The End of Season Wardrobe Analysis

Most people around the world switch out their wardrobes a few times each year as the seasons change.  In many instances, this involves moving items from one closet to another or packing and unpacking pieces from boxes or suitcases.   Even those of us who live in temperate climates generally have some sort of wardrobe transition as the weather shifts to either cooler or warmer.

Believe it or not, summer is only now coming to an end where I live.   The warm weather typically arrives quite late – usually in mid-July – and sticks around until early to mid-November.   Thus, I’m only now transitioning into my cooler weather clothing.   However, I’m doing things are bit differently as I make the change this time.

For one, I no longer have to pack any items away, as my entire wardrobe now fits quite comfortably in my closet.  This is great, as it will now be easier for me to seize the opportunity to wear summer clothing when unseasonably warm days come around.  But I will plan to move things around a bit and shift my cooler weather garments to a more front and center position for easier access.

The Process and the Steps

End of Season Wardrobe Analysis

Do you analyze your wardrobe at the end of each season?

But the main difference this year is that I’m doing an end of season wardrobe analysis.  And since I believe this process can be useful for pretty much everyone, I’ve decided to share it here on the blog.   I realize that many of you have been dressing in cool weather clothing now for weeks or even months (and those in the southern hemisphere have recently shifted into spring), so you probably won’t be doing your summer wardrobe analysis along with me.  However, you’ll likely face another weather-based closet shift before too long, so you can use my process at that time if you find it helpful.

The following are the steps I’ve included in my end of season wardrobe analysis:

  1. Identify favorites
  2. Outline replacement needs
  3. Highlight seasonal wardrobe gaps

I’ll walk through each of these steps one by one below and include photos wherever possible to illustrate my points.

Step One – Identify Favorites

The first step in my end of summer wardrobe analysis involves identifying favorite items.  To do this, I looked at all of my warm weather pieces and considered what I loved wearing the most over the past four months or so.    This was relatively easy to do, as I’ve been keeping an outfit journal since July and have a firm grasp on what I’ve most enjoyed wearing and why.    I separated my favorites out into categories (tops, toppers, skirts/dresses, and shoes) and will share them below.  Many of them will be familiar to you, as a lot were featured in my recent favorite outfits post.

Notice that I did not simply identify which items received the most wear this summer season.  This may seem peculiar to you, as many of you know that I track how often I wear the pieces in my closet and have been doing so since the beginning of 2011.  While this process has really increased my awareness about wear frequency and true wardrobe needs, it doesn’t necessarily tell me what my closet favorites are.  Why not, you might ask.   Well, sometimes we wear pieces because they fill a defined wardrobe need, but we may not actually love – or even particularly like – those items.

An example may be helpful here.   I have a black skirt that has been in my closet for over six years.  For most of that time, it has been a definite favorite of mine. Although the skirt still received a lot of wear this year, I found that I didn’t love it nearly as much as I had in the past.  It fulfilled my need for a casual black skirt, which is why I wore it, but I now prefer a shorter and narrower silhouette.  Thus, I don’t consider it one of my favorite summer items.  In fact, I have included it on the “items to replace” list which I will describe below.

Favorites by Category

Here is a look at my favorite clothing items and shoes from this past summer (I didn’t include accessories in the mix, but you can certainly do so and I likely will in the future).

The Toppers

I’ll start with my favorite toppers, a wardrobe category that didn’t see nearly as much wear this year as usual.  We had the hottest summer that I can remember and even “weather wimp” me didn’t need to wear a jacket or sweater most days.   However, I did enjoy wearing my two new moto jackets, as well as some of my longtime staple items from years past.  As you can see, most of these toppers are neutral toned and three include prints (stripes and leopard print).   Yet I also loved wearing my two bright knit blazers (coral and deep orange) throughout the summer.

Favorite Toppers - Summer 2014

These were my favorite 8 toppers from this past summer.

The Tops

In regards to tops, all of my favorites were sleeveless and most were solid colored and jewel-toned.  Many of these garments included some type of embellishment, but I loved the tops in spite of this feature rather than because of it.  In fact, I’m moving away from embellished clothing in favor of plainer pieces, as the latter are more versatile and a better fit for my evolving style (which is fairly minimalist in nature).  There are only two prints in the mix, but they were both worn frequently and are new favorites this year (although they have been in my closet for a while).

