March 2015 Accountability Update

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.

Shopping Accountability Updates

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.

Clothing Items

Here’s a photo of the clothing items I passed on last month:

March 2015 Culled Clothing Items

These clothing items left my closet in March 2015.

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.

Accessories

Here’s a photo of the accessories I passed on last month:

March 2015 Purged Jewelry

I decided to pass on these 5 jewelry pieces during March 2015. 

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:

March 2015 - New Items

I added these five items to my closet during March 2015. 

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.

Coming Attractions

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.

Your Thoughts

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!

52 thoughts on “March 2015 Accountability Update

  1. Thanks to your blog, I feel I have become a lot more restrained in my buying habits, Ive still got a way to go but I am utilising the things I already have a lot more, and enjoying them rather than rushing out to buy new stuff. Progress!

    • Thank you for sharing this with me, Fiona. I’m really glad that my blog has been helpful in your journey to shop smarter and better utilize what you have. Congrats on your progress and keep up the great work!

  2. I always like to read your accountability updates. I still think those long cardigans look too voluminous for your small frame. I wonder if a blazer style denim jacket would be a better choice for you that the traditional boxy profile (even if tapered). I love my blazery blue denim jacket a lot more — better fit for me because it has a waist and lovely funky buttons.

    • I have a denim blazer that I love, Dottie, but it’s a very dark denim (you’ve probably seen it in some of my previous outfit photos). I’ve been looking for a lighter colored one for a while but no luck as of yet. I like the idea of funky buttons like you have. I can see a place in my wardrobe for both a denim jacket and a denim blazer since my lifestyle is so casual. I usually don’t like the boxier type on me, but even my husband likes the new one and he pretty much hates denim jackets (why, I don’t really know…).

  3. Hello debbie!! You’re doing fabulous this year in pairing down and focusing on what really works for you- congrads!!!

    I bought 5 out-the-door items last month and 4 at-home items, but that was the aftermath of a huge horrible online shopping spree. I was able to return after the fact to make up for it. I think it was just the perfect storm of sales and stress (starting a new job, crazy busy at the new job, plus adding too much to my plate in terms of goals like a new working out daily routine, writing my book by September, and stress over a million things). I know I shop out of stress more than ever. Hunting for new clothing and imagining how great they’d be is a distractor. I’m doing the 5-piece wardrobe challenge (20 items max total for out-the-door clothing and the same for my at-home clothing which really needs upgrading). I’ve purchased 10 out-the-door items and 4 at-home items so far. I really need to slow down at this point, which I’m sure I can as I have some clarity now. I’m really glad I’m doing this challenge!!! I’ll probably post my first month of the LIWI challenge post today, which is also helping a ton.

    • Thanks for your comment, Meli. I hope things are going well for you at your new job. I think you are doing very well so far this year. It was a big stretch for you to take on the 5-piece wardrobe challenge, but it seems to be helping you to streamline your wardrobe and add the best pieces for your life. I think it’s great that you have added a second challenge for your at-home clothing. Good for you for doing damage control after your online shopping spree. I know that those sales can be very tempting, especially when we’re under stress. I loved your LIWI challenge update and will comment on it shortly. It seems to be helping you as much as it’s helping me and I’m very pleased for you!

    • Meli, we are twins! I just started a new job and did a lot of shopping in anticipation as well. Stress is a major trigger for me too. I think I did pretty well though, only 2 mistakes and they are in new with tags condition so I’m reselling them on ebay. I think we have both come a long way in terms of wardrobe design and restraint! Don’t be too hard on yourself.

  4. Love your purchases! Would you be willing to share retailers or brand names? Especially for items you find to be potential “work-horses”. It helps me to shop more wisely if I can see which actual items work/don’t work for various reasons.

    • Thanks, Pam. I always share retailers and brands when people ask. I’ve been hesitant to do so as a matter of course because I didn’t want to encourage overshopping, but I can see your point, too. I will think some more on this and may ask readers to chime in as well. I want to do whatever will work best for everyone. I know it can be very hard to find wardrobe “work-horses” and I would always be 100% honest, as I always have been. No sponsored posts on this blog!

