It’s now November and the holidays are right around the corner. Sometimes I wonder where this year has gone! Before we know it, 2015 will be here. I should probably check in with you soon regarding my wardrobe and life goals for 2014, but for now it’s time for my October accountability update.
For those who are new to “Recovering Shopaholic,” these monthly reports are where I share what came into and left my closet during the previous month, what I wore, and how I did with my shopping budget and rules. It’s my way of keeping myself honest and on track with my goals, and some readers have opted to share their own updates in the comments section to stay accountable, too.
What Left My Closet and Why
I always start these reports with what left my closet during the previous month. In October, I purged four items from my wardrobe:
- 1 dress
- 1 pair of shoes
- 1 top
- 1 skirt
Sadly, both the dress and skirt were purchased this year and were only worn twice and once, respectively. I’m still making mistakes with my shopping, but doing these updates is helping me to learn from my errors and gradually improve my track record.
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. I highly recommend that you keep track of why you purge things from your closet, too, as it will really increase your awareness. Pinpointing our reasons for purging wardrobe items can help us to notice patterns and avoid future mistakes.
Starting at the left from the photo above, here’s what I let go of and why:
- Black and cream print midi dress: I wrote an entire post about why I’m passing this dress on, so I don’t need to elaborate too much here. One thing I will say, though, is that the dress was yet another consignment buying mistake! Fortunately, I’ve steered away from resale shopping (my recent analysis scared me straight, I think!) and have shopped retail stores and e-commerce sites exclusively for the past two months – and counting.
- Black and cream print ballet flats: I really wanted these shoes to work out, as they were comfortable and I loved the print. However, when wearing them around my apartment (which I often do with shoes to double-check the comfort factor), I noticed that they were very slippery on our hard-wood floor. Since I don’t want to slip and fall when I’m out and about, I opted to return the shoes to the store. These shoes were a bit lower-priced than most of the shoes I purchase, so perhaps the rubber sole was of inferior quality. I think I’m going to stick with higher-end shoes from now on, as the last thing I need to do is land on my posterior in public!
- Black and cream striped top: This top is a few years old but hadn’t been worn very much. This was an example of a top that looked good when I was standing still, but didn’t stay in place well. The cowl-style neck would often hang in a funny way and the material in general would stretch such that the stripes looked curved instead of straight. I was going to wear it last week and changed into something else just before leaving my house. At that point, I decided it was time for the top to go! I’m really done with “fussy” clothes and am gradually purging all of the ones I have from my closet.
- Denim flared skirt: Sigh… This was yet another consignment store failure. I think I purchased this skirt with “sales goggles” on; either that or I grew impatient after searching for over a year to find the right denim skirt for me. In any event, I didn’t like the way this skirt looked or felt during its one wearing last month. The material was too stiff and the hem was simply too flared for my current style aesthetic. I have a denim pencil skirt on order that I hope will fit my needs, but if not, I’ll keep looking. Some items on my shopping priorities list have been there for months or even years, but that’s okay. It’s better to be patient and wait for what we truly want than to settle for less!
What Came Into My Closet
My primary buying focus during October centered on the often neglected areas of my wardrobe. I purchased a few new tops and pants to wear while working out and lounging at home. I also took advantage of an online sale to buy some new underwear. I’m going to make a habit of re-evaluating these areas of my closet at least twice per year, as I spend a lot of time exercising and feel much better about myself when I’m wearing clothes that are in good condition. And it goes without saying how very important our foundation garments are to the look and feel of our outfits. I know it’s more fun to shop for other areas of our wardrobes, but we’re better off spending our money on those things we wear most often.
In addition to the items mentioned above, I also added 3 new garments to my standard wardrobe:
- 1 pair of jeans
- 2 long-sleeved tops
Those pieces are shown in the photo below. I don’t have photos of the workout tees and pants, but you can view details about them here and here if you’re interested (the pants are available in petite, regular, and tall lengths and are very comfortable). I don’t often post links here, but I know it can be very difficult to find tees that aren’t flimsy, as well as comfortable pants for wearing to the gym or around the house. Of course, opinions will vary and you may not like the items I’ve chosen, but sometimes we need all the help we can get!
