October 2015 Accountability Update

Well, it’s more than halfway through November, so this post is a bit overdue…  However, I wasn’t putting off writing it because of overshopping like last time. I have just been dealing with other things, so some of these more time-consuming posts had to be postponed somewhat.  But better late than never!

For those who are new to the blog, these monthly reports are where I share what came into and left my closet and how I did with my shopping budget.   Sharing what I bought, what I culled, and how much I spent helps me to stay honest and on track with my wardrobe and shopping.  It also contributes toward my being more deliberate, which is my theme for 2015.

Shopping Accountability Updates

What Left My Closet

I always start these reports with what left my closet during the previous month.  I didn’t do the “KonMari Process” in October, but I did manage to cull some things that just weren’t working for me anymore.  The items below (save two returns and one thing that I trashed) are now in my “hidden holding zone” for the next month or so, but will likely be passed on very soon.  Because I want to avoid shopping to fill in the gaps after closet purges, I’m delaying actually removing culled items from my home for a little while.  This way, if I decide I want to “rescue” something I have purged, I can do so. It will probably happen very rarely, but I’m going to give this a try as I continue to work on lowering my “closet set point.”  I wrote about this in my last accountability update in case you want to read more of my thoughts on the topic.

During October, I removed 14 items from my wardrobe:

  • 2 jackets
  • 1 cardigan
  • 2 tank tops
  • 1 short-sleeved top
  • 3 pairs of pants/jeans
  • 2 skirts
  • 2 pairs of shoes
  • 1 purse

Here’s a look at the items I opted to pass on:

October 2015 - purged items

These 14 items left my closet during October 2015. 

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 to notice patterns and avoid future mistakes.

My reasons for letting go of the items above are as follows:

