Wardrobe and Shopping Goals for 2016

I have mostly completed my wrap-up posts for 2015.  The only other post in that category I will be doing is a purchase analysis of everything I bought last year (see January through June review here), which I hope to share with you next week.  In my all-star, benchwarmer, and LIWI updates (part one | part two), I outlined a number of goals for my wardrobe and shopping for this year.   In today’s post, I consolidate all of those objectives, refine a few of them, and add a couple of new ones that I hadn’t previously mentioned.

2016 wardrobe and shopping goals


I am going to stick to the same clothing budget as I had last year, $2500 for the entire year.  It worked well for me to reduce my budget from 2014 to 2015 and I may reduce it further next year. But since I am still working on revamping my wardrobe after having refined my style over the past year and a half, I think that sticking to the same budget is my best approach for 2016.

I realize that my clothing budget may seem very high to some of you (and I’m sure it seems quite low to others).  A clothing budget is a very individual thing based upon many factors, including where one lives, her lifestyle, and her level of disposable income.  The reason I am revealing my budget is for the sake of accountability, and I certainly do not suggest that readers should do what I’m doing.   I also don’t wish to discuss or dispute my budget here. It’s basically between my husband and me and he’s quite pleased that I’ve been able to decrease my spending over the past few years (you can see how much I used to spend in this early post).

My clothing budget for 2016 will cover the following:

  • “Out and about” clothing
  • At-home clothing and workout wear
  • Sleepwear, undergarments, socks
  • Alterations
  • Shoes
  • Accessories and jewelry

As in 2015, I am going to work from a quarterly budget, but this year I will be allocating larger amounts to both the first and third quarters.  I have learned from the past few years that I tend to spend more money on clothing and related purchases both early in the year and during the summer months.   Looking over my financial records for the past five years, I saw that my biggest shopping month has always been July.  This can be explained by two factors, the start of warm weather and the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.  As a result of these two reasons, I purchase both summer and fall/winter items during July, so I definitely need to allocate more of my budget to that time.  In addition, I often shop more early in the year to fill cool weather wardrobe needs as that season gets underway (“winter,” such that it is, starts late here).

Here is how I have decided to divide up my 2016 clothing budget (I may end up revising this somewhat later in the year):

  • Quarter 1: $750
  • Quarter 2: $375
  • Quarter 3: $1000
  • Quarter 4:  $375

I think this allocation of my budget will work better for me, but I will have to make sure not to shop much during the second and fourth quarters.  However, since it’s my desire to move more toward seasonal shopping anyway, this will be good practice for me.  I will aim to do the bulk of my shopping during the first and third quarters and only buy replacement items and perhaps a “passion piece” or two in the other quarters.

Item Limit

I did not have an item limit last year and I ended up buying too many things, even though I did not exceed my budget. I purchased 70 garments in 2015, most of which fell into the “out and about” category.  I would like to cut that number way down this year, so I have decided to implement an item limit once again.

Several members of my private Facebook group have opted to purchase no more than 36 items this year and I have decided to join them.   However, since I haven’t been overbuying in most wardrobe areas, I am going to confine my item limit to “out and about” clothing only.   I would like to focus more on my shoes and at-home wardrobe this year anyway, so it will be good to rein in my “out and about” purchases in the service of that goal.

Each month when I do my accountability updates (my January update will be posted shortly), I will let you know how I’m doing with my 36 item limit for my “out and about” wardrobe. I will also share totals in my other wardrobe areas:  at-home clothing, shoes, and accessories.  I didn’t report on my purchase totals until later in the year in 2015 and I think it would have been helpful for me to have kept track earlier.  Most of us aren’t aware of how much we’re buying and that often lead to our buying more.   Awareness is often a very important step toward making changes.

Frequency of Wear

I shared my 2015 frequency of wear statistics in my wardrobe “all-star” and “benchwarmer” updates. I also set some targets for what I’d like to see happen this year:

  • Wear 2/3 of my clothes and shoes 5 or more times.
  • Wear 1/3 of my clothes and shoes (a sub-section of the group above) 8 or more times.
  • Aim for at least 30 “ultra all-stars” (items worn 12+ times), double my number from 2015.
  • Aim for a single digit “benchwarmer” number (items worn only once or not at all).

Basically, I’m looking to double my statistics from last year in the top three goals and halve my number of benchwarmers, which is pretty ambitious.  The “elephant in the room” with these goals is that I need to buy much less (hence the item limit above) and focus a lot more on shopping my closet and wearing what I have.  As long as I keep my “out and about” clothing purchases to the goal I have set (36 or fewer), I will have a much better chance of meeting the goals above.

I’m going to continue to focus on wearing the clothes, shoes, and accessories I love most this year.   While I may challenge myself to try to wear my “benchwarmers,” if I find that I’m not happy with them once I put them on, I will get them out of my closet (unless they are part of my “dressy” capsule, which I may designate to a certain area of the closet).   I would rather have fewer pieces that I love and feel fabulous in than a packed closet that includes a lot of sub-standard items.  I believe that I will continue to improve both my wardrobe and my style this year and that my purchases and my outfits will have a greater success rate.

