Back in July, I wrote about the benefits of keeping an outfit journal and shared that I had started keeping one myself. Now that I’ve been maintaining this journal for two months, I thought it would be useful to update you on how it’s going. In today’s post, I outline what I’ve learned about my wardrobe preferences and personal style through logging my daily ensembles.
My outfit journal has been even more helpful than I ever anticipated it would be. I’ve learned a great deal about what I like, what I dislike, what I need, and what I don’t need through this process. Along the way, I’ve also substantially increased the number of outfits I like. During July, I had one outfit I rated a “6” on a scale of one to ten and five “7” outfits, with the remainder of my ensembles being “8”s or higher. In August, there was still one “6” outfit (mostly a result of getting dressed in too much of a hurry!) but no “7” outfits. Every other look I put together last month I rated as an “8” or above. That’s some excellent progress in a very short period of time!
The Good – What I Liked About My Outfits
In reviewing my outfit journal recently, I discovered a lot of positive aspects about my ensembles.
Toning Down the “Church Vibe”
First and foremost, I was very happy to have toned down the “church vibe” in my skirt and dress outfits. The main way I did this was through wearing more casual shoes and toppers. Instead of completing my looks with heels and knit blazers, I instead wore flat or very low-heeled sandals and either short cardigans or moto-style jackets. As a result, I felt I was dressed far more appropriately for my casual lifestyle and I fit in a lot better with the people around me. My feet were also happier and I was able to walk for longer periods of time without pain or discomfort.
Dresses for the Win
I also found that I really preferred to wear dresses over skirts the past two months. I like the ease and comfort of dresses for hot, summer days. It’s very simple to just throw on a dress and a few accessories and get out the door, whereas it can take more time to put together a skirt outfit. I will always like skirts as well, but I’m finding myself leaning more and more toward dresses this year.
I was also very happy with the jewelry and accessories I wore. Since I didn’t push myself to wear “benchwarmers” and simply selected the pieces I liked the most, I found myself wearing many of the same accessories over and over again. True to my style, I enjoyed wearing silver and gold hybrids, as well as black and silver combination items. Long necklaces and statement earrings also received a lot of play, but I didn’t wear them together. Since I have more of a minimalist style aesthetic (though not necessarily a minimalist wardrobe), I usually prefer to wear only one statement piece per outfit.
Other July/August Wardrobe Wins
Here are some other things I liked about my July and August outfits:
- A few items that were “benchwarmers” in previous years have turned into wardrobe favorites this summer. Examples of this are my floral tank, black ruffled top, zigzag striped skirt, and pewter embellished sandals, pictured below.
- I have also resurrected some jewelry pieces from yesteryear that I’m glad I held on to. Even though I hadn’t worn them in a while, I kept them because I still liked the style. I don’t necessarily think we need to purge all items we haven’t worn recently, but I do feel it’s a good idea to review what we have and ask ourselves why we’re not wearing certain pieces. It never hurts to ask ourselves questions about the items we own!
- I’m starting to really appreciate dresses and skirts with asymmetrical or high-low hemlines. I have two of each and they have been among my favorites this summer.
- I love that I have narrowed down my color palette and I’m really enjoying wearing garments in my key colors.
- I’ve also tried some fresh new color combinations, including cobalt with either burgundy or deep orange. For some great color coordination ideas, check out Sally McGraw’s Pinterest board dedicated to that subject.
The Bad – What I Didn’t Like So Much
Writing in my outfit journal also helped me to discover the aspects of my ensembles that I didn’t like so much. While it’s not fun to dislike elements of our looks, such knowledge can help us to turn things around. In my situation, it was mostly a case of how I combined garments together, but I also learned it was time to pass some pieces along.
Fussy Garments Rescued Through Easy Alterations
I discovered that alterations were in order for particular items, including many of my tank tops. Even though I’m tall, the straps on tank tops and sleeveless dresses are often too long for me, probably because most of my height is in my arms and legs. After shortening the straps on a few tops and dresses – an easy alteration, I was able to turn “fussy” pieces into garments that I will love and wear frequently. Here are a few examples of items I altered in this way:
I also shortened two tank tops that had previously been combined with pants but weren’t being worn very often. These tops have now been given new life by being paired with skirts. One has already been worn several times and hopefully the other will become a closet favorite as well.
What to Do with the Knit Blazers?
