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.
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):
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:
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.
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.
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:
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!
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.