April 2014 Accountability Update

A new month has begun, so it’s time for another accountability update, this time for April 2014.  If you’re new to “Recovering Shopaholic,” here’s the deal…  I’ve committed to posting monthly accountability updates to keep myself honest and on track with my wardrobe and shopping goals.  These posts include what came into and left my closet during a given month, what I wore, and how I did with my shopping budget and rules.

Honesty and Accountability

What Left My Closet and Why

During April, I purged only one item from my wardrobe, a grey scoop-neck tee that I purchased in March.

Purged - April 2014

I returned this top for a refund during April 2014.

I had yet to wear this top, so I returned it to the store for a refund/credit (thus, it will not count toward my 2014 item limit).  After reviewing my 2014 wardrobe and shopping goals last week, I’m trying to adhere to my rule #5, which states that I should return any items that haven’t been worn within 30 days of purchase.

Unfortunately, I’m not able to return all of my unworn items from this year due to store return policies, but I was able to return the grey tee from Nordstrom.  I ultimately decided this top was too pale in color for my complexion, as well as just too plain and basic in style.  Although I would like to have a short-sleeved grey top in my wardrobe, I’d prefer one with “special” details that can easily be worn as a standalone piece.  I already have too many plain, solid tops and I’d like to get away from pieces that need layering or lots of accessories in order to look “polished.”

I expect that I will purge quite a few more pieces next month, as we’re moving more into warm weather and I’ll be doing an end-of-season evaluation of my cool weather wardrobe.  At the same time, I’ll do a preliminary review of my summer clothing and may opt to pass some of those pieces along as well.  I also plan to do a second purge of my jewelry armoire to make sure I stay on target with my wardrobe goal #10, to reduce the size of my jewelry collection by at least a third.  After focusing on wearing and evaluating my jewelry since earlier this year, I now have a much better idea of what I like and don’t like. I will do an update on my jewelry inventory after my next purge.

What Came Into My Closet

During April, I added two new items to my wardrobe, a dress and a pair of sandals. My second item for April was supposed to have been a pair of summer pants that I ordered from Anthropologie in late-March.  I had tried on the regular-length pants in a store and placed an order for the tall version.  The pants were originally on back-order through April 15th, but were since pushed out until at least late-May. Hopefully, the summer pants will be one of my May items, but it may be June at this point (and I may not even want them anymore when they finally arrive!).

Both of my April items were purchased at retail stores.  I’m steering away from consignment stores for the foreseeable future because I’ve continued to make too many mistakes with resale shopping.  In addition, I’m trying to shop more deliberately and focus on my legitimate wardrobe needs instead of on finding “deals.”  Given my smaller item limit and generous clothing budget, I don’t really need to seek out bargain buys at this point.  I’m far better off spending more money for the highest quality version of the items on my shopping priorities list.

Here are the two items I added to my wardrobe during April 2014:

New Items - April 2014

I added these two items to my closet in April 2014.

Why I Added These Items to My Wardrobe

I believe it’s important for us to understand why we buy new pieces, as becoming more aware of our purchasing motivations can help us to shop smarter.  Thus, I share my reasons for buying the new pieces I add to my closet each month.  Here are my reasons for buying my two April items:

  1. Black and white striped maxi-dress:   My love of stripes is well known, and some of you may think I have more than enough striped pieces in my closet.  While you’re probably right, I’ve wanted to purchase a striped dress ever since they appeared in retail stores en masse a few years ago.  However, given my height and body shape, I’ve struggled to find such a dress to fit my proportions.  I found my new dress quite accidentally after a salesperson had brought it for my friend to try on and it didn’t work out for her. She asked me if I wanted to try it and I was thrilled to find that it fit me well and was on sale (although I’m willing to pay full price now, I’m still happy when pieces on my shopping list are marked down)!   As with most sleeveless pieces, I had to have the straps shortened, but that was a very easy alteration to make.  Now I’m just waiting for some warmer weather and somewhere to go (today is warm, but I have no plans…) and I will wear my new dress!
  2. Black low-heel wedge sandals:   My recently created shopping priorities list included “black flat sandals” as one of the items.  My new sandals are not completely flat in that they have a wedge heel that’s around an inch tall.  However, they are very comfortable and I think I could easily wear them for eight hours or longer.  I have several pairs of black sandals with sizeable heels that I wear regularly, but I definitely need some shoes that can withstand a fair amount of walking.  The new sandals will also work well with my three maxi-dresses, which are just barely long enough and can’t be worn with heels.