Now that all seems like pretty good news thus far, but not all of the things I disliked about my outfits were so easy to fix. I still love my knit blazers but feel they often look too dressy for my casual lifestyle. Bridgette Raes suggested that I pair them with jeans instead, but I don’t really like the way this looks in most instances. The resulting outfits look good from the front, but the back view is less than stellar, as the jacket hem hits me in an unflattering spot. I may try wearing a longer top under the jacket to see if that helps, but if not, I’ll probably just save my favorite knit blazers to wear for dressier occasions with skirts and dresses.
Those Problematic Cropped Pants
I also tried to wear cropped pants (I currently own just one pair) twice and those outfits received low ratings (“6”s). The outfits looked okay in the photos I took, but I didn’t feel all that good wearing them. I felt my legs looked chunky and I found myself longing for the comfort of my beloved dresses and skirts. I would really like to find some summer pants – or even shorts – that I like because some activities really do call more for pants than skirts. I don’t have all that many such events in my life, but a couple of go-to summer pants outfits that both look and feel good would help a lot with my overall sartorial satisfaction.
Down with Synthetic, Fussy, and Flimsy Bottoms!
In regards to skirts and dresses, I greatly prefer those that are made from natural fibers. I still have a few pieces that are synthetic and they don’t wear well on hot days. I either experience static cling or the garment sticks to my backside when I stand up after sitting for a while.
I also prefer garments that have some substance and/or structure to them. I purged one flimsy skirt last month after having to fuss around with it too much. I’d really like to be able to put my clothes on and mostly forget about them while I go about my life. I’m done with fussy clothing! If something can’t be fixed with a simple alteration, it’s out the door.
What I Bought as a Result of the Journal
My outfit journal has also helped me to identify a few wardrobe needs that I’ve been able to fill over the past two months. These items were either shown in last month’s accountability update or will be featured in the one for August, to be posted soon.
Since I’ve been happier wearing flatter shoes with my skirt and dress outfits, I replaced my metallic Ecco sandals that had passed their prime. I also purchased a similar pair in black after returning the defective embellished sandals (the ones whose strap wouldn’t stay on my foot) to Nordstrom last month. These are the main two pairs of shoes I’ve been wearing ever since! I really don’t need a lot of shoe options now that I’ve been able to identify what works best for my lifestyle and style desires.
I also purchased a new pair of jeans last month that are identical to the pair I wore most often this past winter and spring. I hemmed the new pair for flats (the original pair has been mostly worn with boots) and I know I’ll be happier with my jeans ensembles as a result. I also plan to hem another pair of jeans to wear with flats, as they are just a touch too long at this point and wrinkle in an unflattering way when worn with my favorite ballet flats. This will give me a few jeans options for my fall/spring outfits. I’ll then be able to get rid of at least one pair of less flattering jeans (if not more).
I found myself wishing I had a white cardigan to top many of my outfits, as well as a better quality black cardigan. Fortunately, I was able to find good options for both during August, and at low prices, too! My final purchases made as a result of the journal were two low-profile bras in nude and black. I found that my bras would often show when worn with some of my summer tops and dresses. That annoyance decreased my ratings of the outfits in question. The new bras eliminate the fussy factor and I’m now much happier when wearing many of my ensembles. I was able to take advantage of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale to purchase my favorite brand of bras, which are usually quite pricey. I probably would have bought the bras anyway, but the outfit journal alerted me to the need at just the right time.
My Shopping Priorities Have Shifted
In addition to the purchases I outlined above, I’ve also revised my shopping priorities list as a result of what I’ve learned through the journal (as well as my virtual styling session with Bridgette Raes). Most of the new priorities I’ve identified are not urgent but are things I can purchase when I find the right items and as my budget allows. I’m now more keenly aware of what works best for lifestyle, as well as my body and my evolving style aesthetic. Here are a few examples:
- Since I now prefer dresses over skirts, it would be nice to add a few more to my closet, particularly those that can be worn year-round (a definite possibility with the temperate climate of my home town).
- In the same vein, it would be nice to have a few warmer tops to pair with my skirts. As Bridgette told me, this would keep the casual look I’m after while allowing me to wear skirts more often when it’s cooler outside.
- Since most of my pants are quite unforgiving in the hip and thigh area, I would like to purchase a few looser pairs to accommodate water retention and small weight fluctuations. As it is now, many of my pants feel uncomfortable when my weight increases even a small amount, as it all tends to go straight to my lower region. I’d love to be able to feel comfortable in pants during those times when I’m not as slim as I’d like to be. This should be doable, as my weight doesn’t fluctuate that much!
