A Year Later: January-March 2015 Purchase Update

Anyone who has been reading this blog for a while knows that I publish monthly accountability updates. These posts (see the most recent one here) include what came into and left my closet in a given month -and why, as well as how I’m doing with my clothing budget and item limit for the year.  It has been very helpful for me to do these updates, as they help me to stay honest and on track with my wardrobe and shopping goals. I will publish my February accountability update next week, but today I would like to introduce a new series that I will feature on the blog.

In past years, I have periodically reviewed my purchases to analyze which ones worked, which ones didn’t, and why (see examples here, here, and here).   Although these posts were helpful, sometimes I did them too soon after the time period I was reviewing, so I was not yet sure whether certain buys were good or ill-advised.   I can now look back at these purchase reviews and see that many of the assessments I made at the time were wrong.

Good or bad purchase

How do you feel about the items you bought a year ago?

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January through June 2015 Purchase Analysis

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I’m big on tracking, numbers, and statistics related to my wardrobe and shopping (see how I do my tracking here).  I think that tracking can be highly beneficial for recovering shopaholics, as well as anyone who wants to shop smarter and better utilize the wardrobe pieces they own.   I’ve been tracking how much I spend, what I wear, and how often I wear it since the beginning of 2011, and last year I added photos and an outfit journal to the mix.  Using these types of analysis can help us make fewer buying mistakes over time.

Shopping and wardrobe statistics

It can be helpful to periodically review and analyze our purchases.

Another thing that I find helpful is to review my purchases and see how they have worked out for me. In today’s post, I’m going to look at the items I brought into my closet from January through June of this year and see whether my new items have become wardrobe workhorses or closet benchwarmers.

It’s a bit too early to look at the pieces I purchased during July through October, as I don’t yet know whether those buys were smart or ill-advised. For one reason, many of those items are for fall (looking at you, Nordstrom Anniversary Sale purchases), and the cooler weather hasn’t even started yet where I live.   I will address what I’ve bought during the second half of the year in one of my end of the year wrap-up posts (check out what I called my best and worst purchases for 2014 – I don’t agree with all of those assessments now!).

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Wardrobe Pieces that Stand the Test of Time

Last month, I did a post on wardrobe turnover in which I looked at how old the various items in my closet are.  I learned that roughly half of the pieces in my closet were purchased in 2013 or later, another 34% were bought during 2010 through 2012, and the remaining 17% were from 2009 or earlier. In the comments section, a few readers were curious about some of my older items.  They wanted to know what they had in common and what characteristics led them to remain in my closet for so long.

Longtime Closet Pieces

What do your long-standing closet pieces have in common?

In today’s post, I share photos and information about some of my older closet pieces and I look at what has my favorites remain go-to items for years on end.   The information in this post is very personal to my wardrobe, but I encourage you to take on this exercise with your own clothes, shoes, and accessories.  What pieces do you own that have stood the test of time – and why?   It is my hope that some of the lessons I learned from doing this exercise will also be applicable to you even if our wardrobes and lifestyles are very different.

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Lessons from Closet Favorites – 2015 Cool Weather Items

Way back in the fall of 2013, I wrote a post about lessons from closet favorites, using my summer wardrobe from that year as an example.  In that post, I shared photos of my favorite items from that season and looked for common threads among them that could inform my future shopping.  Today I’d like to do the same with my cool weather wardrobe (the cool weather season spans from December through June where I live – we don’t really get true winters here).

Closet favorites

Do you know what your closet favorites have in common?

For most people in the northern hemisphere, summer has officially begun even if there are a few days left of spring on the calendar.  This is a good time to take stock of last season’s wardrobe and how it did or didn’t meet our needs.  If you’re reading this from Down Under or similar parts of the world, you may want to take a look instead at your fall (autumn) clothing for the purposes of this exercise, since that season is coming to a close for you.

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First Quarter 2015 Wardrobe Wrap-Up

I know I wrote in my last post that I would be sharing more “lessons from my outfit journal” this week, but I realized that I had more I wanted to say about my wardrobe and my “Love it, Wear It” Challenge (LIWI).   So the outfit photos and journal entries will have to wait until next week instead.

In today’s post, I’m going to reflect back on how my shopping and wardrobe management has progressed so far this year.  One quarter of the year is behind us, so this is a good time to pause and reflect on what is and isn’t working for us.  Having periodic check-ins with ourselves can help increase our self-awareness and enable us to build upon what we’ve learned and avoid making mistakes.

I’m going to share what I’ve purchased this year and what I’ve passed on, as well as how I feel about both of these groups of items.   I’m also going to spend a bit of time looking at my jewelry and accessories and what has yet to be worn in 2015.  It’s my hope that my reflections will help you make similar analyses with your own wardrobes so you can better achieve your wardrobe and shopping goals.

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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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Best Purchases of 2014

The year is drawing to a close and for many of us, it’s a time of reflection.   As I did last year, I will publish a series of 2014 wrap-up posts, most of which will actually go live in early January.   I’m going to start my retrospective on a high note, with my best purchases of the past year.

Good purchases

What were your best purchases of the year?

In today’s post, I’ll share a brief overview of my 2014 purchases, followed by a look at what I see as my best buys in various wardrobe categories.   I’ll close out with a list of my top ten closet acquisitions of the year.   Later this week, I’ll delve into the darker side of things – my worst 2014 purchases, as well as those items for which the proverbial jury is still out.   Since over two-thirds of my purchases were made in the second half of the year and many were for the late to arrive cooler weather, I’m not yet able to appropriately classify everything as either “good” or “bad.”

2014 Purchase Overview

But that’s a subject for my next post – on to today’s topic!   Let’s start with an overview…  I have added 55 items to my closet this year.  Several gifts are included within this number.   Items that were returned for refunds don’t count, but things that were passed on for donation or consignment do.

Because I still made a fair number of returns this year, I’ve had trouble keeping track of my item number.   In fact, as I tried to round up all of the stats for this post, my head started to spin.  So let’s just say that I exceeded my initial item limit of 38 (set forth in this post) by quite a bit and either met or came close to my revised item limit of 53 (written about here).   I had too many exclusions and caveats anyway, so I definitely understand why some of you got confused by the whole thing.  Even I am confused, so let’s just look at the items and not get into semantics of limits for the sake of this discussion.

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