June 2014 Accountability Update

It’s hard to believe an entire month has gone by, but it’s time once again for another accountability update, for June 2014.

Full Honesty and Accountability

Longtime readers are familiar with these monthly reports, but here’s the drill for those of you who are new… 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.

What Left My Closet and Why

During June, I purged ten items from my wardrobe:

  • 4 cardigans
  • 2 blazers
  • 1 coat
  • 3 tops

Here is a photo of the items I released from my closet last month:

June 2014 purged items

These 10 items left my closet in June 2014.

Why I Purged These Items

In addition to posting photos of what left my closet, I also list why I decided to release those pieces.   Pinpointing our reasons for purging wardrobe items can help us notice patterns and avoid future mistakes.  Listed from left to right, top to bottom (from the photo above), here’s what I let go of and why:

  • Black coat – I was going to let go of this coat last fall, but I opted to alter it instead and try to make it work.  Fortunately, I rarely make such mistakes anymore (they used to be commonplace for me – read about that here), but this coat is one such casualty.  It was a boxy coat that I tried to make fitted, but it just didn’t work out.  Hopefully, someone will end up loving and wearing it.
  • Black and grey print top – I bought this top on consignment over a year ago, but never wore it!  I like the print, but the fit is off.  I just didn’t love the way it looked on me, so I passed it on.
  • Black open cardigan – I had two black open cardigans and almost always reached for the other one over this one.  The other cardigan is less bulky and hits me at a better spot. Since I’m trying to reduce the incidence of “splitting my wears,” I opted to consign this one.
  • Leopard print tee – I used to be a big fan of leopard print, but as I streamline my color palette, I now realize the brown tones of this print don’t look good with my skin tone.  I’ll keep wearing my leopard print shoes and skirt, but it was time to let go of this unflattering top.
  • Navy knit blazer – This is a consignment buy from 2012 that has always been a bit too small for me.  It looked okay worn open, but I really needed the next size up.  A big danger with secondhand buys is to settle for a less than ideal fit, so that’s something to watch out for it you do that type of shopping (read more tips here).  As I pare down the size of my wardrobe, I’m raising my standards, so I let this ill-fitting blazer go.
  • Purple cardigan – I bought this cardigan at Costco last year, mostly because I liked the color.  But the length was a bit “off” on me, probably due to my height.  I didn’t like the way the cardigan looked in the back, plus I never know how to button these crew-necked cardigans.  I didn’t love it, so I passed it on.
  • Red embellished tee – This top was worn many times over the past few years and it was past its prime.  Plus, I didn’t love the gold embellishments (I’m more of a silver girl).  I like when I purge something from my closet because it’s worn out, as that doesn’t happen too often.  Hopefully, it will become more of a regular occurrence as I’m learning to shop smarter!
  • Cream and black striped open cardigan – It was a bit difficult for me to let this one go, as you know I love my stripes.  I wore it a fair amount, but I had to be honest with myself on the fit.  It hit me at the widest part of my body in the back, which was not flattering.  I hope to find a replacement for it at some point, but I didn’t want to keep it around as a placeholder.  I really want my clothes to adhere to a higher standard these days, so no holding on to ill-fitting pieces!
  • Teal cardigan – The story on this one is the same as for the purple cardigan above.  In truth, I purchased three such cardigans at Costco last year, but fortunately one of them (grey with black polka dots) works for me.  I’m not sure why one fits and looks better than the other two, but I wasn’t happy with the fit of the teal and purple versions, so they’re out.
  • Turquoise knit blazer – It stung a bit to let this one go, too.  I really love this color, but there was a fit issue once again.  In this instance, I think the blazer didn’t wash and wear well, as it fit better when I bought it (and I’m basically the same size).  In any case, it just didn’t look great on me and I didn’t feel fabulous in it.  I would love to find another blue summer topper at some point (perhaps in my favorite color, cobalt blue), but it was time for this one to leave my closet.

A Few Thoughts on My Purges

You may have noticed a common thread among my reasons for releasing the items above from my wardrobe.  I am really raising my standards for the pieces that get to stay in my closet.  I used to believe that I aimed for high quality and impeccable fit, but I have definitely upped the ante as of late.  If I wear something and don’t feel good in it, or if I find myself pulling and tugging at it all day long, I immediately remove it from my closet.  At the very least, it goes into my “hidden holding zone,” but it usually makes its way into my consign/donate bag straight away.

I once read an observation from one of “The Minimalists(I can’t find it online just now) that he can always tell which conference attendees are doing Project 333, as they’re the best dressed people in the room.  I now understand why he said that.  I think such a challenge forces us to select the very best pieces we own and to not settle for anything that’s “less than.”  While I don’t strictly adhere to Project 333 all the time, the principles of that challenge have stuck in my mind.   I am becoming more and more okay with having a smaller wardrobe and I’d rather have fewer, great pieces than a closet full of mediocre items.  While it’s true that I still have a fairly large wardrobe, I’m ready to pare things down further, especially as I bring new quality pieces that I love into the mix.

What Came Into My Closet

Speaking of what I brought in, I added three new items of clothing to my closet during June, one dress and two jackets.  In truth, I also ordered a few new pieces toward the end of the month which I have not yet received.  It’s likely that many of those items won’t stick around (I return more online purchases than I keep due to size issues, color discrepancies, etc.), but I will include anything I keep in my July accountability update.

You may wonder why I order things online if my success rate is so dismal.  I used to be mostly a “brick and mortar” shopper, but I was also accustomed to buying whatever caught my eye.  These days, I’m being far more targeted with my buying and I’m finding it increasingly difficult to locate items on my shopping list in the stores.  What I usually encounter is a sea of sameness with very little variety in what’s on offer.  Many pieces are only sold online, so I have a wider selection via the e-commerce landscape.  Yes, it’s frustrating to have to return things so often, but I’ve come to adopt a similar philosophy and approach as what Janice espoused on “The Vivienne Files.”  It takes some patience and effort to be sure, but I am experiencing some success with my online shopping.

Back to my June clothing purchases…  Below is a photo of the three items I bought.

June 2014 new items

I added these 3 items to my wardrobe in June 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 three June items:

  1. Black maxi-dress:   This item was on my shopping priorities list, as I knew it would a versatile addition to my summer wardrobe.  I have a knee-length black dress that has received lots of wear and I believe that will also be true of my new black maxi-dress.  It’s easy to dress such garments up or down and they can serve as a base for many types of outfits.  I ordered this and one other maxi-dress online and was pleased to find that this one fit me extremely well.  You can’t tell from the photo, but it has a v-neck and banding at the waist, which is flattering for my shape.  It’s also long enough for my 5’10” frame (I learned that it ran long from the online reviews – it’s always a good idea to read those!) and I can even wear a low heel with it!
  2. Black moto jacket:   I was happy to add a grey striped moto jacket to my wardrobe last month, so I opted to purchase a second jacket of this type.  I was alerted to this jacket by a reader (thanks, Kim!), who remembered that I wanted to add some edgier pieces to my closet.  I tried the jacket on in the store, but they didn’t have my size in black (they only had a pale grey that washed me out).  I had to pay shipping to order the jacket online, but it was worth it.  In a sea of low quality items, this jacket stands out for its impeccable workmanship.  It’s even half merino wool, so it will be warm enough to wear in the cooler fall weather.
  3. Grey knit blazer:  I used to have a grey peplum jacket that I had to let go of last year.  I’ve often found myself wishing I had a grey jacket to wear with my skirts and dresses, so I was happy to find this one last month.  It looks better in person than in the photo and it has some attractive pin-tucking in the back.  It needs a minor alteration (taking in a bit at the sides), which I plan to get done this week.  I believe this jacket will become a wardrobe workhorse, as my previous grey jacket fit that category.  It’s casual and comfortable and looks good on me.  Plus the sleeves are long enough for my “gorilla arms!”

I know I mentioned that I wanted to add some lighter colored pieces to my closet and I still hope to do so.  I actually ordered two white jackets that I ended up having to return due to the fabric being too thin and see-through.  I’ve also been actively looking for white tops and coming up against the same roadblocks:  low quality, thin material, and shapes that are far too boxy.  I will do a bit of a “drapier” fit, but downright boxy silhouettes just don’t look good on me (and they’re all the rage at present)!  I have some white and bright items on order, so hopefully at least one of them will work out.   Fingers crossed…

And Then There’s the Accessories…

Beginning last month, I also started sharing the accessories that I’ve purchased and why I bought them.  Although I have not set a limit for how many accessories I can buy, I noticed that I was starting to accumulate too many of them (which hadn’t been a problem previously).  Knowing I will need to share which accessories I buy – and why – on the blog each month is helping me be more mindful with this area of shopping.

Below is a snapshot of the accessories I bought during June.  Read on for my reasons for these purchases.

June 2014 accessories

I added these 4 accessories to my wardrobe in June 2014.