  5. I bought a black purse to replace the one I had so I spent 90.42 for a total of 322.55 this year. It took ordering several (and looking in one large mall) before I found what I was looking for.
    Several things left my closet this month including a dress, a skirt, 4 tops, 3 pairs of shoes, 2 purses, and a coat. I also passed along about 10 pieces of jewelry.
    I’m glad to see that you’re wearing your not quite skinny jeans! I thought they looked great on you.

    • You are doing amazingly well this year, Tonya, and I applaud you! Finding your purse sounds like it was as difficult as finding my grey boots, but it pays off to be patient and picky. Congrats on letting go of so many items last month, too! It always feels good to pass things on that just weren’t been loved or worn. I will post photos of me in the not quite skinny jeans soon. In fact, I may do a whole outfit journal post on those types of jeans.

  6. If you have jeans you like just redye them black! I’m a big fan of overdyeing and frequently do it with clothing items that are faded or stained. It’s great fun!

    • Great idea, Kerstin. My husband was going to do that for me, but then he researched it and it seemed like too much work. I am very sensitive to chemicals, so I didn’t want to do it myself. We may try to find a place locally who dyes clothing. If you have tips to make the process easy, though, I would love to get them.

  7. I agree with Pam in that I’d love you to share retailers for your favorite purchases. I’m especially interested in your new Jean jacket. I am in search of a flattering one. Anyway, I really enjoy your posts and thank you for them!

    • As I mentioned to Pam, Cheryl, I’m going to give this idea some thought. I don’t want to tempt people to shop needlessly, but I also know that it can be very hard to find quality items that work for us. The jacket is from Two by Vince Camuto and I bought it at Nordstrom. Here is a link to it: http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/two-by-vince-camuto-jean-jacket-regular-petite/3443852

      It’s available in regular and petite sizes. I bought a regular small and I usually vary between size small and medium. It looks boxier in the photos than it does on me. I think the model may be wearing too large of a size for her. These types of jackets are almost always very boxy on me, but this one is not.

  8. Great choices! You really seem to have a clearer vision of what is right for you. These new items look like classics that will be so wearable. I have been analyzing what I wear for 1 year now and have a much clearer understanding of what I wear and feel good in. I have a list of outfits suitable for various activities and a list of items I wear regularly that I need to gradually replace with better quality versions. I’m also better able to say no to items that look great on- but really don’t suit my lifestyle. I wondered whether to continue tracking , but looking back 12 months I can see how my style and needs have changed, so I think it is worth continuing to keep on track.

    • Thanks, Lynn. It seems that tracking has been very beneficial for both of us. Every time I think I might stop tracking, I always keep it up because I still have progress to make with my wardrobe. I’ve been tracking for over 4 years now! But I really didn’t start to make the best progress until I started the outfit journal last spring. That has made the biggest difference for me. You seem like you’re doing great! Thanks for sharing and I wish you continued growth in terms of your wardrobe and style.

  9. It’s nice to see that after so many accountability posts, you can still learn from it!

    I’m quite proud of what I did during March : I got rid of 34 items and only added 4! I’m now below the 100 items bar! I think the most amazing thing to me is that it happened naturally, I didn’t feel like I was doing a massive purge. I was just putting things I noticed weren’t good enough to stay anymore in a bag, day after day. The outfit journal helped a lot too. I now own 95 “out and about” items of clothing, but I already put a few things in a bag in those first three days of April!
    In my accountability posts, I also write about “on the fence” items and doing so, I realized I didn’t have good reason to keep some of my undecided for clothes, so I let them go.
    I realized those accountability posts truly help, and I want to thank you for this.

    • Thanks for sharing your amazing progress, Cedrique! How great that you are paring things down “organically” and cultivating a wardrobe that you love. I read your LIWI update and was very impressed. I’m glad the LIWI and the outfit journal are helping you as much as they’re helping me. I like the idea of writing about “on the fence” items. I may add that to my accountability updates or do a separate post on that topic. Writing about things I’m confused about always gives me clarity. I wish you continued success with your wardrobe!