2014 Item Limit Update

As specified in my shopping and wardrobe goals post, the maximum number of items I may purchase this year is 38 (half of what I bought last year).   As of the end of March, I had purchased almost half my limit (18 items), so I instituted a monthly item limit of two.  I stuck to my limit in April by buying just two new items.  I also returned one item for a refund, as mentioned above.  Consequently, the number of items I’ve added to my wardrobe during 2014 now stands at 19.

Because I made one return during April, I’m going to allow myself to buy three new items in May, provided I’m able to find three of the things on my shopping list.  I have made a few updates to my shopping priorities list based upon recent wardrobe observations.  See below for my revised list and the reasons for my modifications.

April Budget Report

My budget for clothing and related purchases (shoes, accessories, alterations) for 2014 is $3000.  My April budget was $250 (that’s my budget for all months except December, when I can spend up to $400).   I spent a total of $251.81 last month, slightly above my budget.  In addition to the two items I wrote about above, I also purchased two sleep shirts, a scarf, a pair of earrings, and a necklace.  I’m leaning toward returning the scarf and the necklace, but I haven’t done so yet. My expenditures for the year to date add up to $932.09, which means I am currently under budget by $67.91.

What I Wore – March and April

While I continue to track all of the garments and shoes I’m wearing each month, I haven’t included this information in my accountability updates since December.  My January and February updates didn’t include what I wore because I was doing Project 333 during those months, and last month I just plain forgot to resume this reporting!  So this month’s update includes both my March and April numbers.

During March, I wore 53 garments and seven pairs of shoes.  Most of my garments were worn only once (I think I was making up for lost time after Project 333!), but I did wear three garments three times and four garments twice that month. Four pairs of shoes were worn three times, one pair was worn twice, and the remaining two pairs were worn once.  As I’ve mentioned previously, I have a lot of days when I either don’t leave the house or only leave to go on walks or to work out.  I don’t include my workout clothes and shoes in my “what I wore” numbers, so that’s why some of my totals are on the low side.

As for April, I wore a total of 51 garments and eight pairs of shoes, which is quite similar to my March totals.  I wore two garments three times and eleven garments twice during the month (everything else was only worn once).  In regards to shoes, I wore one pair five times, one pair three times, three pairs twice, and the remaining three pairs once.

Below is a photo of my March and April “wardrobe all-stars,” all of those pieces that were worn at least three times during the given month (and in some cases, both months).   I know it’s a lot of black and some items look quite similar, but the boots have different heel heights and the black pants are in different fabrics and lengths.  I assure you that I also wore quite a bit of color during the past two months, but all such pieces were worn only once or twice.

March and April 2014 "All-Stars"

I wore these items most often during March and April 2014.

Later this year, I’m going to try to make some sense of these monthly wear numbers.  Part of my reason for keeping track of my monthly numbers as well as my yearly statistics is to try to get a sense of what an optimal wardrobe size for me might be.   We all have different needs for variety, as well as divergent lifestyle needs, so there is no universal ideal wardrobe size (for my thoughts on this topic, see HERE and HERE).

As someone who has had an overly large wardrobe for many years, my threshold for repeat wears is still quite low, but I’m getting more accustomed to revisiting my closet pieces more often.  As time goes on, the wardrobe size that best meets my needs and desires will likely shift.  My hope is that I will continue to pare the size of my closet down and wear – and love – the pieces I have much more!  Stay tuned for more on this topic…

Favorite Outfits – March and April

I don’t take photos of all of my outfits, but I try to photograph as many of my ensembles as possible, for several reasons.  My primary motivations are to see how my sense of style is evolving over time and to help me nudge my style into new territories.  I often think I look fine when I leave the house, but at times the photos tell a different story.  Or maybe I did look “fine” but not as polished and put together as I’d ultimately like to appear…  In any event, having a visual representation of what I’m wearing ends up being quite helpful for me, even if I never share my images with another soul.

When I first started this blog, I shared my favorite outfits every month.  I did this to highlight themes that I noticed about my style and to encourage readers to look for common threads among their looks as well.  Although I can be self-conscious about my appearance and don’t put myself out there as any sort of style icon, I think there is value in showing you how my style is evolving as I work to heal my shopaholic ways.  Now that I’m not shopping constantly and always looking for the next “new and great” thing, I’m placing more time and attention on what I have and how I’d ultimately like to appear.

Here are a few of my favorite outfits from March and April, posted in the order in which I wore them.  In the next section, I share a few observations about my style, what I’m liking, and what I hope to change.

March and April 2014 Favorite Outfits 1-4 March and April 2014 Favorite Outfits 5-8 March and April 2014 Favorite Outfits 9-12

What I’m Noticing about My Style

I’m happy that I have refined my color palette in recent months, as it’s making it much easier for me to get dressed each day.  I enjoy wearing black, grey, white, blues, greens, and purples as my primary wardrobe colors.  I’ve also been favoring prints over solids and heels over flats as of late.  I don’t like to wear too much of a heel, but I feel more polished and put together when I’m wearing even a low heel rather than a flat shoe.  My black AGL flats are one exception to this “rule,” but my general preference has been for heels and boots.