  • Agate necklace – I don’t have any necklaces like this and I thought this one was pretty.  Yes, it was a bit of an impulse buy, but I’ve already worn it and liked the way it looked.  I am trying to only buy accessories that are different in style from what I already have and this one fit the bill.
  • Multi-color metal tassel earrings – Like the necklace, these earrings were different from anything I already owned.  They were also an unplanned purchase, but I think I will get good wear out of them. They were fairly inexpensive, so it was worth it for me to give them a try.
  • Black belt – Believe it or not, I only had one belt prior to buying this one!  I feel that I’m a bit “belt-challenged,” but I’m trying to ease myself into wearing belts more often.  I like the way this one sits on my waist.  I intend to wear it over fitted tops (I prefer this option over tucking things in) and perhaps dresses as well. I would like to add a few more belts to my wardrobe, but I need to determine which types of belts will work best for me.  I will add them one at a time and give myself a chance to discover my belt style persona (if there is such a thing!).
  • Purple / burgundy print scarf – I have been purging some of my scarf collection this year.  I’m letting go of all scarves that are not in my preferred colors or are of sub-standard quality.  As such, I will likely add a few new scarves to my wardrobe in the coming months.  I like that this one includes three of my favorite colors (purple, burgundy, and white) and has a striped design.  It’s also lightweight and good for summer.

Accessory Impulse Buys

One thing I’ve noticed about my accessory purchases is that they tend to be impulse buys.  I’m not sure how much I mind that, however, as accessories are a way for me to express my creativity.  They are frequently inexpensive as well and don’t take up much space.  I usually don’t know what I like or want until I see it.  That said, I feel it’s important not to just keep buying the same types of pieces over and over again, which was something I did previously.  I’m trying to be more mindful of what I have (my latest jewelry inventory helped a lot!) so that I add new styles instead of repetitions.

Like all of my other June accessory buys, the belt purchase was unplanned.  However, I was very happy to find the belt at a local boutique.  Some of you suggested that I add belts to my skirt ensembles and I liked that idea.  I’m going to give it a try and this new belt is a step in that direction.

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 May, I had purchased 21 qualifying items (workout wear, sleepwear, and undergarments don’t count).   I allowed myself to purchase 3 clothing items in June based upon a prior return I had made.  Since I did buy – and keep – three new items in June, the total number of items (clothing and shoes) I’ve bought this year is 24.

In all honesty, I am feeling ambivalent about my item limit for the year.  At this point, it feels so arbitrary and I don’t have a “big why” behind it other than the fact that I said it was something I wanted to do.  Although I definitely want to cut down on the number of purchases I make, I am also in the middle of a big wardrobe overhaul and style redefinition process.  I’m replacing a lot of sub-standard pieces with better quality items and am discovering the type of style statement I wish to present to the world.  I feel I am being much more mindful about what I buy and am mostly sticking to my predefined shopping priorities list.

Possible Changes and Feared Repercussions

I am considering raising my item limit, but my main hesitation is that I will be raked over the proverbial coals by some commenters for doing so.  I recently read a post by “The Minimalists” about why they had removed comments from their blog.  I could identify with a lot of what they wrote.  Although I enjoy interacting with readers, I sometimes feel that I censor what I write due to my fear of the comments that will be made.  I don’t want to do that, but I find it difficult not to.   I find myself toning down what I’m expressing or adding additional content to justify my point of view.    This is sad because most people who read this blog rarely or never comment and most commenters are perfectly lovely and respectful.

I need to do what I feel is right for me, not what others believe is right for me.  And I will undoubtedly make mistakes from time to time.  A lot of readers have told me they like my accountability posts and learn a lot from them, and that makes me happy.  The primary reason I am writing this blog is to help other shopaholics who wish to change their shopping habits and trade their full closets for full lives.  I also started blogging as a way to facilitate my recovery from compulsive shopping, and it has definitely helped in that regard.

I am unquestionably in a much better place than I was a year and a half ago (when I started the blog), but I still have some steps to take before shopping is in its rightful place in my life.  I know my recovery is not yet set in stone and that I am vulnerable to relapse.  I intend to continue being honest with how I am doing and sharing my story – the good, the bad, and the ugly.  I am aiming for progress, not perfection.  Perfection isn’t even possible and I’ve caused myself a lot of grief in life by trying to achieve that unattainable goal.  I would now much rather be happy than fight such a losing battle.

Anyway, I think my main point is that just because we set goals at the beginning of a year, we are not necessarily beholden to sticking with them, come what may.  Some of you may think it’s the shopaholic in me that’s writing that, and you could be right.  But I am more concerned with cultivating a workable wardrobe – and sticking with the budget my husband and I agreed upon – than I am with holding fast to an arbitrary item limit I set in January.   If I end the year having bought more than 38 items but I’m happy with my wardrobe and my style (and have come in under budget), I will consider 2014 to have been a success. I may opt to raise my item limit or I may not, but I’m still happy to be stretching myself and buying less – and shopping smarter – overall.

June Budget Report

My budget for clothing and related purchases (shoes, accessories, alterations) for 2014 is $3000.  My June budget was $200 (it varies somewhat month by month).   I spent a total of $171.93 last month, which was $28.07 under budget.   However, it seems I was over my budget by a bit more than I thought for May.  As I look at the budget report today, I have spent a total of $1513.25 on clothing and related categories so far this year.  That means I am currently over budget by $13.25.  I’m pretty much on target, but it helps to review things at least monthly in order to make sure I don’t get off track.

What I Wore

For over a year now, I’ve been keeping track of the garments and shoes I wear each month, as well as how many times I wear them.   This helps me to better understand which items are my favorites and which ones may be slated for donation or consignment.  I like to look back at these monthly tracking sheets to see how I’m doing with my wardrobe.   I have also started creating visual representations of what I’ve worn each month.  Since I have photos of all of my clothes, it’s easy for me to create folders on my computer containing the images of what I wore in a given month.  That allows me to see patterns at a quick glance.

During June, I wore 48 garments and 9 pairs of shoes.  Most of the garments were only worn once, but five of them were worn multiple times.  Four pairs of shoes were worn multiple times as well.  I purposely wore a lot of items, as I was trying to assess my summer wardrobe and determine which items should stay and which should go.    Many of the pieces I released last month had been worn, assessed, and rejected, and a few additional items were downgraded to workout/lounge wear only.

In July, I intend to focus more on wearing the items I know I love and will likely work with a smaller capsule wardrobe.  I may opt to do a few wardrobe challenges later this year (sort of a modified Project 333) to continue my journey toward dressing with less and maximizing what I have.

Here’s a photo of the items I wore during June 2014:

June 2014 items worn

I wore these 48 garments and 9 pairs of shoes in June.

The overall color scheme is still on the dark side, but I brightened things up a bit over the previous month.  Hopefully, I’ll soon find a few new white pieces so my wardrobe can start looking more summery!  Another piece of good news is that I’m tightening up my color palette.  You can see a lot of blue, green, burgundy, purple, and red in there along with the black and grey.  I have a few coral and orange items in the mix, too (along with one yellow).  The two jackets in that group are definite favorites, so I plan on keeping them around for the foreseeable future.

In Conclusion

Well, that’s it for this accountability post!  I always feel like these summaries get too long, but many of you seem to like the in-depth analysis that I do each month.  I’m glad that my thought process can help spur you to look more deeply at what you’re buying, what you’re purging, and what you’re wearing each month.

As we head into a holiday weekend for those in the U.S., I’d like to wish you a happy Fourth of July!  For those in other parts of the world, I wish you a good weekend.   Tomorrow is a special day for my husband and me, as well as for our country.  We will be celebrating our 13th wedding anniversary!  I hope we will have many more happy years together.  We will be spending the day together (no work allowed!) doing some things that we love.  We don’t have it all figured out just yet, but I’m sure it will be a great day.

For those who are newer to this blog, I wrote one of my favorite posts following my anniversary last year.   It was a positive sign for my recovery that I was able to return to a popular shopping destination and experience it in an entirely different way.  I invite you to check out my thoughts on that trip in “Same Place, Different View.”

Have a wonderful weekend!

83 thoughts on “June 2014 Accountability Update

  1. I totally understand what you are saying about toning down what you write because of potential comments. I think I said this before but you are very brave for putting yourself out there and let all of us see your struggles, so I really don’t think it’s anybody’s place to critique how well you are doing!
    I also agree with you regarding the item limit – while I’m not trying to encourage you to overshop, the number you have picked is somewhat arbitrary and it can’t be the goal to reach this number come what may if it doesn’t actually mean anything. I’m going through a similar process of reigning in my shopping and I think if this item limit is too rigid for you then it will soon start to feel like punishment and that’s demoralising, far more demoralising than if you just give yourself some leeway towards the end of the year should you need it. If instead of 38 items you buy 40, or 45, I would still consider this an achievement, even though you haven’t technically met your goal. The goal for us who struggle with this must be to challenge and work on us and to improve year on year or at least get to a level that we’re happy with (and not the people who comment – just you). What I’m saying is, I’m totally with you on this.
    As for me I know I was way beyond any reasonable item limit in June. I’m sure I will be better this month as I was a bit shocked by my own behavior. I also recently watched a “haul video” on youtube and it made me think about your item limit – the girl had bought 40 new things in one month! I actually sat there watching it back counting items, absolutely stunned and a bit disgusted. Who needs that much stuff?!