  10. I had a great month and it reflects how much I have learned from your blog. In March I spent $80, well under my $200 budget and only on two high priority items. Most of it, $72, was on a swimsuit. While it is exactly the suit I wanted and while I spend a lot of time in swimwear every summer, in past years I would not have spent that on a suit. My pattern was to buy several cheaper suits, none of which I liked as well, ultimately spending just as much. This year I purged the old suits and found one quality one that really works on me. The other purchase was a non-iron, basic, white shirt I had been wanting for a long time. By chance I found it in the store on clearance but was fully prepared to pay full price. I also purged 8 items and unpurged one pair of pants from the donate bag. Overall, a great month! Thank so much for your insights, they are really working for me and I’ve never been happier with my wardrobe!

    • I really loved reading your comment, Misty. How wonderful that you purchased the swimsuit that you loved even though it was more money than you used to spend. I used to do the exact same thing as you did in terms of buying multiple mediocre items instead of one piece that I really loved. It makes a big difference not to settle. I’m still not 100% there, but I’m making progress. Your white shirt sounds like a real find! Congrats on the great strides you made last month and thank you for sharing!

  11. I purged 6 black garbage bags full of clothes, shoes, and accessories in March using the KonMari method. It was quite a shock to the system but I love having all my clothes in one closet which I share with my husband.

    I am trying something new this year. I am shopping seasonally rather than monthly, weekly or daily. My spring wardrobe had lots of holes in it. I needed closed toe shoes for work in springy colors. I found two perfect pair (out of the 5 I tried). I also needed spring pants for work. I got three pairs. I also needed long sleeve spring tops and I found several of those. I needed new sleep camis and new better fitting bras and I was able to find those, too. I had a couple of just for fun buys, too. I spent $537, due to good sales and eBay buys. I think I am done now, hopefully through the summer, as that part of my wardrobe is in pretty good shape.

    I think purging so much and then buying what I need all at once burned me out on shopping. I find I have no interest in looking at clothes online or in stores. We’ll see how this stategy works over time.

    • I am very impressed with the progress you’ve made, Anne. Congrats on your successful shopping for spring/summer. You did amazingly well. I would like to move to seasonal shopping, too, but I’m still learning to trust myself to be able to buy a lot at one time and then stop shopping for a few months afterwards. My husband doesn’t quite trust me to do this yet, either, which is why I have a quarterly budget in place. I guess I could shop just four times, but it still makes me nervous to run out of my budget and believe that I can truly honor waiting until the next quarter rolls around. But I’m working toward that and feel I’m getting closer. I can see how focusing SO much on purging and buying can burn you out. That happened to me last summer when I overdid it with the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, but then it didn’t take me long to want to dive back in again. You seem to be in a much better place than I was last year, though. I admire your resolve and I congratulate you on how well you’re doing!

    • I also shop seasonally now. I never used to, I was a random “oh my God, I HAVE to have it” shopper in the past.
      I don’t buy everything at once but I know what things I would like to buy to create my seasonal wardrobe and what I need that would extend what I already have. It means I am just on the lookout for these pieces rather than being forever on the lookout for anything that appeals in the moment. I have a list of “ideal pieces” on my iPhone.
      This spring/summer I am looking for a white denim jacket in the perfect cut and fabric, also some spring pants and I need a new pair of black or dark grey jewelled dressier sandals to go with the clothes I already own. I have already bought a beautiful silk blouse in a soft grey print and a pair of neutral heels.
      For the white denim I will pay more $$$ to get a great cut, fabric and fit as it would be an item I will wear for many years to come and so will keep away from the cheap options. For the spring pants I will look at the cheaper options as the colors are seasonal and I am really learning my lesson on that one. I have already seen some lovely spring pants in Zara in pretty spring/summer colors.
      Knowing what I actually already have and love, sticking to a color palette and using Into Mind’s concept of “proportions” that I like has been revolutionary for me. And I agree, once you are more focussed on what you really love and need and head straight for that, shopping in itself becomes boring.

