Best Purchases of 2014

The year is drawing to a close and for many of us, it’s a time of reflection.   As I did last year, I will publish a series of 2014 wrap-up posts, most of which will actually go live in early January.   I’m going to start my retrospective on a high note, with my best purchases of the past year.

Good purchases

What were your best purchases of the year?

In today’s post, I’ll share a brief overview of my 2014 purchases, followed by a look at what I see as my best buys in various wardrobe categories.   I’ll close out with a list of my top ten closet acquisitions of the year.   Later this week, I’ll delve into the darker side of things – my worst 2014 purchases, as well as those items for which the proverbial jury is still out.   Since over two-thirds of my purchases were made in the second half of the year and many were for the late to arrive cooler weather, I’m not yet able to appropriately classify everything as either “good” or “bad.”

2014 Purchase Overview

But that’s a subject for my next post – on to today’s topic!   Let’s start with an overview…  I have added 55 items to my closet this year.  Several gifts are included within this number.   Items that were returned for refunds don’t count, but things that were passed on for donation or consignment do.

Because I still made a fair number of returns this year, I’ve had trouble keeping track of my item number.   In fact, as I tried to round up all of the stats for this post, my head started to spin.  So let’s just say that I exceeded my initial item limit of 38 (set forth in this post) by quite a bit and either met or came close to my revised item limit of 53 (written about here).   I had too many exclusions and caveats anyway, so I definitely understand why some of you got confused by the whole thing.  Even I am confused, so let’s just look at the items and not get into semantics of limits for the sake of this discussion.

Here’s a look at the 55 items I added to my closet during 2014 (click for a larger view):

My 2014 Purchases

I added these 55 items to my closet during 2014.

Jewelry and other accessories are not shown and will be discussed in a future post.

Of my 2014 acquisitions, I have designated 21 as good purchases and 13 as bad purchases.  The remaining 21 items are in the grey zone in that I’m not yet sure if they will be “heroes” or “zeros.”   I will elaborate on the bad buys and those things that are on the fence in my next post, as well as share photos, but let’s look at what I did right first (in the spirit of the holidays and all…).

My 21 “Good” Purchases

My 21 good purchases represent 38% of the total.  Most of these pieces have been worn numerous times and were featured in many of my favorite outfits.  A few, such as my black mixed media jacket, are newer acquisitions, but I feel confident enough that they will be loved and worn regularly that I included them in the “good” group.   Here’s a glance at my 21 good purchases from 2014:

Good Purchases - 2014

These 21 items were the best purchases I made in 2014.

Best Items by Category

Now let’s take a quick look at these items by wardrobe category and see what they have in common.  Looking for themes among our winning purchases can help us to make better choices with our future shopping.


Best 2014 Topper Purchases

This year, I embraced moto-style toppers, as well as bright cardigans.   While I’m moving away from the longer open cardigans that used to be part of my “uniform,” I do love the deep green striped version I purchased at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale back in July.   An area of style evolution for me is to start wearing my shorter jackets and cardigans with pants and jeans, as I experimented with recently and showed in the final post of my Bridgette Raes series.


Best 2014 Top Purchases

All of my favorite top purchases are long-sleeved and two are striped.   The two solid pieces are in key palette colors, grey and teal.  I allowed myself one “multiple” purchase with the purple and red waffle tops.  These are the types of tops I wear often while working from home or on casual outings.  I have drastically cut back on buying pieces in more than one color, but I feel good about the two waffle tops.  However, I’m glad I stopped at two rather than picking up the top in every single color like I used to do!

Bottoms and Dresses:

Best 2014 Bottoms and Dress Purchases

Always the late adopter, I finally jumped on the maxi dress and skirt train this year.   I love wearing this full-length silhouette with flat shoes and I feel that maxis keep me out of “church vibe” territory.  They also allow me to be comfortable, casual, and stylish at the same time.

I bought a second pair of my favorite Lucky jeans to wear with flat shoes.  I wear the original pair with boots and heels all the time; thus it made sense to double up so I am covered for all jeans wearing situations.   I will likely let go of some less loved pairs of jeans soon, but it’s always difficult for me to purge pants from my closet because they’re so hard for me to find!