    • Thanks for your support, K! It means a lot. I’ve never seen a “haul video,” but I’ve heard about them. I probably bought 40 items in a month at one point! As for the item limit, sometimes it does feel like punishment. But I may just need to shift my perspective and recalibrate a bit. I’m in the seasonal switch-over point now and am feeling like I need a lot of new items to round out my wardrobe. But I probably don’t really. I may just need to “play” in my closet a bit to feel more excited about what I already have.

    • Wow! Yes… I don’t get how “haul” videos on Youtube became a thing. And, a popular thing too. That’s one of the main reasons why I stopped blogging. It felt like a competition to have the most and it did not reasonate with my soul.
      The Bloggers I used to follow and admire placed a high prenium on acquiring things from our local shops (South Africa) and it has gotten to the point where they even receive free stuff from these stores.
      And, I am like… But this is fueling my shopaholic tendencies! So I stepped away… I started reading blogs on healthy living, minimalism, life and psychology. And if I might visit a Style Blog it would have to be an overseas one.
      Because let’s face it… It is pretty sad when someone uses a platform that changes lives to showcase solely what they bought. (My old blog is a monument to the kind of person I no longer am. )

  2. Debbie, I hope you will continue to allow comments, because I think they add a lot to your blog posts. You have been really faithful to respond individually to most of the comments, which must take a lot of time. One idea might be to write one response a few days later that responds to any of the comments you really want to address (and ignore negative ones!). I learn something from every one of your posts and the comments. Keep up the GREAT work!

    • I agree that the comments add a lot, Tricia. I learn a lot from them, too. I may take your advice about responding, as it does get to be overwhelming at times. And I think your advice to ignore the negative ones is excellent! Glad you like the blog and are learn a lot from what I write and the responses of others.

      • I second Tricia that comments add a lot, I always check out them out too, to see what discussions follow! Also, her advice about responding is spot-on – you do get a lot of comments and responding to each one individually must take not just time but quite a bit of mental energy as well. I haven’t noticed any truly negative comments, but maybe you delete/don’t approve them – in that case, if you get many of them and they get overwhelming, perhaps an arrangement where someone else does the initial moderating of the comments (i.e gets rid of the spam and the trolls) would help.

  3. Thank you again for your honesty and analysis! It’s always interesting to read another person’s wardrobe thought process. A 38 item limit is arbitrary but any number or limit is arbitrary. The number is more of a boundary or guide to keep your behavior in check – like a calorie limit or a limit on internet time (which I need to set for myself). It might be better to try to stick to a limit and then if you go over, don’t worry about it. It sounds like you are excited about your new wardrobe direction (moto jackets and higher quality) and I know when I get excited about a new wardrobe find or direction, I tend to go way over board trying to buy up anything that resembles my new wardrobe ideal. It’s better to live with and wear the new items that you are excited about (your two moto jackets) and see how they fit in with everything you own. I say this because I wish that I would do this more often.

    I think your comments section is like a therapy session for some of us :). It’s too bad when people are negative and want others to always conform to their ideals of how to live. You don’t owe any of us an explanation for your actions and feelings so if someone writes a comment that is negative or questions your actions, ignore it.

    • You are spot on about what I’m going through now, Leah. I think I may want to go overboard and shift my wardrobe all at once, but if I really think about it, there is more to be gained from doing it gradually. Thanks for your support regarding the comments. I don’t want to let a few “bad apples” here and there ruin it for all of us. I have to remember the big picture and carry on.

  4. There is still value in having a rule, even if the rule is arbitrary. And I would actually argue that this number isn’t arbitrary–if I remember correctly, the basis for it is that it’s half of what you brought into your wardrobe last year. Last year you tallied up your new purchases, felt that was far too many, and decided to cut that number in half for this year. It actually seems to me like you put a lot of reflection into coming up with this particular number. Now that you are getting closer to the limit, it’s only natural that you are second-guessing yourself and feeling the temptation to abolish it, but I would urge you to stay strong! That is the entire reason for having a rule in the first place–you set the rule for yourself after careful deliberation when you are feeling strong, and it serves as a guideline for you when you are not feeling quite so strong.

    I also hope you don’t remove comments. I don’t comment much, but I do love reading the comments and your replies to them. They really are an extension of the blog. Of course if anyone is trolling or just being obnoxiously offensive I would hope you delete those comments and recognize they are about the commenter, not about you.

    • Thanks for your comment, Cara. I agree that my item limit isn’t totally arbitrary, but I wouldn’t say I put a lot of thought into it, either. I just thought that it would be doable to buy half of what I did last year. Now I’m doubting that I can make it, but I agree that there is value in trying to reach a goal even if we don’t quite make it. I am not feeling very strong at present and am doubting myself, but even just writing what I did has helped me get back on track at least a little bit. About the comments, I agree they add a lot of value. I do delete obnoxious comments, but there aren’t all that many of them. I don’t think I will remove comments, but I may stop responding to every single one of them. I like interacting with everyone, but sometimes I feel the need to explain and justify myself to a lot of people and that gets draining sometimes. But I’m happy that people view this as a safe place and a place where they can learn a lot. I learn a lot, too!

  5. I agree with other commenters that you are very brave to put yourself out there, Debbie, and share your progress with so many strangers. It’s a shame about the negative comments, I do wonder if some people just go online looking for something to be offended by.

    However as a long time reader of this blog, when I see you discussing raising your item limit it is hard to know if this is for a valid reason or just your inner shopaholic struggling with purchasing fewer items. I am also an overshopper and am very familiar with that urge to break the rules, so it raises a red flag with me, but that’s due to my concern and empathy for your situation rather than a desire to criticise!

    • I don’t know if I have a valid reason or not, Rachel. I know the inner shopaholic can be quite tricky and “crafty” in getting her way. I’m sitting with it for a bit to see how I feel. Even just a day later, I am noticing a shift in my feelings. I may just need to change my perspective a bit and do my best even if I miss the goal. I feel like the goal may be hard to reach now, but that doesn’t mean it would be wrong to try. Even if I go over, it would still be better than buying 76 items (much less the 150-200 I bought in previous years!).

  6. On your 38 item limit: Personally, I think you should keep the limit, even if you think you’ll exceed it at the end of the year. When you look back at the end of this year I think it will be more clear whether you exceeded it because of too much shopping or because back in January you underestimated how well you would do at getting rid of your less-than-excellent items.

    On comments on your blog: While I don’t see the comments that get deleted, your comment section is the friendliest and most helpful one that I’ve seen in a long while. Now that I’ve been around for a little bit I see that you have a community of commenters who throw out advice and suggestions both at you and at other commenters. You also add a lot by your comments to every person who writes in. I’m sorry if you feel the need to sanitize your writing…maybe if you’re feeling particularly vulnerable about a post you should turn comments off on that specific entry?

    On the black moto jacket: THIS was the part of the post that made me go ‘hmm….’. I am so curious what a second moto jacket adds to your wardrobe and why a woman in California buys multiples of coats. You mention that you’ve done Project 333 before – have you ever thought about doing a 10-item capsule like the Daily Connoisseur advocates? I don’t mean to sound snide with this comment but this is the first real head-scratching purchase I’ve seen you make in the months that I’ve been reading. If you love it -great! I guess I’m just not seeing how this won’t be another case of splitting your wears.

    • Sara, I really like how you worded your first paragraph – keep the limit and if you go over, think about why. Great advice for all of us!

      My reaction to the moto jackets was exactly the opposite. I grew up in coastal California towns (now I live inland from Malibu) and a moto jacket is a perfect jacket for wear all year – especially if you run cold (I do and I think Debbie says that she does). It never gets cold enough for a heavy jacket but it’s always a little cold even in summer (especially at night). I wear sheath dresses, leather moto jackets, and wool cardigans most of the year.

    • Thanks, Sara. I agree with Leah that your first paragraph was worded well and makes an excellent point. Good suggestion to turn off comments on certain posts. I hadn’t thought about that and may do it sometime. I agree that the comments are generally very good and supportive. I can sometimes be too sensitive about some of them, though, and probably shouldn’t let them get to me so much. Leah said what I was going to say about the moto jackets. I pretty much wear a jacket, cardigan, or coat every day even though I live in Southern California. I probably have too many coats, but my jackets and cardigans are worn quite regularly.

      • I’ve been to California a couple of times in recent years and my big surprise was the weather. You do need a jacket, depending on where you live, year round. It’s not a bad thing, just different from what I’d imagined.