      • You seem like you are really clear on what you need and what works for you, Carolyn. Good for you! I totally agree that we need to be clear on what we have, what we love, our best colors, and the proportions we like. Once we have all of these things firmly established, it becomes much easier to shop. Having a list of your wardrobe needs on your iPhone is really smart. I am still “old school” with a paper list, but maybe I need to join the 21st century and keep my list on my phone. Best wishes finding the items you mentioned! I agree that shopping is much more boring when we shop in a more targeted fashion, but it’s also far more successful, which is ultimately what’s most important.

  12. Deb, this is a great result! This quarter, the ‘variance’ of your actual spending (from your budget) is around the 10% mark (approx $60 out of $625), but the good news is that there are still 3 quarters left in the year to bring you back on track. I’d suggest, going forward, to reduce your quarterly budget to $600 per quarter (that way, you would still finish the year on budget). For practical purposes, you can reduce this number by a further 10%, so that would make it around $550 per quarter. That way, when you do go over ‘budget’ ($550), you would still be within ‘budget’ ($600), and would finish the year within the original budget ($2500 per year). You’re a numbers person, so I know you would like this! Keep up the good work!

    • Thanks for these numbers suggestions, Belle. Yes, I am a numbers person, so I can appreciate the percentages and I think you have presented some great ideas. I wish the QuickBooks would allow for quarterly budget tracking. It seems to only accommodate yearly or monthly tracking, but there may be other options (I am NOT a QuickBooks expert, so I might be missing something). I agree that it’s better to target a lower number than to cut things too close throughout the entire year. That’s what I did last year and I just skated in under the wire at the end of December.

  13. Hi Debbie,

    It’s nice to see you doing so well with your wardrobe purchases so far this year even if you did go over budget. I also went a tad over my monthly budget of $200 last month. I spent $237 last month. Looking at the whole calendar year I’ll be spending more money in the first half of the year when compared to the second half of the year as I have very little spring/summer clothing so I’ll need to revamp that whole area of my wardrobe in the coming months. For this month I purchased two long cotton shirts (mostly for home use), a white cocoon cardigan, special long sleeve top, and a short sleeve top (all three of these pieces are going to be custom made by small company in Canada). I have such trouble finding anything that fits me in the sleeves and length so I just decided to start purchasing more clothing custom made. They just shipped my items to me so hopefully everything will be good! Honestly, its cheaper than full price retail and I can get the colors I like so why not go for it? If all goes well, I’ll be doing this for the majority of my tops from now on. I also purchased a czech glass bead necklace off Etsy custom length for me, 1930s faux pearl shoe clips from Etsy also, shoe clip hardware to attempt to diy some shoe clips when I get the time to go hunting through the vintage shops in NYC, and a berry red lipstick. So a lot of small things this month and some basics for spring/summer wardrobe. 🙂

    • Oh and I forgot to mention but feel that I really should that I also purchased a pair of pointy toe snake print wedges 1.5 inches that I actually tried on last year and had been stalking for the last 6 months waiting for the price to go down. I returned them when I saw how cheap they looked even at the sale price (60% off!)! I returned them thinking wtheck was I thinking! I think sometimes we forget our sense when it comes to our wants. Instead I’m using shoe clips to spice up a pair of pointy toe nude kitten heels that I have but don’t wear. 🙂 Much better than purchasing the other pair since I’ll be able to switch up my look as I choose.

    • Thanks so much for sharing your accountability, Margaret. It sounds like you did quite well with your purchases. I am intrigued about the custom-made tops. That could be a good option for many, so if you’re open to sharing the resource, it would be appreciated (even if it will only come in handy for Canadian readers). Good job on returning the sub-par shoes! So often, we just keep things even if they aren’t really want we want, but you did the right thing in returning your shoes. I like the idea of the shoe clips. Someone suggested them to be before and I looked online a bit, but haven’t purchased any as of yet. But it seems like a great way to get more life out of our shoes.

