It’s time for my final accountability update for 2015. As long-time readers know, these monthly reports are where I share what came into and left my closet during the previous month, what I wore, 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. This update will also include a year-end wrap-up in terms of my budget and in and out item totals. Other statistics – including wardrobe “all-stars” and “benchwarmers” – will be covered in future posts.
What Left My Wardrobe
I always start these reports with what left my closet during the previous month. During December, I purged six items from my wardrobe, two of which were returned to the store of origin and the other four were slated for donation or consignment:
- 3 knit blazers – black, green, grey (slated for donation or consignment)
- Navy striped open cardigan (returned to store)
- Magenta tunic (returned to store)
- Teal crew-neck tee (slated for donation or consignment)
Why I Purged 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. Here’s what I let go of and why:
- Black knit blazer: I only wore this blazer once during 2015 and I have other black jackets that I like much better. This is a style that I used to like and wear frequently, but it contributed to the “church vibe” (see this post for more on that topic) that I’ve been working to tone down in my outfits.
- Navy striped open cardigan: I bought this cardigan at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale back in July and never wore it. I recently tried it on again and felt that it made me look larger than I am due to the wide stripes. Although the softness of this cardigan, this particular version wasn’t right for me. Perhaps I can find a solid version at some point that will work better in my wardrobe, but I returned this one to the store.
- Green striped knit blazer: I love the color of this jacket, but the style doesn’t do it for me anymore. I also only wore this jacket once last year, so it just wasn’t one that I reached for. It looked too “churchy” with skirts and I didn’t like it with jeans, so I decided to pass it on.
- Grey knit blazer: Another casualty of my broken love affair with knit blazers. Not only did this blazer contribute to the “church vibe,” the color also washed me out. I used to wear a lot of grey, but I’ve recently realized that it’s not the best color for me unless it’s a deep charcoal shade.
- Magenta tunic: This one hurt… I loved this tunic, but upon its second wearing, it had pilled and snagged horribly (and all I really did the two times I wore it was sit around). At the second wearing, I was at Nordstrom, where I had originally purchased the tunic. I mentioned the situation to the saleswoman and she suggested that I return it for a refund. Since I was buying a top and a cardigan (see below) that day, I did the return on the spot and wore my new pieces out of the store. I really wish this tunic would have been better made, as I felt it was very flattering on me.
- Teal crew-neck long-sleeved tee: Although I love the color of this tee, the neckline was too wide and the sleeves were too long. I recently put on the tee to wear at home and was annoyed by the fit after just a few minutes. I immediately took it off and added it to the donation/consignment area of my spare closet. Life is too short to wear clothes that are fussy and irritating! It’s getting easier for me to let things go these days, which is a very good thing.
What Came Into My Closet
Most of the new items that came into my wardrobe in December were Christmas presents from either my mom or my husband. The only two pieces that I bought for myself were the top and cardigan that I mentioned above. In all, I added seven new items to my closet last month:
- 1 coat
- 1 cardigan
- 1 tee
- 1 purse
- 1 pair of boots
- 2 necklaces
Why I Added These Items to My Wardrobe
While many of the items above were gifts, I actually selected the majority of them. Only the silver necklace was a complete surprise to me, but I like it. Here are my reasons for adding the pieces pictured above to my wardrobe:
- Black coat: In my outfit journal entries since the weather cooled off in November, I frequently wrote that I wished I had a basic black coat that is warm. I already had two black coats, but one is a lightweight knit and the other is a more formal velvet coat that is not really suited for everyday wear. I knew that if I had a basic black coat, I would wear it regularly, so I asked my husband to get me one for Christmas. It took ordering three coats online to find one that worked, but I love my new black coat. It’s a classic style that won’t go out of fashion for the foreseeable future, it fits me well, and it’s warm but not too warm (after all, I live in Southern California).
- Magenta cardigan: I love the color magenta and feel that it looks good with my skin tone and hair color. I have a teal cardigan in this same style, which is elliptical in nature (shorter in the front and longer in the back). The material is very soft, too. I bought this on the day when I returned my magenta tunic, so this was kind of a one to one exchange. I’m happy to have another magenta piece in my wardrobe, as it’s one of my favorite colors.
- White v-neck tee: I am not a huge fan of wearing white, but it does look nice with many of the colors in my palette. I used to have a white tee and have been missing such a piece in my closet since I had to purge that top last year. This tee is soft and comfortable and drapes well. I see myself mostly wearing it as a layering piece with my various cardigans.
- Black studded purse: I saw this purse while I was visiting my mom in Tahoe back in September. I loved its simple style with the added “edge” of the silver studs. I have a black purse that I carry often, but it’s starting to look kind of tired. This new purse is the perfect size for me and the wide strap doesn’t dig into my shoulder. I loved the purse and my mom offered to buy it for me for Christmas. I decided to take her up on that offer.
- Black wedge booties: My most worn shoes for 2015 (other than my walking shoes) were my black Clark’s ankle boots. I have owned them since 2010 and they have been worn over 100 times. Sadly, they are starting to show their age and be in need of replacement. So in addition to the black coat above, I asked my husband for some black booties for Christmas. I like the sleek style of these and the wedge heel makes them easier to walk in.
- Sun pendant with onyx beaded chain: I found this necklace in my favorite store in the town where my mom lives in Tahoe. I have long had a fondness for sun motifs and I love onyx as well. The necklace length is adjustable and the size of the pendant works well with my frame. My mom offered to buy me this for Christmas, too, and I was delighted.