Favorite Tops - Summer 2014

I enjoyed wearing these tops the most during Summer 2014.

The Skirts and Dresses

This year, my preference shifted from skirts to dresses and I found myself wearing the latter far more often than in past summers.   I also embraced the maxi silhouette for the first time since it arrived on the scene approximately five years ago.  Black and blue were the primary colors among my favorites, but my red and black striped skirt was worn frequently as well.  Asymmetrical shapes are also a new love of mine, as you can see with one of the dresses and two of the skirts shown below.   Many of the skirts I loved dearly in the past no longer hold my favor, as my style aesthetic is shifting away from the fuller silhouette that I embraced for years.

Favorite Skirts and Dresses - Summer 2014

These 4 dresses and 4 skirts were my favorites this summer.

The Shoes

Lastly, let’s take a look at my favorite shoes during the summer season.   The shoes I most enjoyed wearing all had very low and/or wedge heels.  I shied away from the higher heels I wore a lot in previous summers for two reasons.  I wanted to be more comfortable and better able to walk for longer periods of time.  Plus, I was endeavoring to tone down the “church vibe” that had me looking too dressy in my outfits.  Part of why I jumped on the maxi skirt and dress train was because this silhouette looks great with flat shoes.  I loved being able to feel comfortable and look stylish at the same time!

Favorite Shoes - Summer 2014

My 5 favorite pairs of sandals from Summer 2014.

Step Two – Outline Replacement Needs

After I identified my favorite summer pieces, I took some time to outline which items in my wardrobe need to be replaced before next summer rolls around.  I started by looking at my favorites and noticed that some of them are starting to wear out.  As a longtime shopaholic with a jam-packed closet, I rarely had to replace my wardrobe items.  Most of them just weren’t being worn enough to necessitate replacement!   Of course, I still bought a lot of new things, but that was more to satisfy my emotional needs than true closet requirements.

My biggest replacement need is in relation to tops, as many of my tank tops have been in my closet for years and are seeing signs of wear.  This is especially true of my black, blue, white, and green tanks.  My purple, red, and teal tanks are less weathered and are thus a lower priority for replacement.  However, since I’m moving away from “girly” details such as lace and ruffles, I would like to snap up plain summer tops in those hues if I can find them.

Summer Items to Replace

I’d like to replace these 12 items next summer if possible.

Also becoming worn out are my black tie cardigan and denim blazer.   Unfortunately, these are not easy items to find.  Most of the denim jackets I see are boxy, and tie-waist cardigans are not on the cutting edge of fashion at the moment.  But since these are pieces that I love and wear often, I am willing to be patient and take my time to find the right replacement options.  In the meantime, I will continue to wear the items I have, as they are still in fairly good condition.

Earlier in this post, I shared my feelings about my casual black skirt.  My hope is that I’ll be able to find a shorter and straighter option that is still in the casual category.  I see a lot of business-appropriate pencil skirts out there, but that’s not what I’m looking for.   I definitely want a skirt that skews casual and that will look nice worn with tank tops and sandals.  Hopefully that won’t be too difficult to find once the summer clothing arrives on the scene next spring.

Finally, I hope to replace my mid-heeled black and metallic sandals.   The black sandals are still in decent condition, but I don’t love the way they look.  I would prefer a more modern style that is less “heavy” looking.  I don’t want my shoes to be the main focus of my outfit, but I fear that the eye goes right to my current sandals when I’m wearing them. As for the silver sandals, they are a bit too bright and “blingy,” plus they are well past their prime.  I will be on the lookout for replacements for both shoes come spring as well.

Step Three – Highlight Seasonal Wardrobe Gaps

The last step in my end of season wardrobe analysis is to highlight any wardrobe gaps I noticed while writing in my outfit journal.  In some instances, I didn’t love a particular ensemble because I felt I was lacking an item that would have pulled the look together.  In other cases, I kept wishing I had a certain garment or accessory that would have extended my wardrobe options.

This is the part of the process that recovering shopaholics need to be most cautious about.  It is easy to get swept up in thinking we need new items when some of those desires may instead be fleeting wants spurred on by retailer advertising and the blogosphere.  One way to get around this potential problem is to identify how you would wear the items in question.  It’s helpful to list out at least three outfit options in which the new piece would be featured.  If a wanted item would necessitate additional shopping in order to make it work for you, it probably doesn’t belong on your seasonal wardrobe gap list.

