It’s now time for another accountability report, this time for July. I can’t believe it’s already halfway through August! I usually do these posts a bit earlier in the month, but I needed some time to receive all of my orders from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale (NAS) and decide what to keep. I wanted to only write about those items I plan on keeping, if at all possible.
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. Sharing what I bought, what I culled, and how much I spent helps me to stay deliberate (my theme for 2015 – see my recent update on my progress HERE) 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 July, I removed three items of clothing and four pieces of jewelry from my wardrobe:
- 3 tank tops
- 1 necklace
- 1 ring
- 2 pendants
Here’s a look at the items I’ve opted to pass on:
I intend to cull quite a few more items this month and I may even opt to do another round of the “KonMari Method” to streamline the process. As summer progresses, I’m getting a much better sense of what wardrobe pieces are working for me and which ones should be passed on. I especially want to pare down my jacket and shoe collections, as I know I have too many of each. But I will look at all areas of my closet to decide what should stay and what should go. Stay tuned…
Why I Culled These Items
In addition to posting photos of what left my closet, I also list why I decided to release those pieces. I feel that pinpointing our reasons for purging closet (and jewelry) items can help us notice patterns and avoid future mistakes.
My reasons for letting go of the items above are as follows:
- Black, blue, and green tank tops – All three of these tank tops were worn and loved many, many times, such that they became worn out and stretched out. They would no longer hold their shape well and started to bell out at the bottom. I was sad to see them go, but they were all 5-6 years old and had a low overall cost per wear. It’s my hope that I will have more of my clothes wear out now that my wardrobe is smaller and I’m wearing things more often.
- Orange tone beaded necklace – This necklace is too warm-toned for my complexion. I had kept it to wear with my leopard print dress, but I discovered that another one of my necklaces works equally well with the dress.
- Tanzanite ring – This is a very old ring that I hadn’t worn in many years. I always wear the same three rings every day, so I’m gradually letting go of the other rings I own, especially those that don’t have sentimental value. I no longer love this ring, so it’s time for it to go.
- Purple toned pendant – I bought this pendant last year at a resale store, but never wore it. Since I have so many necklaces and prefer many others to this one, I opted to pass it on.
- Rutilated quartz pendant – This pendant is close to 20 years old, but I haven’t worn it in many years. I have more than enough necklaces and pendants, so I’ll let someone else enjoy this one.
What Came Into My Closet
Most of my shopping last month was at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale (NAS). During July, I added 11 new items to my wardrobe, and all but two of these came from NAS. Here’s what I bought:
- 2 jackets
- 1 vest
- 1 bracelet
- 1 cardigan
- 4 t-shirts
- 1 tank top
- 1 pair of jeans
Yes, that’s a lot, but I anticipated buying a decent number of things at NAS and I feel good about what I purchased there. I have already worn a few of my new additions and I believe the others will be worn soon and serve me well, as I was deliberate and thoughtful in my buying. I also plan to cull some of my existing items soon, so I don’t think my overall wardrobe size will go up much, if at all.
Why I Added These Items to My Wardrobe
Here are my reasons for adding the items pictured above to my closet:
- Black draped collar jacket – I tried on a printed version of this jacket in the store, but decided it wouldn’t be versatile enough with my clothes. However, I loved the way the jacket looked on me and how comfortable it was, so I ordered the black version online later. I think I’m going to let go of my old black moto jacket and replace it with this jacket. The old jacket is too big for me, doesn’t look good open, and obscures my tops when closed. This jacket also looks better closed, but has a more open front that allows for a fuller view of my tops and jewelry.
- Black long vest – This was an unanticipated purchase (I haven’t worn vests in years), but I tried it on at NAS and loved it. It looks good paired with jeans and t-shirts and adds a fun element to simple outfits. The vest fits me well and looks good on my frame. I may add a button so I can close it if desired.
- Black studded bracelet – This is only the third new jewelry piece I’ve added to my collection this year. I used to add at least that many new items each month! It wasn’t a planned purchase, but I love it and have already worn it several times. I have two other black bracelets, but they are different enough that I know each will receive a lot of wear (the other two are my most worn bracelets). I liked this one because it is minimalist but still has a bit of edge to it.