Why I Added These Items to My Wardrobe
Here are my reasons for selecting my October items:
- Black jeans: I’ve been trying to replace my circa-2007 black jeans for years now, but haven’t had any luck. Everything I’ve found previously has either been too short for my giraffe legs or much too skinny in fit to be comfortable. My new jeans are billed as “trouser jeans,” but they are more fitted and less flared (at least on me) than what’s generally the case for that style. They also have a decent amount of stretch in them, so I’m hoping they will be comfortable for all-day wear. The jeans are currently with my tailor for a slight alteration, but I look forward to wearing them soon.
- Navy/turquoise waffle top: Waffle-weave tops are a go-to item for me during the cooler months. I wear them when working at home, as well as when I go out to run errands or for a casual event (which almost all of my life occasions are). I love stripes, as you know, but I’m trying to buy them more sparingly and expand my color options beyond the standard black and white. Turquoise is a favorite color of mine and navy is a nice alternative to my stand-by of black. I see myself wearing this top with jeans a lot over the coming 6-8 months.
- Purple waffle top with grey trim: My reason for purchasing this top is the same as for the navy/turquoise one. In fact, I bought them at the same time and have already worn this one. I love the color and the top is very comfortable.
I also purchased a pair of jeans during the same shopping trip as when I bought the two waffle tops, but I’m going to return them and hold out for a better option. The jeans look great on me, but don’t pass the comfort test. After wearing them around my apartment for a short period of time, I started having pins-and-needles nerve pain in my legs. The jeans are billed as “straight-legs,” but they’re pretty skinny on me and the material isn’t stretchy enough to eliminate pain issues.
Ponte knit has been suggested to me by several readers, so I’m going to search long and hard for pants made from that material in tall sizes. I hope to find some, as the weather is finally cooling down and I really need to find pants that I can comfortably wear all day long. Many of my pants are fine for a few hours or if I’m mostly going to be standing, but I’ve gotten into trouble too many times with pants that are painful to sit in. I don’t know how many of you share my struggle. For all I know, I may be alone in it, as I see women wearing ultra-tight pants all the time. Either they’re suffering for the sake of fashion or they feel perfectly comfortable in their pants. Whatever the case may be, I’m determined to find a solution to my pants conundrum. Life’s too short to wear uncomfortable pants, at least for me!
And Then There’s the Accessories…
I’ve written quite a bit about my efforts to pare down my jewelry collection (see my two most recent posts on this topic here and here). I didn’t realize until recently just how overloaded that area of my wardrobe had become. Although I don’t have a set limit for how many accessories I can buy, I find it helpful to report my new acquisitions each month and stay accountable to all of you.
Last month, I managed to purge 26 pieces of jewelry from my collection. The details are recapped in this post, but here’s a reminder of the items I’m passing on:
By contrast, I only purchased two new jewelry pieces during October. Not only do I love my new items, I also feel they are quite different in style from what I already have. Here’s a snapshot of the new earrings and necklace I bought last month. Read on for my reasons for making these purchases.
- Silver/green beaded earrings: I love the art deco style of these earrings. They are lightweight and just the right length to be striking but not overwhelming. I wear a lot of green and blue and feel these earrings will coordinate well with my outfits. They’ll also look nice with my black, purple, burgundy, and grey garments.
- Green beaded necklace: When Bridgette Raes reviewed my jewelry collection last month, one of her primary observations was that almost all of my necklaces were silver. I vowed to add a few colored necklaces to my collection and was thrilled to find this green statement necklace a little over a week ago. I love that it’s adjustable and frames my face quite nicely. The color looks good with my complexion and hair, as well as with my cool-toned color palette.
2014 Item Limit Update
When I originally laid out my shopping and wardrobe goals for the year back in January, I decided to dramatically reduce the number of items I purchase. Although I originally set an item limit of 38 for the year, I opted to raise it to 53 back in July. This will still represent a 30% reduction over what I bought last year but is more doable for me than my initial item limit.
As of the end of September, I had purchased 45 qualifying items (workout clothing, accessories, undergarments, and gifts don’t count). During October, I returned one item and added three, for a net addition of two items. Consequently, I am now at 47 new items for the year and can add up to 6 more garments, shoes, and purses to my closet before December 31st. So basically I can add three new items per month and still meet my goal.