Best 2014 Shoe Purchases

I wore flat and low-heeled shoes a lot during the warmer months this year.   My black Ecco sandals were worn most frequently, but I didn’t buy my caged sandals until September.   The metallic sandals replaced a worn out pair in an almost identical style and were included in a lot of my summer outfits.   The blue sandals were a bit of a leap of faith based upon Bridgette Raes’ recommendation.  She told me that colored shoes can be very versatile and she’s right!   I hope to pick up another pair or two of non-neutral shoes in 2015 to further broaden my footwear horizons.

The Top Ten List

Finally, I thought it would be fun to put together a list of my top ten 2014 purchases.   Let’s start with the photo and then I’ll share a few thoughts on each item.

10 Best 2014 Purchases

My Top 10 Purchases of 2014 

Yes, there’s a lot of black there, but I’m not a “blackcident”!   As you can see in the outfit photos I’ve posted here and here, I often combine my black pieces with bright-colored garments.   In addition to the many black pieces in my top ten, there are also three striped items and two cobalt blue garments.   I continue to love stripes and cobalt is my favorite color (other than black, of course).

Here’s why I love the ten items shown above:

  1. Black caged sandals – These shoes add a bit of edge to my outfits. As you can see in the before and after photos in this post, just switching out my previous shoes for these new sandals changes the whole look!   I bought them pretty late in the year, but I feel confident that I will wear them a lot once the weather warms up next Spring.
  2. Cobalt and black striped top – This is now one of my favorite tops! The varying stripes add something special to the look and I love how the top is a comfortable knit but can be dressed up a bit for the rare non-casual events in my life.  Plus, cobalt, black, and stripes – three of my favorite things!
  3. Black flat sandals – I like how the raised circles on the front strap add visual interest to what is basically a very simple shoe. I can walk in these sandals for hours (a tall order with my fussy feet!) and they coordinate well with most of my summer wardrobe.
  4. Grey and black striped knit moto jacket – This was my first moto jacket and I instantly loved it! I wore it with many of my summer dresses and skirts and love how it made everything look more modern and stylish.   Plus, it’s extremely comfortable and not at all constricting.  I thought I would only wear this jacket with skirts and dresses, but recently tried it with pants and liked that combination, too.
  5. Black moto jacket – Since my first moto jacket purchase worked out so well, I added a second one to my closet. I have a lot of black printed garments in my wardrobe and this solid black jacket pairs well with them.   Like my striped moto jacket, it modernizes a lot of my outfits and looks good worn either open or closed.
  6. Black maxi-dress – This dress quickly became one of my favorites and was worn often during the summer. It’s very flattering to my body type and is long enough for my tall height.   I am able to dress it up or down with different accessories and have found it to be extremely versatile.
  7. Black maxi-skirt – I have quite a few printed and bright tank tops in my closet, which all work well with this very comfortable skirt. I love it for the same reasons as the dress above and enjoyed wearing it with my new moto jackets.
  8. Black mixed media jacket – I just bought this jacket in November but already feel it’s a “game-changer” as a result of a recent try-on session (some photos are posted here).   Like the caged sandals, it adds some edge to my outfits.   It also works well with both skirts and pants.
  9. Cobalt cardigan – I love how this cardigan looks with my black and striped pieces, plus the color is one of my favorites. It’s also comfortable and lightweight (cotton) and looks nice with skirts, dresses, and pants.
  10. Navy and turquoise striped waffle top – This is a nice casual piece for the cooler months. The color is flattering on me and the top pairs well with jeans and boots.  It works well for my casual lifestyle, too.

I look forward to continuing to enjoy my top ten items – and all of my good purchases from 2014 – well into the New Year.   All of the pieces that I designated as “good buys” work for both my real life (as opposed to a former or fantasy life) and my personal style.   Most are very casual and comfortable and all are in my defined color palette.   The same things cannot necessarily be said of my bad and “on the fence” purchases.  In my next post, I’ll look at those and identify the reasons why certain things didn’t work out for me.

