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!