      • Hi Debbie. Sure I’ll be glad to share the resource. They do ship to the US and shipping is free to the US and Canada if you order $100 or more. =) I’ve have them mail me fabric swatches before. And they are very good with communication with fair prices that compare with full price retailers. Fabrics include bamboo, modal, merino, and linen.
        http://www.ureshii.org/

        If you’re going to with the shoe clip option I would suggest gluing pieces of felt onto the back of the shoe clips (prevents abrasion).

      • Thanks for sharing your resource, Margaret! I will add it to the permanent quality clothing resources page that I’m going to put together. And I appreciate the tip for the shoe clips, too. I wouldn’t have thought of that, but it makes good sense!

  14. Great job Debbie. I was really impressed that you only made one shopping trip and are browsing online much less. I think that shows great progress. Reducing the time spent on shopping and thinking about shopping is as much of an achievement as reducing the money spent!

    I didn’t purge anything in March – I have GOT get on with that. But in my defense I have been busy. I bought one item of actual clothing and some needed underwear. The clothing item is a dark grey pair of pants that I am super pleased with. Finally I found my grey pants I’ve been looking for for like 6 months! I’ve decided that I really like that idea of focusing on buying one item of clothing per month – I’ve just got to decide what April’s purchase is going to be!

    I know you haven’t done your LIWI update yet, but I will do mine – I wore two “new” tops in March, so they got moved from the “not worn” area of the closet. But for everything else I just stuck with the favorites. I’m really liking the current size of my working wardrobe, not that I know what that size is, as I haven’t counted yet. But I feel like this has been such a leap forward for me in being able to let go of the need to hang on to things, so thanks for that.

    • Thank you for your kind words, Sarah. You are do right that reducing time spent on shopping is just as important and cutting back on the money spent. I like having more time and energy for other things, even if I’m still figuring out what those other things will be. Thanks for sharing your accountability, too. Congrats on finally finding the grey pants you wanted. Your patience has paid off and it’s a good lesson for the rest of us not to settle. I like the idea of choosing one clothing purchase per month to focus on. I may opt to do that next year, as I’m still really honing my wardrobe and style this year. I’m glad you shared your LIWI update, too (mine will likely be posted tomorrow), and that you’re finding LIWI to be very helpful. I agree that LIWI can really show us that we don’t need to hang on to things that don’t work. It’s okay to take your time with the purging. I think you will feel more ready to let go of things as the months progress.

  15. Debbie, I love that black and yellow tunic top for the simple reason it is as step out of the box for you in terms of style and color! Its good to see you experimenting with silhouettes that are more modern.

    I am fantasizing about colors like citron and lemongrass (see JJill.com for this color) as an accent piece for summer-maybe a solid colored cardigan or a tank top.

    This is my third April since I began purging my gynormous wardrobe in late March 2013, when I started out with nearly 600 items (Now I know why one of the racks collapsed suddenly before the big purge, lol!).

    Although I am looking forward to wearing spring and summer things, to my surprise, I found myself purging last year’s spring/summer core wardrobe even more! I didn’t think there was anything more I didn’t like, but I end up with nearly 2 dozen garments unexpectedly going to consignment! I suspect my tastes have simplified.

    I did buy about 6 new pieces but they were better replacements for things I sent to consignment. I like to wear pale grey in summer, and have a hard time finding the right grey that enhances my coloring–but this year I hit the jackpot, being able to find a pair of pants and a simple sleeveless tunic top in the perfect grey to coordinate with other items.

    I’ve also started to do something different with my core wardrobe. I like to very selectively collect and wear vintage clothing if it can be styled to be relevant and timeless. In the past I included these items in my core wardrobe count. But truthfully, I don’t wear these things except for special occasions or if I’m “in the mood”. Its not fair to consider them legitimately part of my core wardrobe.