I’m also moving away from the open cardigans that have been mainstays in my wardrobe for the past few years.  While I still wear them from time to time (there are a few in the photos above), my preference has been more for jackets, coats, and long-sleeved tops in order to keep me warm.  I’m also moving away from baggy clothes and more toward closer-fitting garments.  I have yet to wear my new pair of “skinnier” jeans (I’m a slow adopter…), but I think I’m even warming up to the idea of more fitted pants (but not overly tight!).

Shopping Priority List Update

What I’ve noticed about my style preferences has affected my shopping priorities, so I’ve made a few shifts to the items I hope to buy between now and the end of the year.  Included below is my revised list, broken down by category.  In order to adhere to my 38-item limit for 2014, I may purchase 19 additional items this year.  As a reminder, “R” refers to closet replacements, “M” denotes missing links in my wardrobe, and “S” points to items that I feel will help to evolve my style.

Tops and Toppers:

  1. Denim jacket (R) – medium blue, fitted style, not boxy
  2. Grey short jacket (R)  – knit or woven, casual style, fitted
  3. White or grey top to wear with skirts (R) – special style, perhaps embellished
  4. White top with special details to wear with pants (M)
  5. Short, tie-waist cardigan to wear with skirts and dresses (M) – white, blue, or grey
  6. Lightweight, bright jacket to wear with pants (S) – anorak or trench style, somewhat fitted
  7. Special top in cobalt, red, or grey (S) – standalone piece, modern style
  8. Hound’s-tooth or black/white geometric print top or topper (S)

Bottoms and Dresses:

  1. Grey knee-length or midi skirt (M) – casual style
  2. Black maxi-dress or maxi-skirt (S)
  3. Black straight-leg jeans (R)
  4. Summer casual pants (M) – have a pair on back-order for May/June
  5. Denim skirt (R)
  6. Bright skirt (M) – preferably cobalt blue

Shoes / Accessories:

  1. Black peep-toe low wedge heels (R) – current shoes are uncomfortable, but I still wear them often!
  2. Metallic peep-toe low wedge heels (R) – current shoes are very worn out, but I still wear them…
  3. Multi-color flats or low wedges (M) – ballet slipper style
  4. Tan sandals (R) – modern, strappy, comfortable
  5. Bright  (preferably cobalt or green) or black/white purse (S)

In Conclusion

Wow, that was a long update, but I hope it was interesting for you…  Part of my hope with these accountability updates is to inspire you to create more structure for your shopping, budget, and wardrobe evolution.   You don’t have to use my rules or process, of course, but it can be useful to hold yourself accountable in some way.  It’s also helpful to be accountable to someone else who can keep you honest during your difficult times.

Some of you have started to post your accountability updates in the comments section of my monthly posts and I think that’s great.  I encourage you to share with me and your fellow readers, if you feel comfortable doing so.  If you have questions or comments for me, feel free to post those as well.  Best wishes to you for May with your shopping and wardrobe goals – and your lives in general!

55 thoughts on “April 2014 Accountability Update

  1. The diagonal stripe top (photo #3) looks adorable on you — a great use of stripes to balance your top with your long legs. The construction of the top gives you a well defined “waist” — just like the belt in the next photo. Congratulations!!!! Cute outfits!

    • Thank you, Dottie! As I’m paring down my closet, I’m rediscovering some “hidden gems” like the diagonal stripe top. It’s now one of my favorites, as is the navy dress with the attached belt. I like the look of belts, but not the “fussiness,” so the best solution for me is to find garments with built-in belts or belt detailing. I will aim to find more such garments in the future.

  2. You really do look good in stripes. And congratulations on your successful shopping month. By the way, I am doing quite well on my no-shopping. I have not bought any clothing since mid-October safe a beautiful (new to me) Hermes scarf that I simply could not pass up. This no-shopping has been surprisingly easy so far, which begs the question how much one really needs. I dress for work in tailored trousers or pencil skirts every day and change into casual clothes right after work. The one missing item in my wardrobe is a brown mid-heel pump. I wear ballet flats with tights and pencil skirts all winter, but as soon as I switch to a nude hose, I feel I need a heel. By the way, I really like your outfit post. Clothes that are cut to fit a little closer to your body really suit you. Great work, Debbie.