  • Black draped collar jacket – I bought this jacket at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale back in July but hadn’t worn it yet due to hot weather (I rarely needed a topper this past summer). I originally thought this jacket could be worn open, but that really wasn’t true because it had a silver snap on it that was distracting and unsightly when not closed. I also purchased another black topper last month (see below) that I liked more, so returning this one was the best approach.
  • Black embellished tank top – I wrote about this top in my last accountability update. I had it shortened, but the flimsy fabric ended up “belling” out at the bottom afterwards.  I could have thrown good money after bad (see my thoughts on that topic here) and decided to take it in, but I opted to cut my losses instead.  This and the fuchsia tank below were the first of many tops I wasn’t able to have shortened successfully.  Sometimes these things just don’t work out and we have to move on.
  • Black hobo style purse – I bought this purse late last year at a consignment store. I wasn’t sure I wanted to keep it after using it earlier this year, so I brought it out again to test it out. I was actually feeling pretty good about it, but when I went to leave my house one day, I noticed that it was totally falling apart!  Some of the material (pleather, I think) was actually peeling away.  Now it’s possible that my cat might have gotten to it, but he hasn’t ruined any of my other bags. It was probably just shoddy workmanship.  Fortunately, this purse didn’t cost much, but it looked to be in decent condition when I bought it, and I used it for only about a month and a half.  This disappointing bag has been tossed into the garbage.
  • Black Not Your Daughter’s Jeans – I bought these jeans in late 2007 and they saw a lot of wear over the years. Their cost per wear was probably in the pennies.  They no longer look good on me since I have lost over ten pounds (not deliberately but I am fine with it) and I bought another pair of black jeans to replace them earlier this year.  These jeans are a culled item that I don’t feel bad about at all. I hope to get to the point where most of what I cull is because an item has worn out or outlived its usefulness in my wardrobe.
  • Black pencil skirt – This is an example of a bad consignment buy! I bought this skirt in August and thought that the waist could be taken in (the skirt fit me well otherwise), a straightforward alteration that I often have done.  Unfortunately, my tailor told me that based upon how the skirt was made, that would be impossible to do.   So rather than wear a skirt with a baggy waist, I have opted to re-consign it.  I hope that I can recoup at least some of my losses. I feel kind of bad about this one, but I now better understand what to look for in terms of what can and can’t be altered.
  • Black cardigan – I really didn’t need to buy this cardigan. There was one day back in August when I got caught up in the consignment frenzy that I used to engage in regularly. Not only do I have two other short black cardigans, but this one’s sleeves are just not long enough for me.  I got dazzled by the cool designs on the front and the low price, but it was a mistake.  Hopefully a shorter armed woman will enjoy wearing it.
  • Black t-strap sandals – I have had these sandals for over four years and wore them a number of times, but I always thought they looked kind of “heavy” on my feet. After I purchased a new pair of black sandals that I love earlier this year, I have never worn this pair, so it’s time to pass them on.
  • Coral knit blazer – I used to love this blazer, but I’ve moved away from both this style and this color. I have defined my color palette and coral isn’t in it; I prefer deeper pinks. I wore this blazer a decent number of times since I bought it in 2012, but I no longer love it.
  • Fuchsia embellished tank – This tank had the same problems as the black one I wrote about above. The flimsy fabric just couldn’t withstand the hem being shortened. It’s sad because I like the color and the embellishment, but it wasn’t very expensive and I now better understand what can and can’t be altered.
  • Grey maxi-skirt – I’m passing this skirt on because I found another grey maxi-skirt that I like better. This one was too voluminous and is also too big on me, especially after I have lost some weight. I have already worn the new (to me) skirt and am happy with it.
  • Dark wash Jag jeans – I bought these jeans at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and thought they would be good for me because the overall fit was good. However, they are just a tad borderline on the length, so I decided to return them. I’m glad I did because I am very particular about the lengths of my pants.  Being tall, I’m self-conscious about pants being too short and would rather err on the side of too long.  I found some better jeans this month which I will share in my next accountability update.
  • Light wash Lucky jeans – I ordered these jeans online a few months ago when Lucky was having a sale. I wanted to get some jeans that would fit me better because most of my existing jeans had gotten too baggy. These jeans were the same style as some of my other pairs but in a size smaller. However, the fabric has little stretch in it and the jeans aren’t very comfortable. I should have returned them but didn’t.  I really need to be more particular about returning online orders that I don’t absolutely love.
  • Pink print tee – I wrote about this tee in my recent purchase analysis and classified it as a soon to be purged item. I pretty much knew then that it wasn’t going to make the cut.  It just doesn’t stay in place and I had to fuss with it all the time when I wore it.  Life’s too short for clothes like that!
  • Silver sandals – I didn’t wear these all summer long, so it’s time for them to go. I wore them a lot in past years, but I actually hurt myself wearing these a few times, which is reason enough for getting rid of them.  I like the way they look, but that’s not enough.  Fortunately, I have other metallic sandals that I like and which work well for me.

What Came Into My Closet

Well, the good news here is that I didn’t buy nearly as many new items in October as I did in the previous three months.  But I did still add six garments and one piece of jewelry (which was a gift from a friend):

  • 3 cardigans
  • 1 sweater jacket
  • 2 long-sleeved tops
  • 1 necklace
October 2015 - new items

I added these seven items to my wardrobe during October 2015. 

Why I Added These Items to My Wardrobe

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

  • Black and cobalt striped tee: These are my two favorite colors and I love them together. This is a top that I can wear both at home and out and about.  It’s comfortable and looks good on me.
  • Black sweater jacket: This is basically a replacement for the jacket I returned above. I actually decided to return that one at the time when I bought this.   It’s fitted, comfortable, looks good on me, and is designed to be worn open.  Most of the time, jackets are too big for me at the sides when they fit my shoulders, but this one fits me like a glove, perhaps because of the type of material it is. I will mostly wear it with skirts and dresses and because it’s warm, it will help me to get more year-round wear out of some of those pieces.
  • Marled burgundy duster cardigan: I included burgundy pieces on my cool weather shopping list, so I was happy to find this item. I like that it’s longer than all of the other cardigans I have and a different style that happens to be fashionable at the moment.  It looks good with slim-fitting jeans and tee shirts, which are two of my wardrobe staples these days.
  • Grey tie-waist cardigan: I got this piece toward the end of my Tahoe trip and have already worn it several times. It’s such a cool cardigan in that it can be worn multiple ways.  I think I’ve already discovered six or seven ways to wear it!   It’s comfortable and fits me well, plus the charcoal grey color works with a lot of items in my wardrobe.
  • Magenta asymmetrical sweater tunic: This sweater ticks a few boxes on my cool weather wardrobe list in that it’s in the burgundy family (I love both burgundy and magenta), is asymmetrical, and tunic length.  It’s different from anything I already have and I think it will be a loved item that gets a lot of wear.
  • Asymmetrical star necklace: This was a gift from a friend who has a similar necklace that I had previously admired.   She brought it back for me from her recent trip to Michigan.   I like it but I haven’t worn it yet.  It’s a bit on the delicate side, so I think I’ll need to layer it with other necklaces in order to be happy with how it looks. I’m a necklace layering novice, though, so I will need to experiment to see what works.  If you have any tips on necklace layering, I would be happy to receive them.
  • Striped open cardigan: I used to have another striped cardigan, but I let it go because the length was a bit off.  This cardigan is a better fit and I like the colors and uneven stripes.  I can see myself wearing it a lot, as I can also wear it at home when I get cold (I started wearing my open cardigans a lot at home earlier in the year).  I’m trying to mix things up a bit and not only have at-home clothes and out and about clothes (see my thoughts on at-home clothing, as well as guest poster Terra’s).  A lot of pieces can and should do “double duty.”

