May 2015 Accountability Update

Thank you for all of your wonderful comments and emails in response to my last post on the topic of loneliness. I appreciate your feedback and insights very much.   I may not be able to reply to everyone individually due to the sheer volume of responses, but please know that I am grateful to all those who have reached out to me.  I am always touched by the outpouring of support I receive whenever I publish an emotional post.

It’s now time for another accountability report, this time for May.   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.

The truth

Being accountable can help shopaholics to recover.

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.  This section will be pretty easy, as I already wrote an entire post about the culling I did by way of the “KonMari Process” earlier this month.  Although all of the specifics are outlined in that post, here’s a quick glimpse of the clothes I let go of at that time:

Purged Clothing - May 2015

I purged all of the items above via the “KonMari Process” last month. 

I also culled quite a few pieces of jewelry and scarves, as shown below:

Purged Jewelry Pieces - May 2015

Purged Jewelry Pieces – May 2015

Purged Scarves - May 2015

Purged Scarves – May 2015

May Returns/Exchanges

After completing the KonMari process, I didn’t do any more paring down last month. I did, however, make a few returns/exchanges.   Here’s a look at the items I returned or exchanged during May:

May 2015 Returns and Exchanges

I returned these three items last month – one for a refund and two as exchanges. 

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:

  • Black jeansAs I mentioned last month, these jeans were just barely long enough and I actually would have preferred a bit of additional length. I was worried that they might shrink in the wash such that they would end up too short for me.   Fortunately, I was able to find an almost identical pair online with a longer inseam (see below), so I opted to return this pair to the store.
  • Grey tie-waist cardigan – This cardigan was also purchased during April. I had my reservations about it because the color was a bit too warm-toned for my skin and the sleeves were just barely long enough (yes, this is a problem I have with both sleeve and pant lengths).   In addition, I had bought three tie-waist cardigans in April and that was probably overkill.  So I opted to return this one and I’m very glad I did.
  • Pewter ballet flats – I bought these shoes in February, but had only worn them once. I didn’t find myself reaching for them, partly because they weren’t as comfortable as I’d hoped and I have recently been preferring boots over flats.   Fortunately, they were purchased from a store with a very generous return policy and they didn’t look at all worn.   I only wore them for a couple of hours and there were no scuff marks, so the store was probably able to re-sell them. I exchanged the pewter flats for other shoes that I will be more likely to wear (see below).

What Came Into My Closet

I did very little shopping during May, which was a welcome change over the overshopping I did in April.   While I added three new items to my closet last month, two of them were exchanges, as mentioned above.   Here’s a look at my new May pieces:

May 2015 Purchases

I added these three items to my closet last month – two were exchanges. 

Why I Added These Items to My Wardrobe

Here are my reasons for adding the items pictured above to my closet:

  • Black jeans – These jeans were a replacement for the ones I bought during April. While I was thrilled to find a virtually identical pair in a tall size, the jeans were actually too long and are now at my tailor being hemmed.  I guess I’m tall but not that tall…
  • Black sandals – When I returned the pewter flats mentioned above, I picked up a pair of black sandals that I had been eyeing since last summer. I had already tried them on several times and liked the way they looked and felt. I didn’t buy them last year because it was the end of the season and I’ve been trying to only buy things that I can wear right away or at least very soon. These sandals will replace at least one of my existing pairs and I’m sure I will wear them quite a bit once the weather warms up (May and June are notoriously cool and overcast where I live).
  • Turquoise tank top – Many of the tank tops I wear with skirts during the summer have seen better days and likely won’t last longer than one more season, so I decided to gradually start replacing them. Surprisingly, it’s very difficult for me to find tank tops that fit me well. The straps and the length are almost always too long. Sometimes petite versions actually work best on me, as I am short-waisted despite my tall height.   This tank fit well, I love the color, and it was on sale, but it was a bit too long.  I am having my tailor hem it about an inch and a half and will look forward to pairing it with my various skirts come summer.

In addition to the three items mentioned above, I also purchased one workout top and six pairs of underwear.   I actually bought two workout tops, but returned one of them because the color wasn’t as it appeared online and was too pale for my complexion.

I’m glad I slowed down my shopping during May, but it didn’t take much effort for me to do so. I really didn’t have the urge to shop at all.  I have been feeling far more compelled to take photographs as of late and that has been fulfilling my desire to get out of the house.  Of course I still have the loneliness issue I wrote about earlier this week, but I am not attempting to salve it through shopping anymore (hopefully that will remain the case…).