- I’d like to have at least one pair of cropped pants or shorts that I feel good in. My preference would be for a pair of black sporty capris. I used to have a pair I really liked, but they passed their prime and were purged from my closet. The current styles seem to be pretty fitted in the legs, but I’d love to find a pair that is more forgiving for those of us who are not slight of thigh!
- My accessory needs were clarified by means of the journal and my work with Bridgette Raes. I’m looking for a pair or two of bright shoes, as well as a few non-neutral pieces of jewelry. I’d also like to find a handbag in cobalt blue, burgundy, or emerald green. I can see how these items would help to “pop” my neutral pieces and increase my outfit satisfaction.
Some Final Thoughts
As you can see, I have gained a lot of valuable insights from just two short months of maintaining an outfit journal. As a result, I now like more of my outfits and have made better purchases. I also feel that I’m dressed much more appropriately for my real life, not the imaginary one in which I attend lots of dressy events.
As the summer draws to a close, I plan to purge some additional items that I don’t feel fab in or don’t suit my real life. I’ll likely hold on to some pieces I still love even if I’m not wearing them right now, but I’m talking about a relatively small capsule, not a large chunk of my wardrobe.
I intend to continue my outfit journal at least through the end of the year and possibly for as long as a full calendar year (through June 2015). I’d like to see how much my wardrobe continues to evolve as a result of my style introspection, as well as the work I’m doing with Bridgette Raes. I will likely do another update on this subject later in the year. I will also share my August accountability update, a revised 2014 purchase analysis, and a wardrobe benchwarmer report soon, as well as continue to delve more deeply into subjects related to having a fuller life.
I know some of you have started keeping outfit journals following my July post on the benefits of this practice. If you’re open to sharing how it’s going for you, I’d love to read your thoughts and I’m sure others would, too. Likewise, if you’ve been using other helpful methods to improve your style this year, please comment on your progress and insights. While an outfit journal can be quite illuminating, it’s not the only way to go. We all benefit from the sharing that happens in the comments section of this blog, so please let us know what’s worked best for you!
Dumb question but what are low profile bras?
Not a dumb question at all, Cynthia 🙂 That may not even be the correct term, but it’s what I call them. I’m referring to bras that are cut lower at the top and sides so that they don’t peek out of clothes as much. The ones I got are called the Natori “Feathers” underwire bra – currently full-price at Nordstrom: http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/natori-feathers-underwire-bra/3122001 As the page mentions, this bra runs small. I had to buy one cup size up, but the fit is perfect!
I have been keeping a journal ever since your post about it. It has been one of the most beneficial things I have done. I also discovered that the low scoring outfits were thrown together hurriedly. I am now putting outfits together ahead of time.
As I have analyzed what could be fixed with an outfit, I have kept a running list of small projects – shorten tank straps, shorten necklace, make new bracelet, etc. I have also kept a running list of “Notes to Self” like’ “I hate white tank tops. Try a color instead.” Or “V-neck cardigans don’t lay right across my boobs if the v starts too high.”
At the end of each month, I have made a chart of the outfits with a perfect 10. I plan to keep those by season so I can remember next summer the outfits I loved.
Like you, I have kept a list of things I would like to buy as I find them. I have also become aware that some of my favorite things, like a turquoise sleeveless dress, are pretty low quality and have developed lots of pilling. I have made a commitment to buying higher quality and to paying attention to online reviews. If several buyers mention excessive pilling, I am not going to buy the item no matter how much I like it. And yes, I do have an electric pill shaver and a dedicated razor for de-pilling but they just can’t quite cut it with the amount of pilling I am encountering.
To anyone on the fence about whether to keep a clothing journal, I recommend you give it a try. I keep mine on my ipad and I probably spend no more than 5-10 minutes a day. I think it will save me time and money in the future and is well worth the effort. Plus, I find it to be fun!
Sounds like your experience has been much like mine, Anne. I feel the same way, that it’s one of the most beneficial things I’ve done for my wardrobe and style! I make the same types of notes in my journal, but I love the idea of a separate place for “notes to self.” As it was, I had to go back through the journal to refresh my memory about a few things. I love the perfect 10 outfit chart, too. I haven’t had ALL that many “10”s, but it’s mostly been because I’ve been frustrated with my hair (that’s part of style, too) and have been bloated quite often (which downgrades a rating – not the clothes’ fault!).
