The last month has felt like one of the longest of my life. Yes, I know the number of days was basically the same as in all other months, but because of all of the stress I had going on, it seems like April was more like three or four months long. It really does seem like ages ago since I posted my last accountability update, but it was actually only 35 days ago. Sometimes time flies, but the past month has really dragged for me…
With all that said, it’s now time for my April 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 helps 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. I didn’t do much culling during April, but I plan to really delve into that process more this month. I’m actually strongly considering using the “KonMari Method” with my closet (read this post and this one for examples of how I’ve used this method for other areas of my home). If I do take that plunge, I will be sure to write a post about it! And even if I don’t go to such extremes, I definitely plan to do some more paring down very soon as we move into the warm weather season in the northern hemisphere (sorry, Aussies and Kiwis, you can gloat six months from now…).
The only items I removed from my wardrobe last month were two returns that I made for items I had purchased during March:
- 1 jacket
- 1 bracelet
Why I Returned 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.
My reasons for letting go of the items above are as follows:
- Denim jacket – I really thought I had finally found a classic style denim jacket that would work well on my frame, but every time I tried on this jacket and contemplated wearing it, I always took it off and wore something else. Yes, it was less boxy than most similar styles and included some stretch for ease of movement, but it still wasn’t all that flattering on me and didn’t highlight my best traits as I hoped it would. So I took it back and will remain on the lookout for a better option. I think that a blazer style with more shaping might fit the bill better for me.
- Silver stretch bracelet – I liked this bracelet in the store, but it never seemed quite right on me at home. I felt it was a bit too shiny and somewhat too large on my wrist. I tried to wear it a few times, but always ended up taking it off. I’m happy I decided to return it for a refund. I like the idea of this type of bracelet, but it is more of a want than a need. I can wait until I find the perfect option, whether it’s a month or a year from now.
What Came Into My Closet
Before I delve into this section of the report, I just want to say at the outset that I shopped too much last month. I know that full well and even though I understand why I did it, that doesn’t excuse my falling back into old habits. As I’ve mentioned previously, I have been going through a lot of stress in recent weeks and I turned to shopping more than I should have. I shouldn’t have turned to shopping at all as a coping mechanism, but old habits can sometimes die hard.
Even though it looks like I did a lot of damage during April, I actually feel that the choices I made were pretty good and I have already worn several of my new garments. I returned things I bought already and may opt to return at least one or two of the items pictured below. However, since I have these pieces in my closet today, I am including them in this report. Should I decide to make more returns, I will share that information in my next accountability update.
During April, I added 11 new items to my closet:
- 1 bracelet
- 1 pair of jeans
- 3 skirts
- 3 cardigans
- 2 dresses
- 1 short-sleeved top
Here’s a photo of my April closet additions:
Why I Added These Items to My Wardrobe
Here are my reasons for adding the items pictured above to my closet:
- Black beaded bracelet – This was an impulse buy when I visited the grand opening for the new location of a local consignment store. I haven’t been consignment shopping in a long time, but the owner of this store is a friend and I wanted to stop in and say hi. This bracelet was inexpensive, but I thought it was fun and not like anything I already have. Time will tell as to whether or not it was a good buy.
- Black jeans – I finally found a good pair of black jeans, at least I hope so. These are straight-legged jeans very much like the “skinnyish” jeans I’ve been enjoying wearing lately. The only issue is that they are just barely long enough. They cannot shrink and I may want to pull on the legs when they are wet to give me a tad more length. But the fit is good and there is a good amount of stretch. No alterations needed, which is uncommon for me with pants. However, I haven’t worn them yet, so I’m not 100% sure yet that I am keeping them.