Shopping Focus – Clothing

As I mentioned earlier, I would like to place a greater level of focus on my at-home wardrobe.  If I were to create a pie chart of my life activities and a second pie chart of my wardrobe components, I would quickly see that my closet is out of balance along with the rest of my life.  I spend the bulk of my time at home, so I need to spend a larger chunk of my clothing budget on that section of my wardrobe.

Here’s what I need in terms of at-home items, as well as sleepwear and undergarments:

  • “Athleisure” pants that are comfortable to wear at home but can also be worn to run errands, go on walks, or for casual activities.
  • Short-sleeved and long-sleeved tops for working out, walks, and wearing at home (such as pieces from Athleta or GapFit).
  • A new pair of walking shoes (my existing pair will need to be replaced this year).
  • A lightweight jacket for the warmer months (my existing jacket for this purpose is over 6 years old and needs to be replaced).
  • New slippers for wearing at home (this is a fairly urgent need).
  • Replacement underwear (I am gradually purging those pairs that are worn out or stretched out).
  • A few sleepwear tops and maybe another pair or two of bottoms as well.

In terms of “out and about” clothing, here are my priorities for the year (small quantities within each category, ideally 1-2):

  • Pants other than black and denim (straight-leg, perhaps burgundy or cobalt)
  • Shorter, slimmer skirts (hitting no longer than mid-knee)
  • Bright colored and/or printed bottoms (skirts, pants)
  • Alternate shape tops / toppers (i.e. tunics, asymmetrical tops, vests)
  • Tops with special details (those that stand alone and don’t need too many accessories or a topper to look “finished”)
  • Dresses and skirts to wear in cooler weather (long-sleeves, heavier weight)
  • Sleeved tops to wear with skirts, as well as less fitted tops (no more fitted, ribbed tank tops)
  • Alternate toppers for pants/jeans beyond open cardigans and long coats (hip-length jackets)

I plan to refine this list down to specific items moving forward, but this is a good start that will help me to better target the shopping that I do early in the year.

Shopping Focus – Shoes

Shoes are going to be a big part of my buying focus for 2016, as I feel a number of my shoes need to be purged or replaced (see this post for more specifics).  I would also like to add some non-black shoes to my closet.   While I know I will continue to love and wear black shoes, I would like to broaden my horizons a bit and add a little color and pattern to the mix.

Here are the shoes I see myself buying over the course of 2016:

  1. Non-black ankle boots (either burgundy or cobalt)
  2. Black peep-toe wedges (low heel, comfortable – to replace my existing pair)
  3. Metallic flats or low heels (closed toe or peep-toe, to replace two pairs that I have passed on)
  4. Printed flats or low heels (closed toe, perhaps in black/white print or grey-toned leopard print)
  5. Printed sandals (wedges, perhaps in a black/white print)
  6. Bright colored sandals  (casual style in a jewel tone)
  7. Metallic sandals (around 2” heels, replacement for my existing pair in a more modern style)

Yes, that is 7 pairs of shoes, but I plan to get rid of quite a few pairs and I haven’t placed much attention on my shoe wardrobe for several years.   Through writing in my outfit journal and looking at my outfit photos, I have seen that my shoes are often the weak link in my ensembles. It’s difficult for me to find stylish shoes that work for my “fussy” feet, but my efforts will pay off in my being a lot happier with what I’m wearing. 

Shopping Focus – Accessories

I don’t see myself buying too many accessories this year, as I have a large collection already, many of which are not worn very often.   I mostly want to shop my closet when it comes to purses, scarves, and jewelry.  My scarves in particular haven’t been worn much in recent years, so I am going to be very sparing in terms of purchases in that category (I bought one in January and that may be it for the year).

Here are the accessory items I am interested in buying this year:

  • 1.5 inch black belt to wear with jeans.
  • Bright colored purse (preferably cobalt or burgundy, but I am also open to other jewel tones such as purple or emerald).
  • Black wide cuff bracelet

In terms of jewelry, any purchases that I make should be very strategic and well thought out, not impulse buys!   I really need to make sure that any jewelry pieces I buy are different from what I already have.

Here are some thoughts on potential future jewelry purchases:

  • Any additional colored earrings should be dark blue, purple, red, or burgundy (no more black, silver, grey, light blue or green earrings).
  • Additional long necklaces should be in another metal besides silver (I have more than enough silver necklaces) or include some stones or beads in the colors within my palette (cobalt, burgundy, turquoise, purple, or green).
  • I shouldn’t buy more short necklaces unless they are different in style from what I currently have and include color (cobalt, burgundy, or purple).
  • Any new bracelets should be modern in style (not too “delicate”) and include color (not just plain silver).


It was helpful for me to review my 2015 re-cap posts and consolidate all of my wardrobe and shopping goals for 2016.  Through doing so, I was able to refine some of my objectives and add a few additional ones that I didn’t think about earlier.   I now have this single document to which I can refer throughout the year to ensure that I am on track for ending the year on a positive note.   I will report in periodically on my progress with each of these goals, either in my monthly accountability updates or in separate dedicated posts as necessary.

I feel that I have a pretty good handle on what I’m trying to do this year in terms of my wardrobe and shopping.   The goals that I have introduced in this post will all help me to achieve my overarching objective for 2016, which is to create more balance in my life.  I still feel that I dedicate too much time and energy toward my clothing and my closet, but I believe that getting clear and concrete about what I want to do in this area will help to free me up to focus more on other areas of my life.  While I will continue to write about wardrobe management this year, I will also be writing about other topics that are near and dear to my heart, including behavior and psychology, cultivating a full life, minimalism, and photography.