I tried to keep my summer wardrobe gap list short, especially since my replacement item list is fairly lengthy.   I don’t want to buy too many new items, as I want to continue to shop less and less each year.  I made significant progress with this goal last year and plan to end this year having purchased approximately 30% fewer items than I bought in 2013.  If I want to continue this trajectory next year, I need to keep my shopping list tight and well-informed.

That said, here are what I see as my wardrobe gaps for summer 2015.  Some of these items are more wants than true needs, but I can definitely see myself wearing each piece frequently during the warm weather months.

  1. Bright colored knee-length straight skirt (perhaps blue, green, purple, or burgundy)
  2. Bright colored casual knit jacket (perhaps moto-style or in a new trend that I like)
  3. Another pair of bright colored sandals (maybe purple or burgundy)
  4. One to two short-sleeved tops to wear with skirts (for more variety, as I mostly have tank tops at this point)
  5. Bright colored dress (not blue, perhaps in an asymmetrical silhouette)
  6. Bright colored tie-waist cardigan (I wear my black one a lot and know I would wear a bright one often with my neutral-toned skirts and dresses)

Preparing for Next Summer

Now that I’ve completed my summer wardrobe analysis, I’ll be prepared to shop when the warm weather clothing arrives in the stores this coming spring.   Often, the best selection is available long before the weather shifts and well in advance of when most people think about buying and wearing clothing for that season.  I wish the retail calendar followed the actual seasons more closely, but we have to work with what we’re given.  If we have difficult to find items on our lists, it will be to our advantage to shop when the selection is largest.

I have resisted buying off-season for a number of years.  I’ve long been an advocate of buying things that we will wear right away, but this practice hasn’t always met my needs.  It’s worked fine for easy to find wardrobe pieces, but I’ve struggled to find what I need in other wardrobe categories, such as pants and skirts.  That’s a big reason why those areas of my wardrobe are less modern and more worn out.   I didn’t shop when the selection was highest and suffered as a result.

Now that I have a stronger sense of my style, I think it’s less risky to shop a few months in advance of when I’ll actually need the new items.   Also, I’m not shopping end-of-season for things I’ll need almost a year later.  I still feel that type of shopping is far too dicey, as many more life and body changes can occur over the course of eight to nine months rather than just two or three.   I’m willing to take some chances if the potential reward outweighs the risk involved and I feel that’s the case with shopping when the new season pieces come out.

There’s a Plan in Place

So I have a plan in place and I intend to review it as soon as the summer clothing starts appearing in the stores.  At that time, I will make any necessary adjustments to my replacement and wardrobe gap lists, so I know what I’ll be looking for when I hit the stores (or e-commerce sites).  It’s my hope that I will be better prepared for next summer’s wardrobe needs as a result of the analysis I’ve done.

I plan to do an end of season analysis at the end of every season from now on.  We only really get two main seasons where I live, summer and fall/spring, so I’ll only be doing two analyses each year.  That’s why it’s okay if my shopping lists are a bit longer.  If you live in a four-season climate, you may need to be a bit more judicious when compiling your shopping lists, particularly is your budget is relatively small.

Of course, some wardrobe items can span multiple seasons through the strategic use of layering.  I plan to do more of this based upon Bridgette Raes’ suggestions for wearing skirts and dresses in cooler weather (see this post, scroll down towards the end).  I’d like to maximize what’s in my closet and not be so rigid about how and when I wear things, so Bridgette’s advice is a good place to start.

Your Thoughts?

I hope you’ve found my end of season wardrobe analysis process helpful.  I know it’s not the end of a season for most of you, but you can either do the analysis retroactively or save my suggestions until your next seasonal transition time.

I’d love to get your thoughts on this post.  Do you do your own end of season wardrobe analysis?  If so, please share your process, especially if it’s different from mine.   Since this is my first time doing such an analysis, perhaps I left something out.  In any event, we can all benefit from sharing our experiences, as there is a lot to learn.  Please post your thoughts – or any questions you have – in the comments section.

