December is well underway, so it’s high time for me to share my November 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.
What Left My Wardrobe and Why
I always start these reports with what left my closet during the previous month. In November, I focused on purging some unused and unloved jewelry pieces from my collection. Although I’ve already met my jewelry pare-down goal for the year (goal #10 here), the new jewelry tracking system I started this fall has really helped me continue to downsize.
I recently decided to let go of the following jewelry pieces:
- 3 rings
- 2 necklaces
- 4 pendants
- 7 pairs of earrings
- 2 bracelets
Over half of these items fit into the category of “fine jewelry.” I had been holding on to these unworn pieces because I wasn’t sure what to do with them. I knew I would receive very little money for them through consignment, and most of the charity shops in my area typically sell their jewelry at very low prices. Fortunately, one of the readers of this blog, Paula, offered me a better solution. She told me about Jewels for Hope, a committee that’s part of The Children’s Diabetes Foundation in Denver, CO. Jewels for Hope specializes in collecting jewelry donations to help raise funds in the fight against juvenile diabetes.
I plan to send the following jewelry pieces to Jewels for Hope this week:
If you’d like to learn about how your jewelry cast-offs could possibly help raise money for diabetes research, click here for more information.
In addition to the items I’m sending to Jewels for Hope, I also decided to pass on some unworn costume jewelry pieces, shown below.
Why I Purged These Items
My reason for purging the jewelry items pictured above is basically the same for all of them. They are not a match for my current personal style aesthetic and I don’t feel called to wear them. The majority of the purged pieces are quite old and some have been in my collection for over twenty years. However, one pair of earrings and one bracelet were acquired this year:
- Tassel earrings (top row, center, above) – I purchased these earrings in June, thinking they were a different style for me that I would enjoy wearing. However, I haven’t liked the way they looked on me when I tried to push myself to incorporate them into an outfit. They were very inexpensive, so I don’t feel bad passing them on at this time.
- Pink and purple beaded bracelet (bottom row, right, above) – This bracelet was a gift from a friend in August. Although it’s a nice bracelet, I didn’t really feel it was my style, but I wanted to give it a chance, especially after Bridgette Raes said she liked it. I wore it last month, but still didn’t feel like it was “me.” It also felt too big and fussy on my wrist. I feel bad about passing on a gift, but it was a “just because” gift I don’t think was very expensive. I hope my friend doesn’t see this blog post! I almost didn’t include the bracelet for that reason, but I want to honor my commitment to be honest in my accountability updates.
Future Purging Plans
I’m going to continue culling my jewelry collection as I notice what I am and am not wearing. It’s getting down to a much more manageable level these days even though I’ve brought some new pieces in on a regular basis. My jewelry collection is becoming much more cohesive, too, just like my wardrobe. Speaking of my wardrobe, I didn’t really make an effort to pare it down last month. However, the weather has recently shifted and I’m now wearing warmer clothing that hasn’t been worn since spring. So I’m sure I will come across some garments that are either past their prime or are no longer in line with my style.
I’d like to keep my wardrobe around the same size and possibly do some more downsizing. I plan to basically adhere to a one-in, one-out policy, but I find it works better for me to do that on a seasonal basis rather than monthly. My method of wearing what I want, seeing how I feel in the things I wear, and noticing what isn’t getting worn has helped me to gradually let things go this year. Since this process is serving me well, that’s how I plan to proceed for the foreseeable future.
What Came Into My Closet
I bought more than I was intending to buy during November. I fell somewhat prey to all of the holiday sales and deals that seem to start earlier and earlier each year. I tried to take advantage of such sales to purchase some of the items on my shopping priorities list, but I was only somewhat successful in that regard. Lately I’ve been doing more shopping online than in stores and such shopping often results in a lot of returns. I was fortunate to be able to find two pairs of pants last month, however, which I count as a big win given my shopping challenges in that arena.
I also shopped with a friend once and visited one consignment store. Fortunately, I didn’t do too much damage in either situation and found one of my favorite pieces of the year while I was with my friend. All in all, I devoted a lot more time and energy to shopping than I wanted to during November, which shows me that my recovery is still tenuous and that I need to be mindful of my actions at all times. I’m sure I will elaborate more on this in future posts, but for now let’s move on to what I bought last month.