Some of the pieces above were purchased prior to my creating my cool weather shopping priorities list. Trying to prioritize my purchases for the season by month probably won’t end up being very effective, as we never know when we are going to find items on our lists.  However, I do think that creating such a list was an excellent idea overall, as it will help to focus my shopping.  Most of my purchases for this cooler season will have to occur early next year, as I pretty much exhausted my shopping budget early in the year.  That’s okay, however, as I still have quite a few new cool weather pieces that haven’t even been worn yet since the weather only recently changed.   I look forward to diving into more of my new acquisitions in the coming weeks and creating outfits with them.

October 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 switch to quarterly limits after spending too much money during February.

My quarterly budget is $625.   However, since I exceeded my third quarter budget by $295.83, my fourth quarter budget was reduced to just $329.17.   I spent a total of $269.11 during October on clothing and related expenses.   Consequently, I only have $60.06 remaining in my budget for the year!  I already know that I will exceed my annual budget at least slightly based upon my November purchases thus far (two pairs of jeans and some socks), unless I end up returning some of my unworn items.

I have struggled with my budget this year because I didn’t allocate additional funds to the months when I tend to shop more (namely July through September).  Next year, I’ll remedy that accordingly and will hopefully do better.  At this point, I’m going to try to end 2015 as close to my budget as possible even if I end up exceeding it.  I really don’t need to buy anything else this year, although my emotions often tell me otherwise.

Emotional shopping is still a problem for me, as is shopping with friends (although I really only have one friend with whom I shop anymore).   However, I recently went through a lot of stress over some medical procedures I had to have done and I didn’t resort to shopping as a result of my anxiety. So that’s some good progress (by the way, the procedures were this week and they went fine).

Item Report

As of July, I started to report on the number of items I’ve added to and purged from my wardrobe.  Here’s a summary for the year as of the end of October:

  • Items Added:  85 (65 garments, 5 pairs of shoes, 1 scarf, 13 pieces of jewelry)
  • Items Returned: 7 (5 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: 12 (7 tops, 1 cardigan, 1 pair of jeans, 2 skirts, and one bracelet that I lost last month)
  • New 2015 Purchases Remaining: 64 (includes the 7 new items that I added in October)

The numbers above do not include the total number of items that I have purged this year, which is much greater than twelve.  I will compile that information and share it in a separate post later this year.  The numbers above only pertain to items that I have acquired during 2015.

I’m not happy with having already purged 12 new 2015 items (well, really only 11 since I lost the bracelet…), but I think I’m doing a lot better on that front than in previous years.   I hope to make fewer purchasing mistakes next year based upon what I’m learning from all of my deep analysis.  I have already made considerable improvements to both my shopping and style, but I do get impatient to be there already.  Well, Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was a workable wardrobe!

Your Thoughts?

So that’s it for my October accountability update.   Now it’s your turn to chime in:

  • How did you do with your shopping and wardrobe during October (and even the first half of November since this update is so late)?
  • 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 November and throughout the remainder of 2015.