40 thoughts on “The End of Season Wardrobe Analysis

  1. Interesting. I tend to do my analysis AS the season unfolds. For instance, right now the cooler temps are hitting and I’m donning things not touched since moving to FL in late summer of ’13. To say many are not as I remembered would be an understatement! But the proof is in the pudding, and it is upon wearing, or trying to and promptly ripping off said garment(!), that I find what needs to go.
    I do have a set of items I want to purchase as a running list for next year. It moves and changes, as do my wants and desires. As it stands I have a poncho, convertible wrap front, and fine gauge cashmere on my sweaters list for this winter. Will that change in the month and half before I can start shopping with my new year’s budget? I don’t know. Maybe. But the slots are filled with those descriptors for now. Ditto a casual straight cotton skirt and leather panel skirt for spring/summer. Come 6 months from now, that may change, but that’s my vision today with what I have hanging and what I feel is lacking.
    I actually like having, and adjusting, a running list. Then when I stumble upon ‘just the thing’ I know it’s not just love, but an item I had a legitimate reason to be shopping for. Win – win!

    • Thanks for sharing your process, Mo. I tend to do analysis during the season, too, but this was my first time doing a more in-depth review at season’s end. Both processes are useful to me, but since I find some items hard to find, I want to give myself a chance to find them earlier in the season. I will likely still buy some things later on, too, and I’m sure my list will evolve over time. I frequently review and update my shopping list just like you do. But when I had NO list at all, that’s when I got into trouble! By the way, I’m really enjoying your blog and am so happy you’re writing it!

  2. I will do the exactly same analysis when we return from China. It will be extremely valuable for me to assess my current summer wardrobe and to identify the most loved and gaps for this year. I started writing a new thing in my outfit journal, ‘what would have made my outfit better’ and this will be of great use in identifying the gaps. I’ll probably also assess my summer travel wardrobe as some of it wrinkles quite badly and others don’t. And god I need some great flip-flops! Loved the post, Debbie :).

    • Good to see you posting here, Mette. I’ve missed your blog and interacting with you, but I hope your China trip has been going well. I added the “what would have made my outfit better?” section to my outfit journal, too, and it’s helped a lot. That’s how I figured out that I want different shapes in my tops and bottoms (for some pieces – for variety) and that I wanted to replace some of my shoes and skirts. The outfit journal has helped me SO much since I started it in July. I know “Evolve Your Style” did that for you, too, and I still plan to take on that challenge.

  3. Great thoughts as always! They have the exact wrap tie cardigans in black and. other colors at Woolovers. Great quality and prices for basic wool and wool/ cashmere blend sweaters. And this is just a personal recommendation, I don’t work for these guys. Love this blog and it’s members!

    • Thanks for the tip, eclair! I will check out Woolovers and see what I think. I have trouble wearing wool due to the itch factor, but cashmere is generally a different story. I’m glad you like my blog and I appreciate your taking the time to comment.

      • Hi Debbie,
        I have a wool/cashmere blend cardigan from Woolovers. It is not the scratchy type of wool, and I think they have a good return policy so it’s worth checking out. I find that it is pretty easy for it to get misshapen though so you definitely have to put some extra care while hand washing.

      • Thanks for sharing this, Sarah. It’s good to know that the cardigans from Woolovers aren’t scratchy. For some reason, I’m very sensitive to wool, as well as acrylic, in garments. I think cashmere would probably be okay, but I haven’t tried it in a while. Perhaps I will take a chance on it since they have a good return policy.

  4. Great analysis, and also very useful! I can see why shopping with a priority list can be more sensible than shopping ‘just for fun’, so you can concentrate on looking for your most needed items, instead of buying something unplanned that will likely vegetate in your closet, untouched!
    After my big clean out of all the worn-out/unworn/ill-fitting items in my closet, I’m on the look-out for some pieces to fill some gaps… From what I’ve assessed, during F/W I tend to wear more jeans and trousers, and even if I’d like more skirts I’ll give the priority to pants, since I have only 2 pairs and they’re a bit too dressy for my more casual shoes! Luckily, that seems to be my only ‘first-priority’ wardrobe gap for this winter (except for a warm knit hat and a pair of black gloves), so I will concentrate on finding some skinny trousers that are good quality and that fit with my style, maybe military green, or light beige (I’m also trying to dress with brighter/lighter colors, since I tend to use lots of black, dark grey and other dull shades during fall/winter)!

