2014 By the Numbers: The Wardrobe “Benchwarmers”

On Friday, I shared the good news portion of my 2014 wardrobe review, my closet “all-stars.”  I appreciate all of the excellent feedback I received on that post.  I especially liked learning about the way others track their wardrobes and work to make sure what they have gets worn on a regular basis.   I realize that wearing something five, eight, or even twelve times per year isn’t exactly stellar or earthshattering and that many of you wear your clothes far more often. But, as the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day (or even two years), so we have to start somewhere and build from there.

2014 Wardrobe Benchwarmers

I definitely have a lot of room for improvement in terms of frequency of wear for my clothing.  Seeing my 2014 numbers is really what pushed me to start my new “Love It, Wear It” challenge.  The stats in black and white also propelled me to do another closet purge, which I will share in a future post, along with an updated inventory.

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Worst Purchases of 2014 and “On the Fence” Items

Now it’s time for the bad news in regards to my 2014 shopping, my worst purchases of the year.  I wish I could say that only a few items fall into this category, but that’s not the case. Although my shopping track record has definitely improved over previous years, I clearly still have a lot to learn.  Since learning and growth are really the purposes of this blog – and all of our journeys – I feel there is merit to analyzing both the good and the bad (and we all know that I love some good analysis!).

year 2014 in review

Have you taken the time to review your 2014 purchases?

In today’s post, I share the bad purchases I made this year, as well as those items that remain in uncertain territory.   As with my best purchases post, I include lots of photos and aim to find common ground among the pieces that just weren’t good buys.  As for those unsure items, I will make educated guesses as to whether or not they will become wardrobe workhorses in the future.   It’s kind of a “mixed bag,” but I’ll do my best to predict which pieces will have staying power and which ones will likely be headed out the door in short order.

This post is a long one (perhaps I should have made this a three part series), but it’s the end of the year, so why not sit down with a nice cup of coffee, tea, or hot cocoa (or even a stiff drink) and think about your own purchases as I recount mine.  There is value in looking at what we bought and how our purchases have either served us well or fallen flat.   If you do this type of analysis (which I recommend), try not to beat yourself up too much for your shortcomings.  I will try to keep this review lighthearted as well, as I cannot go back and change the past.  We can only look forward and it’s useful to do so with the lessons from the past firmly in our minds.

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Wardrobe “Benchwarmer” Update – September 2014

The year is almost 75% over and I have yet to do a wardrobe “benchwarmer” update, so now’s the time!   For those who are new to this blog, I have defined a wardrobe benchwarmer as any item that only gets worn once or is not worn at all during the course of a year (see this post for more information).


This isn’t the type of “benchwarmer” this post is about…

Wear Statistics and Starting this Blog

Of course, I want to wear my closet pieces far more than twice per year, but I had to start somewhere.  When I launched “Recovering Shopaholic” in January 2013, I had close to 300 garments in my closet, so most of them weren’t being worn all that often.   At that time, I had been tracking what I wore and how often for two years and the statistics were pretty abysmal:

  • In 2011, I had 112 garments and 11 pairs of shoes that were either worn once or not at all.
  • My 2012 numbers were even worse, with 125 garments and 21 pairs of shoes achieving “benchwarmer” status.

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2013 By the Numbers – Wardrobe All-Star & Benchwarmer Update

After countless hours spent crunching spreadsheet data, I’m finally ready to reveal my 2013 wardrobe numbers!  As I worked to prepare this information, I was reminded of a quote I heard a while back. While I don’t remember the exact wording, the gist of it is that our possessions can enslave us because we spend so much time acquiring and maintaining them.  That has definitely been true for me and particularly in regards to my clothes.

While I’m a statistics junkie and enjoy crunching the numbers, it would be nice to have less data to compile at the end of the year.  This would require my having fewer clothes and fewer things coming into and out of my closet each year.  Of course, that’s a big reason why I took on my recovering shopaholic project.  I wanted my life to be less about shopping and more about other things, while also having a smaller wardrobe that works for me and my lifestyle. Continue reading

A Winter Wardrobe “Benchwarmer” Update

In my last post, I shared my November Accountability Update, including what came into my closet, what left, what I wore, and my clothing budget status.  I had intended to include an update on my “wardrobe benchwarmer” project as well, but the post was already more than long enough!  Instead, I opted to do my benchwarmer update separately, so that’s the topic of today’s post.  This way I can also go into the level of detail and statistics that my “inner nerd” enjoys and which many of you appreciate.  Win, win, I say!


Not all “bench warmers” are as cute as these guys!

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Wardrobe “Benchwarmers” Past and Future

I’ve written several posts on the concept of “wardrobe benchwarmers,” my term for closet pieces that were worn only once or not at all during a given year (read more here).  Sadly, I had 146 wardrobe benchwarmers for 2012 (125 garments and 21 pairs of shoes), which was close to half of my wardrobe!  With my wardrobe benchwarmer project, I vowed to wear and evaluate all 146 benchwarmers this year and either integrate them into regular closet rotation or pass them on to someone else who might love and wear them.

Excellent Progress But…

I’ve made excellent progress on dealing with my wardrobe benchwarmers over the course of this year.  As of the end of August, I had consigned or donated roughly two-thirds of them and had worn and evaluated all but 17 of the remaining items.  I felt pretty proud of myself, but then something dawned on me…

I’ve been so focused on dealing with my 2012 benchwarmers that I didn’t stop to consider my potential 2013 benchwarmers!

Since there is only one quarter left in the year, I decided to take some time to look at my wardrobe benchwarmers past and, perhaps, future.  My fellow data nerds out there will love this post, as I include lots of numbers!  But I hope the more right-brained of the group will also stay tuned, as I include photos and useful insights about my wardrobe that can also be applied to managing your closet. Continue reading

Success Leaves Clues – Lessons from Our Favorites

Last week, I explored the concept of shopping mistakes and what we can learn from them.  Today I’d like to look at another valuable way of learning about our wardrobes and ourselves.

We all have favorite clothes and shoes that we wear over and over again, but how many of us take the time to understand why these closet pieces receive so much play?  I believe that if we make the effort to determine common threads among our favorites, we’ll learn important lessons for how to shop smarter and create wardrobes that better meet our needs.

Lessons from wardrobe favorites

What can we learn from our wardrobe favorites?

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