  7. Hi. Good job again for the month! As you know, I often feel like we are on a parallel course. Right down to the numbers sometimes. I’m also rethinking my number allotment for this year’s purchases. I do declare publicly, but on someone else’s blog just as a poster, not on my own for all to see, and judge. I can see how that can set you up for comments questioning your integrity, etc. I would urge you to do you. Regardless. Only you can know if you’re making excuses to shop more or if there are valid reasons that are perfectly rational and justifiable. True, our numbers are arbitrary, and there is no wardrobe police busting in to count and issue citations. But, there is also a reason we set them for ourselves. For me, I am getting better at letting go of what isn’t/wasn’t working and I sense that you are as well. This can mean that even though we are bringing in new things still, the closet numbers are shrinking as a whole.
    Isn’t that the whole idea? Less stuff (much of it extraneous) and better items from which to choose? Your decision on your limits are yours to make, and change if you wish. I’m coming at it from a big picture viewpoint and want to keep my closet a certain size, and want it to work for me. If I buy more than I planned this year, while getting rid of what doesn’t work, I’m ahead of the game. Same amount of things, but better things that I’m more apt to wear. I call that success. Of course overall budget is always the last say when the year is up. 24 items, 38, whatever. If I have 150 at the end, and spent under $2000 I succeeded.
    As for the new items, I can see the edge, and I like it!

    • Yes, we are very much on the same page, Mo. I can see that you “get” where I’m coming from. I do feel that I’m shopping smarter, but I sometimes still make mistakes. I wish I could have a “do-over” of some of the items I bought earlier in the year. But life doesn’t work that way, unfortunately. I agree that the item limits have value even if we don’t meet them. The value is in the journey and the lessons learned! I’m glad you can see the edge. I hope to continue adding a bit more of that in moving forward.

  8. Hi Debbie,

    I can see a strong move toward quality items and a greater willingness to let things go when they aren’t working. Also, I noticed two lovely printed tops–the black/white belted one and the sleeveless floral. Because of your height, you can carry large prints well. I’d be interested in finding out whether you have worn these tops much and whether they are becoming favorites. If so, maybe their colors and textures can inform future purchases (or culls).

    As for the number limit, what’s important is that you be true to yourself. Only you can know what that means. This is one of the best and most supportive blog communities out there. I’m constantly delighted by the helpful, ongoing conversations among you and your readers. Those of us who follow your journey will find it fascinating and inspirational, no matter what your choices are. And your “regulars,” whether we agree with your choices or not, will offer comments both kind and constructive.

    Happy trails!

    • Thanks for noticing my progress, Amy. The two items you mentioned are both quite old, but I have enjoyed rediscovering them this year. I haven’t worn them a lot yet, but I’m glad I kept them around. As for the comments, I agree that most are very supportive. I have to learn not to let a few negative people get to me so much. I think they just strike chords in me that remind me of critical people in my earlier life. But the bulk of the commenters are great and I learn a lot from the conversations here.

  9. Debbie, I would not feel let down by you if you bought 500 items. This is about YOUR journey and you are kind enough to share it with all of us. The only thing that would disappoint me is if you weren’t honest about it. That’s why I love this blog so much. It’s a place I can come and be honest and be among people who understand something that most people do not.
    My personal opinion is that you should keep your goal number. If you go over, you do. It would be a great post to explore why you did. I feel that I may end up going over my item limit as well. The main reason for this was that I have made some poor purchasing decisions. What I want above all else, is at the end of the year to have done better than I did last year and to have taken my mistakes and learned from them so I can do better next year.
    I bought four items: jeans, blue print blouse, grey,black, and white print maxi skirt, and a black and white embroidered blouse for 99.87. That is a total of 34 items this year and I am 250.47 under budget for the year so far.

    • Thanks for sharing both your wisdom and your numbers, Tonya. I really resonated with what you said. The learning and the honesty ARE more important than adhering perfectly to my goals. If I go over my item limit, it will also be because I made some poor purchasing decisions. Examining those on the blog would be valuable for me and for others, so your point is very well taken. Like you, I just want to do better than I did last year and I still strongly believe that will be the case.

  10. Hi Debbie, I’m one of your readers who has never left a comment. I love this blog & look forward to it every week. I have read everything you have written and I read EVERY comment that is posted & I have learned alot from the comments also. I hope you don’t remove them. NO ONE should be saying anything negative to you. Keep up the good work!

    • Thanks so much for coming here to leave this supportive comment, Tick. I’m glad you are getting a lot from both my posts and the comments. I don’t plan to remove the comments. I think I just needed to come clean about some of my feelings so I could move on from a stronger place. I already feel much better for having been open and honest. Funny how that works 🙂

  11. So accountability is the name of the game for me too. I got to over 200 days without buying and then had an accident which took me to falling off the perch. But yesterday became my new 365 days of no more clothes buying day one ( take 2). Your blog and my own Remind me why I am doing what I am doing.

    • Congrats on having the strength to pick yourself up and start again, Frugal. While I didn’t have an accident like you did, I have been going through some personal challenges that have been testing my resolve. I may write about them soon, as I think there are many of us who fall of the wagon during high stress times. I’m glad you’re feeling better and have recommitted to your challenge. I’ll be routing for you all the way!

  12. “It’s a place I can come and be honest and be among people who understand something that most people do not.” Ditto what Tonya said!

    Debbie, as many others have said, this is your journey and we readers are so lucky to have an honest and kind forum to discuss our shopaholicism. New word?? I truly believe that there are people out there who are just miserable and want everyone else to be that way. Never a good word comes from them. I do read each and every blog post and come back multiple times to read the comments. I know that I get a lot of help and inspiration from posts and comments. If someone is so mean and posting hateful messages, by all means remove those comments.

    BTW, I’m so glad you like the moto jacket I recommended! Wish it could have worked for me. My accountability regarding buying no clothes, shoes or accessories beginning 7/1/14: so far, so good. I know it’s only been 3 days but it’s a good start for me! As I mentioned in a prior thread I did already have an online order coming my way. It arrived and is going back to exchange for a different size. It’s something I’ve searched for for a while now and am happy to have found it. I think reading so many blogs about minimalism is helping keep my focus off of shopping.

    Happy Anniversary! Hope you have a wonderful day.

    • I appreciate your kind words, Kim. You and Tonya (as well as many others) have always been very supportive of me and I am very grateful for that. Your words about the “negatudes” are spot on. They are probably unhappy and it’s easier to criticize others than to look at themselves. I should focus on the good and let the bad roll off me like water off a duck’s back, so to speak. Congrats on your commitment to doing a shopping hiatus and for the good start you’ve made! Please keep us posted and know that I am on your side even if you experience setbacks and challenges. Hopefully you won’t, but if you do, you can pick yourself up and start again. That’s what I’m going to do now.

  13. Debbie, I so appreciated this post. I, too, love shopping online…but in the past if something didn’t fit quite right or wasn’t super flattering, I would keep it thinking I could make it work. Bad idea. The item always ended up gathering dust and eventually was trundled off to charity. Now I send things back ASAP. A few months ago I bought a super cute top and when I put in on my small frame (5’2″) it looked like a maternity top! Not a look I was going for. It went back.

    I also understand about the comments. I write two blogs and every once in a rare while somebody is snarky. Sometimes I have something intelligent to say back, other times I just respond, “Thank you for sharing your point of view.”

    Keep up the good work. 🙂 Karen

    • I appreciate hearing from a fellow blogger who understands, Karen. Thanks for the suggestion for how to respond when I don’t know what to say. Sometimes a longer response just isn’t necessary, is it? Congrats on sending back items that you would have tried to make work in the past. I’m doing better at that, too, but sometimes I still miss the return window or alter things that should have gone back to the store. But I’m learning and know that I will continue to improve as long as I keep trying!

  14. Debbie, congratulations on your anniversary! My 15th wedding anniversary is next week.
    As always, I really enjoyed your accountability post. It sounds like you’re doing a great job of upgrading your wardrobe. Keep up the good work!
    I totally understand your frustration about the blog and the comments. While having a blog is great for accountability, I know if it were me at times I would hate feeling that I have to justify my actions to my readers or obtain their permission or approval. I’m in the process of rebuilding my wardrobe too, and understand that sometimes a limit or a goal we’ve set for ourselves at one point may need reevaluating further down the track. This is especially so as we become more knowledgable about fit, colour etc., and our standards become higher.
    I also agree that the comments section of this blog is wonderful. I learn so much from them and enjoy the interaction with the other commenters. I’m a shy person and usually only lurk on blogs and forums, but somehow this blog is different. I also love how you take the time to respond to everyone personally, but I can understand that it can be stressful. Also, it’s easy to say we shouldn’t let the occasional negative comment get to us, but in reality I think all but the thickest-skinned of us are affected at least a little by criticism.
    Selfishly, I like being able to write my own mini report for the last month here, although I’m sure no one is interested! I bought several pieces in June, and my summer wardrobe is now close to where I want it to be. There’s just the elusive non-see-through, light-coloured, natural fibre top that I feel is missing from my wardrobe. Other than that I don’t need anything so I’ve put myself on a shopping ban for July and August, but I can see myself breaking the ban if I find a suitable top… I could live with myself if I only bought that one thing, but even just going looking for the top would likely put me on a slippery slope. Hmm… Also, I tracked my wears for the first time in June. It was a fascinating exercise. My total number of clothes, shoes and accessories worn was, coincidentally, 33 exactly, but I think I’d be very bored wearing those same clothes for 3 months! I was also surprised that things I thought I was wearing about twice a week, I actually only wore 3-4 times in the month. This has given me a lot of food for thought regarding the ideal size of my wardrobe and how much I need to not feel bored (I’m trying to not to make it into an excuse to buy more…).