I Recommend Identifying Your Best and Worst Purchases

I highly recommend that you take some time to look at the items you bought this year and see what has served you well and what falls into the mistake category.   Looking for common ground among both your hits and misses can help you to shop smarter moving forward.   I will share more thoughts on this topic when I discuss my worst purchases of the year.  Stay tuned…

If you’d like to share your thoughts about your best purchases of the year (or even about mine), I invite you to do so in the comments section.  Also, as the year draws to a close, if you have anything to share about how you did with your shopping and/or your wardrobe this year, please do.   I’m still processing my year in shopping, wardrobe, and style and will have a lot more to say about all of these topics.   But you are more than welcome to share your thoughts in this post or any of the 2014 wrap-up posts to come.

37 thoughts on “Best Purchases of 2014

  1. The first thing I noted about my year’s purchases when I went to assemble a few favorite outfits for a thread over at YLF is that summer wear is not my preference. Once I came home to Tahoe it was like – aaahhhhhh – when I saw my pants and jackets waiting.
    I’m, once again, on my way to bed so I’m not that eloquent lol. I’ll come back. Love your moto jacket.

    • It’s good that you’re back in Tahoe, Mo, as you get lots of chances to wear cold weather outfits there! I actually prefer summer wear, but it was tricky for me this past summer with my evolving style. I think I will need to make some changes in the coming year if I want to continue to love dressing for warm weather. But I have quite a few months of cool weather to contend with before I need to worry much about that!

    • Okay, back after some rest and coffee lol. I would say my more neutral and basic items ended up being most worn. Now I don’t know if that makes them best purchases or just most useful. Hmm. I’ll have to decide what ‘best’ really entails for myself. For instance, I love my jumpsuit but only wore it once, on my birthday. Ditto my black and silver jacquard mini skirt on my anniversary. Does that make them not good purchases? I dunno. If I go by ‘happiness factor’ they are both 9’s (fit issues with each keep from perfect 10’s unless/until I take them to a tailor).
      I am finding as I try and winnow down my wardrobe, that simpler items seem to have more use and bang for their buck. Hand in hand with that is, quality must go up the simpler the garment.
      So I think my better buys are by and large, better quality things. Cashmere blend tee, white BF blazer, purple wool coat. Unfortunately, a good portion of the year’s buys were summer wear, and it’s hard to get quality in hot weather items. Could be why I wasn’t all that thrilled with many of my buys.

      • I’m glad you came back to share more, Mo. Yes, rest and coffee often can help us to think more clearly 🙂 Like you, I have done better with my higher-quality purchases. I think that because we both have tended to be bargain shoppers, we really put a lot of thought and consideration to the things we pay more money for. I know what you mean about lower quality in summer wear. I wonder why that is… But since you are back in Tahoe and the cooler weather lasts much longer there, I’m sure you will get more items for the colder months this year. I love that you are doing seasonal shopping and enjoyed your recent planning post about it. I’m heading in that direction, too, but the weather is so strange here that it’s hard to plan. I’m probably still going to try, though, as I’d love to get to the place where it’s not buy, buy, buy all the time. It would be nice to feel “done,” if only for a few months at a time.

      • I would never have thought to look at good and bad purchases in terms of seasons, but come to think of it, almost all of my good purchases were for in between or cold weather. My only favourite for the year for hot weather is a pair of sandals. The rest of my summer purchases were just okay. Partly because I dislike summer and summer clothes to start with, but, yes, the difficulty in finding quality summer clothes is a big factor. Thanks for that insight!

      • Mo often comes up with new ways of looking at things, which is why I’m so happy that she comments here AND has started a blog of her own.

        I usually love summer, but that’s mostly because it generally doesn’t get all that hot where I live. This year was different, though, and it felt much like Florida here for months and months. I was happy to get our overcast, coastal weather back finally about a month ago!

  2. This was a great way to start- looking at your best purchases. All of these are cohesive and look like the BELONG in the same wardrobe together- very well done! 21 really good purchases in a year is actually far better than I think many of us do- and it’s great for you especially since you’re in the process of revamping your style. And, those 21 items are not counting accessories so you probably had even better luck 🙂

    I’m also in the process of reviewing all my purchases- but I started with the ‘bad’. Plenty of guilt to pass around! I’m looking at it from a bright side- all the valuable lessons I have learned this year (the key word here is to actually LEARN them, not to step and repeat lol). I’m seeing trends with what worked and what did not, and while my post will be extra-lengthy and time consuming I’m finding the time well spent.