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 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 11 new items to my closet during April (see this post for details):

  • Black beaded bracelet – I have not worn this bracelet yet, but I believe I will. I think I’ll be more likely to wear it during the summer with skirts and dresses and I have mostly been wearing jeans lately.
  • Black straight-leg jeans – As mentioned above, I returned the jeans and got a similar pair in a tall length. I’m really glad I did so because I think I would have always thought the original pair was at least a little too short.
  • Black and cream print maxi-skirt – I wore this skirt once and liked the way it looked. However, I had a problem with static cling that day because it’s a synthetic fabric. I usually don’t buy synthetics, but this skirt felt like cotton and I neglected to check the tag (which is not like me!).   I hope that the static issue either won’t recur or I will find a way of dealing with it.
  • Black and grey striped maxi-skirt – I wore this skirt once and really liked it. I think that once the weather warms up, it will see a lot of wear this summer.
  • Grey maxi-skirt – I have not yet worn this skirt. I believe that I will wear it, but I still have the option of returning it if I don’t end up wearing it soon.
  • Grey tie-waist cardigan – I opted to return this cardigan last month and I’m really glad I did. It would have been settling for me to keep it because the color was off and the sleeves weren’t quite long enough.
  • Pink maxi-dress – I have not yet worn this dress, but I really do like both the fit and the color. Once the weather warms up, I see myself wearing it.
  • Pink tie-waist cardigan – I have not yet worn this cardigan. It’s something I plan to wear with skirts and dresses in the summer, and I believe I will do so.
  • Pink and white striped tee – I wore this tee once and really liked it. I believe it was a good purchase.
  • Striped maxi-dress – I have not yet worn this dress. I feel the same about this dress as the pink one. I think both dresses will be worn regularly during the summer months.
  • White tie-waist cardigan – I have not yet worn this cardigan. I originally wasn’t sure if I would keep it because it’s a stark white, but I tried it on with a few of my bright colored tank tops and liked the way it looked.  I believe I will wear this cardigan during the summer with dresses and skirts.

As you can see, I still haven’t worn many of the items I purchased during April.  Weather was the main factor in this, as the unseasonably warm days of March and April segued into the cool and overcast conditions we refer to around here as “May Gray.”  I also didn’t feel well for much of May, so I didn’t get out all that much.  And when I did get out, it was often to go take photos and I usually dressed very casually to do that (think either jeans or workout clothing).

I do feel, though, that the items above will be put to good use once the weather warms up.   I believe that I basically made good choices with my April purchases, even if I did go overboard by buying too much.  Time will tell, though, and I will keep you posted. I will likely do a purchase analysis post before too long about the items I’ve bought thus far during 2015.

May 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.   Since I bought so many new items during April, I came pretty close to spending my entire quarterly budget in just one month. During May, I spent a total of $181.57 on clothing and shoes, after returns.  So far this year, I have spent $1182.93 on clothing and related purchases.   Since my budget for two quarters is $1250, I can’t spend more than $67.07 during June if I want to come in at or under my target.

I like the idea of the quarterly budget.  It allows for more freedom than a monthly budget, but includes more checks and balances than an annual budget.  The problem with an annual budget is that those of us who have a tendency to overshop may exceed our target long before the year is over and may have trouble curtailing future shopping after that time.   With a quarterly budget, one may only have to wait a month or two before shopping again if the budget is exceeded.

Since I would like to move more toward seasonal shopping anyway, I think a quarterly budget is the right way to go for me, at least for now.  I don’t think I need to buy much at all during June, if anything.  I may purchase a few more pairs of underwear, but I am pretty set for clothes for now.  June will likely be cool and cloudy here anyway (we call it “June Gloom” in these parts), so I will keep wearing the same types of outfits that I wore during May.   I have been pretty happy with my outfits lately (another “Lessons from My Outfit Journal” will go live soon…) and that has lessened my desire to shop.

I know I will want to shop during July because that’s when the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale takes place (see my very different posts on that topic here and here), but I will be sure to do some advance planning before that time so I can avoid the chaos I experienced last year.  If I focus on being very deliberate (my theme for the year) about what I buy, I will do far better with my shopping and be less likely to experience regret or need to return things.

Conclusion and Coming Attractions

This was a much easier post for me to write than last month’s accountability update!   These posts often take me a long time to write, but not so much this month.  But as with all of my monthly updates, I learned some things about myself, my wardrobe, and my shopping behavior through taking the time to reflect on the previous month.   It’s always well worth my while to write these posts, plus they seem to be popular with readers (when I first wrote them, I worried they would bore people to tears).

As a reminder, the “what I wore” section that I used to include in my accountability updates is now 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 five months into the year, as well as my insights from the fifth month of the challenge.

In addition, I plan to do a follow-up on the topic of wardrobe turnover soon, as several readers asked me some thought-provoking questions in response to my post last week.  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 May?
  • 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, which is great.  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 June and throughout the remainder of 2015!