    • I appreciate your kind words and support, Kayla. I’m glad you feel comfortable commenting on this blog, and I think a lot of people like reading other commenters’ accountability information (I know I do). I’m glad you started tracking this past month. I think most people overestimate how often they wear their clothes – I know I did! Best of luck with your July – August shopping hiatus and with finding that elusive top. I have the same elusive top, so fingers crossed that we both will find this item!

  15. Happy anniversary, Debbie! I loved the post you wrote last year and will re-read it in your honor.

    I hope you won’t turn off comments. I understand some folks will be rude under the cloak of anonymity — I like Karen’s suggestion to just say, “Thanks for your thoughts on this” and take the high road. When I read blogs in which the authors have turned off comments, I often unsubscribe — I’m looking for a two-way conversation. You’re so generous with your time — I think part of your success is that you treat each reader with respect and respond with thoughtful and appreciative comments — I love that about you!

    I notice a real change in the brightness of your wardrobe. Looking at your photos was uplifting. I LOVE the moto jacket and look forward to seeing you wear it.

    • I’m glad you’re noticing a change in my wardrobe’s brightness, Bette. It’s funny how I didn’t notice how dark everything was until I reorganized my closet a little while back. Thanks for acknowledging my commitment to responding to readers. Like I wrote in this post and in response to others’ comments, I enjoy interacting with those who comment. I don’t have a plan to turn off comments, but I may not always be able to respond to each and every one. And I definitely plan to use Karen’s suggestion for some comments!

  16. Hi Debbie,

    I think your blog is great, and I can’t help but reiterate what everyone else is saying: you are so brave in putting yourself out there! I hope you leave comments on, but I don’t think you should feel obligated to respond to everyone. It is a great gesture, but your blog seems to be growing past the point where that is practical for you! Reply to the comments that speak to you most, and leave a quick comment where you want. But like the minimalists say, focus your time and energy only on what serves you; leave the rest! It seems some negativity is inevitable for widely read blogs, and I will never understand why some people feel the need to say what they do. But I hope you can ignore the bs, and let your true voice continue to shine through!

    I also relate to your success in paring down but the difficulty of cutting back on buying. I think it is a perfectionist tendency to “delete” goals well before we have a chance to succeed or fail at them just because with no goal, we also entirely eliminate the risk of failing. On the other hand, I am trying not to wallow in feelings of guilt (also familiar to perfectionists), and sometimes continually striving for goals just seems to perpetuate the stress cycle. I want to strive for improvement. But like some others mentioned, when you are focused on the restrictions you are setting (even constructive goals), it can feel like punishment. It is hard to navigate these feelings and stay positive, and I relate to feeling ambivalent about shopping in many ways. But I think many of us here are improving and changing our thinking around consumption, and it is clear that you are, too, and that’s the important thing!

    I’ll cut the rambling now, and just say happy Fourth, and happy anniversary, and I hope you have a great weekend!

    • I like your suggestions regarding comments, Sophie. You’re right that it is becoming difficult to respond to each and every one, at least to the level I have been used to doing. I will have to change my approach sometime soon, I think… I don’t understand why people are negative, either. I can’t imagine leaving a negative comment on someone’s blog! Yes, it IS hard to cut back on buying, although I know I’ve made a vast improvement over the past. In terms of goals, I often find it’s better to adjust them if they start to feel unachievable. Otherwise, I might just adopt an “oh well, I’ve already blown it…” attitude due to feeling demoralized.

  17. I agree with everyone- your blog is wonderful regardless of what you are going through because you are so open, and the discussions in the comments are mostly wonderful and would be a tragedy to lose. That said, you do justify yourself too much and shouldn’t perhaps answer EVERY single comment- especially when you commented earlier addressing the same idea/question. I do love that you interact SO much with us and do look forward to your answering comments.

    I did better this month- only 1 item compared to May’s 15 items. This month should be better too, especially since I am actively cutting down the time I spend browsing online. Next month is my birthday and I’ll get a birthday discount so I don’t want to really do a ‘ban’ just yet.

    I have a post drafted that is similar to yours in that I’m doubting my item limit. I made a list of everything I need to replace or buy this year and next and it’s a high number (46 I think) let alone whatever wears out/gets ruined and I didn’t account for any surprise ‘love’ items. My standards have also increased and sub-par items bother me far more than before. I love how far you’ve come and think that as long as the focus is on buying less and only things we’ve really thought about and know you will use, then we’re both doing well. I’m going to keep track of the number still but am likely increasing the item limit to reflect my honest re-evaluation of my closet.

    • Also- I’m finding my accessories and clothing a little all too similar and very feminine and am craving variety. Like you adding more ‘edge’ I’m wanting to add a little ‘urban’ edge. A couple well-thought out items would be the ticket.

    • I think we both have come really far, Meli, and we seem to be on a similar path in some ways, including the tendency to buy similar items and now wanting to mix it up a bit more. We also both have birthdays next month (mine is the 8th)! Congrats on only buying one item in June and on cutting back on online browsing. I’m sure that will make a big difference for you. As for the comments, I don’t plan to remove them, but will very likely stop responding to every single one. When I started out, I never expected my blog to grow as much as it has, but with growth sometimes changes are needed.

  18. I really enjoy reading your month-end assessments and I concur with other folks above who have noticed a trend towards better fitting clothes and conscious style choices. Love that black moto jacket and tassel earrings (love tassel jewelry)! I can’t imagine going through this process of discovery in such a public way, and if you want to amend your process as you go through it — then just do it! We’ll all ride along with you.

    • Thanks for your support, Dottie. I’m glad you’re noticing changes in my clothing and style choices. Yes, it’s difficult to go through my process in a public forum. To be honest, I never expected this many people to read my blog, but I’m happy so many are finding it interesting and helpful!

      • I find it interesting even though I would be hard pressed to call myself a shopaholic — I’m just too frugal. Also, I am perfectly happy with my wardrobe. BUT it took me years (if not decades) to figure what worked best for me. However, now that I know this, life is a lot simpler. Not to say that there will be no “re-visiting” style choices as I get older.

  19. I just love reading ALL of your blog and the comments are just as great as the postings!

    I had never heard of that “haul” thing the early commenters were mentioning. It got me thinking. If I shop at a discounted clothing store, like TJ Maxx, I am likely to buy four or five items because the price is great. I find, however, that I get them home and I don’t really truly like most of them. They seemed like the best stuff in the store, but they are just not good enough once I get them home and into my closet and my life. The things I really love in my closet (and many of them have been there for years) are very expensive, high quality items. They are beautifully tailored, cut to perfection and have gorgeous details. Year after year, season after season, wearing after wearing, I feel great and get tons of compliments on these kinds of items. I need to discipline myself to ONLY buy fabulous pieces, otherwise, even though I got my shopping “fix” and stayed within budget, these discount store binge items either wear out quickly, are “settle” items, or just seem cheap looking. So they end up in the trash or the donation bin. Meanwhile, the good quality stuff keeps on truckin’.

    Make me repeat this every day, please: buy less but buy fabulous, knockout, amazing, flattering, blow-your-socks-off stuff!

    • I can really relate to what you wrote, Happy Forgiver. I have a tendency to buy too many lower-quality items, too, but do tend to appreciate my more expensive pieces more. Your motto is one I need to adopt, too! Here’s to fabulous, knockout, amazing, flattering, blow-your-socks-off stuff!

  20. First, congratulations to you and your husband on your anniversary, and best wishes for many more healthy, happy years together! As a relative newcomer to this blog, I am still catching up on your archives, but find both them and your current posts and comments to be an extremely valuable resource for overcoming my closet shopaholic tendencies. These recap posts are an important reminder that being honest about shopping is part of curing the problem; no more “Oh no, I have had this in the back of my closet forever!” instead of admitting “Yes, it’s new and I didn’t need it, but I bought it anyway” to my entire office. The phrase that really stuck with me from this post is “aiming for progress, not perfection.” That’s going to be my new mantra as I work toward achieving some sort of wardrobe sanity, even if it starts with baby steps. Please don’t be discouraged by the occasional naysayers. I believe there are many more of us who find your words valuable because you are honest enough to admit being a work in progress!