    • Thanks for the compliments, Cornelia! And congrats on your success with not shopping. I’m sure the Hermes scarf is a nice addition to your closet. I’d like to get one of those someday. I love all the scarves that are shown on Mai-Tai’s Picture Book. You’re right that we don’t need NEARLY as many clothes as we think we do! In fact, the fewer clothes I have, the easier I’m finding it to get dressed! I wish you continued good luck with your no-shopping challenge.

      • I echo Cornelia’s point about the close-fitting clothes being more flattering on you. Less (volume) is more!

  3. You are in a groove. Congrats on sticking to the 2 purchases! And your sample outfits for the month look great on you. I really like the jewel tones.

    I bought 3 things last month. One was on my list. An updated bikini. All mine are sale rack and/or eBay buys and none fits quite right. I spent (gulp) $121 on a reversible designer bikini. Being in FL, it should get some use this year!
    I also bought a kind of on my list tee. I saw a Fender graphic tee on a post at YLF and had to have it. I have had a graphic tee on my list for some time, but the designs never feel quite right and it’s been a hard hole to plug. Well, this tee fit the bill in style, but not in fit. Bought off eBay, no refunds, so I’m stuck. But it was $9, an amount I’m comfortable ‘gambling’ with as far as non returnable. Live and learn.
    The last item was not on the list and an impulse buy. It was a metal cuff that has almost a scale appearance. $6. Totally within my budget for a little bling to step up some of the basic summer looks.
    My yearly total is 17 items, and I have 4 on the way in the mail for May. Not sure how many will be keepers. I did sell one dress on eBay that was a mistake purchase that I just didn’t return in time last fall.
    I find I am wearing my $7 tanks and $8 tees more than just about anything these days. And 2 pairs of shorts – black and purple. Not sure if it’s because I see the tanks as not precious, so I’m not afraid to wear them, or if it’s that I’m not really going anywhere to dress for much these days. Maybe a bit of both?
    I’m spending most my time in workout gear or loungewear, truth be told. Which tells me I don’t really NEED much more clothing.

    • Thanks for your kind words, Mo, and thanks for sharing your accountability as well. Congrats on the bikini purchase! I think it’s worth it to spend more on items that we wear all the time. Since your new bikini is reversible, it’s almost like you bought TWO new bikinis! You are doing very well with your shopping for the year and you are also doing well in noticing what’s working and not working for you. I’ve seen photos of your casual outfits and I think you look great! You’d fit in here in San Diego perfectly 🙂

  4. You look fabulous in photo 3, 8 and 11. Those playful stripes and colours really suit you.

    I can’t believe it’s been about a year since I started reading your blog. I truly enjoy learning new things from you. You have made so much progress on your wardrobe and your shopping habits. You are inspirational. Keep it up!

    • Thanks for your compliments on my outfits, Rochelle. I’m glad people are liking my stripes because they really are a “signature style” for me. 🙂 I’m glad you have enjoyed my blog and have been inspired by what I’ve written. I’m happy that sharing my journey has been helpful for other people!

  5. Hi Debbie!

    I cheered out loud when I read that you had gone to Anthropologie and tried on some brand new pants. Hurray!!! I hope that the tall size is a perfect fit!

    You look great in your favorite outfits. Patterns I see ( as you remark) are dark bottoms (predominately pants), stripes (the diagonals are especially flattering on you), cool tones of blue/green/white/black/red. A lovely palette.

    Your lists make a lot of sense. Here’s a suggestion re items 3 and 4 on tops and toppers. You could try to find one item that satisfies both numbers. Alternately, you might consider one long-sleeved “plain” item in gray or white, and a second short-sleeved “embellished” item in white. Or make the embellished short-sleeve item gray, and so on. That packs a lot of variety in just two pieces that can be worn many ways.

    Great post! I look forward to your continued progress.

    • Fingers crossed on the pants, Amy! I was excited to learn that Anthropologie does talls in a lot of styles, as I like their clothes. All of my current pants are too hot for the summer, so I hope the new pants will work (they should unless there are any weird anomalies with sizing…).

      Thanks for sharing the patterns you’re seeing with my outfits and a suggestion regarding the tops and toppers. Your ideas make good sense and I will keep them in mind as I shop. I definitely want to have more variety with a smaller wardrobe!

  6. Agree that diagonal planes (#3!) are very flattering on you. The shorter length of the top works really well too!
    Applause for the return! I’m traveling, just a quick hello – I managed to find a great second hand evening gown. (Courtesy of my mother whose resale shopping skills are legendary.)

    • Thanks for your compliments, FrugalFashionista! I plan to wear my diagonal striped and shorter tops more often moving forward… Congrats on finding a second hand evening gown! How wonderful to have a resale shopping expert for a mother. I could use one of those 🙂

  7. I agree, clothes that are cut to fit a little closer to your body flatter you, and you look fab in stripes. All of the outfits provide you with a different look, and all look great on you. Wonderful progress, process, and update!