    • Sounds like you’re in really good shape with your wardrobe, Maria. How great to only need a few things to fill in the gaps for the winter. Congrats on getting to this place and best wishes for finding what you need! Yes, shopping with a priority list really works well. One can still allow for a few “inspired purchases,” but those will be more the exception than the rule.

  5. I think this is right on. As I’ve been purging items in my wardrobe, it’s become clearer and clearer what gaps I have in my wardrobe. For instance, I now have a very casual lifestyle, but I’m still holding onto some of my clothing from my lawyer days (which I may return to in the somewhat near future). So now, I’m trying to really par down that section of my wardrobe while still holding onto a couple key pieces. While doing this, I’ve noticed I have so many high heels and heeled boost (which are never getting worn). So I decided to purge a portion of them and get a pair of flat riding boots (which I will wear all the time). This is the kind of progress I have been making – identifying a need, buying only that need, and purging excess and unworn items!

    I’m still struggling, but I feel like I am making some headway 🙂

    • You’re definitely making some headway, Chelsea. Congrats! Identifying what is and isn’t working for you is a really big step in the process. Now if you go back to work soon, you’ll have more of your needs covered and will be able to let go of the high heels and other items that aren’t serving you. Keep up the great work!

  6. When I look at the photos of your favorite items the colors and style are cohesive. When I look at those you want to replace that feeling isn’t so strong. I hope you replace a tank top for example not by looking for one that is similar to the one that is worn out but by looking for one that fits into your favorite items wardrobe. Good analysis and plan!

    • Good noticing, Juhli. I definitely think I will replace some of the items with different styles. I will stick to my color palette, but I don’t plan to make exact replacements. Some of those pieces are quite old (for my wardrobe – about 5 years) and styles have changed since then, plus my preferences have also shifted. I will likely choose a bit more of a fluid fit in my tops, as well as a snugger fit in my bottoms.

  7. My first inclination was to burst into laughter–because you are just now finishing up your summer season. In contrast, I’m sitting here looking out my office window at 6″ of snow and temps in the high teens. Its Uggs weather here for sure!

    I start planning (ie. “just looking”) my seasonal wardrobe updates about a month or two before the actual season begins–usually early August and late February. I read several fashion magazines and will start paying attention to new colors and silhouettes. I also refer the new Pantone fashion color guide which is published twice a year to get ideas.

    Early in the season, I’ll buy a few pieces I really like, and then I won’t buy much of anything until the big sales start. I avoid paying full retail whenever possible and am usually content to wait and plot for pieces, unless they are so stellar that I stand a chance of missing them if I don’t buy them early on.

    If I find a new and sensible trend along the way that works into my wardrobe, I will often buy it in several colors. Case in point, this year I went shopping for some black velour Hue leggings. Several years ago, I had purchased several pairs at Nordstrom (and they are still in great shape!), but now I wanted black. This year Hue is not offering velour leggings, but to my surprise they have something better– ultra suede leggings! I was a little suspicious of this fabric at first, but I bought a test pair and totally fell in love with them right away, so I decided to purchase two more in other colors. This “find” proved to be a happy accident, because when the weather turned cold and snowy, not only were they as warm as the velour leggings, but they also resist snow. And they are yummy to touch!

    • I knew some people would find the San Diego seasonal progression comical, Deby. I’m surprised that you have 6″ of snow now, though! Thanks for sharing your wardrobe analysis/planning process. I read the magazines, too, but I generally wait too long to try to buy things. Since our seasons are a bit “off” here, by the time I want summer clothes, the selection is a lot smaller. Sometimes I’m lucky to find good things on sale, but I’m going to try to find the tougher items (mostly pants and skirts) when they are plentiful in the stores. I tend to fare better with finding cooler weather items, but I’ve struggled with summer clothes. I hope my new plan will make things easier.

      Congrats on the leggings find. Ultra suede leggings sound comfortable and warm. I’m glad they’re working out so well for you!

      • Deby, that’s a great shopping pattern which I have also adopted. A couple of special items up front, and then the replacements that I can plan for during clearance. I did have to laugh about the velour leggings, though, that is basically my worst nightmare since I have a white dog that sheds a lot.

        And Debbie- in some parts of upstate NY, they already have over 6 feet-yes FEET) of snow (in just a few days). Luckily that is about 45 minutes away from me, but I’m a little nervous about what the rest of the winter might hold. As you might imagine I am in the market for another wool sweater and some tall boots!

