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.
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:
I also culled quite a few pieces of jewelry and scarves, as shown below:
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:
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 jeans – As 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:
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.
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!