Sounds like you’ve really learned a lot and have made some great improvements with your style as a result of the journal. I totally agree that it’s well worth the effort and it only takes me 5-10 minutes a day, too. Very doable for most people!
It makes me smile that you’ve recently discovered the beauty and laziness that is wearing dresses! I LOVE dresses too and wear them with such frequency, that a large section of my
Wardrobe is composed of them. It’s true that they are by far the easiest way to look pulled together in a nano second of time. People often say to me that I look pulled together or wonder how I have time to always look “done” – my secret is a dress. It’s one piece that I literally toss on, add earrings and a pair of shoes and GO! It takes far more time and energy to try and coordinate separates… I can sometimes be lazy (or just hurried) and a dress is a sneaky way to look polished when you aren’t even trying. It’s my secret weapon and I’m so glad you have found it too!
As for hemming your jeans, have you tried doing the “hem re attachment?” I am petite and often have to hem jeans, but I hate the look of a hemmed denim (it just never has that same look and patina as the original hem). My seamstress will cut off the original hem, cut the length of the jean, then reattach the original hem! It looks like the jeans were made for me, and the hem stays true to the original jean. …just a thought since you said you were planning on hemming jeans soon.
Anyway, I love the idea of the journal, which I know you have suggested to me before… Where do you write it down? On your computer? In an actual journal? Perhaps you could share an entry with us (if you feel comfortable) to show us what information you try and include in each entry. How long is each entry? I am very interested to learn more!
I don’t know why I didn’t realize the beauty of dresses sooner, Chelsea! I mean, I always HAD some, but I didn’t wear them all that often. I’m loving wearing them now and I agree that it makes it easier to look put together! As for jeans, I always get the hem reattachment done when I have jeans hemmed (which isn’t very often given my height). I agree that it looks a lot better that way.
In regards to the journal, the entries are usually 1-2 pages of a small spiral bound book and it takes me 5-10 minutes to do each entry. Here’s a same entry for your reference (and for others who are curious). This is one of my earlier entries. I chose this one because there are some problems with the outfit.
What I Wore (just clothes/shoes, I later started tracking jewelry,too):
– purple tank with small ruffles in center
– black skirt with white diagonal stripes
– black Ecco embellished sandals
Where I Went: doctor’s appointment and errands
– I felt pretty attractive in this outfit overall.
– The tank is a great – I like the color, style, and fit.
– The skirt could be better. It’s a bit too big for me and the elastic waistband sometimes rolls over.
– The strap on the shoes keeps falling off my foot, even though I have tightened the band. May return the shoes (ended up doing so…).
– Many of my skirts were bought on consignment and are not excellent. This skirt has had too much done to it (new waistband, shortened) and I had been wearing it the wrong way (I had the front in the back!).
– The style of outfit was good, but I would have struggled with a topper, as I don’t want to look like I’m going to church! A white cardigan would probably work well and look more casual.
As a result of this entry, I returned the sandals and bought a white cardigan (I mentioned that gap in my wardrobe in other entries, too). I still have the skirt, but it’s very likely that I will let it go. I think I wore it another time and made a less than favorable comment, so it should probably head out the door!
I hope this was helpful! I encourage you to try the journal for a month or two. I use a notebook, but Anne (comment above) does it on her iPad. Do whatever is easiest for you. I chose the notebook, as I often just write the notes before I go to sleep and I’m not all that adept at typing on a tablet or my phone).
I keep my journal in a table in Pages (Apple version of Word). Here are the categories I use:
Date, What I Wore Today, How I Felt, What Worked , What Didn’t Work, What I Would Change, How Did It Fit My Style. The table format works great for me. I use word-processing software so I can easily copy and paste to my Perfect 10 list, my Notes to Self, and My Things to Do or Buy lists. Saves time and effort.
Great categories, Anne! I’ve been more free-form about the thoughts/feelings, but I often cover the same topics you mentioned. I like the idea of doing the journal online and I may switch to that for easier reference moving forward. I just started it in a notebook to make it easy and make sure I did it. Great idea to have everything in a table. I’d love to actually see what it looks like, but I know that’s not easy to do. Thanks for sharing!
I don’t keep a journal, but I do snap a picture with my phone and keep it in a folder on my computer. Looking through it I see the outfits that I like best are black or gray drapey tops or peasant tops worn with denim,black, or white capri pants. When I wear prints it’s usually black and white and I also have a few black casual dresses. The shoes that I wore the most were black flip flops or tan sandals. I have jewelry that I love and I wear that to keep things interesting.
