniforms that I might enjoy more.
Defining and Expressing a Signature Style
Refining and up-leveling my personal style will be an area of focus for me during 2014. That doesn’t necessarily mean I will buy a lot of new pieces, but I do plan to shop more mindfully and buy things that are different from what I already own. I’d like to define and cultivate a signature style for myself this year. Interestingly, I used to help others do just that, but I haven’t been able to turn the tables to help myself in that same way!
Cold Weather Bliss and Stylish Casual Comfort
I will also aim to beef up my cold weather wardrobe, as I found myself feeling overly chilly during my recent trip to Lake Tahoe, as well as on the cooler days and evenings at home. While many people are fine with lightweight garments year-round where I live, I tend to run very cold and need to dress warmer in order to feel comfortable and happy.
I’ve come to understand and embrace the fact that my life is very casual in nature. My wardrobe needs to reflect that reality, but I’d like to find a way to inject more style into my casual ensembles. I will attempt to do this primarily through the use of accessories and will first shop my existing pieces before heading out to buy more. I will also work to better marry comfort and style this year, as both of these factors are important to me.
Some Closing Thoughts
I’m sure I could write a lot more about how I’ve grown and what I still need to learn related to my wardrobe, shopping, and style, but the above encapsulates my insights fairly well. While I still feel I have a long way to go before I am where I want to be in all three areas, I definitely want to acknowledge myself for how far I’ve come.
I didn’t become a die-hard shopaholic with an out of control wardrobe and a confused sense of style overnight, so it’s not realistic to think I could turn it all around in only one year. It’s okay, though, as I’m in this for the long haul! I will continue to take things day by day and month by month and I trust that I will eventually get to where I want to be. Along the way, I will do my best to enjoy the journey, incorporate the lessons I learn, and share what I can with all of you through my posts.
Your Wardrobe, Shopping, and Style Reflections
I’m sure many of you made great strides during 2013 in terms of your closets, shopping habits, and personal style. I would love to read about how you’ve changed and what you’ve learned. I’m also certain that at least some of you continued to experience wardrobe-related challenges over the past year. I’d also like to hear about those, as our trials and tribulations are often our greatest teachers. No matter what your frustrations are, you’re not alone! You’ve read about many of my frustrations and I know there are many others out there who are going through similar issues. Whether they’re good, bad, or ugly, I invite you to share your 2013 reflections in the comments section of this post.