Your Thoughts

Now I’d like to hear from you:

  • What are your wardrobe and shopping goals for 2016?
  • Have you set a clothing budget for yourself?
  • Do you plan to stick to an item limit? If so, what is included within that limit?
  • Do you track how often you wear your clothing, shoes, and accessories? How many times per year (or month) do you want to be wearing the various pieces in your wardrobe?
  • Have you created a shopping priorities list to help guide your buying this year

I invite you to share your goals in the comments section of this post.   Then when I report in on my goals throughout the year, you can do so as well.   That way, we can help to support each other on accomplishing what we hope to for the year.

May Be of Interest…

Susan B. of “Getting Out from Going Under,” who authored a guest post here last week, has written about “Recovering Shopaholic” on her blog.  Check out her latest post, in which she shares some of my thoughts on compulsive shopping and debt.   Susan’s blog and book are excellent resources and I encourage you to check them out.

48 thoughts on “Wardrobe and Shopping Goals for 2016

  1. Hi Debbie. Great post. I feel this year will be a turning point for you. Despite your many years of thorough, detailed posts I now sense a focus &’determination in you. You have a defined style that will make ‘benchwarmers’ a rarity going forward. Despite the overwhelming stress I now live with I too am very focused on shopping wisely & not straying far from my defined style (my personal brand I like to think of it as). I still have constant compulsive desires but manage to talk myself off the roof more often now. Rather frustratingly I just clicked on the blog you mentioned & was immediately confronted with a pop up for a free gift from my favourite luxury brand. Within minutes I had completed the purchase, maybe not so ‘recovered’. This is why I love your blog, I can read thought provoking content without the adverts which contradict somewhat the supposed purpose of the blog. I don’t wish to be negative as the blog is excellent but I disagree with providing purchase triggers to people wishing to seek help overcoming compulsive shopping.

    • I must have missed the link that had a pop-up to purchase something. I don’t see any on Debbie’s blog and know that she can’t control what’s on others’ blogs. I can’t help but feel you’re putting blame on someone else for making a purchase.

    • Thank you for noticing my progress, Sharon. I also feel that this year will be a turning point for me. It has been a long road, but I also didn’t become a shopaholic overnight, so it probably wasn’t reasonable for me to expect a speedy recovery. I am definitely more focused and determined this year than I was in the past. Congrats on also being more focused on shopping wisely this year and for being able to talk yourself off the roof more regularly. As for the pop-up you saw on Susan’s blog, I have accessed her blog multiple times and never saw a pop-up, but I think I know what happened. Susan is using a free blogging platform and they sometimes serve up adds unless the blogger pays a yearly “no ad” fee. I’m guessing that Susan isn’t even aware that ads sometimes show up on her site, but I will give her a heads up. Given the nature of her site, I’m sure she does not want to have her readers see shopping ads and she will be willing to pay the nominal fee to make sure that doesn’t happen. I hope you will still visit her site in the future, as it is an excellent resource for those of us who struggle with compulsive buying.

      • Hi Debbie. Thanks for clarifying the situation with the pop up’s. I mistakenly believed that they were affiliate links (which I have no objection with on fashion driven blogs). In my current state of overwhelm I’ve unsubscribed from marketing emails & I’ve been avoiding certain blogs, however I realise the obvious next step would be to remove my online accounts to prevent further mindless shopping. I apologise if it appears I was trying to apportion blame for my purchase, I’m aware it is my sole responsibility to learn how to control this compulsion.

    • Hi Sharon,

      I am so sorry that you encountered a pop-up of any kind on my blog. I’m really shocked as I have never heard about that happening since beginning the blog in 2012. I do know that WordPress.com sometimes does put a small ad at times at the end of posts because they offer this service free and they are trying to make a bit of money, themselves. But I am really disturbed that they would put something so obtrusive on my blog! And I wonder if they have suddenly made a change to their ad policy.

      Please understand that my decision to use a free platform was because of my hope to leave a permanent reference source for compulsive spenders that will not be dependent on payment to keep the information online and available long after I am gone from this earth.

      I am really sorry that you had this experience. I am going to write to WordPress to find out why this happened and to protest if this is their new policy. And I will let you know what they say about it.


      • Hi Susan
        I just clicked back on your blog to make sure I didn’t confuse your blog with an earlier blog I was looking at & the Clarins ad (my drug of choice) does appear at the end of each post. I want to emphasise that I do not attribute any blame for my falling off the wagon. I’m glad I’ve brought it to your attention as I realise you would not wish this obtrusive ad as it is incongruous with the valuable content/ nature of your blog. I’ve been pouring through your excellent articles & I particularly enjoyed the ‘I am not recovered’ article. I intend to purchase your book once I’ve finished reading the archive material. Thankyou so much for your response as I felt awful about my earlier comment. My frustration was aimed solely at myself & I think I didn’t articulate that correctly.

