March is now underway, so it’s time for my second accountability update for 2015. As long-time readers know, these monthly reports are where I share what came into and left my closet during the previous month and how I did with my shopping budget. It’s my way of keeping myself honest and on track with my wardrobe and shopping.
Although I don’t have the type of formal goals this year that I had during 2013 and 2014 (see this post for what I’m doing instead this year), sharing what I bought, what I culled, and how much I spent will help me to stay deliberate with both my shopping and wardrobe management.
What Left My Closet
I always start these reports with what left my closet during the previous month. During February, I removed 14 items from my wardrobe:
- 1 purse
- 1 long-sleeved top
- 3 pairs of shoes
- 4 workout tops (only two are pictured)
- 1 cardigan
- 2 short-sleeved tees
- 1 pajama top & 1 pajama bottom (not pictured)
Why I Purged These Items
In addition to posting photos of what left my closet, I also list why I decided to release those pieces from my wardrobe. I feel that pinpointing our reasons for purging closet items can help us notice patterns and avoid future mistakes. Here’s why I let go of the items pictured above (items listed from left to right, top to bottom):
- Bronze handbag – My mom gave me this handbag during her September visit. I had given her one of my purses and she left this one with me. However, I already had the exact same purse in pewter and really didn’t see any reason to have two almost identical purses in my closet. So I gave the purse back to my mom during her visit last week. She isn’t sure whether she will use it again or pass it on to a friend, but I’m glad I opted to return it to her instead of hanging on to it.
- Black and white striped tee – This top was a favorite of mine for several years, but I think it may have shrunk over time. The sleeves were just too short and it felt too tight overall (you can see the top in this post). I have other black and white striped tops that I prefer, so I opted to pass this one on.
- Pewter peep-toe flats – These shoes were also a long-time favorite and were probably worn hundreds of times since they were purchased in late 2008. However, they stretched over time such that they would no longer stay on my feet when I walked. My mom tried them on and they fit her perfectly (her feet are wider than mine), so I gave them to her. I’m glad the shoes have moved on to a good home.
- Coral scoop-neck tee: Over the past year, I have really refined my color palette and I’ve gradually been letting go of pieces in alternate hues. I didn’t love this top and have several other scoop-neck tees in colors that I prefer, so it was time to let this one go.
- Black bow-front flats: I planned to pass these shoes on months ago, but never did. I have another pair of black ballet flats that I prefer, but I kept this pair because they were still comfortable and in good shape. But my mom tried the shoes on and liked them, so they went home with her. Now we both have black ballet flats to wear, so it’s a win, win.
- Grey ballet flats: I also planned to let these shoes go, as I never liked the way they looked with my outfits (I wear a lot of dark colors and the shoes just didn’t mesh well). However, since they were fairly expensive and rarely worn, I kept them out of guilt (you know the drill…). I thought I might try to sell them on eBay, but my mom liked them, so I gave them to her instead. My mom lucked out and got three pairs of shoes from me during her recent visit!
- Green and purple workout tees: Both of these tees had shrunk too much after multiple washings. The same was true for the other two purged workout tees that aren’t pictured above. I usually wash my clothes in either cold or warm water and avoid the dryer, but the tops looked misshapen when air-dried. Even when dried on low heat, they gradually shrunk in length and eventually were just too short for me to wear. My workout tees of years past used to last a lot longer! I really lament the drop in quality in recent years.
- Black and white polka dot cardigan: The sleeves on this cardigan were always too short for me, but I still wore it a few times. I have to be very careful when purchasing 3/4 sleeved items, as they often end up being more like 2/3 sleeves on my long arms. I used to settle on the fit of such pieces, but no more. If I have to tug my sleeves down all day long, it’s just not worth it!
- White v-neck tee: I bought this tee back when I thought it would be a good idea to add more white to my wardrobe. But then I discovered that I don’t like the way I look in stark white (I prefer white in prints instead). I considered downgrading this tee for workout or lounge wear, but since I feel like I look washed out in it, I opted to pass it on instead. I want to like the way I look in all of my clothes, even if I’m just going to the gym or sitting in front of the TV. Life is too short to wear clothes we don’t love!
What Came Into My Closet
During February, I added 12 new items to my closet:
- 1 printed tunic
- 2 short-sleeved tees
- 2 pairs of shoes (grey boots – Christmas present, pewter flats)
- 4 workout tops (only one is pictured)
- 3 sleep shirts (not pictured)
Here’s a photo of my February closet additions:
Why I Added These Items to My Wardrobe
Here are my reasons for adding the items pictured above to my closet:
- Black/white/yellow print tunic – This was my only impulse purchase last month, but I bought it because I loved it and didn’t have anything similar in my closet. I saw the tunic while shopping with my mom last week (she also purchased a tunic in the same store). I tried it on because I loved the print, and I was surprised to see that it fit me perfectly (a rare occurrence with my broad shoulders and narrow torso). I believe there should be room in one’s wardrobe plan for a few “love buys” each year, but I definitely need to be careful not to veer away from my shopping priorities list too often.
- Cobalt and grey striped tee – As I had purged or downgraded many of my short-sleeved tops last year, I opted to buy this tee and the next one. I loved the colors in this top (two of my key palette tones) and the subtle ruching at the neckline. I have already worn this tee twice and really like it.
- Green and grey striped tee – I tried on a solid version of this tee and liked that the neckline was a cross between a crew-neck and a scoop-neck. Scoop-necks are often too low-cut for me and I don’t like when crew-necks show almost no skin at all. I liked the fit of the solid tee but didn’t want to add another solid to my closet, so I asked about print options. I liked the colors in this striped version, so I ordered it. I haven’t worn it yet, as the weather has been cooler recently, but I look forward to wearing it once temperatures increase again.
- Grey boots – After 5 tries, I finally found a pair of grey boots that I love! You may recall that my husband bought me a pair of grey boots for Christmas (shown in this post), but they didn’t work out. Well, my online ordering persistence finally paid off and I have already worn this new pair multiple times. I love the quilted detailing, and the block heel makes the boots easier to walk in.
- Pewter ballet flats – These shoes basically replace the pewter peep-toe flats that I gave to my mom (shown above). I had continued to wear those shoes sometimes even though they didn’t stay on my feet well, as I didn’t have a viable alternative. Well, now I do. The closed-toe will make these shoes more versatile, too. They are also comfortable on my fussy feet. I just got them last week and haven’t worn them yet, but hopefully they will be worn as frequently as their predecessor.