October Budget Report
My budget for clothing and related purchases (shoes, accessories, alterations) for 2014 is $3000, which is $250 per month. However, since I overspent my budget during July, I lowered my monthly allocation to $200 for the remainder of the year.
During October, I spent a total of $289.05 on garments and accessories. However, because of returns made back in September, I am still under my budget for the year by $44.79. As long as I don’t spend more than $444.79 on clothing and related purchases between now and December 31st, I will finish 2014 under budget for the second year in a row.
That feels very doable to me at this point, but I have to remain mindful of my spending with Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the holidays coming up. I had planned to allow myself a larger budget for the last two months of the year, but since I overspent during the summer, I no longer have that option. I just have to remain strong and remember both my commitments and my needs (which are much lower than my wants!) and I will finish the year on a high note!
What I Wore
Since April 2013, I’ve been keeping track of the garments and shoes I wear each month, as well as how many times they get worn. This helps me to better understand which items are my favorites and which ones should perhaps be passed on for donation or consignment.
During October, I wore 29 garments and 7 pairs of shoes, which is not that much larger than a Project 333 wardrobe capsule. I actually wore 7 fewer garments in October than I did during September. It’s getting easier and easier for me to get by with less, especially since I’m no longer forcing myself to wear wardrobe “benchwarmers.” If I wear something and am not happy with it, it’s much easier for me to pass it along instead of agonizing over how to make it work.
I still struggle with guilty feelings over wasted dollars, but I’m realizing more and more that making ourselves feel bad over “sunk costs” is counterproductive to our growth. It’s far better to let go of unloved pieces and internalize the lesson than to hang on to closet mistakes just because we spent ill-advised money on them. If we’re not using the items anyway, what good are they doing hanging in our closets? Wouldn’t it be better to pass them on to someone who can use them and focus on wearing those pieces we do love? I think so!
Here’s a photo of the items I wore during October 2014:
October was still pretty hot where I live, so I mostly wore dresses and skirts and didn’t need toppers much of the time. My color palette is getting tighter, with mostly black, blue, green, and burgundy items taking center stage. My shoes are still mostly black and metallic, but I’ve been enjoying wearing my new blue sandals over the past two months. Now that it’s getting cooler, I expect to also start wearing my new burgundy ballet flats and I may opt to add another pair of colored shoes to my closet before the year is over (or perhaps early in 2015).
Next Steps and Conclusion
My primary focus for the remainder of the year (in terms of my wardrobe anyway) will be to add a few new pairs of comfortable pants to my closet. As I’ve mentioned numerous times in the past, pants are my most challenging wardrobe item. I used to avoid shopping for pants because it’s so frustrating, but that led to a major closet gap that adversely impacted many of my outfits. Over the past year or so, I’ve gradually been working to upgrade my pants wardrobe, but it hasn’t been an easy road. I have to order most of my pants online because of my height and I probably return at least five times as many items as I keep.
But I’m going to remain vigilant and committed, as I know my persistence will pay off. Other closet priorities include slimmer style skirts and a few replacement pairs of shoes. I understand that these purchases will likely filter into next year and I’m okay with that. I’m becoming more patient and willing to wait for the right items, rather than buying out of urgency and only wearing something a few times before realizing it just doesn’t meet my needs after all.
I’m also going to continue my outfit journal and follow through on the styling suggestions given to me by Bridgette Raes (see here, here, and here). I feel like I’m finally finding a sense of style that resonates for me after many years of aimless and frenetic shopping. I have found that I dress better with fewer clothes in my closet and that I buy smarter when I purchase less overall.
It takes a long time to cultivate a workable wardrobe, but I feel I’m making good progress as a result of my commitment and the awareness I’ve gained through blogging for almost two years. Now I just have to keep on keeping on and taking it one day at a time. With a little faith and a lot of hard work, I’ll get to where I want to be!
Your Thoughts and Experiences?
Now it’s your turn to chime in. How did you do with your shopping and wardrobe during October? Did you end the month on a high note, or were you challenged with overshopping or other issues? What are your plans for finishing 2014 powerfully? Please let me and your fellow readers know how we can support you in honoring your commitments to yourself and making progress on your goals. Feel free to share your wins, challenges, and questions in the comments section of this post.