      • By the way, Susan, I think that using a free site and being able to keep the content available indefinitely for users is a very wise decision! I didn’t think that far ahead, but if/when I decide to stop my blog, I will do the same. I definitely want to keep my content available for people for the long-term, as I know it has been helpful to a lot of compulsive shoppers (and even some readers who don’t have a shopping problem but who just want to better manage their wardrobes and shopping).

    • Hi Sharon,

      I just did a chat with WordPress and they said they do not do pop-up ads, and gave some further explanation of what may have happened. Here is the transcript:

      For the first time since starting my blog – GettingOutfromGoingUnder.wordpress.com, someone alerted me that they saw a pop-up ad. I was shocked as I know your policy is to sometimes show a small ad at the end of a post. I have no issue with that. But I wonder if your policy has changed and you now also include pop-up ads that actually are a barrier to a reader. Please advise. I do love WordPress.com and understand that you need to make money. I just really hope that you will think about only doing that as a small, non-obtrusive piece of the post. Thank you for your support. Susan B.

      Ash: Hi Susan. No, our policy hasn’t changed.

      Ash: Whenever we have the opportunity to investigate a report like this (so when someone approaches us directly) it always turns out that their computer or browser has an extension which has provided the popup or they have some sort of malware.

      Ash: Once they had a different site in another tab which was generating the popup.

      Again, I’m so sorry that you had this experience, but I am relieved to know that they have not changed their policy. As they stated, there may be malware lurking on your computer or possibly another website that caused this problem. Regardless, I can certainly understand why you would be upset.

      I wish you the best and hope that you may try accessing the blog again on another device to see if there is any information that can support you. I also have a contact page, so please feel free to contact me directly if I can be of help.

      Susan B.

      • Susan, I really appreciate you following up on this issue and coming back here to report on what you learned. I’m happy to learn that WordPress has not changed their ad policy, either.

        Sharon, I hope you don’t have malware. I had a problem with malware a couple of years ago and it was a pain to resolve, but once I did, things have been okay ever since. I probably should have thought of that possibility with your initial comment, but perhaps I had blocked it out! I’m glad you have been exploring Susan’s site and benefiting from her wonderful content. I need to do more exploring over there myself soon…

  2. Thank you for the post, your analytical skill is truly impressive! I’m sure that your new way of allocating budget is a good one because it’s based on facts about your spending during the previous years.

    I have a loose budget and a goal of not excseeding the previous year’s budget. Modest, I know. I’ve been working on a total wardrobe overhaul for two years and 2016 is the final year on that project. I’ve shifted my focus to accessories -a previously neglected area, though there are still a few clothing purchases I hope to make. My big goal is to have my overhaul done by the end of this year so that next year I can move on to maintenance phase (unless my big dream of significant weight loss comes true).

    Many of my planned accessory purchases are costly (meaning in 3-digit numbers), but my goal is to buy things that continue to last and delight me for several years. I have a history of buying substandard items that are “almost as good as the real thing”- a behavioral pattern that has resulted me in buying multiples and getting rid of items that turned out to be waste of money instead of “almost as good as the real thing”. A vicious circle if there ever was one… Now, I am only buying “real” things and though the initial cost pinches me, early results show that I am much happier with these purchases and moving on instead of triggered to buying multiples.

    Last year I tracked every outfit I wore and also wrote down how often I wore each item. I got some useful information from that, but decided to go try a looser approach this year. I am still tracking all my purchases and what leaves my closet, but instead of detailed outfit journaling I just write down some general notes about what I wear each month. We have very variable weather and it affects my outfit choices a lot. Already, the fact that this winter has been colder than the previous has led me to dress quite differently from early last year. So I felt like wardrobe tracking can easily turn into weather tracking, and therefore I might benefit more from documenting moods, occassions and favorite outfits on a more general level.

    • I really appreciate how much you shared here, Sara. We seem to be in a very similar place in some ways, as I have also been overhauling my wardrobe and hope to move more into a maintenance phase next year. I also plan to focus on previously neglected wardrobe areas, shoes and at-home clothing. What you wrote about your history of buying substandard items that are almost as good as the real thing resonated with me, as I have traditionally done the same thing. I have also learned that I am better served by buying better quality and am gradually working toward doing that. Having an item limit will help me with that goal because I will have to ask myself if what I’m buying is good enough to be one of my 36 (which is still a higher number but it’s a step in the right direction). Good for you for evolving your tracking method. I will likely do the same, as I have been doing my outfit journal for 1.5 years now and have learned a lot from it. I wish you the very best with your goals for 2016. You seem to be on the right track!

  3. Hi Debbie – love this post! I am with you on the numbers (trying for 36) – and debating between monthly or quarterly spending – though I like your idea of looking back and seeing when you spent the most (and why) – makes sense! I bought a new pr of black Stuart Weitzman boots last fall (not on sale boo!) – but have to say,I knew, and am, wearing them to work at least4x per week. They were also a replacement boot – so finding what works pays off for me. I have a nice shoe selection and am only adding 1 pr of spring work sandals and probably a casual sandal for summer. Fall is my bigger shopping time but am thinking I need to shop the sale in the summer instead…Shopping/spending/charging has been a long problem and it’s a work in progress to get it under control – I’m gaining but it’s a private struggle for the most part – glad to have a place to share!