    • Thanks for the anniversary wishes and support, TexasAggieMom! I wholeheartedly agree that honesty is a very important part of the recovery process. In short, “the truth shall set you free.” It’s really done that for me, not that it is easy to do! And yes, our goal should always be progress, not perfection. I have to remind myself of that often!

  21. Hi Debbie
    In my quest to have less, I started with (as you know) limiting my color palette. I did this with my winter wardrobe. It’s been amazing how effective this has been for me. Just the other day I didn’t buy a jacket on sale because it was taupe. It was a struggle for me because it really was a great jacket and in the past I would have bought it. But eventually I was able to leave it behind knowing that I had eliminated the color. Thinking about the $$$ I save by not buying that will go towards something I will love made it easier.

    My newest strategy is to keep my clothes contained to ONE wardrobe. As I live in Europe I don’t have the luxury of large walk-in robes but I do have a good Ikea Pax wardrobe and it is 3 meters wide so really, it is big enough. BUT I also have closets downstairs in my basement – 2 of them, where I have been storing the things that don’t fit in to main closet, out of season etc. Also closets in the hallway AND clothes in plastic tubs (my keepers for whatever reason – I need to revisit the stupidity of this.) It’s rediculous. I am aiming to have my entire wardrobe in one place.

    I still have a lot of clothes, embarassingly too many, that I need to purge. Still struggle to do this sometimes.

    • Congrats on passing up the taupe jacket, Carolyn! I’ve had to do that often lately with wrong color items, but I’m always glad I said no after the fact. As for purging your clothes, you’ve already done so well and I’m sure you will continue to do so. Just keep on keeping on, one day at a time and you’ll get there! I think your strategy of having everything in one closet is a good one. That’s what I’m doing now and it’s made a big difference. I still have too many clothes, too, but it helps a lot to see them all at one time.

  22. Ah, so much wisdom in this post! I am another Rachel, I see a first one as commentator above. I am French and live in London. Heh! What is a French woman doing here, culturally I am supposed to have the perfect grip on style and the small wardrobe. Well, I don’t have many clothes, this is true, and I am very happy with them. But….I am here because I am learning so much of the subject of addiction. Your mention of the false goal of seeking perfection was the bull’s eye for me. I spend far too much time sourcing my small and ‘exquisite’ wardrobe. Far too much time. I have placed my children in front of the TV rather than listen or read to them because I want to finish browsing a catalogue on line. I am very very ashamed of this. Your post for your anniversary last year made me cry just now. I too have let the search for the perfect in an imagined future eradicate the beautiful and perfect right now – the perfection of my little children, their short phases of behaviour that soon are disappeared. Your writing is very strong, thank you for courage in your blog . You are delivering a most important service, a thinking place for issues central to our modern day society. Your guest blogger recently wrote of the steps of practical planning to arrest shopping addiction and every step could be applied to addiction to food, to the internet, to all sorts of too much too often. Bisous to you

    • Thanks for sharing your perspective so openly and honestly, Rachel. I appreciate your kind words about my blog and my writing. I agree that the recent post by Jill Chivers could be applied to other types of addictions and compulsions. Shopping is not the only one I’ve had, so I can definitely relate to those who have other struggles. Yes, perfectionism can be a tough thing to conquer, but awareness is an important first step. Best wishes to you in overcoming it.

  23. I just want to say that I hope you don’t disable the comments. This is the only place that I can be open and honest about my shopping issues (and I’m sure that’s true for a number of other readers too). It’s so helpful to be able to be honest here and to feel “not so alone.” Your blog is great, and I’m truly sorry you have experienced negative comments. Just know that the vast majority of us love to read your blog and are cheering you (and ourselves) on!

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Chelsea. I’m glad you be open here and that interacting with others in the comments helps you to feel less alone. I don’t plan to disable comments. I think I just needed to share some of my thoughts on the topic. There aren’t too many negative comments, fortunately. Most of those who comment are very supportive and I like how you help each other, too!

  24. It’s very interesting to see the steps you are going through in your journey thanks to these accountability posts. Another interesting thing is that I can relate to some of them, despite having a different experience, different objectives and a different environment. For example the 2 cardigans you purged this month – you mentioned buying 3 of them but only one worked out right? In my own experience, a lot of items I ended up purging were similar – I bought and liked one item, and since the cut is so nice I bought it in several colours, but in the end only the initial colour works and I discard the other ones. I think it was a learning for me: just because one item’s cut is nice doesn’t mean I should buy it in all available colours 😉

    Also on the accessories, I also relate a lot to your approach – it is indeed a way to be more creative, tweak an outfit, dress something up or down (especially black dresses 😉 ) and I also bought a lot of them “on impulse”. But I also found last year, when I had a maximum items for clothing and really focused on my clothing consumption, that my accessory consumption went up. Like you, I mostly purchased new styles, that work well with my outfits and of which I’m getting a good wear of, but I was surprised that it wasn’t as contained as I thought. Maybe when we limit ourself in a category, we tend to compensate? Just an idea…

    And finally, I wanted to comment on what you write about comments and “censoring” yourself sometimes out of unease with what readers may say. I totally understand your point, and, when my blog suddenly started having readers and comments, I remember thinking the same thing. I think what is important is to stay true to yourself, write posts that correspond to you, so you can keep being proud of your blog and how it is turning out, regardless of what readers may think (there will always be people who disagree with you no matter what). In my case, I decided to take it positively and decide that as long as I am in line with and stand behind my own ideas, and admit my failures with honestly, even negative comments can be seen as a way to challenge myself and move the questioning further. But the decision belongs to you as a blogger of course.

    • I really appreciate your comment, Kali. Your perspective on dealing with comments is very helpful and I thank you. You’re right that the most important thing is for us to stay true to ourselves and that there will always be people who disagree with us. I do try to use negative or critical comments as a way to challenge myself. Last week was bad for me in other ways and I think I just felt very overwhelmed and more sensitive than usual. I’m in a much better place about it all now, thankfully.

      About buying accessories, I agree that we can often compensate in other ways when we’ve set limits on ourselves. I don’t want to limit my accessory buys at this time, but I do want to stay mindful, which is why I’m writing about them now. I hope to get to the point where I don’t need as many rules and constraints on myself, but it’s a process and the rules have been helpful over the past year and a half. And I may have to challenge myself with rules or shopping time outs (like you’re doing) again in the future from time to time, and that’s okay. The important thing is to keep learning and growing and that’s definitely happening!

  25. It would be a shame if you stopped replying/allowing comments on your blog but it’s understandable. Unfortunately, as the audience widens, so will the comments and not everyone is productive or respectful. I was recently at the movies and some of the attendees sitting behind me were chatting away. Well after 5 minutes it was clear they were not going to stop so I asked them to be quiet. Their response, to proceed to jingle keys (or maybe bracelets, I have no clue what it was) for another five minutes. I was sad that a request to be quiet in a movie was met with a desire for another confrontation. I ignored the jingles, but it really ruined the movie for me.

    Onto other things, changing up item limits doesn’t bother me, as long as the habit has changed. If you are raising it for fear of having no more shopping chances if you don’t raise it, that is not showing progress. But if you are raising it because of another goal, refining your style, that’s ok to me. And you can always up the ante, if you raise the limit, then perhaps you two out for every one item in or something. This way you can shift your wardrobe faster and reduce it’s size, while refining your style.

    • Your movie experience sounds terrible, Lisa! It’s sad that some people can be so rude and inconsiderate toward others. I feel fortunate in that most commenters on this blog are really great. I shouldn’t let a few “bad apples” get to me, but sometimes I do. About the limits, you raised a good point. I still haven’t decided what I’m going to do, but I’m leaning toward trying to stick with the item limit. I may end up going over a bit, but I will probably learn more if I continue to push myself than if I give myself too much leeway at this point.

      • I’m already realizing that I’m going to finish off the year with the ’boutique’ still in business. However, I decided to flip the script and focus on how few bags will be left in the boutique by then. Better to focus on one’s progress than faults right? 🙂

  26. I always look forward to these accountability posts! They are so well written and thought out and it’s always fun to see what pieces you purged or added, and what you’ve been wearing. I love following your journey and I’m sure I’m not the only one!

    One comment on the issue of whether or not to change your number of pieces that you can buy this year…I really think when we focus on a number or dollar amount, we end up obsessing over how to stretch that, make it go farther (i.e. buying more poor quality pieces to stretch a budget, as I used to do) and basically how to “cheat the system”. I do think rules have their place and I know you’ve done a lot of modifying of your rule system since you started this journey. I think it’s okay to have GOALS, which your initial number of 38 was. However, I think forcing yourself to hold to a strict number is going to make you feel deprived or constantly questioning whether the number you picked was do-able or even fair to you. It’s good to be mindful of what you’re buying and how close you’re sticking to your goal but holding yourself to a hard number I think is making you feel limited and maybe a bit frustrated (panicky?) at the amount of year left vs. amount of items left that you’re “allowed” to purchase.