46 thoughts on “May 2015 Accountability Update

  1. I love the shoes! They look super comfy and edgy at the same time. Congrats on doing so well this month 🙂

    I haven’t commented on one of these accountability posts for ages so I wanted to backtrack a little.
    In March, I didn’t have the shop free month I was planning on, gaining 10 new items: 5 tops, 2 shoes, 3 jeans and a silver bracelet. I also released 8 items of clothes and 9 accessories.
    April: I did slightly better considering quite a few of my purchases were for medical reasons, including 2 maxi skirts for covering bandages, 3 pairs of flare pants for work while in pt. On my own accord, I bought 4 tanks for summer,3 tops and 1 vest. I also bought 4 rings and 2 bracelets. I released 5 pieces of clothing.
    May was my best month of the past three: I bought a cute black steampunk looking vest and a black maxi and 2 scarves, a gingham and white. I also released four items: A denim vest and three tops from last year that no longer hold my favor due to color or fit.
    I set my budget at 1000 for the year and I’m currently at 276.50. My item limit was 40 pieces of clothing and 50 accessories. I’m currently at 15 pieces of clothing and 9 accessories. I think I’m on the right path and I’m just trying to maintain the progress I’ve made thus far. I think my biggest struggle is I’m still buying less than perfect items by way of buying wrong colors and fits… I buy the majority of my things thrift (inexpensive and an old college habit). It’s easy to justify experimenting. I need to come back to focusing and double evaluating everything I buy.
    Sorry for the novel of a comment and thanks for taking time to read it.

    • Thanks so much for sharing your accountability for the last 3 months, Angel. It seems like you are on track to meet your targets for the year. I’m sorry you have some medical challenges and I hope you will be feeling better soon. I can relate to that and to your issue with buying less than perfect items because they are low-priced. I think a lot of us struggle there, but awareness is an important step toward change. I wish you the best in June and for the rest of the year.

      • Debbie,
        Thank you for always being willing to connect with and reply to your commenters. It says a lot about the authenticity and heart that you put into the blog. I never feel like I’m commenting into thin air when I comment here and I really appreciate that. Best of luck to you as well.

      • You’re welcome, Angel. I appreciate you’re saying this to me. I really enjoy interacting with readers and try to respond to everyone who comments. It is harder to do on some posts that attract a lot of comments, but I do my best…

  2. I also love those shoes! Very nice! And congrats on naturally wanting to shop less this month. I bought one item of clothing, which is sticking within my plan. It’s a cobalt blue sleeveless shirt that was $21 from TJ Maxx. I did also buy a necklace ($18), and I was given a (homemade!) handbag. All three new things have been in heavy rotation already and I feel really good about them all.

    • Seems like you’re doing great with your plan, Sarah. How wonderful that your new items have already been in heavy rotation and you feel good about them. Thanks for your kind words about my shoes and my progress in May.

  3. Love how detailed and meticulously put together these accountability updates are.

    Really looking forward to the next update on LIWI challenge! It’s inspired me to do the same and I’m very thankful to you for that!

    • How great that you are doing the LIWI challenge, Maneera. It has really been one of the most helpful things I’ve done thus far. I’m glad you like my accountability updates. Yes, I am definitely one for details…

  4. My mother has those sandals and loves them and how comfortable they are. I bought four things this month: a white tee and flip flops (identical replacement items), a workout tank and a dress (replacement item as well). The downside of a small wardrobe with inexpensive clothing is that I am shopping fairly regularly. I hear rumors of a cool summer near me so I’m going to try not to get anything more for warm weather, even if things wear out, because it sounds like there won’t be much of it.

    • How great that your mother loves her sandals and feels they are comfortable, Sara. That bodes well for me and my fussy feet. Thanks for sharing your May accountability. Yes, there are some downsides to a small wardrobe, especially if the items are lower quality. My eventual goal is to have a small to medium-sized wardrobe of all high quality items, but I have a ways to go until I get there. Good plan not to buy for warm weather if the forecast is for a cool summer.

  5. No shopping for me lately other than a coloring book, after my April/May binge. I am now on a $40 per week budget and have no plans for any upcoming purchases other than small items or lunches out with friends. I want to see how long I can go without buying any perfume, cosmetics, clothes, shoes or handbags. Wish me luck! 🙂

    • Congrats on your progress so far with your new plan, Tara. I’m glad you have given yourself a small weekly budget for small items and socializing. I wish you the best of luck with not buying new items. It could be challenging, but you have a good attitude about it and that will serve you well.

  6. Debbie, I’m afraid I haven’t done as well as you. Although I am on budget right now for the point we are at in the year, I feel like I’ve spent too much time shopping, even when I don’t buy anything. I’m sure it comes from my high stress level at the moment. I know I’m trying to do too much but it is also distracting me from various anxieties in my life, like trying to live up to expectations at my new job (which is a silly worry since everyone says I am doing well), and worrying about my upcoming hysterectomy which has been scheduled for only two months from now.

    On the other hand, I am OK with having a slightly larger wardrobe than before now that I’m allowed to dress as I please at work. I’ve been exploring dresses and prints and sleeveless blouses a little more.

    I do find though, that when I start exploring a new aspect of my wardrobe I sometimes overdo it, (which I’m sure lots of us can identify with.) I’ve never been a stripe-wearer before, but this past month I have bought a striped dress, cardigan, and sleeveless top! I do think I will wear them (yesterday and today I have worn two of the pieces already) because they mix well with my mostly solid colored wardrobe. But still, I worry I will get sick of them too quickly, and they are all very similar colors. It would have probably been better to try some different colors instead of just black and white or navy and white. Although my wardrobe does have a pretty classic foundation so I don’t know.