      • Wow, that’s a lot of snow, Sarah! I know last winter was very rough for everyone on the East Coast. I hope this winter won’t be as difficult for all of you. Re: the velour leggings, I don’t think those would fly so well here, either. One of my cats is light orange (like strawberry blond) and I find his hairs all over my clothes. But it’s worth it, though, for the love our pets give us!

      • Hey Sarah E, boy that’s pretty intimidating what’s going on up there in NY, my thoughts go out to you. We just moved near DC and we are even nervous about the winter here.

        My husband got stuck in the mad “snowmageddon” commute in Atlanta last year and it was terrifying. He was very lucky and just barely made it home, after 6.5 hours in the car to go 10 miles. At the very end he got stuck in the snow in the hilly area we were living. People were just abandoning their cars and walking along the slushy roads in their business attire. When he got completely mired in the snow (twice) about a half mile from our apartment, people appeared out of nowhere from adjoining neighborhoods to try and push his car to get it going again. He had no coat and his phone battery was almost dead by that time, and when I tried to call the police dept they had no idea when the emergency road crews would be able to get through. It was surreal and kind of a miracle he managed to make it home (thanks to those random strangers).

        Anyway. a bit off topic there, sorry – Debbie, as usual loved reading this post as well as Oct accountability. You are bringing it in tight! Woo. And you are right – all the pet hair is worth it. 🙂

      • Hi Claire, yeah I hate the snow but luckily I grew up with it so dealing with it isn’t so scary anymore. If you’re new to it I’d highly recommend having a triple A membership. Also keep a mylar emergency blanket in your car (it folds down super duper small), extra boot socks and sweater/sweatshirt, work gloves, large plastic bags, clean burning candles, lighter, flashlight, water and some extra bottles, some snacks, and flares. This should all fit in a backpack. There are all sorts of extras too for emergencies like a collapsible shovel, kitty litter (for traction), multitool, duct tape, rope or parachute cord, extra batteries, etc. that I’m trying to build up into a good emergency kit. We had some people get stuck on the thruway (main toll highway that runs through the state) not far from here for a whole day and some people died of exposure so these things can happen and I’d rather be prepared.

      • I don’t really miss living in snowy areas, Claire and Sarah, although the snow can be very beautiful. I lived in Colorado for a year and in the Lake Tahoe area for a year and a half, so I didn’t have all that much experience with the snow. I never really got used to it and disliked driving in it. But the most difficult thing for me was the ice, as I love to go for walks and wasn’t really able to do so. Everywhere has its advantages and disadvantages, though. Seems like Sarah has some very sage advice for living in snow country!

        I’m glad you liked the post, Claire. No problem about veering off topic 🙂 November accountability will be out next week. I shopped a bit more this month, but I returned more than I bought (online shopping can be very frustrating sometimes!).

  8. I think it’s great that you have a plan to guide your shopping next summer! I noticed that when a new season starts, I’ve forgotten how I dress for that season, and that causes me to purchase willy nilly. Like you, I analysed my summer wardrobe at the end of the summer this year for the first time ever. I made notes about what worked and what didn’t, what I would have preferred to have more of and less of. Hopefully this will help me to made better purchases next year.

    • I have that same problem about forgetting how to dress for the season, Kayla. I’m actually there right now and having to figure out cool weather outfits once again. I don’t need to buy much at this point, which is good. I think that the analysis and planning both of us did for our summer wardrobes will serve us well. We’ll have to wait a while to find out for sure, but I’m optimistic!

  9. I did make a list of summer items that I’d like to get next year. I didn’t really put too much thought into it. I had a couple of things that will need to be replaced and a few things that I would have liked to have had this past summer. I will evaluate it again at the begining of the year to see if my wants/needs have changed. I usually start looking early and like Deby I buy a few things and wait for others to go on sale.
    After I read this post I went back and looked at favorite outfits for the summer. Black cotton dresses and drapey grey or black tees with denim or black capris seemed to be the repeating themes. I do like to wear other things on occasion for some variety, but I know to limit the amount that I buy because they don’t get worn as much.