- Black and cream print maxi-skirt – I wanted to add a few more maxi skirts to my wardrobe because they work well with my casual lifestyle and are easier to style than my other skirts (there’s no “church vibe” with the maxis). I liked the print and was happy with the fit. But I wore the skirt last week and there was an issue with it. The fabric is mostly synthetic (I went against one of my own “don’ts” – see full list here) and attracted quite a bit of static cling. I think it’s because the weather was very dry that day, which isn’t usually the case where I live (I have the poufy hair to prove it much of the time). Hopefully, the static won’t be a problem in the future, but I’m open to tips for dealing with it if you have any you’d like to share.
- Black and grey striped maxi-skirt – This skirt was also an impulse buy but actually a good one. I went to browse a local boutique at the end of a difficult day and tried on a few things (this is an old pattern of mine – shopping to wind down – not the best idea…). I didn’t really expect to buy anything, but this skirt was a happy surprise at a good price. I wore it recently and was quite happy with how it looked and felt. I have quite a few solid-colored tank tops, so it was nice to add two printed maxi skirts to my closet.
- Grey maxi-skirt – This skirt was a replacement for a bad purchase I made last year. I really wanted a grey skirt, but the previous one had a fold-over waist that really annoyed me. Sadly, I jettisoned that skirt after only two wears. This grey maxi-skirt is the same as my black one that was a closet favorite last year (pictured here at the bottom of the post). I think it will be a good addition to my wardrobe and I was happy to get it on sale (there’s nothing wrong with sales as long as we don’t buy things only because they are on sale – see my tips on sales here).
- Grey tie-waist cardigan – When I posted some of my maxi-dress outfits last month, a few of you suggested pairing the dresses with a long-sleeved shrug or tie-waist cardigan instead of my moto jackets. I have actually had a black tie-waist cardigan for several years and wear it often, but it surprisingly hasn’t made an appearance on the blog. It’s been on my list for a while to add another similar cardigan to my closet, so I ordered this grey one online. The fit is good, but the color is a bit lighter than how it looked on the website and it may wash me out a bit. I’m going to try this cardigan with a few outfits to see if it works, but it’s possible that I might send it back.
- Pink maxi-dress – A while back, I mentioned that I might buy the pink version of my black maxi-dress (which was a favorite last summer and shown in this post). I didn’t do it back then and when I looked online later, the pink dress was sold out. However, when I was shopping with my friend a few weeks ago, I saw the dress in the store (Nordstrom – pretty much my go-to shopping location) and decided to snap it up. The shape is really good on me and I like the color a lot, too. I hope this dress will see a lot of wear this summer (as I write this, it’s cold and rainy here, so no maxi-dresses for at least a little while).
- Pink tie-waist cardigan – Since I wear a lot of black, I thought it would be fun to add a bright-colored tie-waist cardigan to my wardrobe. I love this deep shade of fuchsia and the fit of the cardigan is really good. The ¾ sleeves are actually a good length instead of hitting me at just below my elbow as per usual. The fabric is soft and these types of cardigans are easy to carry to throw on when the weather cools off during a summer evening.
- Pink and white striped tee – This is the pink version of the black and white striped tee I bought last month (see here). I loved the look and feel of the original version, so I decided to add a second color to my closet. My new limit for “multiples” – if I do them at all – is two pieces. I think it’s okay to have two versions of a particular item in our closets, but more than that can be overkill. I used to buy four or five colors of a garment I loved, but I invariably ended up wearing only one or two of them. I’m a lot more careful when I buy multiples these days, but I think that two colors of a given style can be perfectly okay (but we still need to give it some careful thought).
- Striped maxi-dress – I have wanted a striped maxi-dress for a few years (you know how I love my stripes) and the one I bought last year (shown here) turned out to be a dud. This new dress is infinitely better and is very flattering on me. I was very excited and happy to find it. I think I definitely have enough maxi-dresses (and maxi-skirts) now, even if they are my main uniform for the summer these days. It’s time for me to say “no more” to buying additional pieces in this style, but I know I will love wearing this new dress.