    Is anyone else having difficulty incorporating prints into a mixable wardrobe? I have a couple of animal print items and some polka dots, and now stripes, but I’m still feeling the need for some floral blouses. However, I feel that the more prints I have, the less mixable my wardrobe may become. I also get concerned about my clothes being too busy since I currently have pretty bright auburn hair which draws attention. I have looked a bit on pinterest, but I’d love to see if anyone knows of some good blog posts on print-mixing.

    • I can relate to a lot of what you wrote, Sarah. I have often shopped when I was under high stress. In fact, this past 6 weeks or so has really been the only time in recent memory that I have not. And you know that I have struggled with buying too many pieces when I explore a new style, color, or print. That can be a tricky one sometimes. The best way to go is to buy ONE new item and fully integrate it into your wardrobe before buying more, but I am guilty as charged with not usually doing that. Still working on that one… As for pattern mixing, I thought I had a few articles bookmarked about that, but I just found this one: There are some good ideas in there, though. I like to mix stripes (my signature, as you know) with polka dots or florals, as I think that works well. Animal prints often read as a sort of pseudo-neutral, so they can work well with most colors and many prints, too. Hopefully others will chime in with some more links. Print mixing can be tricky, but it gets easier with practice.

    • The late and still very much lamented blog academichic has a lot of really great posts about pattern mixing. The blog was written by a quartet of graduate students so it was very analytical! 🙂 Just do a Google search for “academichic pattern mixing” and lots of links will pop right up.

      I like pattern mixing a LOT and I don’t think you should worry about it being “too much” with your hair — wear what you like! Combinations (some obvious, some offbeat) that I like and wear often include: stripey shirt, floral skirt; stripey shirt, floral scarf; navy/white stripey shirt, navy argyle cardigan; plaid shirt, argyle cardigan; stripey shirt, floral ballet flats; floral skirt, polka-dot scarf.

      I can relate to what you say about feeling like you have spent too much time shopping. I have recently made a number of purchases aimed in part at getting myself outfitted for upcoming travel. It’s been frustrating as it’s been hard to find exactly what I want so there has been a lot of ordering, sending back, blah blah blah, and I resent the head-space that shopping takes up.

      • I remember that blog, Sarah! Thanks for chiming in with this reference. I also appreciate your passing on some excellent advice to the other Sarah (would love to see her vibrant auburn hair). I really like some of the pattern mixing combinations you mentioned!

  7. I think I am just too busy now with work and training for an upcoming running race to shop much. I do browse online still, but have only purchased a bra (needed for work) and a red dress (for my birthday gift to myself, but also on my wish list for over a year now). Both were about $20, NWT but on sale.
    I kind of knew I’d slow way down for warmer weather wear since I have overhauled most all of it with living in FL off and on the last few summers.
    The next things on my list honestly are work shoes and house slippers with good cushion and support. Yeah, this year has been a lot more about what I need than what is pretty and catches my eye. I do still make room for that, but it’s just a part of my purchases and not the main focus anymore. Coming to grips with being back in uniform again. I truly don’t need much.

    • Sounds like you are doing well with your shopping, Mo. It may not be exciting to buy what we need, but it can make a much bigger difference in our lives than those flashy and exciting purchases. It must feel good to realize that you don’t really need much. I have had a similar realization about my life and what I really need. Congrats on finding the bra and red dress at such low prices. You seem to be a very good eBay shopper.

  8. I did conmarie method during easter and I purged quite a lot. I’m now strategically adding a few things. i’m aware of my creeping consumerism so I only buy pieces that make me want to wear them, to feel special in them. Then I’m satisfied and don’t have problem wearing them again and again.

    • Congrats on doing so well with Marie Kondo’s method, Angie. It’s a good thing to be aware of our creeping consumerism and to take steps to turn it around. Buying things that feel special and that we want to wear right away is a good way to go and can definitely lead to more wardrobe satisfaction.

  9. I’m so glad that you finally found your black jeans! I bought a black embroidered top, a dark purple top with gray embroidery, a silver necklace, a black and white tunic, a black tunic, and 3 camis. I spent 223.61 for a yearly total of 730.41. I’m under budget so far this year so that’s good. I’ve already bought a top and a dress in June. I don’t NEED anything, but I’d like to get a pair of pants and a pair of shoes. After that I’d say my warm weather shopping would be done.

    • Yes, I’m thrilled to finally have black jeans, Tonya. It was a long time coming, but it paid off for me to be picky. Thanks for sharing your May accountability. Seems like you did quite well. How great that you are under budget and are almost done with your warm weather shopping. That must feel really good!