    • I think it’s great that you made a list, Tonya, and that it didn’t take a lot of effort. Your favorite outfits sound nice and cohesive. You really seem to have a firm handle on your style now and how you like to dress. You’ve really come a long way! Like you, I will re-evaluate my shopping list when the summer stuff starts arriving in the store, and for the first time in a while, I’ll shop early. I’m sure I will buy some easier items (like tops) on sale, but if I can nab some pants and skirts when they first come into the stores, I’ll be very happy!

  10. Wow Debbie can you believe how far you have come? Good for you, I am jealous – you are right where I want to be! I don’t want to say I have “stopped the bleeding ” as I have had a couple of ‘small’ relapses but generally speaking have mostly stopped buying clothes as I have too many. I have purged what I feel able to. I still have a ton of lovely things but simply too many to get actually worn, its an unreasonable amount. I strive to be where you are now, with all my clothes in one closet (I am in NE so that could be a tad ambitious) and items being actually worn out. I wish to have your sensible approach to shopping by actually filling a wardrobe gap as opposed to my old approach “its on sale/its a steal!” I know I did not get here overnight I have to be patient with myself. Kinda like a diet I guess, I must resist temptation on a daily basis! Its hard to change. It feels like I am fighting against my ‘natural’ tendencies but I suppose its a case of replacing those bad habits.

    • I still have some bad habits, too, Shelley, and probably still have too many clothes for my lifestyle. It sounds like you HAVE made progress, especially since you have mostly stopped buying new things. When I started this process, I thought I have lots of great pieces in my closet, but many of them weren’t as good as I thought. If you haven’t tried things on in awhile, I recommend that you do so, as your feelings may have changed about some of them. That was definitely the case for me and I was able to pare down more. I still feel tempted to buy those “steal” sale items and sometimes I do still buy them. But I’ve learned over time that it serves me better to buy what I actually need instead of those impulse buys right in front of me. This recovery is a process and there can be lots of ups and downs. Just keep taking things day by day and the small gains you’re making will add up. That’s how it worked for me. It hasn’t been fast, but the progress HAS happened.

  11. Interesting analysis, your thought process is similar to mine. I did this kind of wardrobe assessment in September, when it got cooler and I was preparing to go back to work after maternity leave. I donated a couple of items, and got rid of 2 pairs of shoes that I used a lot. For next summer I’ll need a black casual skirt too, but I hate to pay full price at the beginning of the retail season. I guess I’ll just have to, thinking how much I wore my older one.

    • It sounds like your wardrobe assessment served you well, Chiara. I have a hard time paying full price for things, too, but it’s getting easier. I still like to find things on sale, but sometimes waiting means we aren’t able to find what we need. For staple items, I’m trying a new strategy and hoping I’ll have better luck with it.

  12. I do something very similar at the end of each season – get rid of what didn’t work and make a note about items I’m on the fence about. But I don’t make the lists that you do about future purchases until the very beginning of a season. Now that I think of it I look at my wardrobe in two different parts: the basics (jeans, tees, flats, pencil skirts, etc) and then everything else. The basics, which for me are all-season, get replaced immediately as they wear out. For the everything else I like to wait until the start of a new season and see which trends and colors I like and want to add.

    • That’s a really interesting perspective. I guess I’m a little bit backwards on that where I’ll usually focus on getting “special” pieces more quickly since it’s often hard to find another like it if you miss out. (Maybe that’s my FOMO talking?) And since I know I can always get basics, like my black leggings that are wearing out or jeans that don’t fit, I tend to put this off until either it’s really bad or I find a great sale!

    • Your strategy sounds like a good one, Sara. I often try to replace basics as soon as they wear out, but if they are out of season, it can be difficult (mostly because our seasons are so strange where I live). I definitely plan to review and update my list at the beginning of the warm weather season (or at least when that shopping season starts), as I’m sure I’ll want to make changes. I feel good, though, having a basic plan for my shopping, as I never really did that in the past.

  13. Where I live, we’ve been in cool weather clothing since…oooh…Monday. But I expect we’ll move back into warm weather clothing shortly. Our winter weather veers between cool and warm fairly suddenly, and only occasionally gets into actual cold weather. So I wear my warm weather clothing basically all year, but definitely bring in more layers and longer sleeved tops during the winter. Having said that, I wore dresses less often this summer, but I am not sure why exactly. I just wasn’t drawn to them. Perhaps I need to get myself some nice knitted tights so I can wear them in winter instead. My favorites this summer were skinny leg jeans and voluminous or baggy tops.