    • I look forward to reading your purchase reviews, Meli. I thought of starting with the bad, too, but then decided to do it the other way around. Ending on a high note is a good way to go, too. I think we need to make sure to celebrate our wins as well as lament our mistakes. But you’re right in that learning from our foibles is of paramount importance. Thanks for your kind words about my wins. In terms of accessories, I think I had more fails there, but we’ll see when I get around to the analysis. I didn’t even start sharing my accessory buys until May, but I still have some good information to go on. Next year, I will be much more sparing with my buys in general (like you plan to be), so hopefully there will be more winners than losers – for both of us!

  3. I agree with other posters that your wardrobe seems so much more coherent and looks like it works together so much better! I am so glad you defined some really great core colors and that everything seems to play nicely together. I think you did great w/your purchasing this year. Looking forward to the rest of your analysis!

    • Thanks, Ry. My wardrobe is gradually coming together and I’m feeling a lot better about it. I think I’m gradually improving my purchases. As I buy less and less (but still too much in 2014), my success rate is going up. I think when we buy fewer things, we give a lot more thought to them and are more likely to buy the right things for us and our lives.

  4. I too am impressed by the “good” buys and the cohesiveness you have achieved. As for the “bad” buys–I have this issue myself at times. I have decided to ONLY buy from stores with generous return policies, even if I have to pay more. Nordstroms has both PLUS will price match if an item is on sale elsewhere. Hope I can stick to this resolution!

    • Good plan, Frugalscholar. I have mostly shifted to buying only from Nordstrom and other similar stores, too. I try not to abuse their generous return policy (by returning many months later, for example), but it’s nice to be able to get our money back if we learn that something we bought won’t work all that well for us after all. Best wishes with your resolution! I think it’s wise and doable.

  5. Happy New Year, Debbie! This is my first comment and I want to say a big THANK YOU for your courageous blog that I have followed all year. You are a clear, strong, analytical, and frank writer. I have learned to look at my wardrobe, closet, and shopping with different intent. May your Year-end analysis reveal the success of even the “failures” as you draw closer and closer to the Full Life you seek.
    Most sincerely, Charlene

    • Welcome, Charlene, and thanks for taking the time to leave this very kind comment. I’m so glad my posts have helped you with your wardrobe and shopping. It’s always my objective to help others through sharing my journey. I thank you for your nice wishes and I wish you the best in 2015 as well!

  6. All of your best purchases really do look cohesive. My best items this year were black pants in a couple of different lengths, a print maxi skirt, and a few short,dolman sleeve tops for summer. For winter the tall boots I got for my birthday, black skinny jeans, and a few different shades of gray sweater tunics have gotten a ton of wear. I also wore the print black blouse that was really expensive multiple times. This is all good information to have moving forward. I seem to be doing better choosing things that I’ll wear, but I need to know when to say enough.

    • Thanks for sharing your best purchases, Tonya. They all sound very cohesive, too. I know what you mean about needing to know when to say enough. I’m right with you there! I still bought too much this year, but I’m happy to see the number going down. I’m glad you have worn your expensive blouse a lot of times. I tend to fare better with my more expensive items, too, as I shared with Mo above. I think that all in all, you’ve had a good year shopping and wardrobe-wise. I’m sure you’ll continue to improve in 2015, as I know you are committed to doing so.

  7. This has been an interesting journey for you, has it not? I purchased maybe twelve items this year, and I am very happy with all of them. This has been my second year of very disciplined shopping, and it has been a revelation. You may be one of those people who like a lot of variety, so I do not mean to say that my way is the right way. I still think I look pretty much the same day in and out, but I like the simplicity of dressing wearing 95% of my clothes six days a week feeling well dressed. Oh, and that is also how I justified a certain purchase at Hermes while visiting your beautiful city not too long ago.

    • I don’t know if there is one right way to shop, Cornelia, but I think I’d like to start shopping more like you. I have been into variety for a long time, but I’m still buying too much and making too many mistakes. I’m proud of the changes I’ve made, though, and know I will continue to improve. It sounds like you’re doing very well with your wardrobe and the fact that you are keeping things simple enables you to make those more extravagant purchases like whatever you bought at Hermes (I never even go in there, but maybe that will change).