    What I mean by “vintage” is, for example in my winter wardrobe, I have a mint condition DVF wool jersey knit knee length flared skirt in a chevron pattern of black-camel-red, which is a very relevant pattern with today’s fondness for chevron patterns–so it looks totally modern, even though it is probably at least 40 years old. While I did wear it twice this winter, I would not wear it often because I wish to preserve it to be able to wear for years to come as a classic piece. My summer wardrobe contains several silk skirts, which are not quite vintage as they are only about 15 yrs. old, but in beautiful patterns that I wear for dressing up and wish to preserve as well. In the past two summers I considered them part of my core wardrobe, but they aren’t really. I love vintage clothing for its beautiful tailoring and fine fabrics, although I only wear one piece at a time as an accent, not intending to look like I stepped out of a historical costume drama!

    Its still coldish here so I have not yet switched over to my spring summer wardrobe. My target date is April 2o, my grandmother’s birthday! I have been transitioning over, as the weather here is now fluctuating to wild extremes. Two days ago it was 75˚. This morning it is 39˚. Its hard to know what to wear! I’m looking forward to making the initial count once I switch the closet over, so as to see what progress I’ve made so far by consigning so unexpectedly.

    • Thanks for sharing about your wardrobe progress, Deby. You have really come a long way! I’m surprised that you are still paring down, but it’s wonderful to hone our wardrobes so that they are truly workable for us. I love the vintage concept you mentioned and your DVF skirt sounds fabulous. I think I would like to add a few vintage pieces to my wardrobe and wear them how you described. The weather where you are sounds crazy! I can understand that it would be hard to know what to wear. Hopefully, things will stabilize soon for you. I like the J.Jill colors and think they would look wonderful for spring/summer. You have a very good plan for your wardrobe and I’m glad it’s all working out so well for you!

  16. Debbie, what great progress you have made. Since your first post here on January 2, 2013 already you have accomplished your goals, and you continue to make great leaps and gains in terms of finding the clothing style and rhythm that works best for you. I feel your confidence has soared allowing you to wear styles that in the past you tended to shy away from, and you look great! Everything is coming together for you. Hurray. For anyone who has not read this blog from the beginning (along with Debbie’s books) treat yourself to the gift of her words and experience. Although I had already purged my large wardrobe a few years prior to the launch of this blog, and even though I don’t have true shopaholic tendencies (I was just greedy in the old days and tended to go overboard and buy way too much office-wear and dressy clothing on sale, far more than I needed) yet still this blog (and the reader comments) have taught me many wise things that help me stay the course and keep my wardrobe small, fun and functional for my current lifestyle. As for me, like Deby (and to my surprise) I recently purged my spring/summer wardrobe greatly. I too suspect my tastes have simplified. But also since we have had a very warm winter two years in a row much of my spring/summer wear was worn out. To my even greater surprise I don’t feel a need to rush out and replace more than a few things. But I am in an odd predicament. For the first time ever I have more bottoms than tops. I’ve been shopping but not finding tops I love. My best guess is that I will need to begin shopping more often, and over the next few months hopefully find about 3—4 new tops that I love. Thing is, I don’t enjoy shopping near as much as I once did. Sigh…

    • I really appreciate your support and kind words, Terra. I’m glad this blog has been helpful for you even though you are not and have never been a true shopaholic. That’s been one of the pleasant surprises for me in writing this blog, that I have readers with very different situations from my own. I think it’s great that your tastes (and Deby’s, too) have continued to simplify over time. I’m finding the same thing is true for me. I will likely purge quite a few more things, too, in the coming months. I was shopping on Saturday and found the same thing about tops as you did. I didn’t really find any that I liked. I don’t need many, but some of my summer tops are getting pretty worn out because I’ve lived through the same warmer winters and hot summers as you have. I don’t enjoy shopping as much anymore, either. I used to love it and now I would rather be doing other things. I guess that’s progress 🙂 I wish you the best of luck in finding the tops you need. If you find good resources, let us know and I do the same if I come across some good options.