    • That’s great that you are also aiming for 36 items this year, Sandy. I did a monthly budget for the first two years of the blog and it served me well, but I wanted to allow for a bit more variation and move toward seasonal shopping. I am still working on that goal, as I continue to shop pretty virtually every month, but I feel it’s a worthy pursuit. Good for you about the black boots! The black boots I got for Christmas are very regular wears for me, too. I would love for all of my purchases to be like that! I’m glad you feel comfortable sharing here. Many of us struggle with shopping/spending/charging and it can take a while to get it under control, but as long as we work on it and aim for progress instead of perfection, we can move forward.

  4. I must admit I don’t track in detail either what I wear or what I buy, though my impression is that I don’t have too much of an issue on either front though perhaps I am deceiving myself? In the last 2.5 months I think my spend has been around £250 or thereabouts.

    • Not everyone needs to track, Ruthie, at least not to the level that I do. If you don’t feel that you have a problem with buying too much or not wearing what you have, more power to you! The amount is a very individual thing, so I can’t really comment on it. Does that feel like a reasonable number to you? If so, then carry on. If you feel you might be spending too much or buying too many things, perhaps try tracking for a few months to see if the awareness it gives you might bring about some changes.

  5. Thanks so much for setting out your goals, they seem very sensible as they are based on realistic figures for you, but would overall be a step forward – especially the item limit. Here are mine:
    budget – same as last year (I exceeded it, but it was a reasonable figure);
    item limit: I’ll join the ’36 club’!
    shopping focus – no particular needs, but I want to keep the focus on fewer/better, and pieces that reflect my developing style profile (I liked your phrase ‘special details’, my style is tailored, modern, relaxed with bright, warm colours and special details to add energy)
    tracking: I don’t track wears, but do keep some notes, and have been ending each 3 month season with a summary of favourite outfits and main lessons learnt. 2016 will be interesting as I will be able for the first time to look back and compare where I was at the same point last year.
    My main goal, however, is to better manage and overall reduce my internet habit. I’ve done quite a bit of research on style, capsule wardrobes, colour palettes etc over the last two years, and would like to cut down all this searching around, and just follow a very limited selection of reliable blogs, like this one.
    I look forward to following your updates this year.

    • Thanks for sharing your goals, Alice. Good to have you in the “36 club,” too! I think it’s great that you end each season with a list of favorite outfits and the lessons you’ve learned. Not everyone needs to track wears. I just do it because I knew I wasn’t wearing things nearly often enough. Once I feel better about that (in a year or two, maybe), I probably won’t track wears anymore. Like you, I also want to reduce my internet habit this year. I wrote about that in my “balance” post earlier in the year. Information overload can be a big problem, no matter what it’s centered around. I wish you the best of luck on cutting down this year!

  6. I am still in awe of your precision and accounting detail! I think the focus on at-home wear is wonderful: you will get what you use …and you are admitting where your real life takes place. Not easy: I have had to make a shift in this admission when I retired after 32 years of teaching. I finally do not look at teacher clothes in stores!
    I don’t share your expert tracking skills and energy, we use Quicken: I spend about $400 a year on clothes–teachers are poor; retired ones moreso–and that is mostly shoes (SAS for feet with pain and standing all day for years), and replacements of essentials. I do not “enjoy”clothes, but Icould given more leeway to be creative.

    • It’s hard to shift our wardrobe focus when we have a transition in our lives, Helen. I still want to be the woman who goes out a lot, but that’s not my life anymore and my wardrobe and shopping need to reflect reality. It’s good that you are looking out for your feet with good shoes. I have no patience for uncomfortable shoes anymore. I haven’t worn SAS, but my mom swears by them and her feet are fussier than mine (I inherited the foot issues, I guess). Creativity in outfits can often be accomplished more through accessories and a little can go a long way. Even a piece or too can inject new life into your outfits, so that may be something to try this year if you’re up to it.

  7. Oh, and my goal is not to worry about wearing old oxfords and black pants to summer weddings and the like. Being neat, clean and smiling is what my mother always said mattered. That old teenage inferiority complex just kicks in sometimes, though. I think this is easier for me than for most. I like a small wardrobe and fewer possessions. As I said before, I enjoy you, your blog, and our differences. Keep at it. Good health and peace.

    • Your mother sounds quite wise in her advice! I get the teenage inferiority complex, too, and that can drive my overshopping for sure. I think your goal about caring less about wearing older items to weddings and other events is a good one. I wish you the best with that and I thank you for your kind words and wishes.

  8. Great post and it is wonderful that you have a focused and shortish shopping list! I have recently spent some time reviewing my wardrobe for Spring and am clear that I only truly need new walking shoes. I’d also like, but don’t need, to replace my wallet and get a small cross body purse. Summer however is another matter and I don’t have a clear list yet. I do know it will include clothes for walking in hot, humid weather, pajamas, sandals and flats, short &/or skirts, tops, dresses – pretty much some of everything as my hot weather wardrobe needs rebuilding pretty badly.

    • How great that you only need one new item for Spring, Juhli. That must feel good. It’s good to distinguish between need to have and nice to have. Many of my items are more in the nice to have category and I’m sure I won’t end up getting all of them. You have time to construct your list for Summer, but it’s good that you’re already giving it some thought. I know it gets quite hot where you live and you want to be ready for when those super scorching days come along!