- Blue striped open cardigan / robe – This was another NAS purchase and it actually was from the lingerie department. It was billed as a robe, but I see myself wearing it both at home and out and about. It’s super soft and warm and cozy. It’s fitted enough to wear with jeans, but comfortable enough to wear when I’m sitting at my computer on cold mornings. I don’t own a robe, so this piece will fill the gap, but I like that I can also wear it with jeans and t-shirts.
- Burgundy striped tee – I have mentioned in several of my LIWI updates that I wanted to add a few more short-sleeved tops to my wardrobe. I’ve gotten rid of many such tops over the past year, have downgraded a few others to at-home wear only, and have some more that are on their last legs. I wear t-shirts almost every single day when I’m at home and many days when I’m out and about as well. This one is a good match for my burgundy cardigan and also looks good with black or grey.
- White/black city print tee – I loved the print on this tee and am a big fan of black and white. All of these tees are very soft and fit me well. This is my favorite of the new tees that I got at NAS and I have already worn it (in an outfit that I rated a “10”).
- Cobalt tank top – This tank top is a replacement for the one that wore out and was culled last month (see above). Cobalt is one of my favorite colors and I was very sad to have to let my old tank top go. Sadly, I haven’t been able to find a replacement for my bright green tank as of yet, but I still hope to. My old tank tops were worn regularly during the summer and I’m sure this one will be, too.
- Dark green tee – I took advantage of NAS to buy tees in several of my palette colors. I love this deep green and think it looks good on me. It works well with my other palette colors, including black, grey, cobalt, and burgundy.
- Dark wash straight-leg jeans – I have lost quite a bit of weight (over 10 pounds) since earlier this year such that many of my jeans are now too baggy on me. I set a goal of finding a new pair of straight-leg jeans at NAS and was happy to find a pair that was long enough and fit well for a low price (under $50!). These jeans have a pull on waist that is comfortable and stays in place. Since I almost never tuck anything in (I’m quite short-waisted…), the waistband works just fine for me.
- Magenta tee – This is another basic tee in one of my palette colors. I love all jewel tones and magenta is one of my favorites. Yes, it seems like a lot to add four new t-shirts to my wardrobe in one monthy, but they were very low-priced and fit well, and I believe they will all see a lot of wear. After doing LIWI, I better understand what I actually wear, and short-sleeved t-shirts get worn more than anything else.
- Denim jacket – Even though I have struck out with past denim jacket purchases (I have returned two over the past year and purged one that I ruined trying to remove the chemical smell), I continued to want to add this piece to my wardrobe. Pairing a denim jacket with an outfit is one of the best ways to dress something down, so it’s a great fit for my casual lifestyle. However, they are not easy for me to fit due to my height, broad shoulders, and narrow torso. I saw this jacket on Bridgette Raes’s NAS picks list and liked that it included some stretch in the fabric. Sadly, it also has a slight chemical smell, but I better understand how to deal with that now. I will still need to take in the jacket a bit at the sides, but I will wait until after I wash it to do so. If for some reason the chemical smell cannot be removed (I am very sensitive to smells with my migraines), I know that I can return the jacket to Nordstrom given their generous return policy. Fingers crossed, though…
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, so you can evaluate whether or not they are serving your needs. If not, you may still be able to return things and mitigate any potential buying mistakes you’ve made.
As a reminder, I added five new items to my closet during June (see this post for details):
Below is an update on how I feel about my June purchases today:
- Medium wash boot-cut jeans – I bought these jeans to replace another pair that had gotten too baggy on me with my weight loss. I have only worn this new pair twice so far, as the weather warmed up and I’ve primarily been wearing skirts and dresses. I believe I will wear these jeans a lot more come November or December (our summers last until that late here).
- Pink print tee – This tee is a bit of a disappointment. I bought it online after I loved the turquoise version (see below), but the fit is not the same. I have worn it only once thus far and didn’t love it. I’m going to see if it fits better after washing it, but it may end up being a dud or relegated to lounge wear only. We’ll see… It’s frustrating that sizing has gotten so inconsistent with many retailers these days.