  8. As others have already said, your good purchases have a very cohesive look to them, and you seem to have really found your way style-wise. I’m very happy for you!
    Looking at my purchases for the year, my overall “success rate” was about 50%, but the majority of my good purchases were made in the second half of the year. I think I was still experimenting and fumbling in the first half of the year, but as I figured things out and became more discerning, I started to make fewer and better purchases. My success rate for the second half of the year is about 80%. I discovered that I prefer relatively simple styles, maybe with a small amount of embellishment or interesting detail, and I stopped buying statement pieces because I realized that even if I love them in the shop, I tire of them very quickly. Also, not surprisingly, my favourites are all items play down areas I’m self-conscious about, and are comfortable and easy to care for.

    • I would say a 50% success rate is pretty good, Kayla, especially since you improved so much in the second half of the year (80% success is definitely something to be proud of!). What’s more, you seem to have learned a lot about what does and doesn’t work for you. My shopping improved quite a bit later in the year, too. Sixteen of my 21 “good buys” were made from July on and my mistakes decreased later in the year, too. I’ll share a lot more about this in my next post, but it’s good to see that I’m improving. Good for you for all of the great progress you’ve made! You should be quite proud of yourself.

  9. Your choices are really good, wearable and will be assets throughout the upcoming year. You talk about wanting to buy less in 2015. Hopefully you will be able to shop your closet and be satisfied with what you find. I find myself in a position where I feel I made good purchases, just far too many. I spent too much. I am hoping the majority of my needs and wants have been satisfied so shopping my closet will be more of a pleasure than spending my money! I have been reading your blog and others like it over the past couple of months and am inspired to make some changes. Thank you so much for sharing so much, it has to be difficult. You must help a lot of people!

    • I appreciate your comment, Misty. I’m glad you’ve found my blog helpful. I definitely want to buy less in 2015 and I believe I will. I think it’s a good idea for any of us to take some time to shop our closets instead of the stores. I know that I’ve very often bought things that were quite similar to what I already had, but I was shopping more for emotional reasons than for real wardrobe needs. Some of those purchases were good ones, like you mention, but we can only wear so many things! I wish you the best in 2015 and hope you have fun shopping your closet.

  10. You had some wonderful hits this year Debbie. It is so much fun to watch your evolution, even as I work on my own very different style. I didn’t do as great a job on tracking purchases as I thought I did, letting things sort of fall apart after September. So I need to go back and tidy up my lists and come up with my final $ spent. It won’t likely change my anticipated budget for next year, but I don’t like loose ends. 🙂 My best purchases of 2014 were: 2 pairs of cropped pants for summer work attire, one green and one blue (different styles), a gray tunic sweater with floral embroidery for spring/fall, a chartreuse long sweater for spring/fall, a gray sweatshirt tunic for winter and two sweater toppers for winter, one green and one gray. There are a few other hits, and sadly a number of misses, several of which are waiting to be returned. Speaking of returns, not only do I only buy from stores with a generous return policy, I make sure it is one where I know I will actually complete the return. I don’t buy from one particular department store anymore because it isn’t convenient for me. Though I can order online and return in the store, it’s a pain to get to and I never have time to get over to that side of town. Lessons learned. Actually a small stack of lessons still sitting in my spare bedroom. Haunting me!

    • There seems to be a lot of cohesion among your hits, Holly, especially in terms of colors. Good point about the returns. I prefer to be able to return things to the mall that is closest to me. If I have to go to another mall or even to a store that’s in another area, I tend to procrastinate about doing it. I usually do it, but my time is important, too, and I no longer want to spend so much of it driving around to make returns! As for the “lessons” sitting in your spare bedroom, it seems like you’ve learned from them, so perhaps it’s time to pass them on. Keeping things around that we don’t love, won’t wear, and can’t return only makes us feel bad about ourselves and those negative feelings rarely help us to change. I’m trying to be nicer to myself and want to encourage others to do the same!