I don’t dress up often and I wouldn’t call myself super stylish, but everything that I wear is comfortable and what I like and feel good in. It was very beneficial to see that the colors and styles that I liked best were very small in number. This helped a lot when purging my closet as well as narrowing down what I look at when potentially deciding to buy something new.
Now that you’re wearing your favorites I can really see your style. It looks like it all goes together well and is very you 🙂
Thanks for sharing your method, Tonya! Like I said, there are multiple ways to get to the same type of result and it seems like what you’ve been doing has been very helpful for you. Sometimes a picture really does speak a thousand words, doesn’t it? In my case, I really needed the notes, too, as I often like the way something looks but I didn’t feel all that good or appropriate in it. The combination of the photos and the journal has been what’s made things kick in for me. Perhaps you’re a faster learner 🙂 I’m glad you are seeing a cohesive style in my favorites. I’m glad to be making some sense of things and I think having a smaller wardrobe has helped a lot with that!
I started an outfit journal about a month ago. I haven’t yet reviewed it to count the number of items/wears but I have found it tremendously helpful! It is great to consciously think about what I feel good in and if it’s not working, what specifically is wrong. It has led me to purge some items I never felt good in and start using items I love that had been tucked away- most notably a green bag for work that helps me feel more pulled together. I had planned around the same time to start a project 333 but started the journal instead. One of your posts talked about backing in to a 333 and feels like this is what I am doing. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us!
I’m glad you’re finding the outfit journal helpful, Justine. Thanks for sharing your experience! I think it’s great that you’ve been able to purge some unloved pieces and resurrect some old favorites that hadn’t been getting any play. As for Project 333, that was very helpful for me, too, but “backing into it” like you say can make it much less overwhelming for people. I think that are a lot of methods and challenges that could be helpful for us and it’s best to just pick what resonates the most in the time-being. We can always try other things later. Project 333 will definitely still be there if you feel called to do it down the line!
Oh no – a long post disappeared… So I’ll try and make it shorter :-/.
It’s great that your outfits now score so much higher. The same thing has happened to me since I started tracking (1-5 is my range). They’re not all 5’s, but the average from the last month is 4.6 with only two 3’s. The first month I tracked (April), the average was 3.6, with 12 3’s and two 2’s.
I love the four items that used to be benchwarmers – it’s great that you found a way to make them work:-). Lovely items!
I smiled when I read the part about dressing for your imaginary life – but try to hold on to it just a little bit? I live in the city, but work with a lot of people who live in the country side. In the city I blend in – you know with the other moms at school or shopping in the city, but at work I stick out. But darn it, I wear heels, and all the people in their flats just have to look up!
I’m so sorry to learn that you lost a long post! I know there were some server issues earlier in the day, so perhaps there were more problems later. I hope that doesn’t happen very often to people, as I know it can be SO frustrating! Thanks for coming back and writing another comment.
I think it’s great that you’re tracking and rating your outfits, too. I didn’t do an average for my outfits, but now I want to do it, too (yes, we’re cut from the same cloth – numbers geeks!). Thanks for your compliment on my former benchwarmers. I’m glad I kept them around and am now wearing them. As for dressing for my imaginary life, I’m trying to find a “middle ground.” I don’t really want to dress down as much as most people do around here, but I don’t want to have the “church vibe,” either. Fortunately, I’m finding a way to make it work little by little. I like to wear heels, too, but can’t walk for very long in them, so I limit the heels wearing for going to dinner and other occasions when I’ll be sitting more than standing and walking.
Debbie, thank you for reminding me about this. I didn’t get around to journaling my outfits, though I do track my wears on a spreadsheet. I started tracking my outfits using my Stylitics app mid-August, so I went back and journaled from Sep 1st to today. I already found an unusual trend- I always thought I loved color, but my best outfits have all been neutrals with only one pop of color. I plan to do this at least a month and see what new insights I gain!
I’d love to hear what you think of the Stylitics app, Meli. I would like to find a wardrobe management app to use and it would be great to get feedback from someone I know. Tracking via a spreadsheet sounds like it would be helpful, too. I love that there are various methods that people are using and they are all yielding wonderful and beneficial insights. I look forward to learning how the outfit journal goes for you. How great that you learned something already from tracking the first few days of the month!