    • Thanks so much for all of your kind words, Terra. I’m happy that people are seeing my progress on multiple fronts!

  8. I think you should try on a knit pencil skirt that hits right at the break of the knee.

    • I’ve been trying to find something like that, actually, Deby. It can be challenging with my height. I don’t like the pencil skirts that come in at the knee, as they tend to accentuate my hips (some women like to do that, but I don’t). I like the ones that are more straight from top to bottom. I am going to continue keeping my eyes open for something like that, preferably in a bright color (but even in black would be okay).

      • I don’t know if they still have them, but I purchased 2 black and 1 charcoal grey cotton ponte knit Ellen Tracy pencil skirts from Costco for less than 15.00 each. They are such a basic garment that fits beautifully, made of a substantial fabric that doesn’t reveal every imperfection. I was actually thinking of this skirt for you when I wrote the suggestion about the pencil skirt, and these have a forgiving and flattering.

        I read somewhere that the most flattering skirt length is that which comes to the break in the knee–the point at which your knee bends in back.

      • Sounds like a nice skirt and a great deal, Deby. I love when I can find quality items at Costco. I’m not sure when I will be able to get to Costco again (about to leave on a trip…), but I will look for the skirt the next time I’m there. Sometimes they have certain items there for a while, so I might luck out. Yes, that skirt length you mentioned is the most flattering for most people. I have hemmed some of my skirts and dresses to that length and like the look. I may get some others hemmed this year as well. I may luck out when shopping this year as the “midi” length is popular. What’s “midi” on most women will likely be knee-length on me. Many of the skirts available in recent years were just too short on my long legs!

  9. Debbie,
    You are a beautiful woman. You look great in all your outfits. However, there is one thing that stood out to me. There are some top and cardigan lengths that are more flattering on you than others.

    The burgundy tunic in outfit #8 is perfect in every way. The fit, colour and length are just great on you. The black cardi in #10 is about the same length – maybe an inch shorter, and so is the red jacket in #4 and your diagonal striped tops.

    That length is much more flattering for your body shape than the longer tunics (#1, 2, 5 and 6). Maybe if you cinch/button those to be closer to your body, they may get a more defined shape. But the shorter length cardis/jackets suit your frame and body proportions much better.

    • Hi nutrivore!

      I agree entirely that Debbie looks especially nice in shorter, more fitted tops. But I have a question about #1–isn’t that a colored trench, not a tunic?

      If it is a trench, I respectfully disagree on that one picture. I think the blue coat/blue green scarf combination is terrific. Maybe it’s the fact that the coat has some structure and is stiff–stands away from the body a little–is what distinguishes it for me from the floaty open cardigans.

      Anyway, to each her own. I enjoy Debbie’s posts–and the comments are sometimes just as fun and helpful to read. Have a great day!

    • Nutrivore and Amy – thanks to both of you for your feedback. I agree that the shorter tops/toppers are more flattering on me for the most part. As I wrote, I’m moving away from the longer, open cardigans at this point. Yes, the topper in photo #1 is a coat, Amy. I like that longer silhouette because it’s more tailored and stiff, as you mentioned. I have several coats that are similar to that one and they have long been favorites. They are a heavier weight than a trench, though, so I can only wear them for about half the year. That’s why I added a lightweight bright trench coat to my shopping priorities list. I’d like to be able to wear that type of style year-round as an alternative to the cardigans.

  10. Hi Debbie
    I always enjoy your acountabity posts. Congratulations on sticking to your item limit. I really admire your efforts to achieve your shopping goals for the year. Also thank you for posting your outfit pictures. I’m sure it takes courage, but I enjoy them very much and think you look great in all of them!
    Inspired by you I’ve been tracking all my purchases this year with a view to possibly implementing limits for myself next year. I had a bit of a shopping binge in early April, and although each piece was well thought out and is getting plenty of use, I was quite shocked at the amount I spent and I decided to put myself on a shopping ban for the rest of April and all of May. Unfortunately I subsequently purchased two more items (both inexpensive, but still), which has made me very unsure if I’ll be able to make it through May without shopping, but I’m going to try.

    • I’m glad you enjoy these posts, Kayla. Yes, it DOES take courage to post my outfit photos! As you can see, I get a lot of feedback on those… Of course, there will be differing opinions on styles and looks, but I try to take it all in and evaluate it to see what works best for me. Sometimes we have blind spots when it comes to the way we look and body issues can color the picture, too (definitely the case for me).