      • Debbie, you hit the nail on the head about the returns. I have a mall close to me, just three miles away. If I have to take something back there it’s not a big deal, while returns to the “other” mall just weigh me down. But I’m going to to give it one more effort on that stack of returns in the spare room. Maybe I’ll make an outing of it and have lunch over that way, just to get this stuff out of the house and off my mind. But there will be NO shopping while I am there and no future online purchases from that department store! Indeed, the lessons have been learned. Thank you again for all your work with your blog. It has been incredibly helpful to me these past seven months!

  11. My year-end inventory, inspired by this post, wasn’t as mortifying as I thought it would be. Very few impulse buys later regretted (plenty of impulse buys, but I like them). Nearly all my mistakes resulted from trying to match something I should just have returned or from buying something cheaper than what I actually wanted. Like Mo, I love the clothes that make me feel special, even tho I don’t wear them very often, and I don’t really love the practical items, even though I wear a lot. But at least I did a good job this year of spending most of my money on clothes that fit my actual life.

    • I’m glad my post inspired you to do a year-end inventory, Kate. Yes, those types of things are rarely as mortifying as we think they will be. It seems like you’ve learned some powerful lessons from doing your inventory, so it was time well spent. Good for you for buying clothes that suit your actual life during 2014! I did better with that, but plan to continue to improve in the coming year.

  12. I have also purchased 55 items this year. More than I planned at the beginning of the year but I also decided to make some style changes which entailed purchasing a selection of more casual dresses and toppers. Looking back at the year 50-60% of the items have been good buys which I have worn on a number of occasions and felt very happy with. The 20% which have been poor purchases are virtually all charity/thrift shop purchases -lesson learnt. The other items are useful but probably not essential or the best choices. Although I really like the colour and style of a couple of the dresses, the fabric creases easily so I don’t wear them often, a lesson in not compromising. I’m waiting to see how often I wear the jacket which was exactly what I had been looking for – before my style change! I must remember to think in terms of whole outfits and looks not get distracted by individual items. I am optimistic that next year I will purchase less as I am happier with what I have and must thank you for helping with this through your blog. Tracking what I wear and reviewing it has been really helpful. Best wishes for the New Year.

    • Thanks for sharing your numbers and insights for the year, Lynn. It seems like you did quite well with your shopping overall and the things you learned will help you to do even better in 2015. Your point about thinking in outfits instead of individual items is a very good one. It has been a breakthrough for me to start thinking that way and has saved me quite a few mistakes. My outfit journal really drove the point home for me. I wish you the best in the coming year!

  13. Great post as always, Debbie! As others have said, your purchases look really cohesive and seem to fit well with the style you’re aiming for. It seems like the maxi skirts/dresses in particular have been a real game-changer, offering you a comfortable alternative to the knee-length full skirts that you’ve struggled a bit to style in a way you’re really happy with. Love the subtle “edge” you are bringing to your outfits with pieces like the caged sandals and moto jackets.

    It’s interesting to me that a couple of your top-ten purchases, like your black flat sandals and black knit moto jacket, were pieces where you had a couple of “false starts,” I.e., buying and returning other versions of those items that weren’t quite right before finding these. First, how great that refusing to settle got you to top-ten items in the end! But also, I wonder if your experience with those items has yielded any insights into how you will shop in the future (since a full life depends on spending less time shopping/thinking about shopping, it would be great to hear any insights about avoiding that buy-return cycle.

    For my part, I think my worst purchases were ones where I did “settle,” ignoring some of the subtle details about what make items really work for me.

    I also wanted to thank you for linking to my blog in your December useful links post! I’ve been quiet over there the last couple months but hope to get back to blogging in 2015 so it was inspiring to feel like a post of mine had been helpful.

    Happy new year to you!

    • You always raise some really good points, Sarah. I definitely think I need to write more about the buy/return cycle, as it has been an issue for me. It takes more time and energy than I’m really willing to spend anymore, but sometimes it cannot be avoided. I think I’ve learned some powerful lessons over the past year which are helping me to shop smarter, such as better understanding my style and the types of fabrics that work best for me (the first black moto jacket was merino wool and irritated my skin). But some returns are hard to avoid, especially when we are ordering online and unable to try things on. I think the best bet is to order from retailers who make returns really easy to do and to take advantage of that. I order a lot from Nordstrom, but usually return to the store. But they offer free returns, so I should just put the items back in the mail unless I really need to go to the mall for some reason. More to think about on this topic, though, so I will be “percolating” about it all…

      I was happy to include your post and I’m sure a lot of people found it helpful. I hope you do get back to blogging this year. I know full well how time-consuming it can be, but it can also be very fulfilling. It always warms my heart to know that my words are making a difference in other people’s lives. Happy New Year and best wishes to you in 2015!

