The first quarter of 2015 is now behind us. Time sure does seem to be flying by! Since April is now underway, it’s time for my March accountability update. For those who are new to the blog, 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 (my theme for 2015) 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 March, I removed 15 items from my wardrobe (see photos in the next section):
- 1 pair of jeans
- 1 jacket
- 1 cardigan
- 2 long-sleeved tops
- 3 workout tees (not pictured)
- 1 sleep shirt (returned – not pictured)
- 1 scarf (not pictured)
- 3 bracelets (second photo below)
- 2 pairs of earrings (second photo below)
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 a photo of the clothing items I passed on last month:
My reasons for letting go of the items above are as follows:
- Black trouser jeans – I purchased these jeans last October as a replacement for the black jeans that have been in my closet since 2007. In hindsight, I should have returned the new jeans and held out for something better. They never fit me quite right and the bagginess in the hip area has become more pronounced with my recent weight loss. I tried to wear the jeans at least five times, but always ended up changing into something else. I finally decided to just cut my losses and pass them on. By the way, I still have the other black jeans from 2007. They are faded, but I still like them and will wear them until I find the right pair of black jeans, however long that takes.
- Denim jacket – This jacket was another shopping mistake from last year. Some of you may recall that the jacket had a chemical odor that I had trouble removing. Well, I finally was successful in that endeavor, but the jacket shrunk such that it was uncomfortable in my shoulder area. It just felt too stiff and every time I tried to wear it, I was unhappy with the way it felt. Sigh… I hate when I have to pass on items that were never worn, but at least I’m learning some important lessons about not “settling” for less than what I truly want. No more settling!
- Green open cardigan – My third buying mistake from last year… It’s a good thing this isn’t baseball or I’d be OUT! I bought this cardigan at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale last July and wore it several times. But the last time I wore it, I just felt frumpy and unattractive. The fabric seemed to have stretched out and the effect was a lumpy looking cardigan. I didn’t feel fab in it at all, so I pulled it out of my closet that very same day.
- Red print waffle top: I wore this top many times over the years, but the last time I wore it, I found myself having to pull at it and adjust the bottom quite a bit. I think it may have shrunk up over multiple washings or else the fabric had somehow lost its elasticity. I have plenty of waffle tops that I love, so I was more than ready to pass this one on.
- Turquoise striped Henley: I loved this top for years, too, but the 3/4 sleeves have shrunk such that they are more like 2/3 sleeves. I found myself having to pull them down over my elbows each time I bent my arms. Since I am committed to not having fussy clothing in my wardrobe anymore, it was time for this top to go!
- 3 workout tees (not shown): I used to wear my workout tees around the house all the time, but I’m now committed to wearing my “regular” clothes at home as much as possible. Thus, I no longer need as many workout tees as before. Many such tees have shrunk or stretched out over multiple wearings and washings anyway, so I’m working on paring them down. Whenever I put on a top to work out or go for a walk and feel less than fab in it, I immediately take it off and add it to the donation pile. I’m gradually narrowing this area of my wardrobe down to only those items I feel good in and enjoy wearing.
- Sleep shirt (not shown): Back in February, I purchased three sleep shirts. I liked two of them, but found the third one to be too light-colored (I ordered it online and the color looked different in person) and sheer. So I returned this top for a refund during March.
Here’s a photo of the accessories I passed on last month:
My reasons for letting go of these pieces are as follows:
- Scarf (not pictured): I don’t wear scarves as much as I used to, but I’m holding on to the ones I still really like. The scarf I culled included more warm-toned colors and my color palette is more cool-toned.
- Long copper earrings: I like the style of these earrings but not the color. I much prefer silver over gold or copper tones and found that I just never reached for these earrings.
- Gunmetal leaf earrings: My issue with these earrings is the reverse from that of the copper pair. I really like the color but not the style of the leaf earrings. I feel they are kind of a bohemian style that doesn’t really jibe with my personal aesthetic. I bought them on a whim about two years ago and never wore them, so it was time for them to go.
- Pewter/black stretch bracelet: The last time I wore this bracelet, I thought it looked cheap. I also have other similar bracelets that I like much more.