  10. These posts are always interesting reading. I remember your earlier posts about eschewing multiples and here you mention buying 3 tie-waist cardigans in one month. And buying one (the warm gray one) that didn’t work with your skin color. I agree that 3 or even 2 tie-waist cardigans was overkill. I realize that these 3 tie-waist cardigans may not be exactly the same, but a tie-waist cardigan is enough of a specific design style that 3 (or even 2) of them would qualify as multiples in my closet. As I shop, I buy a single item that will fill a specific need. I recently shopped to replace a beloved black cotton cardigan that had finally given up the ghost after years of tender care. I opted to replace it with a black one with small embroidered white polka dots (I try to avoid printed-on designs for clothing I plan to wear a great deal because prints fade with washing/dry cleaning). Now this was a huge compromise for me because those little white dots limit the versatility of the sweater in matching with some of my printed tops. I will have slightly fewer mix-and-match options but I wanted to jazz up my wardrobe a tad. I think this new cardigan worn with the clothing I already own will add a level of interest missing from a plain black cardigan. But I didn’t see this choice as license to buy yet another sweater (black or other color) to wear with those few tops that might not work with the black-with-white-dots sweater. Also, I never buy anything — no matter how pretty or how cheap — that did not work with my coloring. I learned years ago that the wrong colors look ghastly on me, and why would I spend the time and energy to make myself look washed out and sickly looking? This makes shopping for the right gray (a neutral gray that is neither to green or too blue) or other colors in my specific palette a life-time occupation. Fortunately, “my” shade of gray has been popular this year, and I am thinking of adding a classic-styled gray skirt to my wardrobe.
    RE: Annual vs. quarterly vs. monthly budget: The reason a yearly budget works for me is because I work from an annual wardrobe management plan. I stress management here — not shopping or buying — because it requires me to look holistically at my wardrobe and the need for replacement or upgrades vs. wants (impulse buys, trawling sales racks, the siren song of on-line shopping). Also if I have a big ticket item to replace (e.g., winter coat), it means I need to curtail my shopping to ensure I have adequate funds for said item. So, staying out of stores and off internet shopping sites would be required. This process also requires that I know what’s in my entire 4-season wardrobe (I use a spreadsheet for this). I don’t allow myself any slack on this, but then I love and wear everything in my closet. No room for bench warmers here (closet is too small anyway).

    I used to use a monthly budget and then went to a “seasonal” budget (fall/winter and spring/summer. This didn’t work as well for me because I could always justify going over budget in fall/winter (clothes are more expensive) with the “promise” that I’d make it up in spring/summer. Some times I kept that promise and sometimes I didn’t. This might work with my current “happy-with-my-wardrobe” state but it was very hard to keep to a budget when I was still building my wardrobe. For me, a monthly budget was license to shop at least once a month. I think a quarterly budget for folks still trying to build their ideal wardrobe would work better than monthly so I am very interested to see how you handle yours.

    Love your new sandals!!!

    • Thanks for sharing your wardrobe and shopping strategies, Dottie. It seems that both are working very well for you. I don’t buy items in colors that don’t work for my coloring, either. The grey cardigan was ordered online and the color looked quite different on my monitor than it did in real life. One of the hazards of online shopping, but I think it can be worth it to buy things online when you’re looking for something specific. Having to make some returns is easier for me than driving all over town and going in and out of countless stores. As for the budget issue, I think quarterly will definitely be better for me than monthly, as it forces me to take a bit more of a long-range view. Eventually, I may go to an annual budget, too. I’m still working on my recovery, but I can see how annual could be the way to go once I am happy with my wardrobe and no longer feeling so compelled to shop all the time.

  11. It looks like this month was a really good one, shopping wise! You found the long looked for black jeans, and the shoes look really nice!
    I haven’t been commenting on my shopping habits in a while, but I feel like this year for me is all about refining my wardrobe, and buying things that actually suit my stile/preferences… I’ve come to accept the fact that I’ll never be a super-feminine kind of gal, with high-heels, edgy make-up, romantic bluses and flowing long hair… For a start I can’t stand polyester bluses, even if they’re all the rage right now, the few I possess have either shrunk in the washing machine or make me itchy and hot (can’t stand synthetics). So I go for graphic feminine tees instead, they’re cotton-composed, cute but still casual enough so that I don’t feel like Barbie’s long lost cousin.
    Same with shoes: as much as I love heels, they’re not for me, and while in winter it’s easier to wear shoes because I have socks/tights, which prevent my fussy skin from blistering, during summer it’s a whole other story… I can either wear plasters to prevent blisters, or buy expensive shoes that are made of soft leather that doesn’t hurt my feet. I now have just about 3 shoes for summer that don’t blister my feet, and I’m planning on donating all the shoes that I can’t wear any more. I’ll admit it gets a bit boring sometimes with only 3 options, but then again it’s nice to put on shoes in the morning and know that I’m not going to get blisters after a few hours, and that I could walk for miles and miles and never get the usual searing pain I got from heels/cheap ill-made shoes.
    All in all this year I’ve bought about 16 items this far, and I can’t say I’ve made mistakes that went unworn! I also found a model of trousers that finally fits me perfectly (at last!), it’s made by Gap and I really hope it doesn’t get discontinued in the coming years.