  14. I did a quick count, and I’d say that roughly 70-75% of what I bought was a good purchase (that doesn’t mean that I wore everything lots of times, but given that I still love and retain most of my buys, I consider successes even the items I didn’t wear many times). I’ll admit that I was surprised, I thought that since I had bought lots of things (60 items), there were bound to be lots of disappointments, and yet when I look at my closet now I am much more happier than I was, say, an year ago. That’s probably because I did a major clean-out of all the old/ratty/ill-fitting items I had, purging something like 120 items in a year (but that was easy because most were leftovers from high school, and even something from middle school, go figure!), and needed the obvious replacements, so I bought lots of basic items (tops, pants, jeans, cardigans, sweaters, skirts), which get worn often, as they are the base of my everyday outfits!
    If I had to mention some of my best buys I’d definitely put in there my boot-cut Gap jeans, which I’ve already worn to pieces, my Wonders ankle booties, which are the most comfy heels I have ever tried, also my Wonders red sandals (they go with everything basically), and also some cotton sweaters from Mango, which fit so well they look like they were knitted with my measurements in mind!
    As for my worst purchases, sadly most of them are wrong sizes I bought online or on sale, or new items that got irremediably stained in their early outings… But all in all I’m content with my 2014 purchases!
    For 2015 I’d like to buy less, and I’d like to buy key items that can create a more cohesive wardrobe, like some winter trousers, maybe some straight jeans (I only have boot-cuts or skinnies), some low sandals to replace the ratty beige pair I have…

    • It seems like you did very well with your purchases in 2014, Maria. Good for you! You also did a great job in paring down your wardrobe, which I’m sure helped you to shop smarter, too. The two things really do go hand and hand much of the time. Congrats on your success and on having a concrete plan for your 2015 shopping. Best wishes to you in 2015!

  15. Debbie, as always, this was a treat to read! I really love reading through your thought processes, because you always, always say something, in every post, that makes me stop and say “ohhhhhhh….that makes so much sense!”

    I love that you are unflinchingly honest about your purchases and your feelings, but I really love that you started with the positives of 2014! The others have already said it, your purchase successes form a beautiful, cohesive style. Well done!

    Without stopping to count and research my inventory sheet, I guesstimate that 65-70% of my purchases this year were successful, in terms of being workhorses, or special occasion items that I ADORE. I mostly thrift or shop eBay, but in every case, my successes have been items that I either planned well in advance for (black stiletto pumps and flat OTK boots via eBay), or thrifted/consigned items that were unplanned, but that were in excellent 9 out of 10 condition, and perfectly fit my style, needs, and lifestyle.

    If you ever wonder how/if your blog impacts the lives of others, let me say this: in the time I have been reading your blog regularly, the past 6 months or so, the number of successes have jumped far ahead of my failures. And I feel I have a better handle on my impulse purchases than I did even six months ago. I have you to thank for that! Thank you!

    • I really appreciate your kind words, Mary Beth! I am always so happy to learn that my blog is helping others to shop smarter and create more workable wardrobes. You seem to be doing very well overall. Congrats on doing so well with thrift and eBay purchases! As you’ve read, I haven’t done so well with that type of shopping, but I think what you wrote is key. You planned for the purchases IN ADVANCE and held out for items that we “9”s or “10”s. That makes a big difference. Many of us settle when things are “cheap,” but we need to be vigilant about meeting our needs whether items cost $5 or $500!

  16. The one thing that sticks out in my mind for any of my best purchases, was that I knew I wanted the item, before I went shopping for it. Knowing what I need before I shop is helpful but something I only recently started to practice.

    • That’s a good point, Lisa. I think that’s true for most of my best purchases, too. It’s those impulse buys that we need to beware of! Planning my shopping serves me well when I do it, so I really need to do it ALL the time.

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