- White tie-waist cardigan – I’m not sure how many of these tie-waist cardigans I really need, but I’m strongly considering getting rid of my hip-length cardigans and just wearing these with my skirts and dresses (a few of the hip-length cardigans will work with pants, but some of them are just an odd length and should probably just go). Even so, I might not need four, but as I mentioned above, I will likely return one of them. I’m not usually a fan of stark white on me, but with the cardigan, I will have another color close to my face with my top to offset the white.
I probably could have stopped at two maxi-skirts and two tie-waist cardigans. I did go somewhat overboard and I may still opt to make a return or two. Otherwise, I will just work to slow my shopping way down, as I really don’t need all that much for the summer season at this point. I do need to replace a few of my tops and if I find a good knee-length skirt (that isn’t “churchy”) and a pair of black sandals (a replacement item), I will be happy. Anything else would just be a “nice to have” and isn’t really necessary.
Although I bought too much during April, I do have to say that my urge to shop has gone way down since I started becoming more and more passionate about photography (read about that here). Now, when I feel up to getting out of the house, my preferred destination is somewhere to snap photos rather than the mall. I actually spent half a day taking photographs last weekend at various beaches all down the San Diego coastline. I may have to do a special post to share the best ones, as some of you have requested that I share more of my photos on the blog.
My photography e-course is under way and I’m really enjoying it. Having an alternate interest is making a big difference for me. I now have a much lower desire to shop, even though you wouldn’t really know it from how much I bought last month. I really started diving into photography in the latter part of April and I have done very little shopping since that time. I highly recommend adopting a new hobby or interest (see the comprehensive list of suggestions here) if you are interested in curtailing your shopping. It’s working for me and it may work for you, too.
Checking in on Last Month’s Purchases
Beginning earlier this year, 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 are 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 5 new items to my closet during March (see this post for details):
- Black draped jacket – This jacket has already become a closet favorite. I have taken it in a bit since it was pictured here, so it is now more fitted and thus more flattering on me. I think it pairs well with the slimmer jeans that I am enjoying wearing these days. This was definitely a good purchase.
- Black and white striped tee – I liked this tee so much that I bought the pink version a month later. It is cotton but with a bit of spandex for stretch and a better fit. I really like it and feel it was a good buy.
- Denim jacket – I returned this jacket – see above.
- Silver stretch bracelet – I returned this bracelet – see above.
- Teal open cardigan – Like the black draped jacket above, I have had this cardigan taken in since I pictured it in this post. I think it looks much better now and I like that the length is longer in the back (it’s an elliptical shape). I like the way the teal pairs with both black and black and white prints. The fabric is soft and I’ve felt comfortable and happy the two times I’ve worn this cardigan thus far. I feel confident that it was a good purchase.
April 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 during 2013 and 2014), but decided to change to quarterly limits after spending too much money during February.
My quarterly budget is $625 and April was the start of a new quarter. Since I bought so many new items, I have come pretty close to spending my entire quarterly budget in just one month. During April, I spent $464.65 on clothing, accessories, and alterations (most of this amount was spent on clothing). It’s possible that I may return one or two items, which would bring that number down. Otherwise, I only have $160.35 left to spend between now and the end of June.
As I would really like to move more to seasonal shopping versus shopping pretty much all the time, perhaps it’s not so bad that I purchased so many items in one month. Of course, part of the reason I shopped so much was due to stress, which was not a good thing. I would like to be more deliberate (there’s that word again – read more about my efforts to be deliberate here) about when I’m shopping and how much I’m spending. This is an area for me to continue to work on moving forward.
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 four months into the year, as well as my insights from the fourth month of the challenge.
As I mentioned above, I plan to do another closet audit soon and I will post about that process and the results shortly thereafter. I will also share another closet inventory in the coming weeks. In addition, I plan to take on the “Evolve Your Style” course from Imogen Lamport and will be blogging about that periodically. Plus, I know I will be writing more about my “full life project” and sharing more photographs in future posts. 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 April?
- 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 May and throughout the remainder of 2015!