I’m continuing with my spreadsheet for now. I can easily see my closet totals, how many of each item I have, etc. In my stats, it shows a color pallet for each category (Apparel, footwear, accessories) and your top 3 most worn items and 3 least worn items. It gives you an average price paid for each category (my blouses average $34.21, my Jewelry averages $14.06, etc). It’s pretty nifty and I like it. There’s a community aspect if you make your profile public and you can see other public profiles closets and outfits but not details. You also can link your zip code to get the weather forecast so you can plan outfits.
BTW my comments constantly time out… this is prob how people lose comments, I have to copy and paste it and keep trying to post until it posts…
sorry, my comment cut short the beginning (bad cut/pasting)… I will use stylitics exclusively next year. My stylitics app is missing outfits from Jan-mid Aug, so I’m continuing to use my spreadsheet for now.
Thanks for your reply, Meli. The Stylitics app sounds pretty interesting and comprehensive. How great that it makes computations like average price – I would be interested to learn things like that. The weather forecast feature is nice, too, as well as the color palette and most/least worn items. I may have to check this one out and see if it’s one I want to use, too.
Regarding the comments timing out, do you notice this when you comment on other blogs, too, or just mine? It only happens once in a while for me. I’m trying to figure out what the problem might be. I’m not super techie, but I’d like to see if I can fix the problem if it’s happening to multiple people. Thanks and sorry for the inconvenience.
So glad you are moving towards dresses. Separates are so often promoted as versatile, but it’s so easy to get the combination, proportions, patterns and colors wrong. With dresses you look pulled together instantly, and can add variety with cardigans, jackets and accessories. Look forward to seeing what styles you chose.
You are so right about dresses, Lynn! I don’t know why I didn’t get it before… I’m definitely a convert now, though. I found two new dresses in August and they will be in my next accountability report. I don’t want to go TOO crazy with buying dresses (or anything, for that matter), but I am happy to have more dresses to choose from and am enjoying wearing them more often.
I lost a reply last evening too! So I’ll be brief. I have been keeping a journal since May 1 of this year, and I find it invaluable. It helps me see where my two lives intersect wardrobe-wise, and where they done. I work full-time in an office and am also primary caregiver for my husband, which entails almost daily hospital visits and doctor appts. My journal has shown me that my outfits and clothing pieces do not overlap as much as I might have thought between the work wardrobe and the more casual caregiver attire. Seeing it all in black and white, what I wore when and how many days I wore more than one outfit was really helpful in planning future needs. I plan to continue my journal indefinitely or until I feel it no longer provides me value.
I’m really sorry your initial comment was lost, Holly. Like I told Mette, I think there were some server issues that made some comments time out. Sometimes some of my responses get lost, too, but fortunately it doesn’t happen very often. I appreciate your coming back to comment.
How wonderful that you’ve been keeping an outfit journal since May 1st! It seems like you’ve really learned some valuable insights over the past few months. Like you, I’ve found the journal very helpful in planning future needs and I also plan to continue it for as long as it benefits me. It sounds like your life is very busy and it’s tough for your wardrobe to do double-duty with the two main parts of your day. I hope you find a way to make it all more workable for you in the coming months. I wish you and your husband all the best.
Thanks for yet another very insightful and instructive post! I’m particularly enjoying all the comments on various forms of journaling outfits. Although I am not recording them yet, I have started grading my daily outfits using standard school letter grades: A plus, A, A minus, etc. Since I am not very visual and don’t have an easy way to photograph my daily outfits, I’m trying to focus more on how they make me feel, both the “fussy” factor that Debbie speaks of, and whether or not I feel attractive wearing it. These have also become my highest criteria for whether to keep or return on-line purchases, and I am pleased to be able to report that after going completely off the rails over the holiday weekend with sale shopping, I have already returned about 60% of what I bought. A few more items will be going back – still waiting on some shipments to arrive, which include multiple sizing options and extra items bought to earn free shipping (please tell me I am not the only one who does this!) In the “win” column, I found the exact pair of $400 Aquatalia waterproof suede ankle boots that were on my wish list at Nordstrom for fall in like-new condition on eBay for $129 with free shipping – SCORE! They arrived today and may possibly be the most comfortable shoe I’ve ever put on my foot. Not the most flattering, but I’m getting to an age where comfort means more. It’s still one step forward and two steps back for me, but I learn so much from Debbie’s posts and from all your comments.