- Turquoise print workout tee – Over the past few months, I have let go of more than half of my workout tees (mostly because they had worn out or shrunk), so it became a priority to find replacements. This tee can probably be worn for non-workout activities, too, as it’s more “polished” than most of my other exercise tops. I love the color and print and the top fits me well, too.
- Other workout tees – I also added three solid workout tees (purple, green, salmon) to my wardrobe last month, all of which have already been worn multiple times. They are the same brand and style (Eddie Bauer “favorite” tee) that I’ve been wearing for years, but this may be the last time I buy them. The quality just isn’t what it used to be and I’ve already noticed that the tees have stretched out a bit after only one or two washings. If anyone has any good recommendations for workout tees, I’m all ears (eyes)!
- Sleep shirts – I recently overhauled my sleep wear wardrobe, too, so I desperately needed more sleep shirts to wear. I often struggle with this area of my wardrobe due to my tall height, but I found a style at Nordstrom that had the right proportions, so I ordered two additional colors. I have already worn the new sleep shirts multiple times and am happy with the way they look and feel. I shouldn’t need to buy any more sleep wear for a while now.
I am happy with my February acquisitions, but I feel that I went a bit overboard with my buying (more on this in my budget update section). I didn’t realize how much I had bought until I was compiling the information for this update, so clearly I need to check in on my new purchases throughout the month instead of waiting until month’s end. While I’m glad that I’m being much more deliberate with my shopping, I still want to cut back on the overall size of my wardrobe. That will involve less shopping overall, coupled with more targeted buying and culling. I’m doing much better with those things now than in previous years, but I need to remain mindful of what I’m doing and remember that I’m still a recovering shopaholic. I definitely don’t have it all figured out yet!
Checking in on Last Month’s Purchases
Beginning with this post, I’m adding a new section to my accountability updates in which I check in on the previous month’s purchases. I feel that it’s important to add new closet additions to one’s regular wardrobe rotation as soon as possible, so it will be helpful for me to be accountable to you on that front. I will keep these check-ins relatively brief, but I feel they will be a valuable addition to my monthly reports. I encourage you to check in on your previous month’s purchases, too, to evaluate whether or not they are serving your needs. If not, you may still be able to return them and mitigate any potential buying mistakes you’ve made.
As a reminder, I added 8 new items to my closet during January (see this post for details):
- 4 workout/lounge tops
- 2 long-sleeved tees
- 1 pair of shoes (walking shoes)
- 1 pair of earrings (belated Christmas present)
All of these items have already been worn and several of them have been worn multiple times. The walking shoes have been worn at least 20 times and are already a wardrobe “all-star.” The black printed tee and turquoise tee have each been worn several times. I am happy with most of my January wardrobe additions, but the grey tee and green print tee are still in the “iffy” department. I’ve only worn these items once each but have some reservations about both. I worry that I look kind of “washed out” in the grey tee and I found the green print tee to be a bit “fussy” in that I had to continually adjust it while I was wearing it. Time will tell if these two pieces will work well for me or not. I’ll keep you posted in future updates.
February Budget Report
As I mentioned last month, I have decided to decrease my clothing budget this year from $3000 to $2500. In contrast to previous years, I also opted to just have an annual budget instead of also having monthly limits. Since my long-term goal is to shop seasonally rather than pretty much all of the time, I thought this change would be a step in the right direction. However, based upon how much I shopped during February, my husband and I have jointly decided that I should stick to a quarterly shopping budget this year instead of only having the annual budget. That means that I will have $625 to spend every three months.
It turned out that I calculated my January spending incorrectly such that I thought I had spent less than I actually did. I inadvertently categorized my walking shoes in the wrong budget area, plus a return that should have been credited to January was allocated to February instead. Thus, I actually spent $80.86 in January (after returns) rather than the $33.50 that I reported last month.
During February, I spent $552.18 on clothing, shoes, and alterations ($40 on the latter), which is far more than I was planning on spending. So far this year, I have spent $633.04, which is slightly more than the target for my new quarterly budget ($625 per quarter). That means that I shouldn’t shop at all during March if I want to stay on target for the quarter and the year.
I am basically fine with that, although I really need to replace the slippers that I wear all day long when I’m at home. They are worn out, plus they have no arch support at all, which is a problem given my plantar fasciitis issue that has flared in recent weeks. Perhaps I will wear my walking shoes at home until I am able to purchase a suitable pair of slippers that won’t hurt my feet. I also need to upgrade my underwear, but I guess that will have to wait, too. There are consequences to our shopping decisions and overspending! Luckily, I still have some good pairs, so I’ll just have to do laundry more often until I’m able to shop for replacements.
Conclusion and Coming Attractions
I really didn’t feel I had shopped all that much last month, but clearly lots of little things – and one big thing (the ballet flats) – add up. As I mentioned earlier, I need to review how much I’m spending more often throughout the month to make sure I stay on track. While it’s great that I have replenished both my workout and sleep wear capsules, I could have taken things more slowly instead of doing it all at once. That way, I could have also replaced my pewter flats and bought the tunic on impulse without over-reaching my budget so much (and maybe I’d be able to buy the underwear and slippers during March).
I’m still learning and I’m glad that I have this blog – and all of you – to keep me accountable. I know I wouldn’t have improved as much as I have without doing these monthly updates, so it’s good that I have committed to doing them at least through this year. I may sometimes lament how long it takes for me to write these posts, but clearly I still need to do them (plus I’m glad that many of you enjoy reading them, too).
As a reminder, the “what I wore” section that I used to include in my accountability updates will now be part of my “Love It, Wear It” Challenge (LIWI) updates, the next of which will be posted later this week. I will also give you a glimpse into how my “working closet” is shaping up two months into the year, as well as share my insights from the second month of the challenge. I will also be writing more about how I’m incorporating my word for 2015 – deliberate – into my life this year, including a project that my husband and I took on this past weekend. The power of having a theme for the year can manifest in many different ways and I hope to have lots of updates for you as the year progresses!
Now it’s your turn to chime in.
- How did you do with your shopping and wardrobe during February?