  17. Last month I got 2 tops and a pair of track pants for ‘out in the world’ wear and a cami for lounging at home. The tops were on my shopping list, not the track pants. I decided they would take the place of a pair of shorts. I have a much shorter warm season here and plenty of just last year purchased shorts to get me through. Ironically, I bought the cami after making a comment here and realizing by looking it up they were getting discontinued.
    I purged a few items I’ve owned for around 5 years that I now find no longer fit well. I’d guess my wardrobe numbers are about the same. My budget is being stretched. I’ve spent about $800 since start of winter in December. I do envision a lean warm weather shopping season. No more than $400 I’d guess. Maybe less.
    Also, I’m taking things in to get altered that I like enough to fix the fit of. Coming around more and more to the idea of 1 or 2 ____ that fit great, than a half dozen almosts. Why have 4 pair of blue jeans that I tug on when I always go for the 2 pair that fit me well?

    • I too have been making that shift from multi so so garments to the one or two great pieces. It didn’t happen overnight but gradually as I began to buy quality over quantity. When I started investing in high quality pieces that cost more I became very choosy and not settle for just okay. I would not just buy willy nilly and the only sales garments I buy now are ones that I have been watching for a time in really special clothing that I have determined will be a replacement for a basic or a long term spark that is a trend that will last. As with Misty’s bathing suit experience the lightbulb went on. This new way of shopping is better for our economy, ecology and is a way for me to vote with my dollars for the way I want to live. This will also force the quality of our goods to improve. If we don’t buy mediocre garments good suppliers will improve and poor ones will also improve or go out of business. I also think that those who mention declining quality in retailers that were once trusted, should be very vocal to that retailer, and return ALL sub par garments. Money does drive their decisions. Our money. Every purchase is a vote for the way we want our world.

    • I love to see comments like yours, Mo and Kathy. I totally agree that it’s far better to have one or two great items than five or six so-so ones. I have come to the same conclusion after years of being a “more is more” person. I don’t know why I had such a scarcity mentality, but I’m glad I’m moving out of that mindset these days. Mo, you are doing great with your seasonal shopping! We all need more items for some seasons than others. As someone who used to live in your area, I know how short the summers can be (but that is my favorite time of year in Tahoe). Kathy, I think your suggestion to return all sub-par garments is right on. I even think we should return things if we wash them per the instructions and they don’t retain their shape or size. I never used to do that, but I definitely will moving forward. I wholeheartedly agree that we vote with our dollars and need to take that seriously.

  18. In March I bought one dress (which I saved to first wear on Easter, but it’s an everyday style), one ring and two basic tees. I have to balance a desire to shop for quality with a tight(er) budget so there are a few things that I buy a not-terrible-quality version of because of their price point, and basic tees are one of those things.

    I didn’t purge any clothing but will soon. I have a few spring/summer things that I’ll be donating but there are about three more weeks here where it *could* snow, so I’m holding off until these items are really in-season. I don’t donate on the off-season and really don’t recommend it because more often than not the clothes go to waste.

    • Great job with your shopping in March, Sara. And good point about balancing quality with budget. We all have to do that and it can be a gradual movement toward better quality over time. Each higher quality item we purchase is a step in the right direction even if we can’t do it all at once. Good point about when to donate items. I don’t think thrift or consignment stores want to hold on to things for months and months. I try to be cognizant of this when I donate. I think it’s always a good idea to assess our wardrobes at the beginning of a season or perhaps a month or so in, as we see what we are and aren’t wearing. Then we can donate during a time when others will still want to wear our cast-offs.

  19. Debbie, you’re making great progress. I can see that you’re shopping much more deliberately.
    With my seasonal shopping experiment this year, March was the month to make my spring purchases. Initially, I bought four items of clothing and two pairs of shoes, all very carefully planned, in the first half of the month. This seemed to be plenty, and I even had one third of my seasonal budget left. But then I had occasion to visit an outlet mall, and my favourite store there was having a huge sale, and I couldn’t help myself. I bought eight items. Not having had a “binge” like that for ages, I was disappointed that I couldn’t restrain myself more, and don’t seem to have made as much progress as I had thought. Also, it was the first time in a long time that shopping was fun. I’m not sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing. I’m still mulling it over. Perhaps I’m putting too many restrictions on myself. The positives are that I was able to keep my budget in mind and only went $7 over. Also, except for one pair of pants that bag out too much after a few hours wear, everything I bought is getting multiple wears. In the past the damage would have been far greater. At any rate, changing my approach to shopping this year is certainly proving to be a learning experience.