During November, I added seven new items to my closet, as shown in the photo below:
- 1 pair of pants
- 1 pair of jeans
- 1 skirt
- 1 jacket
- 2 long-sleeved tops
- 1 purse
Why I Added These Items to My Wardrobe
Here are my reasons for selecting my November items:
- Black knit pants: My life is very casual, but I don’t like to wear workout/yoga pants when I’m out and about if I can avoid it. I already have one pair of black knit pants that I wear with boots or shoes with a moderate heel. I decided to purchase another pair of the same pants to wear with flats. I’m happy to now have nicer-looking but equally comfortable yoga pant alternatives regardless of whether I want to wear heels or flats. Plus, I can sit for hours in these pants without suffering through the painful “pins and needles” nerve pain that I experience with a lot of other pants.
- Black lace upscale sweatshirt with exposed back zipper: I have to admit that this top was basically an impulse buy. When I was shopping with my friend, she tried it on and I loved the way it looked on her. I opted to try it on as well and thought it also looked good on me. It’s possible that I may return this top, though, as I don’t really need it. However, my husband likes it, so I’m going to see if I reach for it during December before I decide on its fate.
- Black mixed media jacket: This jacket was part of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. I liked it, but it was sold out before I had a chance to try it on. I was pleased to see that it had been re-released last month and was thrilled that it fit me like a glove. Since it’s faux leather, the price was very reasonable. This jacket just may be one of my best purchases of 2014. I love it and it has the edgy vibe I’m looking to incorporate into my style. I look forward to wearing it now that it finally feels like fall here (just in time for the first day of winter!).
- Black purse: I really liked the look of this purse. I have another solid black purse, but it’s a much more conservative style. I like to change out my purses every month or so and will enjoy carrying this one with my cool weather outfits, which tend to include a lot of black and other dark colors.
- Dark wash “boyfriend” jeans: These jeans are billed as having a slouchier fit, but they pretty much resemble skinny jeans on me. They’re not skin tight, though, and are in a stretchy fabric that is very comfortable to wear. I tried the jeans on in the store but had to order a tall size online. They actually need to be hemmed about an inch, but I look forward to wearing them soon.
- Grey print silk skirt: This is the first consignment garment I’ve bought since August. I haven’t really missed resale shopping, especially since my track record has been so poor. However, when I brought my last round of cast-offs in to consign, I looked around and tried a few things on. This skirt still had the tags attached and fit me beautifully. It’s shorter and narrower than a lot of my other skirts and I like that it’s a neutral print with a grey background. I think it was a good consignment purchase, but time will tell. I think I’ll stick to very rare resale shopping and just one garment at a time until I see if I’ve improved my second-hand shopping skills.
- Red waffle top with grey trim: This top is basically the same as the purple top I bought last month. I’m not doing “multiples” much anymore and when I do, I stop at two colors (instead of four or five like I used to do!). These types of tops work well for my lifestyle, as I wear them both at home and for casual activities.
And Then There’s the Accessories…
While I was at the consignment store last month, I purchased three jewelry pieces with my store credit in addition to the skirt and purse shown above. I also bought a pair of earrings when I shopped with my friend. My new items are pictured below, followed by my reasons for buying each of them.
- Silver dangly earrings: I love the somewhat edgy vibe of these earrings, plus they are lightweight and unlike anything I already have.
- Silver bangles: I like bangles, but they are almost always too large for my wrists. This set includes elastic in between the silver sections, so I can fit the bracelets over my hand without them “swimming” on my wrist. I like that I can choose to wear one, two, or three bangles depending on my mood. Believe it or not, I didn’t already own any silver bangles.
- Green turquoise earrings: I love the color and I don’t have any other earrings like this in my collection. They aren’t too heavy and are quite striking against my skin tone and hair color.
- Purple stone pendant: The color doesn’t show up all that well in the photo, but this pendant includes two different types of purple stones. The first and third stones have a sparkle to them that is quite lovely. Most of my necklaces are plain silver, so this pendant is a nice addition.
2014 Item Limit Update
When I originally laid out my shopping and wardrobe goals for the year back in January, I decided to purchase only half the number of items I bought in 2013. Although I initially set an item limit of 38 for 2014, I opted to raise it to 53 back in August. The revised limit still represented a 30% reduction over my 2013 acquisitions but was more doable for me than my initial item limit. My shopping budget remained unchanged.