      I think it’s great that you’re tracking your purchases this year. It really does increase our awareness, doesn’t it? It sounds like you are making shifts as needed to keep your shopping behavior in check. Shopping bans can be challenging and haven’t been all that effective for me (although I know others who have done well with them). I generally do better when I allow myself to shop SOME but just not with wild abandon like I used to. I wish you the best for the rest of this month. Whatever happens, just try to learn from it and use the information to help you moving forward.

  11. Awesome job Debbie!! I wish I could say the same- April was a really bad month for me spending wise – not sure why exactly although some life stresses are a factor no doubt. I’ve blown my annual budget and now realize it was unrealistic (200/mo) – so am upping it a bit to $300/mo. I am however,still purging and brought in almost $500 last month….and am still chosing wisely I would say….here’s to a better May for me and keep up the good work for yourself! BTW, I am a huge stripe lover too lol! It’s an addiction in itself I think lol!!

    • You are definitely making progress, Sandy. Good for you for noticing that your budget was originally too low. Sometimes we try to do too much too fast and that can set us up for failure. I think it’s great that you continue to purge things and are bringing in quite a bit of money as a result. Life stresses can definitely lead us to shop more! We need to find alternate ways of coping, but that is easier said that done. I wish you the best with your new budget and your continued purging.

  12. Your accountability posts are always my favorite! I love to track my progress as well and you are great motivation 🙂 Looks like April was a big improvement for both of us! I also make most of my shopping mistakes at consignment stores, so I stayed away for April and ended up loving everything I bought at retail stores!

    You look great in all the photos, very put together and confident.
    Have a great weekend!

    • Glad you like these posts, Michelle. Congrats on staying out of the consignment stores! I know they can be very compelling, but I feel good about resisting that type of shopping, at least for awhile. I’m glad you love your new April purchases from retail stores!

  13. I’ve always liked your outfits, but this is the best group yet–as others have noted. It seems to be true that with less, one dresses better.

    • Thanks for the compliment, Frugalscholar. I’m definitely finding that I dress better with fewer clothes! I always thought the opposite was true, but I now totally believe that less is more! I need to pare down even further, I feel…

  14. I am also a fan of prints in warmer months. I let the print do the accessorizing instead of having to layer an extra item to jazz up a look. The hotter it gets, the less work I want to do for getting dressed. I enjoy the accountability updates, it’s helpful to read about why an item is coming in or going out of a closet. Once I started to repeatedly ask myself why for an item, it starts to become a habit and I ask myself before I purchase and when I purge.

    • Your point about the print doing the accessorizing is spot on, Lisa! I always feel somewhat “unfinished” in just a plain, solid tee, so I feel the need to layer or pile on accessories. Who wants to do that when it’s hot out, though? I’m glad you like the accountability updates and that you’re questioning your closet comings and goings, too. It’s been invaluable for me!

  15. Not much to add here Debbie, except to say congrats for sticking to your budget and item limits. Like everyone else I like these accountability updates and the outfit photos. Love you in stripes! I think I agree with nutrivore about the shorter lengths of your tops/toppers being most flattering on you proportionally. As far as my own accountability, I blew my April budget but hopefully will be back on track for May. Like Mo I’m spending most of my time at home in tees, yoga pants and shorts. I truly don’t need anything but I am struggling with not buying anyway. 😦

    • Glad you like my stripes, Kim! Thanks for sharing your accountability even though you’re struggling. There is power in admitting our mistakes. That’s actually been a very important part of my recovery. I am much like you and Mo in that I spend a lot of time at home and don’t need many clothes. The compulsion to buy is definitely still there, though! But I’m trying to be more targeted in what I buy so that it is a good match for my lifestyle. I love lots of dressier clothes, but they rarely make it out of my closet!

  16. You did such a great job sticking to the two items! Love the outfits. #3!!!! I notice that you’re wearing more necklaces too. They look really nice.
    I did fine this month with the budget, but I did buy too many items. I spent 258.75 and bought 8 items. Three Max Studio s/s dolman tops in light grey, charcoal, and blue. Two MK print tops-one black and white the other teals and navy. A green peasant top, a black and white top, and a pair of black flip flops. So that’s 23 for the year for me. I know that I do buy more in the spring because our weather is warmer, but I need to slow it down a bit. I’m going to NYC next week to meet friends so I will have to stay on top of being mindful of what I buy.

    • Thanks for noticing my necklaces, Tonya. Since I did my jewelry inventory, I’ve been really trying to wear what I have more. I’ve been pleasantly surprised in that I really enjoy wearing necklaces (and wonder why I didn’t wear them more often!). Thanks for sharing your accountability. Congrats on sticking to your budget! I know it can be harder to stick to the item limit. At least that’s been what I’ve been finding… Best of luck to you with your NYC trip! I hope to make a trip there sometime soon, but it’s a bit more of a jaunt for me. It’s pretty much a shopping mecca, but I have confidence in you that you can shop mindfully and not go too crazy. Have a great time!