- Is the year off to a good start for you or did you experience some challenges and setbacks this past month?
Some of you have opted to share your accountability updates each month, too, and I love that. There is strength in numbers and in speaking (writing) our truth on a forum such as this one. Please feel free to share your progress, issues, questions, goals, or anything else you’d like to express in the comments section. We’re here to encourage and support each other, so please feel free to ask for help if you need it. I wish you all the best in March and throughout 2015!
I really like the tunic and the shoes! And I have the same problem with getting to the end of the month and realizing I spent more than I thought I did. So I am keeping a notebook where I write all my purchases down now. It is helpful and very revealing. I am not a big clothes shopper, my downfall is more perfume and cosmetics. I wish I didn’t want so many things, and I hope eventually as I control my impulses better those wanting feelings will diminish. I have been actively trying to spend less for over a year and I do notice improvement, although not as much as I would like.
Good suggestion about the notebook, Tara. I can see how that would be very helpful and I will give it a try (although I don’t really plan to shop during March). I know what you mean about the wanting feelings. I think what we really want doesn’t have anything to do with clothes or cosmetics, but it can be difficult to determine what’s really going on. I’m still figuring it all out! Congrats on the improvements you’ve made – those small changes really add up over time, so just keep taking it day by day and you’ll get to where you want to be eventually.
I love your love buy and the pewter shoes!
Thanks, Deby! Me, too 🙂
I can’t wait to see you in that tunic! I’m a big fan of yellow and this looks amazing :). You did buy a lot of items and you probably would have been better of buying things over a longer period. That way, you would have had something to shop for in March;-). I did ‘overshop’ during February where I was supposed to get a shirt and a top and ended up with a shirt and three tops. The online store had a shipping minimum and to get the top I wanted, I had to throw in two more. I ended up liking the two extras more than the first one when they arrived :-). It didn’t break my budget as the two other tops ended up at about 19 $ total.
Thanks, Mette. Yes, I can go overboard with my shopping sometimes. My goal is to eventually be as disciplined as you are. I saw your post with your February buys. I’m always impressed with the beautiful pieces you find at such low prices. I need to shop where you shop 🙂 You have really curated a lovely and workable wardrobe and you’re an inspiration for many of us!
I love the ballet flats!!!! I think what you said about already wearing things multiple times is awesome especially because it means many of the pieces will get great cost per wear. If you choose to be shopping free in March, know you’re not alone in the endeavor. I might buy a few accessories but I won’t be buying clothes and shoes until May :).
February for me was good. I purged a scarf, a blazer, a pendant and a tank top. I received a really pretty black Cami with lace for valentines day and bought myself an item I’ve been craving for over a year when I found a pleather aviator jacket on sale for 10$ (instead of the 40$ ones on Amazon/ebay). I can’t wait to wear it once it gets warmer.
Sounds like you did well with your shopping and purging in February, Angel. Good for you! I’m impressed about the $10 pleather aviator jacket. I am happy that I’m wearing more of what I buy sooner than in the past. I think it’s helped me to be more targeted with my shopping and I agree that my cost per wear will be better in the long run. I look forward to having much better shopping success this year than in the past, but I need to be more gradual with it. I really spent too much in February, so I will likely be joining you in the shop-free March!
Hello Debbie! I’m sorry for not commenting lately, life has been extra crazy lately for me. I think you’ve come a long way and including all wardrobe categories is going to be SO helpful. You’re definetely getting more and more deliberate with everything you do! 🙂
I’ve purchased 5 things so far this year, 4 were this month. My item limit is 20 so I must be careful going forward, but I’m very happy with my purchases thus far. I added a white blouse, jeans, more casual fit-n-flare striped dress, and a color-blocked sheath dress this month. The blouse and jeans have already been worn several times, but the striped dress will wait for warm weather and the sheath dress will be worn my first day on ny new job the 16th of this month. I’ve not added anything that ‘doesn’t count’ so far (sleep wear/lounge, underclothing) and I will include those in my budget posts if/when I do. I did add back a purged item- my black cardigan. I still want to replace it but found I needed it in the interim! It ‘s the first purge I added back, so I may post about it later.
Additionally, one of my problems was overshopping for my daughter (2yrs old). I went through the spring/summer clothes i bought for her at the end of the season, birthday/christmas gifts, hand-me-downs, and what she wore last year that will still fit. She literally had nearly everything she will need, and I only bought her a pair of shoes, a dress, two pairs of jeans, and two pairs of shorts. All that’s left is a swimsuit and sandals. I’m proud that I approached it logically this year and avoided buying too many things! I was very close to ordering things she didn’t need!
You’re really doing so well with your 2015 shopping, Meli. Congrats to you! Also, great job at being more deliberate in what you buy for your daughter. I can imagine it would be tempting to buy all those cute little girl’s clothes. I saw your post with your February purchases. You know I love the striped dress and I have to say I was tempted to buy it, too! Your other pieces are beautiful, too. Whenever I see White House Black Market now, I think of you 🙂 Keep up the great work with the 5-piece French Wardrobe Challenge!
Thank you very much for your compliments Debbie! I have to say, I did think of you when I got the striped dress since I know you love stripes so! I’m proud of how far I’ve come, and I have to say the 5-piece french wardrobe challenge has been the best thing ever for me (along with reducing the budget). Setting it so high last year set me up for failure, but I also feel I’m finally READY to do this which is helping me succeed. I’m loving how ‘deliberate’ this is making me! It’s not as easy as it looks- I still feel a compulsion to check online retailers very frequently (daily, if I’m honest), but I’ve developed the ability to hold off on purchasing until the conditions are right. Waiting and having my little bitty item limit and budget help me be really PICKY about what I get. I’ve eliminated a dozen things from my ‘want’ list based on this alone. Currently, my ‘want’ list is 10 items. I’ll eliminate most of them in an intelligent way and then wait for steep sale for what is left.
You’re making me want to do that challenge next year, Meli! I think you’re doing so great and I smile when I read your updates. I know that you had a major shopping problem just like I did and I’m so happy to see your tremendous progress! How great that your want list is much smaller now and that you’re being much more deliberate in what you buy. A 10-item want list sounds very manageable and workable.