As of the end of October, I had purchased 47 qualifying items (workout clothing, accessories, undergarments, and gifts don’t count). During November, I added seven new items, for a yearly total of 54 items, which exceeds my limit by one item. I actually didn’t realize I had exceeded my limit until I was writing up this post. That shows that I really wasn’t being mindful of my shopping during November, which is not a good thing. I know I am improving in terms of my compulsive shopping habit, but I can’t allow myself to become cocky or complacent about the fact that I still have a problem.
While I haven’t done any shopping thus far in December, I still have two online orders which have yet to arrive. So it’s possible that I may exceed the limit by more than one item. However, I know that I definitely won’t come close to the 76 items I bought last year (not to mention the 200+ that I purchased in previous years).
Although I didn’t meet my goal, I still feel good about the progress I’ve made this year. I’ve bought less and I have made fewer mistakes overall. I continue to learn more about how to be a smart shopper and how to buy what I will actually use. I feel confident that I will buy a lot less next year, especially since I have a much clearer vision of my style direction and lifestyle needs.
I plan to do another purchase analysis (see previous ones here, here, and here) at the end of the year and it will be interesting to see what my percentages of good, bad, and questionable buys are. The proof of how much my shopping has improved will be in the numbers and that will help me decide on my plans for 2015.
November 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 November, I spent a total of $280.58 on garments and accessories, which exceeded my monthly budget by $80.58. However, as I was under my budget for the year by $44.79 at the close of October, I was only over by $35.79 as of the end of November. As long as I don’t spend more than $164.21 on clothing and related purchases between now and December 31st, I will finish 2014 under budget for the second year in a row.
I can definitely do it, but I don’t like cutting it so close at the end. The fact that I overspent in July and August made it hard for me to keep to my budget in the later months of the year. I had originally planned to have more money to spend in November and December, as there are so many sales and shopping temptations during the holidays. I definitely plan to do things differently next year. My ultimate goal is to stop shopping each and every month and move more toward seasonal buying. In order to be successful in that pursuit, however, I have to quell my emotional need to shop and replace my shopping hobby with equally or more fulfilling endeavors. Easier said than done, but I’m committed to making it happen! More on that in future posts…
What I Wore
For the past year and a half, I’ve been keeping track of the garments and shoes I wear each month and 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 November, I wore 28 garments and 8 pairs of shoes, which is very close to the same number of items I wore in October. It may seem impressive that I’m wearing so few things, but it’s really not. I spend a lot of my days at home in lounge wear, which isn’t included in my total. Now that the weather has cooled down, I’ve started to wear more of my “regular” tops at home, but I’m still in yoga-style pants most of the time. I enjoy being comfortable, but I plan to continue to upgrade my at-home wear in the coming year. I also hope to get out more so I can enjoy wearing more of my clothes.
Here’s a photo of the items I wore during November 2014:
Believe it or not, November was still pretty warm in my neck of the woods, so I continued to wear summer clothing most days. However, I often did need to wear a topper, especially in the evenings. The predominant colors I wore were black, blue, and purple, with a few other colors thrown in. I also wore a few striped pieces and some leopard print.
I’m sure my December wardrobe will look a lot different and there will be more pants and long-sleeved tops in the mix. I’d still like to wear skirts and dresses more often in cooler weather, but that will be a gradual process, as I need to add some new pieces to my wardrobe in order to make it happen. Maybe I’ll be able to take advantage of the January sales to pick up some boots and tights, as well as a warmer dress or two.
Conclusion and Your Thoughts
I don’t really enjoy writing these accountability updates, as they can be tedious and take a long time to put together. However, I do feel they’ve been helpful in increasing my awareness and keeping myself on track. In cases where I’ve veered off course, having to share the facts with all of you has enabled me to find my way back to sanity. In the past, I just kept repeating bad behaviors and lying to myself and others about what I was doing. Telling the truth each month about how much I’ve shopped has been instrumental in my recovery. If you’re struggling with compulsive shopping, I highly recommend finding an accountability partner. You can also report your progress in the comments section of my monthly posts, as others have elected to do.
Now it’s your turn to chime in. How did you do with your shopping and wardrobe during November? 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 goals and commitments. Feel free to share your wins, challenges, and questions in the comments section of this post.