    My opinion I guess is for you to keep that 38 goal in mind, but if you happen to score some great pieces that you love and wear and go over by a few, so be it! I think you are aware enough now that you have to really love whatever pieces you allow into your closet, you’ve greatly reduced the amount of consignment items you buy, and you seem just much more aware in general. I can sense a bit of hesitancy and guilt in some of your buying explanations (especially in the accessories section) where you still feel like maybe you’re buying too much and have to justify it to yourself and to your readers. We are here on this journey with you because we struggle, too! It’s nice that you are still relatable to read and that you’re willing to share the good and bad with us. I don’t hold you to any higher standard than I hold myself and if someone is going to judge you for what you buy or how many pieces you purchase each month, perhaps they should read another blog. The fact that you’re willing to open up your life to us and share your ups and downs is incredibly helpful and kind of you, and you should never feel pressured to explain yourself for fear of being ridiculed or judged.

    Rant over 🙂 Keep on doing what you’re doing, and thanks so much for continuing to inspire and motivate me on my recovering shopaholic journey! 🙂

    • I appreciate your kind words and support, Ry. My perspective on the item limit is very similar to yours at this point. I would be okay going over a bit, but I think I’m still going to keep the number in mind, as it’s better for me to have a target than to just allow myself to do whatever I want. I used to only have a budget and that was good (I stuck to it for the first time last year), but sometimes I end up buying too many things and not focusing enough on quality. I would think I wouldn’t be making some many purchasing mistakes at this point, but I still am. I’m trying not to be so hard on myself, though, as I know it takes time to refine one’s style and really tune in to what works best. I would imagine my track record will continue to improve as time goes on. I’m glad that my opening up and sharing the good, bad, and ugly is inspiring and helpful to you and others. That’s why I do it!

  27. Hi Debbie – how cool that your clothing choices are getting brighter, and you’re really honing in on where you want your style to go next. You have made so much progress, it is very inspiring to the rest of us! I hope I haven’t been one of the people with harsh comments. Sometimes it seems you are putting a lot of mental arithmetic into making things fit into certain categories so that they will or won’t count in the numbers or not. And I know I’ve called you out on that. I have tried to be respectful and hope I succeeded in that, but perhaps not. If so, I apologize if I have hurt you. What I’ve tried to say is that the end of the day, I think it’s not about the actual numbers, it’s about the learning process and figuring out how we can get to a sustainable point with our wardrobes. Whatever sustainable means. I would much rather you double your item limit, and say “here’s why…” and we ALL learn from it, than for you to ever hide or fudge the numbers. If that makes sense. As you say, the main thing is to be “happy to be stretching myself and buying less – and shopping smarter – overall”. SO key, and so true.

    Anyway, I bought one item in June – a navy and white striped skirt. Which is great but it is really showing me that I need more plain tops in my wardrobe. I now have three patterned skirts, and they need something plain on top to show them off. My boyfriend and I went shopping this weekend so I could buy a plain white shirt, and I have to say, it was very difficult. He ended up finding and buying like 8 things (which he only does every 2 years or so, so I can’t begrudge him that). I tried on shirt after shirt and could NOT find one that was decent. If they fit on one part of me, they were either tight or baggy in another part. Or see-through. Or just an unflattering shape. I kept thinking of you, and how you wrote about things needing to be an 8 out of 10. So I kept putting them back, and in the end came away with nothing. There was a small part of me that was glad I stuck to my guns, but there was a bigger part that was pouty and sulky that my bf got fun new clothes, and I didn’t. I wonder how to tame the sulky child that didn’t get pretty new things to play with? Sigh. So much still to learn and figure out…

    • I”m curious about your bf’s purchase method in comparison to your own. Did he buy outfits? Did his purchases coordinate in a specific way, or work with specific things he already owns? Sometimes, a shopper can save time and money in the long run ( you say he shops every two years or so) by purchasing several things at once (8 items) that work together. By comparison, buying lovely patterned skirts without simultaneously getting ( or having) tops that work with them just stretches out the agony part of shopping–i.e., “finding something to go with ______.” Also, if he did make such choices, he can wear his neat new things right away–whereas you are stuck with some pretty things that you can’t yet wear. . . just a thought.

      • Thanks Amy – those are some good questions!

        Well, my bf doesn’t usually buy outfits. He has types of pants that he likes, and types of tops/shirts. He is in that sense quite restrictive with his clothing so that limits him as to what he buys. But his style works for him, and he is just naturally a minimalist, so he has a small wardrobe because he’s not inclined to spend much money on clothing. He is also very slim, so basically all the clothing out there hangs beautifully on him and doesn’t ever fit weirdly. His basic fit issue is to be able to find pants with a small enough waist! In a sense all his purchases WERE coordinated, as the tops all work well into his current wardrobe because they were not the same colors as tops he already owns. The pants were similar to some he owns, but he wears that type 5-6 days a week, so they wear out quickly. But his purchases were really spur of the moment because they were great deals. He actually shocked me with his buying spree because in the last YEAR I think he’s bought two pairs of PJ pants, one outfit to attend a wedding in, and some underwear. And that’s it. He also got given some clothing for the holidays, so he picked up a couple of tops that way. Oh, and we ran a 5k together, so there was a t-shirt from that.

        As for me, I’m the one with the big wardrobe that needs to be pared down and made more useful. It’s not that I can’t wear the skirts I have. I do wear them, and quite frequently. But I feel they need plain tops, and while I have plain blue, grey, black, raspberry, orange, and teal tops, all of which work with at least two of the patterned skirts, I am looking out for a plain white top. When I bought the newest skirt, I was looking for a white top to go with it at the same time, but I didn’t find one. I am trying to plan my purchases a bit more, and to move away from a “uniform” of black pants + a brightly colored (often printed) top. Also, for me, it’s no longer enough for any one item to work in “an” outfit. Unless it’s a dress, it needs to work in multiple outfits – that way I feel I won’t get bored with a smaller wardrobe as I can always combine tops + bottoms together in multiple combinations. Plus, the way I used to shop is to go crazy in the shops every season, and buy lots of items at one go. That way didn’t work for me either (although they weren’t really coordinated outfits then either). Ugh. I don’t know what the best way for me to shop would be. I’d like to be more like my bf, I really would. But I’m not there yet. I think if I got to the point of a sustainable wardrobe, then perhaps going back to buying outfits might be the way to go.

      • Call me crazy, but I think your gray, raspberry, and orange solid tops would probably look awesome with your blue and white striped skirt. Or have you already tried them? I feel like white would be the obvious choice, sure, but the limitations of your wardrobe might lead you to unexpected pairings that might actually be quite interesting and workable. (At least, that’s what I — also lacking the basic white summer top of our dreams! — keep finding with my printed summer skirts.)

      • I was thinking the same thing Sarah! A pop of colour with the striped skirt will make it a more interesting outfit, in my opinion.

      • Oh, yes, I do wear all those tops with the navy and white skirt. 🙂 And I enjoy wearing them together. I’m just looking for a white top in addition.

    • No worries, Sarah. I never found your comments hurtful. You asked some legitimate questions and I can see how some of my rules and exceptions can be confusing at times! I’d really like to simplify things moving forward. I think I was scared to NOT be so rigid because I thought I would just shop far too much, but I might have tried to cut back too much too soon. If I could buy 38 GREAT items, that would likely be more than enough, but I continue to make stupid purchasing mistakes and not use my items wisely. Of course, that’s all stuff I can write about and we all can learn from it, and I intend to do so. As for this year, I’m just going to do my best and continue to be honest. I don’t want to fudge rules in order to adhere to a goal I set at the beginning of the year. It’s better to tell the truth, as I know that many of you aren’t perfect with the goals you set for yourself, either.

      As for your shopping challenges, I can really relate! I seem to have problems whether I buy one thing at a time or many, and I can’t find a nice white top to save my life! So frustrating… Your boyfriend sounds a lot like my husband, both in his build (my hubby’s a skinny one, too) and in the way he shops. My husband used to have tons of clothes (mostly because I bought them for him), but now he’s more of the minimalist I’d like to be. He buys clothes and loves and wears them often. He also wears the same few styles and dresses in a way that works well for his life. I can’t say the same things about me – yet… I have too many printed skirts, too. It seems easier to find printed skirts that work, but the solid ones are often more versatile. Sigh… We’ll get there eventually if we keep trying!

  28. Debbie, congrats on your anniversary! And on your progress — I can actually see the brighter, lighter palette you are aiming for in the photo you posted of items worn in June (sure, many of the individual items are dark, but I can see how they would work together with the bright ones so that each outfit would have some light/bright element).