I bought only 2 things in February, but 12 total for Dec/Jan/Feb, which is a lot more than the ‘5 per season’ I was aiming for. I’ve also spent around 1/3 of my annual budget. I was tempted by some lovely things in the sales, which were all good quality and so align with my fewer/better policy. I’d like to keep purchases to a minimum between now and the summer sales. In Dec-Feb I wore around 50 things in total, and noted around 40 outfits, with around 20 marked as ‘very good’
I’m now at starting the fourth season of my first year of ‘Project 60’, and am enjoying considering what may go in my capsule for Spring. As well as a handful of the newer purchases, I want to dig out things not worn so far this year, and consider whether they are a viable part of my wardrobe. Then there will be a grand round-up in July when I look back at the whole year!
Thanks for sharing your numbers, Alice. It seems like you are doing well overall even if you’ve spent more than you wanted to. It can be hard to get used to the fewer/better approach, but I think it’s the way to go overall. I had a bit of sticker shock at my ballet flats, but I really need good quality shoes for my fussy feet. You seem to have a good plan in place for future shopping and “Project 60.” I may start a “Project 50” in the year leading up to my 50th birthday (August 2016).
I bought one thing last month – a scarf. In January I bought a shirt, boots and a Longchamps bag – all on sale plus a Tiffany silver chain. I also bought make-up and perfume.
I am tracking all purchases now, not just clothing but everything, including groceries.
How great that you are tracking all purchases, Carolyn. It really does help, doesn’t it? It seems like you buy few items and aim for high quality, which is what I’m aiming to do. I am still buying too many things, though, but I’ve been staying away from consignment purchases and deep sales, which were my previous downfalls. Sales can be great if they help us get what we most need/want at lower prices, but it can be all too easy to buy things JUST BECAUSE they are on sale. That’s what I need to stay away from!
The grey boots look great, I look forward seeing them on you!
I made a wardrobe inventory in February and the results quite frightened me : 140 items of clothings, bags, accessories (without jewelry) and shoes (without work out or lounge wear). I wasn’t suspecting I had so much (I have 32 dresses! Who need that much dresses??)
I decided to write “accountability” posts a bit like yours. In February I purged 16 items (2 dresses, 1 skirt, 2 pairs of pants, 2 tops, 3 toppers, 1 scarf, 3 pairs of shoes) and bought 1 (1 skirt). My total count is at 125 for the beginning of March, which is still too much, but I already spotted 3 tops, 2 toppers and 2 pairs of jeans I’m probably going to let go of this month.
A few items are still undecided for, but I guess the LIWI challenge and outfit journal are going to tackle that issue quickly!
Congrats on doing a wardrobe inventory, Cedrique, and on the paring down you’ve already done. Great job! Yes, 32 dresses are a lot. I remember a woman who had close to 100 who challenged herself to wear them all and blogged about it. She asked her readers to help her decide which ones to keep. Many of them were truly beautiful, but it was just too much. I find that I’m happier with a smaller wardrobe, but mine is still about the same size as yours. There is no one absolute right number for everyone, but we can find the number that works best for us. You’re doing very well and I look forward to learning how LIWI and the outfit journal help you with your journey.
I have taken this season to really wear what I have and get rid of anything that doesn’t work. Then trying to live with what is left. Amazingly, I am coping with the smaller size rather well. I also went through the stored clothes and purged there too. My fantasy life is over (with one or two exeptions-that may not last the next time). I actually took some pieces to consign, which was my first time, and made it out without buying anything! yeah. The rest will go to my local charity shop. Through this process I am getting to know my style and mistakes. I have bought 2 bra’s only and have forced myself to have a list. Nothing gets bought unless it is on that list. Even managed to go through the Rack and Sak Off 5th with their great sales. Only one replacement tank came home with me. Another yeah.
All this being said not to one up you but to praise you for inspiring me to be “intentional” with my time, money and style. I have also pared down the blogs I follow, yours was definitely a “keeper”. Great work, Keep it up , and again thank you for the inspiration.
Thanks for sharing your story, Kathy. It sounds like you’ve truly gained some wonderful insights. Letting go of a fantasy life can be hard to do, but it can really help us to hone our style and curate a wardrobe that works for our real life needs. I’m glad that my blog has helped you to be more intentional and I’m glad that it made the cut as you pared down the blogs you follow!
Target’s Merona Ultimate tees are really long and hold up extremely well, in my experience, and I am tough on clothes. Lands’ End is also great, but pricier. Bean’s ones tend to be short on me and will probably be so on you.
Thanks for the tee suggestion, Kathryn. Sometimes the lower-priced brands can be better than those that cost more. I will check out the Target tees and hopefully they will work well for me. I did buy a couple of Lands’ End tees earlier this year, but they were a bit short. I know they carry talls, though, so that’s an option for me next time. I still wear the others, but know they won’t last long, as tees always seem to shrink in length but not width. Strange how that works…
Please post a pic of you in your new tunic! I love the yellow but cannot wear it. I bought a new leather wallet today (saved cash for it from last month’s budget) and now the rest of March will be shopping free. I will be saving for some leather ballet flats or loafers for April.
I’m sure I will post a photo of me in the tunic at some point, Stephanie. I can’t usually wear yellow, either, but it’s not up close to my face in the tunic. I have one yellow top in my wardrobe, but I always wear a scarf with it. Seems like you’re doing well in keeping your shopping in check. Good luck with not shopping during March and with finding shoes you love in April!
Those boots are very pretty! I bought way too much in February: 20 items. Most of it were sale and secondhand items. I realised I need to stop buying accessories, as I rarely wear them.
Thanks, Jessica. I guess I’m not the only one who bought too much in February. Thanks for helping me feel less alone… I used to buy too many accessories, too, but doing an inventory and blogging about it has helped me to cut down. It’s very sobering to see how few of them I’m actually wearing even after reducing the size of my collection to less than half of the original size.
Sunday night I tried on all the cocktail dresses in my closet in anticipation of a wedding in mid-April to attend. Fortunately, the last LBD I bought for a steal at Ann Taylor last summer will work fine. I’m so relieved I won’t have to shop for anything new.
The dress try-on session led to cleaning out the closet (mainly the guest room closet). I am donating 35+ pieces of clothing, taking 10 to the consignment store, giving 2 to my cousin, and 6 pieces went in the trash earlier this week. I am usually so good about purging, so even I can’t understand why I was hanging on to all these things. I had to get real with myself about why these items weren’t being worn.