  9. It sounds like you have an excellent and thorough plan for the coming year! Have you figured out how you will allocate your budget to the shopping lists you have? You have a lot of items listed and may not be able to get them all. Do you have any wild-cards in your plan?

    I love your all-star and bench warmer statistics. I am doing something a little similar. I am using cost-per-wear CPW to identify items I need to either love more or get out of my closet. I consider the items with a high CPW to be on-notice. If I love them, why am I not wearing them? I add new items to the list and drop off items once they reach a certain threshold. I may still wear them, but they are no longer “on-notice” and are a part of my regular closet.

    My goal for items this year is 52, which is 30% less than last year. I am not quite ready to join team 36. So far, I’ve purchased 11 items or almost 1/4 of them and we are not nearly 1/4 of the way through the year. I have a list of items I want to add and everything, but one item was on the planned list. But, I am concerned about my ability to buy less this year.

    • No, I haven’t gotten down to the nitty gritty of how I will allocate my budget yet, Barb, but it would be a good idea to do so. I know it’s unlikely that I will be able to get everything, but a lot of them are more “nice to have” anyway. It would be helpful to set some priorities. I admire the way you do your CPW statistics . I could see doing something like that, too, but I don’t think I am as good with spreadsheets and formulas as you are! I like your item goal and I think that a 30% reduction is ambitious. I tend to purchase more in the beginning of the year, too, and definitely have some anxiety about meeting my target. Hopefully we will both be able to get more targeted with our buying and make it work. Even if we don’t end up coming in at our target, I’m guessing we will do better than last year, which would be a good win.

  10. My goal budget is $366 ($1/day). I’m not sure if that is realistic, but I generally want to stop shopping and want to just pick up a few key pieces as needed. I’m not counting underwear (only if I ACTUALLY need some to last between washes; I’ve been working on figuring out what fits well in that drawer) or a new bra (if I stop breastfeeding at some point during the year), and I don’t need any more socks or accessories (if I buy them, they’ll be in the budget). I’ve gotten rid of a lot of dead weight in my closet and am hoping to enjoy the new space and feel less guilty/burdened in there.

    However, it’s not going all that well so far since I’ve spent $158 of my budget so far and have plans for another $50 piece! I’ve been trying to focus on buying things that should last and I really enjoy. Two of my purchases were $50 each for a really flattering dress (I already own it in a different color/sleeve length, and I love the way it makes me feel and it wears well) and a nice (heavily discounted) leather bag to replace some “fast fashion” things I have. In order to get back on track, I’m trying to avoid shopping until end of March. I hope it works!

    • Oh, and I like the 36 rule. I have always been the queen of super cheap clearance clothes, but I’m trying to spend a little more to get things I really like so I’m spending a bit more per item this year, but I’m going to stick to 36 or fewer as well. So far I have purchased 8 items for $158.

    • Welcome to “Team 36,” Kate! I like having an item limit, too, because I have also tended toward buying things on sale or at resale stores to get more for my money. I’m wondering if you should perhaps raise your budget given that you have already spent close to half of it. In my perception, 8 items for $158 is very good and I think it’s great that you are starting to spend more per item. If you need to recalibrate a bit as the year goes on, that could help you to stay on track for your larger goal. Taking some time off from shopping could give you a chance to get really clear on what you want and what you need. I wish you the best of luck with all of your goals!

  11. I hope you do well with your goals for the year, Debbie. I have been trying to notice my buying habits more and have identified two of them that I am going to try to avoid. I will try to not be goaded into purchases by my shopping partner and I will try to avoid copycat shopping. I tend to see something on a blog and love it and buy it only to find it is not going to work on me, or it is not really my style. I end up returning most of these purchases. I do track all of my clothes and make a check mark each time I wear an item. I don’t track shoes or accessories. I have discovered I have a few wardrobe superstars and nearly everything else is a benchwarmer. I am going to wear everything and see if it “sparks joy” on my body! I don’t really have a budget, but since I am redecorating my house this year, I have got to cut back on spending in other areas. I think a decent item limit for me is 48 items(not including undies). For February I am not spending any money on clothes, just to see if I can do it. Capsules wardrobes fascinate me, and I am working on creating some for thirty day periods. I plan to have 15 bottoms, 15 tops, and 15 toppers. I know that is not much of a hardship, but for me it is a major start. I did one 30×30 challenge last year and it was very successful, so if it works for the next 30 days, I may extend it to 60! Baby steps.

    • Your goals for this year are great, Lori! Thank you for sharing them here. I have struggled with the same issues that you mentioned. I still get talked into purchases when I shop with others (or by salespeople) and I used to buy things I saw on bloggers and on style forum participants. It didn’t work out for me most of the time, either. Good idea to wear everything you have and see if it sparks joy. I am doing the same and most things do so far. How cool that you are creating some capsule wardrobes for yourself. Dressing with less can help us to be more creative and realize that we don’t need as much as we think. Best wishes on cutting back on shopping (and not shopping in February), redecorating your house, and doing your capsule challenge. Baby steps are good!