- Silver double-rectangle pendant: My mom sent me this necklace as a surprise. I hadn’t seen it previously, but she picked well because I think I like it. The chain is also adjustable and the size of the pendant is similar to that of the sun above. I didn’t really need another necklace, but I like this one and believe I will wear it.
I feel quite happy with my December acquisitions and feel they will serve me well overall. I am being a lot more deliberate with what I buy these days and am thinking more about my true wardrobe needs and what I will really wear rather than just what looks pretty on a hanger (or website).
December / Year-End Budget Report
My budget for clothing and related purchases (shoes, accessories, alterations) for 2015 was $2500 (down from $3000 in 2014). I was originally going to have just an annual budget last 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 for 2015 was $625. However, since I exceeded my third quarter budget by $295.83, my fourth quarter budget was reduced to just $329.17. As of the end of November, I had exceeded my 2015 budget by $73.99, but I made a few more purchases and returns during December (all outlined above). At year-end, my total clothing, shoes, accessories, and alteration expenditures came to $2541.94, which was $41.94 over my budget.
While I would have liked to have come in under budget, I’m still happy to have reduced my spending from my 2013 and 2014 levels. What’s more, I’m happier with what I bought and feel that I have more to show for it now than in previous years. I will be writing another post about that topic, but suffice it to say that I improved my shopping track record in 2015 and intend to continue that trend this year.
2015 Overall Purchase Report
As of July, I have been reporting on the number of items that I’ve added to and purged from my wardrobe throughout last year. Here’s a 2015 year-end summary:
- Items Added: 94 (70 garments, 6 pairs of shoes, 1 scarf, 2 purses, 15 pieces of jewelry)
- Items Returned: 9 (7 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)
- New 2015 Purchases Remaining: 73 (includes the 7 new items that I added in December)
Here’s a bird’s eye view of the 2015 purchases that remain in my closet today:
I will go into more detail about my 2015 wardrobe acquisitions in an upcoming post (similar to this one from 2013). But what I will say now is that I definitely feel I bought too many items in 2015. That said, I probably made fewer purchases last year than in 2014 (see that wrap-up here), as I only kept track of “out and about” clothes that year (I bought 54 of those) and didn’t count workout/lounge clothing, accessories, or gifts. This year, I tracked all of those categories but didn’t have a target or limit in mind. I haven’t decided what I’m going to do yet for 2016, but I’m thinking that I will only set limits on my “out and about” wear purchases, as I really don’t need that much more there. My focus this year will be more on my at-home wardrobe since that is where I spend the bulk of my time.
2015 Overall Purge Report
Although I have been sharing purge data on my 2015 purchases since July, I have yet to report on my overall closet culling statistics for the year. But I did take some time to tabulate that data today, so here it is (note that “purged” includes items donated, consigned, returned, given away, and trashed):
- Purses purged: 2
- Shoes purged: 13
- Scarves purged: 7
- Jewelry pieces purged: 51
- Clothing items purged: 71
- TOTAL ITEMS PURGED: 144
Here’s a quick look at these purged items by categories:
Just for grins, I also tabulated where these 145 items went:
- Items consigned/sold: 82 (includes a lot of jewelry pieces)
- Items donated: 29
- Items returned: 12 (does not include items returned within a given month)
- Items given away: 4 (purse and shoes given to my mom)
- Items trashed: 2 (purse and shoes in too poor of condition to donate)
I believe that my purge number will go way down this year, too, as I am getting happier with my wardrobe as a result of my “Love It, Wear It” Challenge (year-end recap coming soon…) and my outfit journal. I love and wear far more of my clothes now and feel that my wardrobe is in a much better place. I’m sure I will still let go of some pieces here and there, but I hope that it will be more as a result of things wearing out than because I made poor choices in the first place. I don’t think I will ever make no purchasing mistakes, but I do feel that the percentage will continue to decline due to all the hard work I’ve put into cultivating a workable wardrobe.
So there you have it, full accountability on what came into and left my closet last year, how much I spent, how many items I bought, and how many I got rid of. All in all, I didn’t do too badly. Yes, I wish I would have bought less and wouldn’t have needed to let go of so many things, and yes I plan to do better this year on both fronts. But I learned a great deal about myself, my lifestyle, and my wardrobe during 2015 and growth isn’t always neat and tidy. It’s often messy and painful, but we usually come out as better people on the other side.
I didn’t quite meet my decreased budget, I bought too many things, and made more poor choices than I’d hoped. I could beat myself up for those things and believe me, I have. But self-flagellation does not lead to lasting change. What does help us to make more permanent shifts is to forgive ourselves for our transgressions but learn from them. Some of you may not believe that I’ve learned all that much, but I guess the proof will be in how I do this year, and of course I intend to continue learning and growing in both my wardrobe and my life.
I mentioned in my last post that I considered moving my accountability updates to quarterly instead of monthly. Upon further thought, I think I will stick to monthly but make the updates about both my wardrobe and my life at large, including my balance goals for the year. I will still share what I bought and what I culled, but I will likely go into less detail there so that I can also write about things like managing information overload, cultivating new hobbies and friendships, and getting to bed earlier. All of these facets of my life are important both to my recovery and my overall happiness. Stay tuned…
Now it’s time for you to share your thoughts and report on your accountability for December and 2015 if you’d like to do so.
- How did you do with your shopping and wardrobe during December?
- Did you end the month – and year – on a high note, or were you challenged with overshopping and other issues?
- What do you plan to do differently during 2016?
Please let me and your fellow readers know how we can support you in honoring your goals and commitments. Feel free to share your wins, challenges, and questions in the comments section of this post. I also welcome any feedback you have on what I reported today. I wish you all the best in 2016 – with your wardrobe, your shopping, and all areas of life!