    I have some wardrobe gaps that I have identified (mostly to replace things that are looking very worn), but I also want to be alert to be able to snap up flexible pieces that will work with the rest of my wardrobe. I feel like as I’m actually getting to a smaller wardrobe size and buying new pieces to replace things instead of just to add to the hoard, then I am more open to more stylish pieces. So I am trying not to be restrictive. Within limits – of course I am not going to be wearing the high waisted super short legged white lace shorts that have seemed to be in this year for young girls.

    Anyway, great job Debbie, and food for thought as always!

    • Sounds like we live in a similar climate, Sarah. I really need to get better at using layering to make my clothes span multiple seasons. I’m pretty lousy at that at present. I tend to have my summer clothes and my fall/spring clothes (we don’t really get a winter here to speak of). That’s not the way I want it to be, as I’d like to have a smaller and more workable wardrobe. It was too hot to wear jeans here this past summer, but that’s not usually the case.

      Congrats on being able to get to a smaller wardrobe size and mostly just buying replacement pieces. I hope to be in that place soon, too. I had to laugh about the high-waisted super short white lace shorts. I haven’t seen them here yet, but perhaps I should brace myself for it 🙂

  14. I also find that when a new season starts I struggle with the transition for the first couple of weeks. Though now that I have a much smaller wardrobe it’s easier to find my rhythm.

    I do an analysis review about two months before fall/winter and spring/summer, and then again at seasons end. I like to begin searching for what I need early because some items are hard to find in my size, and I like to give myself the opportunity to find key “needed” things soon after they appear in the store or online. Nowadays (now that I’m a reformed frequent shopper) I will wait until the end of the season sales to buy a few things I’ve been “wanting” but don’t really need.

    Most important of all is that I continue to discover that I don’t need, and don’t end up wearing nearly as much as I always think I will need and wear. My current fall/winter wardrobe is small and meets my needs and is fun enough to wear to keep me feeling content. In the past I’ve had a tendency to go overboard with my planning, dreaming and buying of spring/summer wear, and my goal for 2015 is to keep it small (about 35 items) fun to wear, versatile and without excess.

    • I think since we live in very similar climates, Terra, we struggle in the same way. Summer lasts for so long that we almost don’t expect it to end. Then it seems like it ends rather abruptly and we hadn’t been planning for it. Hopefully within a few weeks, I’ll feel “settled” with my cooler weather wardrobe and outfits.

      I like the review process you outlined. I think it’s good to do it in two tiers like you mentioned. I have to start my search early for size reasons, too. There just aren’t as many tall (for me) and petite (for you) garments available, so we have to nab them while they’re there. I think it’s great that your seasonal wardrobes are so small and work so well for you. I hope to get there sometime soon myself. Slowly but surely…

  15. I tend to purge items in the season I’m wearing them. During that time I usually identify things on their last legs, for instance my Lucky ankle booties I got when ‘laceless’ was a thing (‘member??)… They’ve been worn a lot for about 4 years but their overall quality doesn’t merit an overhaul at the cobblers. This is their swan song. I’ll toss when the crack in one sole gets deep enough to let in wet. But I won’t replace them until fall or winter 2015 because I want time to weigh my options. I keep working pin boards of my purchase ideas for a season or two ahead. Lots of ideas come & go before I ever make an actual purchase.

    • I like the idea of doing pin boards around purchase ideas, Thimblelina. I think it’s good to plan what we’re going to buy and to take our time to find what will best suit our needs. For far too many years, I was an impulsive shopper, but that never served me well. I’m trying to be more proactive about the process like you are.

  16. I’m always analyzing my wardrobe, but end of the season is a great time to see what pieces have sat unworn all season. Those items that weren’t doing heaving lifting are prime targets to donate at the end of a season.

    • I analyze my wardrobe all the time, too, Lisa, but I found it helpful to add this more comprehensive one to the mix. I did wear most of my summer clothes, but some of the jackets didn’t get as much wear as usual due to the dramatically hotter temperatures we had for months and months. I don’t have a whole lot to donate from the summer season, but I’m sure I will purge some of my fall/winter clothes as I start wearing them and see what does and doesn’t work.

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