    • Have you ever tried a silk-cotton blend? They aren’t that easy to find but if you do – they feel so wonderful on the skin and are machine washable! I agree with you that shoes are a great place to splurge on quality as well. I’m definitely a heel lover but I can’t wear them as high as I used to.

    • Thanks for sharing your wardrobe strategy, Maria. It seems like you have a very good idea of what does and doesn’t work for you. Good for you for letting go of all of the shoes that hurt and blister your feet! I have been doing the same. I also don’t like polyester blouses, but Sarah’s recommendation for a silk-cotton blend sounds like a very good one. I think I will try to find some like that, as I have almost all knits at this point and would like some variety (not that I need to buy any blouses now, but if I see one or two that I like). Congrats on finding trousers that work well for you. I know how hard that can be and I am also thrilled when I find pants that fit me well.

  12. So fun to read, as always… and i can totally see why this one was easier for you to write. It reminds me of how my monthly budget accounting is easier when i have zeroed in on certain things and my shopping seems… idk, more efficient. Honestly i have been so happy to be able to do some shopping lately b/c my wardrobe has been bare bones for so long (like, going on years now). My health issues took a dive over the winter and i had no idea i was under 100 lbs until i was in the hospital. My clothes were falling off but i couldn’t look for more for months. I mean, actually I couldn’t even walk. It was terrible.
    At any rate, i am so happy to hear you were able to find a solution to the black jean dilemma. And although i love the tie-waist cardis, it sounds like you made a great decision to return the one color. I’ve been looking for s/thing like that to go for a pair of shorts i absolutely love that i bought recently, but the style is different enough that none of my tops quite go with. Haven’t had a “problem” like that in ages! 🙂

    • Thanks for your comment, Claire. I’m glad that you are feeling better and that your shopping has been more efficient. It sounds like you were in a very bad way there for a while. Not being able to walk and being under 100 pounds is very serious. I can see why you would be happy to even be able to go shopping at this point. I hope you will continue to feel better and I wish you the best of luck with rounding our your summer wardrobe.

  13. I always like your accountability posts. They really help me keep my own purchases in check. Like you, I bought a lot in April. I also did much better in May by buying far less. What irritates me is that I still make mistake buys. I have already donated one item purchased in April and one in May. The one donated in April was a size issue and it would of costed more in alterations than the item itself so I gave it away and actually bought the same item again in May in the correct size. The item donated in May was a stupid mistake in general – it was a dress I compulsively bought and even paid to get it altered. The seamstress did a good job but somehow when I got home, the dress just didn’t appeal to me anymore. I just couldn’t keep it in my wardrobe because I knew I would not wear it. So out it went. What a waste of money and effort!

    • Thank you so much for your honesty, Wendy. I can totally relate to your frustration with continued buying mistakes. As you have probably seen in my posts, I have let go of a number of items I purchased this year and I was frustrated, too. I especially hate when I throw good money after bad and have something ho-hum altered – or if the alteration simply doesn’t work out. I totally agree with you about the wasted money and effort. But if you’re like me, your track record is probably improving due to increased awareness. I know I don’t make as many mistakes as I used to and you likely don’t, either. We need to forgive ourselves and move on. I wish you the best of luck with smarter shopping this month and through the rest of the year.

  14. I’m a longtime lurker and first time commenter. I am not much for tracking wears or dollars, but I relate very much to many of the things you talk about. I spend too much time looking online at clothing (a weakness I’m trying to minimize) because it leads to a lot of buying and returning. It all adds up to a lot of fruitless time, and I need to find something more productive or enjoyable to concentrate on instead. I want to continue to enjoy clothing and dressing, but let it find a more appropriate place in my life.

    I also hate the feeling of getting rid of things(some barely or never worn) that don’t feel right, just to add new items in the never ending search for the feeling of being happy with how I look and feel. I am similar in age and body type to you, but a bit bigger. It does not help that right now I am at a high weight that is making me uncomfortable. On the up side, it has slowed my purchasing. Soon I will have the mental concentration to focus on my weight, but I can only take on so much at one time, and I am otherwise occupied right now.

    I seek to find a smaller, more cohesive, higher quality wardrobe that adds to my life. I think I am improving by sticking closer to colors and silhouettes that work for me. I also think about not “splitting my wears”. I have a list I am now following for wants and needs, and I think that will help. And I am trying to shop more in person, but where I live doesn’t have a lot of stores, or sometimes what I am looking for I can’t find – like you, I need tall, but not too tall.

    The irony is not lost on me, but where you got the tall straight black jeans you exchanged to get? I have black straight or slim jeans on my list as a replacement. I have always loved black jeans, and they are a real workhorse in my wardrobe. Lucky brand has long been my best brand for denim. Comfortable and makes me feel good.

    Thanks for your continued posts. They are meaningful to me.