I decided that the money had been spent and the clothes had served their purpose. It was way past time to let go and move on. For a brief moment, I was feeling “scarce” in the clothes department after all that purging, but I realized that these were pieces that hadn’t been worn in awhile. They weren’t even in my main closet!
My February purchases were: one faux-wrap knit top, one button-front cotton shirt, two boatneck T-shirts, one pair of cropped pants, and two pairs of black tropical wool pants (one in a regular length and one in a tall length for wearing with high-heeled shoes). Every item purchased was 40% off. Total amount spent = $291.82.
Good for you for shopping your closet for wedding wear, Maddie. How wonderful that your dress try-on session also led to your cleaning out your closet. What a great job you did with that! I get the scarcity feeling after paring down, as I have been there many times. But you’re right that it doesn’t really make sense if we weren’t even wearing the items we got rid of. I came up with a “closet set point” theory to explain this and blogged about that last year. Here’s the link, as I think you are a newer reader and probably didn’t see it back then: https://recoveringshopaholic.com/do-you-have-a-closet-set-point/
Thanks for sharing your February purchases. Looks like you did very well. You got quite a few things for less than $300! Hopefully, all of those items will serve you well, too.
I too love the tunic and the shoes–noting that you opted for closed toes on your new flats. More versatile–and nice styling to move from very casual to more dressed up looks with ease.
Last month, I bought two Merona “ultimate Ts” in black long-sleeved crew neck and black long-sleeved v-neck. They are a little longer and more generous in the torso, which is good for me. They can layer with regular clothes, with flannel pjs when it’s cold, stand alone as tops, and work in a pinch for workouts ( I prefer short-sleeves there). I threw out the old ones they replaced, which had shrunk by mistake in the dryer. My mom suggested that I pick more in a few other colors because they were a good price. I “just said no,” nicely, of course. 🙂
This month, even though I need to replace some bras, I couldn’t resist getting two pair of knee-length cashmere socks (in black and in dark brown) instead. They were’t on sale and it was an indulgence. But my once sturdy merino ones had worn out and I justified it (rationalized?) as maintenance. Ahem. I couldn’t wait for them to arrive, and now that I’ve worn them, I wonder if I might not have been just as happy with more merino, which seemed sturdier. I’ll see . . .
Of course, after I had already worn the indulgent new socks, I discovered that my all-weather boots, rubber, had actually developed a hole in them from constant use this season. And given the total snowfall we’ve had, the hole at the upper ankle is actually a real problem. So I’ve decided on what I want and am making myself wait until a few other things are done before I click on “pay.”
What’s your favorite long-lasting workout tee? EB is just not cutting it anymore, it sounds like, and I too regret the quality issue. Can you return the ones that are already looking blah? You replaced these items one-for-one (4 in and 4 out); would you consider returning the 2 EBs and trying one better T in performance wear fabric that doesn’t have to be babied? Patagonia, Lucy, Garnet Hill’s own brand. . . ? The are expensive, but I swear by Patagonia for long-lasting quality gear.
Just a thought. Great post!
I think you were the one who commented on my lack of closed-toe shoes, Amy. Funny that I didn’t really notice before that, but it did push me to buy closed-toe flats instead of peep-toes. While there are some people who wear flip-flops year round here, I am not one of those people. My feet (and my whole body) get cold.
Good for you for not buying more of the Merona tees just because they were on sale. It can be so tempting to “stock up, but it can also be counterproductive to our goals. The cashmere socks sound very luxurious – enjoy! Too bad about the hole in your boots, but it sounds like you have a good strategy for replacing them.
I don’t have a favorite workout tee at this time, as I wore the EB ones for years and haven’t found a good replacement yet. I will be sure to report when I do, though. I don’t think I can return the EB tees I have because I’ve already worn and washed them, but it’s true that they might take them back anyway. They have very good customer service, almost up to Nordstrom standards. Thanks for the suggestions for other brands to try. I have a Patagonia jacket that I love and my husband has had good luck with them, too. I agree that having workout tees in performance fabric is a better way to go since those types of tops get washed more often. I don’t mind paying more money if I can get something that will last!
The tunic is pretty! And I love the grey boots.
I must admit, half way through the post I was getting a bit of shopping fatigue. I was like…um, isn’t this a lot? But then later on where you admitted to overshopping, it all made sense. But I do wonder, given that you are still doing a lot of revamping of your wardrobe currently – when you are happy with your style, do you think you will aim to cut down on the amount of “churn” that is going on, or do you think you will always want to do some shopping? I’ve been asking myself this question a lot – while my clothes shopping has gone WAY down and I find myself uninterested in hitting the stores (possibly because I’m still purging and narrowing the wardrobe numbers), I find my skin care shopping has gone up. And I don’t want to stop the skin care shopping because I’m enjoying it so much – it’s basically become a hobby. I have set myself a monthly budget and don’t stockpile, but I’m always researching new things and enjoying slathering stuff over myself. And reading blogs and posting on forums. I have been working on spending less overall and have made great strides in many areas (clothing, food, entertainment, needlessly expensive cell phone plan, etc). And I guess I figured one day I would become this minimalist person in all areas and yet there ARE some areas where spending money brings me a lot of enjoyment (currently, yoga, books and skin care). I don’t want to cut back on things that bring me joy – as it seems that clothes shopping still does for you, and skin care shopping does for me right now. So, I wondered if you had thoughts on that?
Anyway, I either didn’t buy any clothing items in February, or I bought one thing, depending how I look at it. I reported buying 2 things in January on your last accountability post, but actually one was bought on Jan. 31st and one was bought on Feb. 1st. So, technically it’s been one per month. Which is fine with me. I would like to find some charcoal grey pants still, and I did look a couple times in February but came away empty handed. I guess that’s my goal for March.
LIWI has been interesting, but I will wait for your update to give you MY update!