12 thoughts on “October 2015 Accountability Update

  1. I’m sorry you have been having health issues, and pleased to hear the procedures worked out. Well done for not resorting to over-shopping as a comfort tactic, that is a major achievement. I bought 4 items in October, 2 were good purchases and two ok but unnecessary. I’m going to do a full analysis on a ‘what I would buy again’ at the end of the year, and plan more carefully for next year. I’m currently thinking of the 5 piece French wardrobe system (only discovered mid way through through this year), with a mental list of around 10 key pieces that I really need, allowing about 10 more for less planned buys. I could never plan everything completely, I know home much I love discovering things, but a core list may help to keep thinks on track.

    • Thank you for your kind words, Alice, and for sharing your accountability here. I think it will help you a lot to do an end of the year purchase analysis. I know that doing such things has been very helpful for me. I think the 5 piece French wardrobe challenge will also benefit you, as it will cause you to be more thoughtful and deliberate with your purchases. I may opt to do that challenge, too, or my own version of it. I definitely agree that any planning we do for our purchases is beneficial. When we just shop and buy whatever catches our eyes, it’s not usually a recipe for success.

  2. Debbie, check out End Wardrobe Chaos for the necklace post. Barb and I had a large time sharing our approaches. You may remember that Lori also had a lovely combination. We look forward to seeing what you do.

    • I will have to find this for sure, Susan. The group is so wonderfully active now that it is hard to keep up, but I am happy that everyone is enjoying it so much. I will definitely check out the tips and put them to use – thank you!

  3. I want to congratulate you on your choices for this month. I recognize that several of these are a new silhouettes or have design details that differ from your existing wardrobe. At the same time I think they really match your evolving style. Love it. Well done, and thanks for your courage to share.

    • Thank you so much, Chris! I’m really trying to vary things up and be more thoughtful with what I buy. I hope that my new purchases will serve me well. I feel that I am learning and improving over time, perhaps not as quickly as I would hope, but at least I am moving in the right direction.

  4. I did surprisingly well in October with only 2 items coming into my closet, but have over compensated in November already! I think it is due to change of season combined with holiday. Your new purchases seem both classic and edgy as well as within your color palette. I believe your shopping success rate is steadily improving with time and experience!

    • Thanks for your kind words about my October purchases, Meghan, and for being open about your own shopping. I think this time of year can be challenging for a lot of people. The change of season is always a time when I shop more and holiday shopping can be very tempting. It seems that just about every store is having a sale at the moment. Congrats on doing so well in October! I think your awareness that you’re shopping more this month and the reasons why will help you to be able to dial it back a bit. Best wishes!

  5. I want to echo what Chris said. Your new items this month look intentional. Some of them are different than the items in your closet. I hope they end up being good workhorses for you.

    • Thank you so much, Barb. I am trying to be more intentional about what I’m buying and I’m glad that you noticed that. When I just buy more of the same, I don’t really end up being happy with my wardrobe (unless they are replacements, of course). I hope my new pieces will be good workhorses, too!

  6. I like your new items. The long sweater coat is quite different from anything you own and I think it will look great on you with your height. I bought 4 items in October. I dipped back into Ebay and it didn’t turn out to be a good thing. I got a dress that I should have returned and didn’t-gave to a friend. A tunic that I wore once and it didn’t drape very well-gave to the same friend. A pair of legging that I wore once that I’m just so so about-going to give away. The one thing that I got that wasn’t from Ebay is a black cowl neck sweater that I love. I’ve already worn it three times. I do okay on Ebay on rare occasion when it’s a certain couple of brands, but I think this is proof enough that I personally do better elsewhere. I spent $124.18 for a total of 1789.91 this year.

    • Thanks for your kind words about my October purchases, Tonya, and for sharing your own accountability. It sounds like you had to try Ebay again to really see if it is or isn’t for you. That’s kind of how I felt about consignment shopping in August. I didn’t come to a firm conclusion, though, as some of my secondhand purchases were great while others fell flat. I just know I need to be really cautious and do that type of shopping in moderation. Perhaps the same is true for you. I’m glad you had one October purchase that was a big success. I can see how a black cowl neck sweater could become a staple item for you. You’re doing great with your budget!

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