- Copper stretch bracelet: I bought this bracelet three years ago and wore it quite a bit for the first two years. But I now greatly prefer silver tones and less whimsical styles. I haven’t really reached for this previous favorite in the past year, so I will let someone else enjoy it.
- Silver stretch bangles: These bracelets were an impulse buy using consignment store credit last November. I like the way they look and the stretch allows them to fit over my hand without “swimming” on my wrist the way most bangles do. But they are still too fussy to wear, especially for someone who is constantly on the computer. I’m really glad that I’ve been staying away from consignment stores in recent months, as I made a lot of similar mistakes over the years (see this post for a full analysis).
What Came Into My Closet
During March, I added 5 new items to my closet:
- 2 jackets
- 1 short-sleeved tee
- 1 cardigan
- 1 bracelet
Here’s a photo of my March closet additions:
I wasn’t really intending to shop much during March, if at all. However, late in the month I received a decent-sized check for sold consignment items (I don’t count such money toward my shopping budget, as it usually doesn’t amount to much). I also got together with my last remaining “shopping friend” for our standard lunch and post-meal browsing at the mall. The combination of these two events set the stage for some buying. Of course, I didn’t have to buy anything, but I don’t feel all that bad about the fact that I shopped (except that I exceeded my budget – see below). I was deliberate about what I purchased and I feel happy about the items I acquired.
All of the items above were bought during that one shopping trip, and that was the only time I shopped during the entire month of March. I’m spending much less time overall on shopping and shopping-related activities. I used to shop at least once a week and I browsed online pretty much every day. I still read fashion blogs and style forums, but far less often than I used to. This is a big area of progress for me.
I also feel that I’m doing much better at buying things that make sense for my real life. I’ve really cut back on fantasy-based or aspirational purchases, which is a very positive step. Plus, I’m letting go of more pieces than I’m bringing in. However, I still need to be very mindful of what I buy and how much I spend. Doing these reports every month pretty much takes care of that!
Why I Added These Items to My Wardrobe
Here are my reasons for adding the items pictured above to my closet:
- Black draped jacket – This item wasn’t specifically on my shopping priorities list, but when I saw the jacket, I really loved it and could see myself wearing it regulary. As many of you know, I wear a lot of black. I have a black cardigan that I like to wear, but it’s very lightweight and is really only suitable for warmer days. This jacket is more substantial, plus I like the draped front and the zipper pocket details. It’s a lot more fitted than it looks in the photo, so it’s flattering on my figure. It was somewhat of an impulse buy, but I thought it through before making the purchase. I wore it last weekend and was very happy with how it looked and felt.
- Black and white striped tee – I have had a short-sleeved black and white striped tee on my list for a long time. Most of you know how much I love my stripes! I wear my other striped tees quite a bit (I have one on now as I type this). This tee is a good weight, fits me well, and was priced well. I can see myself wearing it quite a bit.
- Denim jacket – After the big fail of the other denim jacket I bought in August, I almost gave up on finding a denim jacket that would work for me. I almost didn’t even try this one on, as this style of jacket is almost always too boxy on my frame. But this one is more tapered and also includes some spandex, which makes it much more comfortable to wear. I can see myself wearing this jacket to dress down many of my outfits, especially dresses and skirts.
- Stretch silver bracelet – This is the first piece of jewelry I’ve bought this year (I received one pair of earrings as a gift in January). I used to buy at least a few pieces each month, but since I started tracking which jewelry items I wear, I’ve learned that I need to focus more on wearing what I have rather than acquiring new items. Most of my bracelets are very different styles from this one (mostly narrower and beaded), so I could see a place for this piece in my jewelry box. I see myself wearing this bracelet more once it gets warmer, as it looks better with short-sleeved or sleeveless tops or dresses. A bonus is that it fits my skinny wrists. These types of bracelets are often too large for my wrists.
- Teal elliptical hem cardigan – It’s hard to see the detail that I liked best about this cardigan (other than the color, which I love). The hem is longer in the back than in the front. This cardigan is fitted in the torso area, so it shows off a part of my body that is narrow. I wore it last week with my straight-legged jeans (not quite skinnies) and really liked the way it looked. I had gotten tired of these types of cardigans last year, but I’m enjoying wearing them again with the slimmer jeans silhouette that I now prefer (losing a bit of weight has me feeling less self-conscious about my bottom half).