    • Welcome Angie/Angela! We have a few people with the same name here (at least 3 Sarahs), so it is helpful to use either last initials or some other way to identify you, especially if you will be commenting regularly (which I hope you will). It’s good to have another tall girl commenting here and it’s no problem at all to ask about the jeans. We aren’t encouraging NO shopping here, just less shopping with a more conscious mindset. The jeans are from NYDJ and are the Hayley Straight Leg style: There are a number of other options in long lengths on their site, so if this isn’t the style for you, perhaps another one will be. I like the jeans a lot. I wish the rise was a little shorter, but it is still what I would call a mid-rise style. The rise is a bit longer on the long length than on the regular, which I wish wasn’t the case. But I understand that some tall women will need a longer rise. I don’t, as I am short-waisted.

      I also really like Lucky Brand denim and wish they had a good black jeans option for me. They only had true skinnies, which don’t work for me because my calves and larger and if jeans are too tight on my lower legs, it causes pain due to a nerve condition I have. I prefer straight leg styles, which are a bit harder to come by. I do have several pairs of Lucky jeans and they work well for me (and no tailoring is necessary – yay!).

      You seem to be on the right track with making changes. It takes time, but realizing the time, energy, and money that our shopping is costing us is an important first step. Having a priorities list, working on not “splitting your wears,” and narrowing down to your best colors and silhouettes are very important steps, too. I wish you the very best of luck with your journey and I hope you will comment again to let us know how you are doing.

  15. Thank you for the update. Only two items for me, some light blue 501s and a hat. I’d wanted some light blue ‘boyfriend’ style (but not faded/distressed!) jeans for a while, to break away from the lighter top/darker bottom formula that was getting a bit repetitive for me, also to go with a navy jacket. The hat- a trilby – was unexpected, but I really like it. Not too bad, but 9 items for spring in total, so almost double my target of 5.

    • Thanks for sharing your May accountability, Alice. You are doing very well, even if you have gone over your target. And good job on breaking out of a repetitive pattern by getting some lighter jeans. The hat sounds nice. I really like hats and feel chic when I wear them. I usually only wear them in the summer when I’m in the sun a lot, but I do like the way they look.

  16. I love the shoes!! I wish I could wear heels but I’m already very tall and my knees wouldn’t be happy about it either, so that’s a no for me. I hope you’ll share some of the looks you’re going to create with those!
    I didn’t buy anything this month, however I received a Henley I bought online in April and I found a scarf and a shirt I thought I had lost. Turns out they were just very well hidden in the back of the closet… I applied the KonMarie method to my clothing and I managed to purge 13 items, so my total number for this month is -10, bringing my total to 68!
    I can’t believe I still have things to purge each month and yet here I am.
    Even if I decided not to buy anything in June, I know I’ll have new items in my closet because of birthday presents. I don’t mind, as long as it’s useful!

    • Thanks for your compliment on my new shoes, Cedrique. They are actually quite comfortable. I have trouble with heels, too, but do better with wedges or more substantial heels (no stilettos for me anymore). You are doing amazing well with paring down your wardrobe. I’m impressed that you keep finding more things to get rid of. Best birthday wishes to you!

  17. I’ve lurked for a number of months, first comment.

    While I can’t relate to some of the shopping issues, others shout at me loud and clear. BTW, I’m your opposite physically — short, round, older — but still looking for that elusive golden ring.

    Your post with links was amazing. I’ve spent the past week following them thoughtfully, diving into blogs you cited. Rereading some of your posts. The loneliness post touched me deeply.


    I’m now wondering if we aren’t still searching in the wrong part of our hearts and minds to fill the holes that lead to more shopping. I’m retired, have more cool clothes than places to,wear them, and hang out in Jammie’s around the house.

    When is “good enough” actually good enough? Do I really need $50+ around-town shirts? I live a casual life in a very casual community. The joke here is that a Tee shirt without writing is local semi-formal wear.

    I’ve never mastered the art of NOT spilling something on myself with the last bite of food. I can get nice tops at COSTCO, reasonably priced, in decent material. A stain on a $15 shirt is no less a stain than one on a similar $50 shirt. Perhaps a bit easier to take care of, too.

    My hubby does most of the laundry, and regardless of my instructions, he ends up with two ways of washing: whites with some bleach, or not-whites, mixed together without bleach. All go in to a hot dryer. Our clothes either have to withstand his method, or I have to do them myself. He wins, because I rarely do it, except for special things on occasion. Even rarer is hand washing.

    So, other than “I want … Something …”, every-day clothes that can handle this level of TLC are what work.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that, like decluttering what doesn’t bring us joy, better versions of whatever works is “enough” for most of us. Aspirational clothes, like aspirational exercise equipment, food we “should” (but probably won’t) eat, etc., taunts me instead of encouraging me to do better.

    Thank you for your thought-provoking posts. You are a brave woman, and I wish you the very best as you search to find and embrace your true self.