    I agree with others who’ve said that you are very brave to put the details of your recovery process out there and that your honesty really makes your blog valuable to many. I read the previous comments and I’m glad that you started to feel better about your item limit after considering it for a few days. I thought I would chime in because one thing that occurred to me that I hadn’t seen mentioned yet is that you wrote recently about how lowering your closet set point is something that is best done gradually. I wonder if revamping one’s style is also something where a slow, steady process works better than all at once. Logically it seems like that is likely the case although I don’t have empirical or experiential evidence to support that sense. Being in the middle of a similar shift (both towards a more defined style, and in terms of improving the quality of wardrobe pieces) myself, I definitely understand feeling impatient to be “finished”!

    • You are very insightful, Sarah! I actually have a post ready to go for later this week that is about the very topic you mentioned. Yes, I think it’s better to revamp one’s style more slowly. I was trying to do it too fast and getting frustrated AND making buying mistakes. I wanted to buy MORE things so that I could have my desired style NOW, but I’m really still in process. I think it will serve me better to proceed at a slower pace, both with the shopping and the style evolution (which really go hand in hand). More on this topic in Thursday’s post!

  29. My opinion (that you can (dis)regard in any way you like) on the item limit is the following. If you are still working hard to stay within budget, the item limit indeed seems a bit arbitrary and unnecessary. But: I don’t think it is entirely useless. Your goals were (and still seem to be): to buy less and of better quality. So if you let go of the item limit and just consider budget, the goal of buying better quality might become more elusive.
    I’m refining my style myself but at the same time learning about minimalism and sustainability. I find the stylistic search a bit of a trap when it comes to those latter issues. It is very tempting to want to overhaul your wardrobe in a short period of time because you feel like you know what you’re going for and won’t make any more mistakes. But what’s wrong with taking two years or more to refine your style? You probably do have enough to wear in the mean time (some advice I got from the comment section of THIS blog!), even if they are ‘imperfect’ items. And (as I’m learning over and over again myself) if you can’t be happy in these imperfect clothes you won’t be happy in your perfect clothes either.
    I’m sorry if this sounds too pedantic – a personal flaw of mine. I like your blog and think the effort you put into your healing process (and documenting it) is amazing.

    • You make some very good points, Liesbeth. I agree that the item limit partly serves to push me toward buying better quality items. Last year, I had the same budget as this year but bought TWICE as many items as I’m hoping to buy this year. Even if I end up going over a bit, I will still be improving, which is really the main point. About evolving style more slowly, see my response to Sarah above. I’ll be writing more about that on Thursday. I didn’t find your comment too pedantic. I’m glad you like my blog and I appreciate your kind words about it!

  30. The limit is just a number. Plans aren’t written in stone. As long as you don’t go on a binge I think you’ll be fine.

    I notice that all your released items look wintry. After the comment about jackets in California I’m going to assume that you don’t have huge swings in your wardrobe between Winter/Summer and that’s why your additions and subtractions look out of season to me.

    For me, in a temperate climate, July is a month to quit shopping. The exception is if I go on vacation and need a sports-related wardrobe item – water shoes, swim stuff, hiking shorts… Anything I wanted/needed for Summer has likely already been purchased and things I want/need for Fall aren’t stocked in a full range yet. It keeps me from buying things just because they’re marked-down or because they are new. Better to wait until August when the full Fall season is available and I have more choices.

    If you feel uncomfortable with your current slightly off plan status you might impose a short no-shopping-at-all period that will help you stick to your original plan.

    • We don’t have very huge shifts in weather where I live, Ginger. We basically have summer – which started just recently and lasts usually until October or early November – and the rest of the year. The usual temperatures here are in the 60s and 70s (F), and summer is often in the 80s (and sometimes low 90s). I live near the coast, so it’s cooler than it is in other parts of Southern California. I’m also a big wimp in terms of cold, so I wear jackets when others aren’t.

      What you wrote about July is more true for me for September and October. I tend to buy a lot in June and July and sometimes August, too. September and October should really be very low buying months for me, except that’s when the fall items are in the stores. I try to buy for what I need NOW, but the retailers make it tough sometimes. They are all on the same schedule even though the weather here is very different from the rest of the country. It’s really frustrating, but we have to work with what we have. It sounds like the retail schedule works well for you but not as much for me. I agree that it’s easier to shop when we have more choices.

      I agree with what you wrote about my limit. I may do a shopping hiatus at some point, especially if I get too close to the edge. I’m sure I will have more to share on this soon and definitely in my next accountability update.

  31. Remember that parable about the mote in the other’s eye and the plank in one’s own? Your decision to be open and frank about what you buy/let go/budget and so forth is unusually accountable. Few people are willing to be so open and share their mistakes as well as their whoop whoop look at me moments.

    If people are going to criticise, that is their choice as you allow comments. But bear in mind that it is highly unlikely that they have even begun to put their own shopping habits under such microscopic and public review. You have quite the upper hand 🙂

    I got hauled over the coals for going very public about the political party I supported (and have done ever since I got the vote 32 years ago) becauase I have, in my life, made decisions that were not in line with said party. Well what a surprise. I am a human being. I am fallible, I am sometimes a bit of a hypocrite. The difference between them and me and them and you is that we know what we believe, we keep striving to achieve it and if we make a mistake we acknowledge it and move on.

    I think you are doing a fabulous job and I loved the edgy moto jacket 🙂

    • I really appreciate your comment and understanding, Gillie. You are so right! We are ALL fallible, but some of us put ourselves out there more and are thus more prone to being criticized. I don’t want to change who I am because some people feel the need to rake me over the coals. I know this blog is helpful to a lot of people and that they benefit from both my posts and the comments. I may have to adjust the way I respond to comments because I’m getting a lot more of them these days (which is really a blessing), but I don’t want to penalize any readers because a few are being mean from time to time. Thanks for acknowledging my progress and my courage – much appreciated!

  32. I just love your blog! I only discovered it a few weeks ago, and I’ve really enjoyed it. You have helped me see that I do have a problem and that I am in fact a shopaholic. I’m in my twenties and I’ve always been known as the girl who loves to shop! I remember being a teenager and using up all my money on cheap clothing, shoes, purses and makeup. Shopping was for a long time my only hobby, and the only thing I felt that I was good at. It only escalated when I moved out of my parents house at 19. I was far away from home, I didn’t have a job yet and I only had classes a few times a week. I was lonely, bored and I also dealt with low self-esteem issues (which I believe is clearly linked to shopping too much). I accumulated so much stuff and wasted so much money st that period of my life. Then I finally got a job and I started on a new degree. I’m in a much better place now. Ironically I now work at a clothing store and study retail. I still find the whole retail industry very interesting and I love fashion, I just don’t feel that I need to buy everything myself anymore. Through my job I see so many people buying so much crap, some women even come to the store 3-4 times a week and seem to pick up whatever they’re in the mood for that day. I struggle a bit with the fact that my future career will be sentered around making people buy more, but my focus is quality, not quantity. It would be very interesting working with a sustainable company.
    Your blog as helped me pairing down my wardrobe and I’m almost done with that now! I know what my style is now and what colors work for me. I prefer classic pieces in black, white and grey – and colors like blue and brown. I still struggle with shopping being a hobby. I’ve tried to focus on other things to do, I enjoy taking long walks, reading, movies and travelling to mention a few, but shopping is a favorite. Thankfully I can now browse stores without buying something!

    • I appreciate your sharing your story, Anna. Congratulations on the wonderful progress you’ve made as of late! I’m so happy that my blog has played a role in your success. I can relate to the story of your early years and to shopping being your primary hobby. That’s a hard one to break for many of us. Someone wrote about that in the comments to Jill Chivers’ guest post (the last post, one shopping hiatuses). Jill responded that it takes time, but we will likely grow to love our new hobbies even more than shopping. We just have to keep on keeping on, one day at a time. So that’s what I’m doing. I still feel the pull to shop and it’s often the first thing I think of when I have some free time or when I’m going through a very stressful situation. But I’m pushing myself to do other things and I’m gradually starting to love some of those things on par with shopping! I plan to write about that in a post soon, but for now I just wanted to encourage you to keep up the great work. You seem to be on the right track!

  33. Question for everyone. If you have signed up to be notified of follow-up comments, are you receiving them? I stopped receiving comment notifications last week and I’m not sure why! I’m trying to troubleshoot, but I’m just wondering if this is something that’s just affecting me or if it’s affecting everyone else, too. If you can let me know if you’re still getting the comment notifications, that will help me in my efforts to figure things out. Thanks!

    • I receive ALL the comments, comments on comments, and questions on comments on comments. LOL!

      • Wow, that much be overkill, Bette! I think the option is pretty much all or nothing at this point in terms of comment notifications. I’m glad the notifications are working for you (and hopefully others, too). If it’s just me that’s not getting them, it’s still a problem (since it’s my blog!), but not as big a problem as I thought might be taking place.

      • Thanks, Tonya! I’m glad you and Bette (and hopefully everyone else who wants them) are getting the notifications. I’m still trying to troubleshoot on my end. Hopefully I’ll get it figured out soon!

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