Overall, I am very happy with my March closet acquisitions. I believe they are all items that suit my body, lifestyle, and personal style aesthetic and will be worn regularly. But I will definitely update you on that next month.
Checking in on Last Month’s Purchases
Beginning with my last post, I added 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’s 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 6 new items to my closet during February (see this post for details):
- Black/white/yellow tunic – I wore this top to an event about two weeks ago and really liked how it looked. I wore it with slim jeans and felt the silhouette was flattering. I recall thinking that I’d like to wear that silhouette more often. I’m not sure if I will wear this top a lot because it’s kind of dressy, but I think it will be a winner over the long-term.
- Cobalt and grey striped tee – I’ve already worn this top several times and liked it. It’s casual enough to wear at home or in most of my out and about activities. I love the colors and they are key hues in my palette.
- Green and grey striped tee – I don’t love this top as much as the last one, but I do like it a lot and have worn it twice thus far. The green is a bit lighter than what I usually wear, but I still think it looks good on me.
- Grey boots – I’m glad I held out for the right grey boots (there were the fifth pair that I ordered). I’ve worn these boots a few times and was happy with them. I like the style and the heel height works well with a few of my jeans. The boots don’t work with all of my pants/jeans, but they pair well with enough of them to see a lot of wear.
- Metallic ballet flats – I’ve only worn these shoes once so far, but liked the way they looked and found them comfortable. I think they will see a lot of wear now that the weather is warmer and I don’t feel the need to wear socks.
- Turquoise print tee – This is probably my least favorite purchase from last month. I love the color, but I don’t think this tee will work for its intended purpose. I thought it would be a good workout tee, but the material doesn’t stay in place as well as I thought it would. So I’m going to wear it around the house and for casual activities instead and see how if I’m happy with it in those situations.
I think at least a few of the items above will likely become wardrobe “all-stars.” I don’t believe any of them will be wardrobe “benchwarmers.” The shoes are definitely winners and I think most of the tops are, too. The top that I have the most doubts about is the last one, as I’m not sure how well it will wash and wear over time. But time will tell… I don’t really regret buying any of my February items.
March Budget Report
My clothing budget for 2015 is $2500 (down from $3000 last year). I was originally going to just have an annual budget (I maintained monthly budgets for the past two years), but decided to change to quarterly limits after spending too much money during February.
My quarterly budget is $625 and I had already slightly exceeded that number by the end of February. As I mentioned above, most of the items I purchased during March were covered by money that I earned from selling some of my previous cast-offs on consignment. I don’t typically earn very much money that way, so I haven’t been counting that money in my clothing budget. However, I did end up charging one of my purchases (the black draped jacket) on a credit card.
I ended the quarter having spent $694.38, which exceeded my budget by $69.38. I’m going to need to make up that money during the second quarter. I don’t generally spend much money during April through June (the summer and fall months tend to be when I spend more), but I have to continue to be mindful of my shopping behavior.
I’m trying to buy better quality items and avoid consignment shopping and I’ve been successful on both fronts thus far during 2015. But the amount I’m spending adds up more quickly now, so I have to be very deliberate (there’s that word again) about what I purchase. I need to make sure to set priorities for what I truly need (or even want) so I don’t end up with no money to spend for the items that will make the biggest difference in my life (like those underwear I still need to buy!). That is my intention for April and the remaining months of the year.
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 next week. I will also give you a glimpse into how my “working closet” is shaping up three months into the year, as well as my insights from the third month of the challenge.
I also have some “full life project” posts in the works and will share more of my outfit journal reflections (see the first two installments here and here) soon. Also on deck are some additional wardrobe management posts, including a look at favorite clothes and wardrobe percentages by activities. As always, if you have any suggestions for future topics, you are welcome to share them in the comments section or by contacting me directly.
Now it’s your turn to chime in.
- How did you do with your shopping and wardrobe during March?
- What successes and/or challenges did you experience?
I invite you to share your wins, setbacks, and any questions you may have for me or others in this community. Some of you have opted to share your accountability updates each month, too, and I love that. There is strength in numbers and in declaring our truth on a forum such as this one. 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 April and throughout the remainder of 2015!