I can see how my post would lead to shopping fatigue, Sarah. It felt a bit ridiculous as I was writing it and like I was harkening back to old times. Having to write about everything I bought and why really gives me pause. I definitely want to cut down on my wardrobe churn and I think I already have to some degree. I used to bring a lot more in and out, but what I’m doing is still too much. I’m really hoping that LIWI will help with that. I do worry that unless I address the underlying issues that push me to shop, though, I may move more into other shopping areas like you’ve done with the skin care. I actually did that with accessories last year when I was trying to stick to a clothing item limit, so I know the risk is there. I hope to find a happy medium with shopping. I think I will always enjoy having new things, but I don’t need to buy SO many in order to still feel the joy. I’m sure this will be something I will continue to explore in my posts.
Good for you for doing so well with clothes shopping this year! One item per month is very disciplined! Good luck with finding the charcoal pants this month. I look forward to reading your LIWI update later this week.
I like your pewter flats. They’re really cute.
I bought 2 linen v neck tees-one in charcoal and one in black, a black and white maxi skirt, and a black,grey, and white scarf. So 4 items for 115.96 for a total of 232.13 this year.
Thanks, Tonya! I hope the pewter flats will be as loved as my previous ones were. You are doing very well with your shopping this year, much better than I am! It seems like you’re buying less and being more targeted with what you buy. You seem to have really honed your style and your colors and are sticking to both very well. It really does help to better understand what we like to wear, doesn’t it?
I agree that we should have room for impulse purchases, and I love your tunic!
In line with my seasonal shopping plan, I was on a shopping hiatus from mid January until at least mid February, preferably the end of February. I bought just one pair of pants in mid February, which were about 20 USD on sale, so I’m considering February a successful month. I did a lot of looking, both online and in stores, and came up with a list of needs/wants for spring that would fit in with my seasonal budget. I’m spending March actually purchasing things, and once my spring purchases are finalized, I’m going on another hiatus until May. Well, that’s the plan, anyway. We’ll see how it goes.
Congrats on toning down your shopping this year, Kayla! I agree that February was a successful month for you. How great that you were able to find a pair of pants you like for such a low price. I also think it’s great that you have moved into doing seasonal shopping. That’s what I hope to be able to do soon. Best wishes with finding what you need for Spring!
I can’t wait to see that new tunic on you in a post. Love the bright yellow accent. Plus the striped tee with green and gray (vs your usual black) is very nice. It is nice that you know many of the items you no longer need went to a good home! (mom :))
Thanks for your kind words on my new purchases, Jennifer. I was very happy to be able to pass some things on to my mom. I wish I had more people I knew to pass my cast-offs on to. Although it feels good to donate things, I like being able to see who my items are going to sometimes. I hope my mom will enjoy the shoes I gave her!
I love your addition of the section where you look back on the previous month’s purchases! It seems to me that this moves from *justifying* purchases to *evaluating* them which seems like a really useful shift in terms of making better decisions in the future. That is, because you are developing a sense over time of how a purchase worked out, rather than just evaluating at the time of a closet purge. I’m not sure I’m making any sense here but I’m going to borrow this approach in thinking about my own purchases, it seems really useful!
I just placed a big order to replenish socks and underthings for both myself and my daughter, so I can well appreciate that the cost of these necessary items adds up fast! I do think there can be an advantage to refreshing these things in one fell swoop — the better to take advantage of sales, minimize shipping costs, and just generally free up the brain space. That said, I really admire your decision to make do with your existing walking shoes as slippers and hold off on purchasing undies until next month to adhere to your quarterly budget. And I liked your explanation of your shift from a yearly to a quarterly budget. It sounds like you are being really smart about tailoring your shopping approach to where you are in your recovery.
I like that I added that new section, too, Sarah. I wish I had thought to do that sooner. I actually may go back and look at how my purchases from last 2014 are doing, too. I’m glad that you feel the purchase review will be useful for you, too. I think it’s an important piece of the puzzle, as I was previously just writing about why I bought things and why I let things go. But sometimes it’s clear a month later that something wasn’t a good buy and we can learn from that.
I appreciate your kind words about my budget decisions. I think I was trying to do too much too soon and I had to scale back a bit. I think it’s easy to become cavalier and think, “I’ve got this handled,” when it really can take quite a bit of time to fully recover. I’m glad I made the change to a quarterly budget and perhaps next year I will be ready to just do things yearly or even seasonally. I have to take things one step at a time and be willing to make changes as they are needed. As long as I’m growing and improving, I’m okay with that.
I completely agree with what you said about “love” purchases… I am trying to restrict myself to only love purchases. I think it is interesting that you were shopping with your mom. Shopping means a lot of things, but shopping with the added reward of spending time with somebody is pretty intoxicating. Of course, this also can make it harder to cut down.
On another subject, I had a great month (for me)! I purchased only 4 items, one of which was a pair of shoes that I actually ordered in November and had been on back order. I subtracted my overrun from January from my February budget and still came in under budget! I purged 23 items. As I revisit my January purchases, two items are dresses for warmer months I have not worn. As we have been buried in snow, I am not surprised. I am excited about wearing them though. One of my February purchases was partly to wear with them. As I mentioned before, I wanted to shift my budget toward a nice birthday surprise for my young son. That really helped because every time I was tempted, I thought of my son and how much happier I feel making him happy. In March I am prepping for summer, starting with a swimwear overhaul that will end in a couple of purchases (my family spends the summer in the water). That and tailoring some pants are my agenda. I am also trying to be deliberate.
I try not to do too much shopping with others anymore, Misty, as it can get me into trouble. My mom and I only did a very small amount of browsing/shopping after we had lunch together one day. In the past, we used to spend a lot more time in the shops, but this time we did more other things, which was a welcome change. Congrats on having a good shopping month! I think it’s great that you focused more on making your son happy for his birthday than on buying things for yourself. Good luck with overhauling your swimwear and on being more deliberate overall with your shopping.
Thanks for this post – I agree with many other posters about your tunic. It’s so unique & I can imagine it will look great on you. It’s probably my favorite item I’ve seen on your blog. It’s been a long while since I’ve commented. I took 9 weeks completely away from shopping (all of November & December)… and then binged. Through all of January and February, I shopped. Mostly online and some secondhand stores… I bought over 35 items. When I finally stopped to catch my breath, I really had to reflect on how compulsive my shopping is – toward the end of the 2 months, it was truly a compulsion which no longer brought me any pleasure. I acquired 35 new items in all. I made a list, of all the costs, and rated them all from a 1-10. There are a few 9s and 10s in there, but many 5-6s. I spent several hours the last couple of days listing items on ebay from my overflowing closet and listed 37 items to sell in all, plus I have at least that many to donate. Many are old but are sentimental to me, but will be cathartic to get rid of in the end. In any case, I’ve decided to take a longer shopping hiatus this time – but instead of doing a cycle of complete abstinence/then binge & purge, to take some quiet time away from shopping while I try to learn how to shop without compulsion. Thanks for your blog, and everyone for sharing. You are really helping me in my recovery process!