  17. Wow, you did well only buying two items and getting rid of one. I also only bought two items – a new pair of jeans and a pair of suede loafers.

    Something I have vowed to stop buying altogether is T-shirts. I am only buying proper cotton or silk tops, preferable with sleeves. They look better than T’s I think. There is an abundance of cheap jersey cotton tops in the stores which look like rags very quickly, are never “dressed” enough. I have a few good quality fine jersey basic T’s and they are enough. With a beautiful cotton voile or silk top, I am dressed immediately – nothing else to do.

    • Congrats on only buying two items last month, Carolyn! I wholeheartedly agree with you about the tee shirts. I don’t feel “dressed” enough in them, either. I used to think I needed tees in every color for layering, but then I HAD to layer in order to feel put together. Far better to have some tops that are great on their own. I had to learn that the hard way, but at least I finally learned it!

  18. Wow, Debbie, you did really well! Congratulations. I feel like your outfits are more varied now than they used to be. #7 stood out to me as a cute one that no-one has commented on yet. You are doing marvelously! Contrary to some others, I like the longer cardigans on you, but perhaps they look better to me now because you wear them less frequently.

    As for me, I bought 2 items in April, which is my monthly limit, but I was hoping to be under to make up for some over shopping earlier in the year. I was at 1 purchase (a $70 Nautica swimsuit) all the way up to the very last day, when I spotted some blue yoga capris ($15) in Costco on the 30th that I just had to have. I’ve been trying to break away from always wearing black pants for a while, and although I’d bought regular pants in other colors I was still stuck in black yoga pants constantly. I hadn’t found the right ones, and the Costco ones were just perfect. And I got complimented on them in yoga class, so, yay. My total for the year is 11, and I had planned for 8 by now. I keep daydreaming over a beautiful $130 white organic cotton Eileen Fisher top that I saw in Saks Off Fifth. My boyfriend convinced me it was far too delicate, and he’s right – one of the cats would accidentally rip it in 5 seconds. I would have to not sit down in the house ever if I bought it, which is hardly practical. But, sigh. I am keeping it in mind in case I find a similar but more robust/cheaper version.

    • Thanks for the compliments and encouragement, Sarah. I’m glad you liked my outfit #7, as I really liked that one, too. I’ve actually had the top for years! I still like the longer cardigans, too, but I used to wear them ALL the time. I only wear them once in a while now and I’m finding that I appreciate them more now that I’m varying things up more.

      Congrats on sticking to your April item limit. I know what you mean about wearing black yoga pants all the time. I did find one pair of grey ones last year, but I’d love to find some blue ones, too. Costco can really have some great things sometimes, but they rarely have talls for me 😦 I did find a pair of tall jeans there last year, which really was a pleasant surprise! Good for you for noticing that although you love the Eileen Fisher top, it won’t work well for your lifestyle. I’m sure you will find something similar that is more durable. I can’t do the really delicate tops around my cats, either!

  19. Hello debbie! You did great and I love the outfit photos!!! You look great!

    I wanted to ask how accessories worked in your budget? I see you don’t count them in your item limit but you do in your budget? I do count them in my item number and was surprised to see you didn’t. Not in a bad way! I’m just curious, there is no right or wrong way really.

    I did ok in april. I bought one item (a need), but overspent when I counted in tailoring. I’m happy with what I had done (yay for being able to WEAR more things!) and the bag I purchased so I’m just a little disappointed I went over the budget.

    • And to follow up on that, i ordered the shoes I needed but then went way overboard on other things! I’m ashamed of myself. Now I will have to wait for it to get here and do damage control ugh. I’m probably going to end up having shopped for June as well… But there’s still time to figure it out. I’m (hopefully) starting a new job soon, it’s a different climate entirely and I went overboard partly due to boredom/daydreaming/browsing, end of a great sale, and in anticipation of the new job in a more professional office in tbe city… ><. One step forward, three back?!

    • I’m glad you commented and shared your accountability, Meli. First, let me answer your questions. I don’t count accessories in my item count, but I DO include them in my budget. Basically, ALL clothing-related expenses (including alterations) are included in my budget. However, my item count only includes clothing (but not workout clothes, sleepwear, and undergarments), shoes, and handbags. I opted not to include jewelry, scarves, and such because I haven’t been overbuying those items and I didn’t include them in last year’s tally (when I bought 76 items total). I don’t even usually report how many accessories I buy (because it’s often zer0), but decided to start reporting those items as well just to help much sure I stay on track. If I find I buy too many accessories this year, I will definitely include them in my item number limit for 2015.