I’m glad you liked this post, TexasAggieMom. I think that ANY type of logging or tracking that we do can be beneficial, so what you’ve started with sounds great. You can always choose to add more things to track as time goes on if desired. I’m happy I’ve started to pay more attention to whether or not things are “fussy,” as that’s a big reason why I don’t end up wearing my clothes.
Congrats on making all those returns after overshopping! I know it’s not easy to do, but it helps to undo some of the damage done. How wonderful that you found the Aquatalia boots on eBay, too. I’d love to find some boots like that one day, too, but it’s less of a priority for me at this point. I agree with you about comfort being more of a priority as we get older.
I feel like I have a lot of ups and downs with my recovery, too, but if we keep on keeping on, we’ll get there eventually. I’m glad that my blog and all of the comments are helping you along the way!
Hi Debbie — I’ve been following your journey now for a while but this is the first time I’ve commented. I just wanted to say thank you so much for your honest, candor and generosity in sharing everything you’ve learned. I really love reading your blog entries.
It’s been especially interesting for me as I never would have considered myself a shopaholic. It seemed I was almost the opposite because I hated shopping (finding things that fit well, in the color and material I envisioned, etc.) It’s almost like I always shopped with such a specific list, I could never find anything that fit the bill, and the whole thing felt like a waste of time.
What’s interesting, though is, that because of this, if I did find a genre of things I liked (brand, style, etc.), I’d buy multiples. For example, I found I really liked Banana Republic wrap dresses (as you’ve recently discovered, dresses are such an easy way to put together an outfit.) So I went on eBay and basically bought all the BR wrap dresses I could find in my size. I got them for great prices, and they all looked pretty good on me, but at the max counting, I must have had over 25 BR dresses. While I do work in an office and the dresses all got worn, it seemed pretty excessive.
I also found that I needed so many dresses because I couldn’t mix and match to create different outfits. I discovered your blog, and Audrey’s puttingmetogether and started figuring out how to reduce the number of pieces and still have plenty of options.
Since the spring, I have purged at least 200 items from my closet (the other problem with heavily investing in a style like I did was that when you or your body changes, entire swaths of your closet are no longer fun to wear.) I’ve built up a much more flexible wardrobe that reflects who I am today (not who I was 1, 2, or even 3 years ago.)
Now I have about 100 items including scarves, shoes, and coats (not jewelry, but I don’t have that much anyway) which covers me for 4 definitive seasons (from -20 degrees F to 98 degrees F), a corporate job, mommy duty, and evenings out. It feels great!
Thanks so much for the inspiration, and for putting in all the time and energy into sharing your story. You’ve come so far since you started this blog and you’ve encouraged so many people along the way. Great job!
I live in a similar climate to you and had almost the same story!! I overshopped in the same way, but also didnt refine a style or understand proper fit or proportion or fabric quality! I bought probably 23 a-line skirts on ebay for example because I had one I liked. But I also used shopping as a band-aid for stress, mild depression, etc etc and became a shopaholic. Debbies blog changed my life, and this year I made some real progress and am excited for the future!
Thanks so much for your comment, Karen. I’m so glad my blog has inspired you so much and I appreciate your taking the time to let me know and share some of your journey. I think it’s really common for many women – shopaholics and not – to buy “multiples.” I know I did it a lot and sometimes it makes sense, but not usually to buy as many as what you and Meli mentioned (and what I used to do, too). It seems smart, but then changes happen and we have a bunch of items we used to love and wear that aren’t serving us anymore. Congrats on your downsizing and cultivating a wardrobe that works much better for your life today. I wish you the best of luck in the future and hope you’ll come back again to share how you’re doing.
Meli, thanks for adding your feedback, too. I feel so honored and humbled when you say my blog has changed your life. I’m so happy that I’ve been able to positively impact others who have struggled in similar ways to me. You have also made amazing progress and I’m enjoying following your journey, too!
I also have learned that I do not care for cropped trousers. I’d rather sport shorts in extreme heat but in truth I am in a/c so often, full length trousers (well jeans usually) work just fine for me!
I also prefer full-length trousers, Lisa. I haven’t worn shorts in a while, but it doesn’t get all that hot where I live usually. In the summer, I usually wear skirts and dresses if it’s hot and pants when it’s cooler. I wonder if cropped pants really work for those of us who have larger hips and thighs. I haven’t thought they were very flattering on me, but I wondered if I just hadn’t found the right fit yet. But no such luck so far and I may just give up on it!