My new tunic seems to be a big hit, C. Perhaps I need to do more “love buys” in the future! Congrats on not shopping for 9 weeks! I know you ended up binging, but I hope you also gave yourself credit for not shopping for so long. Shopping “fasts” can be great for some people and not others. I’ve found that I always end up overshopping when they are over, so my focus has been more on buying less instead of going long periods of time without buying anything at all. If you want to do a shopping hiatus, check out Jill Chivers’ guest post on that topic, as she provides some helpful guidance: https://recoveringshopaholic.com/how-a-shopping-hiatus-can-help/
I also want to acknowledge you for the great work you’ve done in paring down your wardrobe. Listing 37 items on eBay is quite a lot, but I’m sure you will feel very good to get those things out of your house and to get a bit of money for them, too. I’m glad you’re enjoying my blog and finding it helpful with your recovery!
Purchasing essentials and needed wardrobe replacements can really be a pain and a lot on the budget! It looks a lot of money when you add it all up, but as long as you plan your budget accordingly it should be okay. I like how you are sticking to your budget for the quarter (facing the consequences of your actions as such).
I can relate as I purchased some much needed essentials for January and February. In January I spent $339 on winter weather clothes as we have been having an unexpectedly windy and snowy winter. I purchased one merino sweater (color I love!), one down jacket (color I love!), navy wool trousers, wool lined leopard print boots (love the print and comfy and practical for slushy snowy streets), and two supportive underwire bras (they took up half of my spending for January). So in January my budget took a hit, but I added much needed items in my wardrobe. I’ve worn all of these items already many many times and survived the worst of the winter in them! Lol!
In February I shopped less spending $219 with just one clothing purchase of over half of my spending for the month. I purchased a scarf online and a magnetic brooch (both regret purchases as the scarf was totally wrong for me colorwise and the brooch’s scale too small, but I can wear on my blazer lapels). I purchased much needed underwear. It took me forever to get around to it! I went to the shops but I didn’t find what I wanted so paid the $7 shipping online to get it over with. My most expensive purchase and only clothing purchase for last month was an old Jcrew wool blazer circa 2007. It’s black wool with white tipped edges. I actually got it for a steal on ebay given the weight of the wool and quality construction, but the tailoring of the sleeves cost me as much as I got the jacket for! All in all happy with February, but learned my lesson with buying accessories online that can’t be returned don’t do it!
Thanks for sharing your accountability here, Margaret. You seem to have done very well with your shopping so far this year. I’m amazed at how much you got in January. I agree that bras can be very expensive, but a good bra is SO worth it, as it helps everything else we have look that much better. I haven’t done well with buying accessories online, either. It’s hard to see the colors and scales accurately and I often end up dissatisfied with what I buy. At this point, I try to buy accessories in person whenever possible or at least buy from retailers who offer free shipping and returns. Your JCrew blazer sounds lovely! Those are the types of purchases that eBay was made for, really.
I bought things from opposite ends of the spectrum last month. 2 pairs of black uniform pants for work, and an exercise set of running top and capris on the one, practical, hand. On the other hand, I found a $700 designer leather skirt brand new for $160 on eBay and snatched it up. It was an item on my yearly list, but I was thinking more like autumn to buy it. This was one of those out of season buys I will make room for. Long term, it’s a smart buy even if it stretches my budget for this present season.
I’d also planned shortly thereafter to hold out on any more clothes shopping for Lent. Just today I stretched that by buying undies and a sleep/lounge set. These items are in my ‘basics’ category that I don’t count toward my item allotment. They were also on the list for the year, but I didn’t NEED them today, or even this month. Thing is, I was on a drive that took me by the store that is a 45 minutes trip each way on its own, and figured making the purchase now wouldn’t be all that much different than waiting 30 more days. I don’t get to that area every month, even, so I took advantage while I was there. Also, this is in line with buying what I’m actually wearing on a daily basis, whether it’s ‘fun’ stuff to buy or not.
The only things that have been worn of Feb. purchases so far are the uniform pants. I got a head cold so I didn’t go running for the last few weeks, and then the snow finally came, so I’m still waiting to break out the running gear. The skirt may be months before it’s appropriate for an occasion. That’s okay. I figured that when I bought it.
As for what left my closet, another good dozen items or more got culled but not all are out of the house yet. Some are in my car to give to a GF and others are in a stack in the spare room. I admit to missing just one purged item this year – my silver silk button front. It was too short for pants and I never had the right skirt for it. Now my new moto style leather one would be ideal with it. Ah, well. C’est la vie!
Sounds like you did very well with your shopping last month, Mo. A good mix of the practical and the loved with the leather skirt. What a great discount you received! I don’t think you really “cheated” by buying the undies and sleep/lounge set the other day. It’s not like they were impulse buys and it made sense to buy them when you were nearby instead of having to make a long special trip. I remember that from when I lived in Tahoe. We would often “batch” our errands because nothing was all that close by. Good for you for the culling, too! Hindsight is always 20/20 in terms of missing purged items. Fortunately, it doesn’t happen very often. I would guess that I probably only miss one in twenty-five items that I get rid of. Enjoy your new skirt! Hopefully, you have some great tops in your closet to wear with it.
You may have spent more than you wanted to, but not much overbudget which is good. And you let go of more items than you brought in, and the new items will serve you better than the old ones. I do feel like 12 items in a month is a lot, I usually shop a little bit each month but I keep in mind that the majority of our weather here is warm so I buy more during the warm season and less in winter. How does one set a clothing budget? By percentage of income or some sort of medium amount that you feel is doable without going overboard? I have a hard time with my budget. I’ve been trying to stick to $100 a month for clothes and personal items but I am raising it to $192 because after looking at my spending I feel its too little for me to stick to even as I am a very smart shopper, and the new budget reflects 10% of my take home pay(I work full time). This past week I was on vacation and bought a bracelet and earrings for $140 total. I categorize that in my clothing budget when I used to put it in my vacation expenses. I feel this is fair since it isn’t a vacation necessity for me to shop. And I am proud to say I avoided any impulse purchases of cheap location related junk like t shirts, magnets, knick knacks etc. Also I’ve been culling too, for the previous 2 months I brought in about 10 items and have let go of approximately 44 items.