    • Welcome, Michele, and thanks for your very insightful comment! I’m glad you enjoyed my links round-up and my loneliness post. I could really relate to what you wrote about searching in the wrong places to fill holes in our hearts/lives and about when is good enough “enough.” I also got a chuckle out of how you described your husband doing laundry. My husband would be much the same, which is why I never let him touch it! Like you, I live a very casual life in a very casual town and I used to buy a lot of aspirational clothing. I’m finally getting to the point of only buying what truly works for my life and what feels like “me.” It’s taken me a long time, but it feels good to be on the right track. Thank you so much for sharing your insights and wisdom with us.

  18. Yay, Debbie! Congratulations on the black jeans, a coup! And for your budget as well. What a change from the beginning of your blogging journey… No purchases for me this May, but I cannot say that I handled it gracefully. My darling husband and mother both needed replacement items from Lands’ End (the mispunctuation is theirs), and guess who ended up doing the research and ordering? The bane of my existence was the little windows on the side of the screen with “You might also want to check out…” An item I had wanted from last summer showed up there, on clearance, and FOMO reared its ugly head. With a hefty portion of bad attitude, I did not succumb, but the episode gave me pause and I need to spend some more time considering my behaviour and its roots.

    I want to thank you for all your budget analysis. I/we never had a clothing budget, and so I always felt guilty or frivolous buying new clothes, which paradoxically just made me want more. We did some research and have decided on a clothing budget, so now I feel better equipped for after my “Year Without.” It has been very enlightening to really see what and how much I have, and what will round things out or update my closet. I’m already feeling better about my F/W wish list, and know that by the time my year is ended, I will have better tools for making my choices.

    Looking forward to coffee next week!

    • Liz, this is exactly how I used to come to hoarding ‘small’ purchases that made up a large, cheap looking wardrobe! ” I/we never had a clothing budget, and so I always felt guilty or frivolous buying new clothes, which paradoxically just made me want more. ”
      Setting a budget was the first major, ironically freeing, thing I did toward wardrobe management. I still mostly sale shop, but not with intent to hide my amount spent or ‘get away’ with new items, but because I know if I’m patient and hunt I can save some major cash. Now I can have a $70 wool coat that was $250 instead of a $20 juniors jacket that I hid with the grocery cash lol.
      FOMO is still hard to get around, and I’ve been at this at least as long as Debbie. We are always learning and growing, though. Maybe slowly, but getting there!

    • Congrats on not succumbing to the “you may want to check this out…” windows, Liz, and to gaining awareness on one of your shopping triggers. I think it’s great that you are setting a shopping budget for when your “year without” is over. I used to do the same thing as Mo with buying little things here and there and hiding them instead of investing in what would really serve my wardrobe needs. Having a budget really can be freeing instead of constraining. It feels good to actually plan for our needs instead of shopping on the fly. I hope that when the time comes and you start using your budget, you’ll let us know how it works for you. I’m looking forward to meeting you when you’re in town next week!

  19. I have done well in May with a lot of culling and only one purchase – a black shirt to replace an old one. I went for quality over quantity and bought a good one in divine fabric that will be worn for many years to come. I do have a wishlist which also includes a black skirt as my recent wardrobe cleanout revealed that my current black skirts are faded, tatty and need to be retired ASAP.

    I recently went shopping with a girlfriend who was on the lookout for new shoes. I almost bought some myself but managed to stop myself remembering that I really needed an elegant black sandal to go with a few dresses I don’t wear often enough because I don’t have the right shoe. and not a fuschia pair of flats (even though the color was gorgeous!) Straight up saving of 15o Euros to put to a pair that I actually need

    Although I have not read the Konmari book, I have done a lot of reading about it online, including lots of other people’s blogs and reviews about it. I am probably missing some of the finer points, but I feel I have got the basic gist – enough to try it on my own closet cull. I was quite surprised how much I was able to let go by asking the “does it spark joy in me” question.

    I also put one of her ideas into practice with quite amazing results. I decided to empty my purse everynight as she suggests so set up a nice basket for this purpose. I found, amazingly, that I started to use ALL my purses (I had been using the same purse for the past 3 months). It’s too hard to switch purses in the morning when running out the door but VERY easy to pick out from a basket what you need in your purse for the day and then choose a purse that fits what you need and suits your outfit. This led to a cull of the “joyless” purses, then a rearrangement for improved access. Finally, I can take what I actually need for the purpose. I don’t need to take a makeup purse with me for a short trip to the local shopping centre. It’s worked really well for me and I plan to make this a permanent habit.

    • Congrats on your May purchase, Carolyn. How great that you bought something you really needed and went for quality over quantity. I hope you will find the black skirt that you need very soon. I think it’s great that you didn’t buy the fuschia flats and opted to hold out instead for the black sandals you need. So many times I have bought the flashy thing in front of me and later kicked myself when I didn’t have the item I truly needed. You did the right thing! It seems like you have gotten the essence of Marie Kondo’s book without reading it. I hope you will do well with your closet cull – please let us know how it goes. As for emptying out your purse, I wasn’t tempted to try that after reading the book, but I AM tempted to do it from your comment! I tend to be lazy about switching out my purses, too, but I may be less so if I were to set up a basket for my stuff like what you described. If I do that, I will be sure to update everyone in a future post…

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