- Purple workout tee – I like this tee. It’s comfortable and the color looks good on me. I like that it is a moisture wicking fabric that keeps me dry on hot summer days. I think this was a good buy.
- Turquoise print tee – I love this tee and have worn it multiple times. The color is one of my favorites and the print adds some visual interest. It fits me well and is comfortable. It’s a good casual tee that suits my current lifestyle.
- Black walking shoes – I have worn these shoes almost every day since I bought them. I wear them for walking, going on short photo taking jaunts, and when I use my elliptical machine. I’m still having hip and foot problems, so my mobility is limited, but these shoes are working much better for me than my previous walking shoes. They were a great purchase.
So, four out of five of my June purchases were good buys. The jury is still out on the pink print tee. I will revisit that item in a little while when I do my purchase analysis for the first half of the year. At this point, though, I think I probably should have returned that shirt. I am happier with my purchases when I’m picky and don’t settle for less than what I truly want. If I take an “it will do” attitude, things rarely go in my favor.
It’s much better to return things when we don’t love them. I’m sure most of us have things hanging in our closets that were “close but no cigar” or that we bought because the price was low but the item wasn’t what we truly wanted. Those are the types of clothes that are best left in the store – or returned later when we realize they’re not “8”s or higher on a scale of 1-10. It’s in our best interest to have high standards for what we buy and keep.
July Budget Report
My clothing budget for 2015 is $2500 (down from $3000 last year). I was originally going to have just an annual budget this year (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. During July, which was the first month of the third quarter, I spent a total of $406.12 on clothing and related purchases, after returns. As of July 31st, I have spent $1786.58 to date in 2015, which means I only have $88.42 remaining of my third quarter budget. I will definitely exceed my third quarter budget by the end of August, as I have already made a few purchases this month.
In future years, I’m going to allocate more of my budget to the third quarter because I like to shop at NAS. I wish I had done that for this year, but unfortunately I did not. At this point, in order to meet my target for the year, I will likely have to work with a very small budget for the fourth quarter. I’m okay with this, as I feel like my cold weather wardrobe is in pretty good shape after my earlier 2015 purchases and what I bought at NAS. I don’t think I will need to buy much at all in order to be ready for the cooler season, which really doesn’t start where I live until November anyway. I’m doing pretty well with my summer wardrobe as well, but I would still like to find a few replacement items, including tank tops and shorter skirts. But overall, I really don’t need much and that feels good.
2015 Item Report
I have not been giving a regular update on how many items I have brought into my wardrobe this year and a few of you have mentioned that you missed this 2014 feature of my accountability updates. So beginning with this month, I’m adding it back in. I will break things down further in a standalone post, but here’s a summary of my 2015 purchases thus far:
- Items Added: 49 (41 garments, 4 pairs of shoes, 4 pieces of jewelry)
- Items Returned: 5 (3 garments, 1 pair of shoes, 1 piece of jewelry – note that if I buy and return something within the same month, it isn’t included in my accountability updates)
- New 2015 Items Purged: 4 (all were tops)
- New 2015 Purchases Remaining: 40 (includes the 11 new items bought in July)
I realize that this is a lot for many of you and it’s still more than what I want to be adding on a yearly basis, but it’s a lot less than what I used to buy each year (see this post for more on that topic). I’m still in the process of refining my style and cultivating a workable wardrobe, so it makes sense that I would buy more during that timeframe. I will likely end 2015 having purchased close to the same number of new pieces as I did last year (I ended that year with 53 purchases, but I didn’t count workout/lounge items or gifts and I didn’t exclude those in my numbers above).
My hope is that I will buy far fewer items next year than I bought this year now that I’m getting my wardrobe to a much better state. Just as I don’t believe there is an ideal wardrobe size that works for everyone, I also don’t feel there is a right yearly purchase number across the board. There are many factors that affect both of those numbers and we all need to decide what’s right for us. I’m still figuring it out as I go along and I will address this subject in a post later in the year.
So that’s it for my July accountability update. Now it’s your turn to chime in:
- How did you do with your shopping and wardrobe during July?
- 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 for the rest of August and throughout the remainder of 2015!