  12. Great post! I think your goals sound realistic and doable. I look forward to hearing how things go for you. For myself, I’m not setting a budget or an item limit this year. I purchased around 48 things in 2015, 13 of which were undergarments, so I’m fairly okay there. My goals are to improve my tracking. I’m just starting to set up some spreadsheets and so forth that will help me track what I currently have, and what I bring in each month. January was an odd month for me, I bought five new tops, a knit blazer, and replaced a handbag that fell apart. I normally don’t buy anything until April or so. February feels like a month to spend less, and so far it has been. I did a mini-challenge where I wore all my sweaters and all my long sleeved tops. This was a lot of fun, and helped me identify at least one sweater I would like to replace next fall. I’d like to continue doing these mini challenges through the seasons to identify what needs to be replaced, donate what annoys me, and perhaps find some new favorites in my closet. I would like to get some new short-sleeved tshirts, but we’ll see if I can find something that isn’t thin as paper. I also will probably need new summer shorts/capris. I donated quite a few items in January and am hoping that was the last major downsize I need to do. Much of what I donated was purchased many years ago. In general, I hope to have a thoughtfully curated closet, and I’d like to get most of the major categories onto my spreadsheets. Thank you so much for this blog, it truly continues to change my life and the lives of so many.

    • I appreciate your kind words about my blog, Katt, and I thank you for sharing your goals. I hope you will find tracking as helpful as I have. I think I may try to amp mine up and add “cost-per-wear” as a factor to consider. I love the mini-challenge idea and have started to do that myself. I have now worn all of my long-sleeved tops and was happy with virtually all of them. I took 3 of them in to my tailor to be taken in and it was a good improvement. Now I am going through my pants, short-sleeved tops, cardigans, and shoes (based upon seasonal appropriateness). Yes, it is SO hard to find t-shirts that aren’t paper thin these days! I wish you all the best with your goals, especially your effects to have a thoroughly curated closet. I hope we both get there this year!

  13. I love how focused you are this year Debbie. I have joined the 36 club. I don’t set myself a budget but do tend to buy things on sale so know that this will be the best way to go about things for me. So far I am 2 items under so am quite happy about that. I really need to appreciate the items I have and just do a slight tweak each season as I already have great basics just sitting in my wardrobe I love all your updates and look forward to following your progress and cheer you on.

    • I’m glad we have a good contingent in the 36 club, Di. I think that for those of us who tend to buy things on sale, having an item limit helps us to be more selective and make better purchases. Like you, I also have a lot of good items in my closet, but I have usually been more focused on buying new things than on enjoying what I have. I will be cheering you on, too, as the year goes by!

  14. I really like your shopping goals for this year. Sounds like you’re replacing things you’re truly wearing (those tennis shoes for instance) and also adding a nice pop of color with some of your new shoe and pants purchases that will harmonize well with the rest of your wardrobe. The fact that you’re replacing well-used items and deliberately adding new items certainly speaks to the amount of work you’ve put into defining your style and direction. It’s really been a pleasure to read about your journey in this blog and see how much progress you’ve made over the past few years.

    ◾What are your wardrobe and shopping goals for 2016?

    I have to say that I’m on the low end of the spectrum in terms of quantity and budget, so it’s very nice to see what other people do. My main goals are to get a wedding guest outfit and replace items if something happens to them. I might also possibly replace my tennis shoes.

    ◾Have you set a clothing budget for yourself?

    I have less than $200 to play with this year, so I always have to really plan out and think about what I will buy for the year. I already spent $30 on a new but discounted Baggallini purse that I use every day. Part of my budget will go to shoe taps, memory foam insoles (I replace these regularly because I walk so much in my work attire), and yearly dry cleaning. Therefore my real budget for all items this year is about $150-170.

    ◾Do you plan to stick to an item limit? If so, what is included within that limit?

    Based on my limited budget and closet space, I will probably buy fewer than 10 items this year. Due to my budget, I shop secondhand for clothes. Since I sew and have a serger, I can make it work. I would love to have the budget to shop new, would probably buy everything Everlane has to offer. I do buy new shoes, underwear and purses, but at discount retailers.

    ◾Do you track how often you wear your clothing, shoes, and accessories? How many times per year (or month) do you want to be wearing the various pieces in your wardrobe?

    I don’t track on paper because I wear almost all of my clothes regularly except for one shirt and 4 suits. These are my benchwarmers, but I think I will eventually wear them again because I like them all. That said, I may donate one suit that is a little snug.

    ◾Have you created a shopping priorities list to help guide your buying this year

    The Unfancy blog used to have (maybe still has?) a really cool free capsule wardrobe planner that really helped me to define my style and realize what I wanted out of my wardrobe. I still pull out my planner with all my old scribbles on it. I also wrote out every piece of clothing I owned and categorized them by where I wore them. That helped me find some holes, like wedding guest attire. Doing that exercise also helped me to take a closer look at repurposing some of my existing clothes and cut down on churn and waste, which I used to have a lot of.

    • I just reread my post and my apologies if I sound like a smug jerk. I hate those people and I don’t want to be one.

      I would like to say that I’m really grateful to Debbie and all her posts, especially the accountability and minimalism ones. Through this blog and some others (like Unfancy and Refashionista) I completely overhauled my wardrobe and brought it down to a level where my clothes serve me and not the other way around. It is a little on the boring side, but maybe when I have some more income flowing in, I can add some more interest to it. Right now, I’m grateful to be able to put my money elsewhere and not have to worry about whether I’m presentable.