I’m always curious about how others set their budgets, too. I aim for between $1500 and $2000 yearly. My income varies greatly since my BF and I have been relocating off and on for his work for over 10 years. This year I am aiming for about 10% of my personal gross income. Other years I spent more but it was a much smaller percentage (less than 2%) of the household total income, while I was off work and BF was working his main job. Fashion is a hobby of mine and one of my few main expenses besides going out for meals and buying wine.
I budgeted well under 5% of MY gross income for my wardrobe. Between the husband and I, it’s obviously a very small amount. While it may be a teeny percentage, our budget is tight enough that I wouldn’t want it to be more than that. I have other priorities in my life now that have taken the place that shopping once did.
I agree that 12 items in a month is a lot, Laura, so I’m going to slow things down. My eventual goal is to shop more seasonally, at which point buying that much at one time wouldn’t be bad at all. But I fear that this early on in my recovery, I could backslide and I don’t want to do that. I see you got some great responses on setting a clothing budget. I am not as methodical about it as others are. I don’t set a percentage of income or anything like that, but my husband and I do put a budget together that includes pretty much everything. Since clothes have been a big thing for me for a long time, we always allocated a decent sum there. It was always a nice amount, but I had trouble sticking with it until I started this blog. I exceeded my budget for over 10 years and sometimes by a lot! Since we don’t have kids, we’re able to spend more on our clothes than a lot of other people are, but the amounts I’ve often spent were ridiculous. I reduced the number by close to 20% this year, which I think is a good increment. Next year, I’ll probably lower the amount further. I want to start spending more money on other things and shopping far less. Perhaps I should write a post about clothing budgets, as I’m guessing a lot of people have questions or thoughts on the topic. It’s a very individual thing, but definitely something worth thinking about.
Although you bought a lot last month I think each purchase was deliberate and that should definitely make you feel good about those purchases even though you may initially feel a little guilty for buying a little more than planned. If you can make it through March purchasing very little you will probably feel even better!
I have done OK with purchases so far this year – Also trying to be much more deliberate when and why I shop and keep most of my purchases to filling holes I have noticed my 3 ‘oops’ purchases were once again from consignment/resale shops. Like you, they have been a thorn in my side and I have noticed I often feel like I HAVE to walk out with something because the items are much less expensive, instead of just being ok with not finding anything. For March I’m staying out of those stores and have a short list of items that will be filling much needed holes in my wardrobe (Jeans and a new purse – I only have one other purse that is falling apart!)
BTW – This is one of my favorite blogs and I noticed that I am using a lot of terms I picked up here! Benchwarmers, workhorses etc… 🙂
Thanks for your kind words about my blog, Michelle. I’m glad you enjoy it and are finding it helpful. Yes, resale shops have been a big problem for me, which is why I’ve been avoiding them lately. As I’m being more deliberate with my shopping, I’m finding it much better to be targeted in terms of where I shop. I used to enjoy the “treasure hunt” aspect of resale shopping, but when I analyzed how I did with my purchases from those stores (see this post: https://recoveringshopaholic.com/resale-shopping-analysis/), I realized that I was making more mistakes than good buys. I don’t really miss shopping in those stores and I feel the ones near me have really gone downhill in terms of quality anyway. Good for you for staying out of the secondhand stores this month and good luck with finding the new jeans and purse!
I also bought more than I was hoping this month…I ended up keeping 6 items. A few were quite basic and well priced sweaters that should transition well to spring. I picked up a bikini for summer which was on my list of planned purchases for this year. It was full price and it’s too early to wear it (it took a significant portion of my budget this month for something I will use later so I cringed a little) but I am glad I found one I actually like!
Keeping track of the items I buy for the last couple years has really opened my eyes to how easy it is to acquire a truly huge number of new things. Like my natural state for years had been to just constantly acquire…that’s consumer culture, I guess, but I never would have guessed how many items I bought before I started writing it down. And even now that I’m aware, buying less than an item a week or so is still a challenge for me. But I have hope for slow steady improvement. =)
Congrats on finding a good bikini, Sophie. Such items can be very hard to find, so if you have to snap one up off-season, it’s probably a good choice to do so. I agree that keeping track of what we buy can be very eye-opening. I never used to do that I’m sure I bought over 200 items per year many years in the past. That was just too much! Slow steady improvement is really the way to go. Change is hard, but if we take it a little at a time, we will made great strides over time. Keep writing things down and keep noticing your patterns and making small changes. It really does help a lot!
I like t-shirts from Land’s End. I also like the long-tail tees from Duluth Trading Company
Thanks for the t-shirt recommendations, Nutrivore. I’d never heard of Duluth Trading Company, but those shirts look good. I will give them a try the next time I need to replenish my workout top wardrobe (which probably won’t be long given the declining quality of what I have).
Other than skiing gear I have bought just one item since the beginning of the year — a pair of shoes. OTOH I have worn the two quilted down vests I bought for skiing in non-skiing outfits, so perhaps they count as purchases this year?! In which case I have bought 3 items this year. If you count the skiing-only gear too, I’ve bought 5 items this year, and the thought of buying 12 in a month brings me out in a cold sweat. Where do you store all this stuff?! I personally am reducing the amount I have (and buy, but I’ve never bought as many as 12 items in a month, even when I wasn’t thinking about downsizing), so that we have the option of moving into a tiny home, and travelling more, etc.
What counts in terms of items is very individual, Wendy. I used to only count “regular” clothes, but I’m now counting everything and including it in these reports to help keep me honest and accountable. I have gotten rid of far more items than I’ve brought in since I started the blog. I used to have at least three times as many clothes as I have now and more than twice as much when I started the blog and my accountability reports. We have plenty of space for all of our stuff and we live in a relatively small place. But we still want to downsize and are taking steps in that direction, as I wrote about in my most recent post. I still buy too many things sometimes, but it’s less than I used to buy. I’m happy to be making progress.