    • Thanks for your honesty, Kayla. Recovery usually doesn’t occur in a linear fashion. There are many ups and downs, at least there have been for me. I think you’re doing well overall. Even though you bought more than you wanted to overall, almost everything you bought has been worn multiple times. Back when I bought many, many new items each month, most of them were ill-advised and just gathered dust in my closet. You are learning a lot about yourself and are gradually shifting your shopping behavior. Outlet malls or big sales can be tempting for many of us. I’m glad you are cutting yourself some slack and aren’t beating yourself up for what you bought. Enjoy wearing your new items and congrats on the lessons you learned and on staying very close to your budget.

  20. I had to put off switching my Winter/Spring wardrobe in March because it stayed cold until the end of the month. When I eventually did get my Spring items out I was surprised to see several sweaters that are almost duplicates of things I bought. Note to self: don’t shop for the upcoming season without reviewing what’s packed away first! On the plus side, I like both the original and the new one, and who can’t use a pullover in purple as well as a purple cardigan?

    I was also happy to find out that I still fit into my Spring pants. I think my body has gotten a little plumper into my first full year of menopause, with the warmer weather I’m walking every day now, and while I’m the same “size” I find that I like different styles of pants better. Happily for me the high-waist-ed pant is making a comeback. I never really went totally low-waisted with pants, but I am happy to see better options in stores for those of us with a little more muffin.

    • Good point about reviewing the upcoming seasonal wardrobe before shopping, Ginger. But I’m glad you will be able to put your new items to good use. Congrats on still fitting into your spring pants and on walking every day. I walk most days, too, and really enjoy it in many ways. I’m glad you like the pants options in the stores. I haven’t shopped for pants in months, but perhaps I will have to check out what’s new, too. Good luck with your spring wardrobe and enjoy the warmer weather!

  21. Hello, Been a long time since I last reported in. Sad to say I’m not kicking my buy/discard habit and now I’m overdrawn yet again. It’s not good I know, although the charity/thrift shop gains some nice stuff from me. Yes, I do have a serious problem and worry how I’ll cope in years to come if I outlive my spouse. Thank you for reading.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience, Sue. I welcome all types of shares here and I know you are not alone in feeling challenged. I think a lot of readers just don’t want to share that they are struggling. Before I started this blog, I struggled with compulsive shopping for DECADES, and I’ve continued to have lots of ups and downs in the two-plus years since the blog began. My point in telling you this is to stress that it’s really difficult to change our behavior and there are often many stops and starts. We have to forgive ourselves, learn from our mistakes, and try again. It’s very helpful to have some support during our recovery process. For some, this blog and regularly commenting constitutes support, but many need additional support as well. You may want to check out Debtors Anonymous. I haven’t attended their meetings, but some readers have mentioned that they have found it helpful. Also, having one person with whom you can be accountable is often very beneficial. And check out some of the Resources on my Resources page (https://recoveringshopaholic.com/resources/) for more help, both in the form of books and courses. I wish you the very best! Please write again and let us know how we can best support you.

  22. Hello Debbie, I appreciate your kind reply and yes I have heard of Debtors Anonymous. As well, I have pulled details from the net to show to my very understanding spouse. I have a set up where I can spend up to a certain amount. If I exceed that, my card is automatically stopped which acts as an alarm for me to go easy. Admittedly, this has helped enormously plus using a Debit Card as opposed to a Credit Card, where you can spend, almost without limit. Your site is super and I regularly check in for tips on what to keep or discard. Mostly I use charity/thrift shops, but also catalogue sales and on line shopping. Thank you so much for your help.

    • Thanks for writing back and sharing more details, Sue. It sounds like you and your spouse have come up with some good solutions for you. I agree that using a debit card can be helpful. I have done that in the past and I spent quite a bit less. I’m glad you find this site useful for you in your journey to shop less. Best wishes with your new plan and please don’t hesitate to write again, either to ask for help or to let us know how you’re doing.

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