    • Jane, I appreciate your answering all of the questions I posed (and your kind words about me and my blog) and I didn’t think you sounded like a smug jerk at all. You shared your goals and what works for you without making anyone else wrong about what we are setting out to do this year. Did you know that Unfancy started posting again this week? I haven’t filled our her capsule wardrobe planner, but your comment makes me want to do it since it was so beneficial to you. I admire that you are able to work on such a small budget, as well as your sewing and refashioning skills. I wish you the best of luck with all of your goals for 2016. I hope you will get some extra income and be able to buy a few of those Everlane pieces that you love!

      • Unfancy has started again? That’s great. I just tried her site though, and can’t see any new posts – has she started a different blog?

      • The new post was there yesterday, Alice, so I don’t know what’s up! It told all about her journey of the past year and why she decided to start blogging again. But I just went over there to download the capsule wardrobe planner and the post is gone. Maybe she is revising it or perhaps she had second thoughts about blogging again. Perhaps check back tomorrow or Friday in case she had some issues or something. I hope she will be posting again.

  15. It sounds like you have a good plan in place Debbie. I am also part of the 36 club this year. I want to make better choices that I have taken more time to consider. I did lower my budget to $1800 this year. I know I am looking for a print top (black and white most likely), a pair of shorts or capri pants , a pair of black sandals, and a non black dress for warm weather. When next winter comes I should be set with bottoms and footwear, but will need a few sweaters, tops, and a dress.

    • Yay, team 36! For anyone else reading these comments, there is tons of support for buying 36 (or whatever number) pieces over at the End Closet Chaos Facebook group. Good for you for committing to both buying and spending less. I know you already did so much better with your wardrobe and shopping last year and I hope this year will bring more progress for you. You seem to be very clear on what you need and it all sounds in line with your style and life needs. How great that you are “set” with both bottoms and footwear for next winter. I hope to be able to say the same. Good luck with your 2016 goals!

  16. Wow. I have to say that dedicating 2015 to being deliberate really worked! I’m in awe of your level of though and planning. All I did was set a budget and a couple of really vague goals. I think I need to revisit them. My budget is the same, $2400 for the year for the whole family. That’s not including the approximate $200 I receive in gifts every year. My plan focuses on developing my personal style built on the things that bring me joy… most of which are not clothes. You made an apt observation when you suggested I don’t yet know how to put together an outfit. I am still experimenting. Having fun doing it but also hoping it is leading someplace. So I anticipate several blunders this year that end up on the donation pile. So it is hard to set an item number for this. But I think I can identify needs and wants, and I will revisit lasts year’s data for guidance.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, Misty. I do think that having deliberate as my theme for last year was beneficial, and I believe that my balance theme for 2016 will bring me to a better place, too. I’m glad you are experimenting with putting together outfits and having fun in the process. I think it will lead somewhere useful if you keep up with it. Taking photos of the looks and jotting down notes can be very helpful, too. Maybe you don’t need an item limit this year, but it does sound like you are being more specific this year than in 2015. Revisiting last year’s data will help you to get more clear on what you need and want, and I wish you the very best!

  17. Hi Debbie, Happy New Year! I can see there is another Sharon commenting so I will try and alter name to Sharon (UK). I think you are setting worthwhile specific goals and I commend your efforts. I set a budget this year of £1,200. My item limit (exc. gifts) is 40 items but will include all clothing, lingerie and accessories. I know I am going to find it a challenge. I often find if I go over budget at the beginning of the month and rather than put the brakes on, I carry on spending! Hoping this year will be different. I believe tracking to be invaluable as I can see what is worn regularly and those items that are not. I also started a wear more list of about a dozen items that I can see I’m not wearing regularly in the hope they will either be worn more frequently or donated.

    • Hi Sharon, Happy New Year to you, too! Thanks for adding (UK) after your name so we can tell you apart from the other Sharon who is commenting. Good for you for setting a challenging budget and item limit for yourself this year. When we are nervous about our goals, that’s a good sign that we have selected ones that are a stretch for us and will help us to grow. I am very nervous about my item limit! I like your “wear more” list idea and may adopt something like that for myself. That’s kind of like my “benchwarmer” concept, but I think I would designate some favorites to wear more often rather than just things I didn’t wear much last year. I wish you the best of luck with all of the objectives you have shared!

  18. Debbie, I so enjoy reading your posts and all of the comments! For a little while there I was afraid that all of the discussion had shifted to your Facebook group but it looks like the comments are picking back up here. Yay!

    My budget is going to stay at $600 for the year, and I’m aiming for fewer than 24 items. For once I’ve started the year with very little that needs replacing in my wardrobe. I did a review of my summer wardrobe recently and made a shopping list of only six items that I was interested in buying for the warm season.

    • Sara, there is a lot of discussion going on over in the Facebook group and I think that’s part of why comments have slowed down here, but I think the holidays probably also had something to do with it, plus some topics generate more feedback than others. I’m glad you enjoy both my posts and the comments and I thank you for sharing your goals here. Congrats on being in a place where very little in your wardrobe needs to be replaced. Only needing 6 items for the warm season is very good! I don’t need that much for summer, either, and some of the items I listed are more “nice to haves” than true wardrobe needs. Best of luck to you in meeting both your budget and your item limit this year!

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