      Congrats on how well you did with your shopping in April! I know from personal experience that tailoring can be expensive, but it’s usually well worth it (unless you tailor things you should be passing on instead, as I used to do!). As for the overshopping you did this past weekend, I know how easy that is to do, especially when shopping online! Fortunately, you’re aware of why you did it and are welling to do “damage control.” I’m sure it’s stressful to anticipate a new job. I hope that works out for you. I feel that you are moving forward overall. There are always hills and valleys on a journey toward recovery, as you’ve seen with me. Keep up the great work and course-correct as needed. You’ll get there!

      • Thank you Debbie for answering my questions! I love the detail you put into your posts and answers 🙂

        Yes, I’ve been told from an inside friend that I did get the job but I have yet to see the formal offer!! *fingers crossed*

  20. You’re doing so well with your goals, Debbie! Your outfits are really cute, too! I’m struck by the idea that you could use all the clothing items shown as the basis for a really nice minimalist wardrobe, especially because the colors are in the same palette and the styles work together, while you still have a lot of variety. I’m going to try to think about that for myself because I love the idea of a minimalist wardrobe. Recording my favorite outfits and then working from there might work for me.

    • I love the idea of a minimalist wardrobe, too, Heather, and I’m trying to move in that direction. Of course, I have a long way to go, but these things don’t happen overnight. I do feel it helps to narrow down one’s color palette and record favorite outfits. Trying Project 333 or a similar challenge helps a lot, too! Even if you dress with less for a month or two, it will help you to see that you really don’t need many clothes to dress well!

  21. I like your outfit posts. One thing I notice about style bloggers is that once they get a look then they stick with it. I like more variety and I think you did a good job with that. I particularly like the bright blue coat.

    I hope the pants from Anthropologie work out for you. A review of my giveaways lead me to quit buying clothes there because things I bought had a high not-worn rate. I love the store and their catalogs, it’s merchandised in a way that makes me want to buy things, but the clothing just doesn’t work it’s way into my heavy rotations. I stick with their housewares. I love their fancy tea towels, drawer pulls and kitchen things.

    We went to the shore this weekend and dropped into the local live-music place, it’s opening weekend. I saw lots of women in maxi-dresses with denim jackets and small cross-body bags (that way you don’t get tipsy and lose your bag). I’m not a huge maxi-dress fan, but I think I’m going to add one to wear at the shore for evenings out.

    • Thanks for your kind words about my outfits, Ginger. I am definitely trying to mix things up a bit and I’m glad you noticed that. I have high hopes for the Anthropologie pants, but I know that things can be hit or miss there. I won’t keep them unless I feel confident that they will work well for me. I’ll likely try them on with various tops and shoes and wear them around the house a bit before I decide. Whenever they get here, that is! I see lots of maxi-dresses here, too. I wasn’t a fan at first, either, but the style has grown on me. I tend to be a slow adopter or new looks and sometimes I don’t take on new trends at all. But I think I will like wearing maxi-dresses. I like that I can wear them with flats, whereas I feel most of my other dresses and skirts look better with heels.

  22. Debbie, I really enjoy your blog, it seems to be more and more relevant to me, as I seem to be on a similar journey. Love the closer fitting outfits on you. You rock them!
    Also, I just wanted to share my personal rule regarding consignment shops. After making purchases there that did not work out, I now only allow clothes to go one way and that is in. The only thing I allow myself to take from a consignment shop is a check . It helped to break one shopping habit.

    • I’m glad you like my blog, Judy! I think there are a lot of us out there who struggle with shopping-related issues. I think your tip about consignment shops is a good one! The past few times I took items to a favorite resale store, I looked around but didn’t find anything I liked. So I ended up taking my cash balance. I think I’m going to go back to donating my cast-offs exclusively. Less temptation, the locations are closer, and I don’t get all that much money from the consignment shop anyway (I guess my clothes aren’t “high-end” enough…).

  23. A recent holiday had me adding quite a number of new pieces into my working closet for April. For May I am determined not to purchase anything new which is going to be a huge challenge for me. However, I’ve been doing The DH Closet Challenge for over 6 months now and I think it’s about time to really test the strength (or weakness) of my current working closet.

    • I enjoyed reading your posts about your recent holidays, Lisa. I wish you the best of luck with having May be a no shopping month. I committed to not shopping LAST May and was successful, and I know you can do it, too! The DH Closet Challenge has been SO helpful for you and you’ve learned so much. I look forward to reading about your continued lessons!

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