Thursday, July 31, 2014

Curating my Closet

This coming August, my closet will see a lot of fluctuation. I've gotten to the point where I'm ready to let go of almost (80%?) everything of what is not working out for me. Some of those things have seen some wear for lack of anything better in it's place, but most have been either worn once or twice, or not at all. I'm also replacing worn out items and adding/subbing in some missing components that will make my outfits feel more complete and more myself.

It feels great in that I can remove what causes me frustration, and replace items that don't fit my standards or are too worn. It also feels wasteful and contrary to the ideal behind what I am pursuing. I don't want to be wasteful or to consume for consumption's sake. The only consolation to me is that most of the mistakes I've made were from before I commited myself to minimalism, and that the nicer items will be sold on ebay.

My version of 'minimalism' will look different from a lot of other people. I'm not comfortable commiting to only 33 items yet and storing the rest in a box- I use most of my wardrobe year-long, which IMO is a good thing. Currently I only own 13 tops (hope to get some more soon), 6 jackets, 4 skirts, etc. to a total of 78 items of clothing. While this won't be my final number, I won't be going much over this number either. It feels minimal for me, my lifestyle (working in a professional office with a casual weekend style) and my 4-season climate.

I know that this month will look like a shopping spree, and it is in a way, but I am doing this carefully and in a planned fashion. I've identified everything I want to replace or substitute with a different item and have a shopping list I'm sticking to. I'm working right now on getting my overall plan into a post so you can see what the entire plan is.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

July Wardrobe Wear

Since January 6th, I've been tracking what I wear. My goal is to wear everything I own (except specific formal wear) a minimum of 10x this year or purge it. Days that I don't leave my house are spent in lounge-wear, which doesn't count.

I had 0 days I only wore lounge-wear in July. 'Green' items have been worn 10+ times so far, 'blue' are on track with 6-9 wears so far, 'yellow' items have been worn 1-5 times, and 'red' items have not been worn yet.

This is my progress so far (ending July 31st):

Tops: I have worn all 15. 5 are in the green, 5 are blue, and 5 are in the yellow. Most worn item is my cream ruffled blouse at 27x.

Sweaters: All 4 (purged 2 this month) have been worn. All are in the yellow.

Jackets/Blazers: I've worn all 6. 3 are in the blue and 3 are in the yellow. My burgundy leather jacket has the most wears at 8x.

Cardigans: I've worn all 12 (purged 1). 2 are in the green, 2 are in the blue, and the rest are in the yellow. My teal cardigan has the most wear at 17x.

Camisoles and tanks: I've worn all 6, with two in the green, 1 blur, and 3 in the yellow. Most worn is my white cami with 26x.

Pants: I've worn all 17 (purged 2, added 1). 5 are in the green,  4 are in the blue, and the rest are in the yellow. My Rerock skinny jeans have the most wear at 32x.

Skirts: I've worn all 4. 1 is in blue and the rest are in the yellow.

Dresses: So far I've worn 7 out of 13. 1 is in the blue, 6 are in the yellow, leaving 6 in the red.

Necklaces: I have worn 25 of the 28. 5 are in the green, 3 are in the blue, 17 are in yellow, and 4 are in the red. My 3-strand mint necklace has been worn 16x.

Bracelets: I have worn 8 of the 10. 3 are in the green, 1 in blue, 4 in yellow, and 2 in red. My black bracelet has been worn 13x.

Earrings: I've worn 17 of 19 (purged 4). 6 are in the green, 2 are in blue, 7 in yellow, 4 in red. My heart earrings have been worn 27x.

Belts: I have worn 3 of the 4, all in yellow.

Scarves: I have worn both 1x.

Coats & Outerwear: My trench has been worn 90x. My tan flats have been worn for commute 65x. Winter wear is all the same it was.

Shoes: I've worn 13 of 14 pairs (purged 3). 6 are in the green, 2 are in blue, and 5 are in yellow leaving 1 in red. My black pumps have been worn 48x.

July Budget

$2300/year, can add in gift cards and eBay sales.
No more than 45 items this year and must fit in with my shopping questions.

Spent this month: $262.80, $8.99 in eBay sales.
Totals: $1300.20 out of pocket, $246.71 on gift cards, $304.34 on returns and eBay earnings.
$999.80 left for the year out of pocket.

28 new items entered my closet this year so far total (I dropped one gift I received as it didn't work out for me). I can buy or receive up to 17 more items this year.

What Came In:

WHBM Beaded and Tiered Dress- $166.25
I fell head over heels for this dress. I didn't specifically need this dress right now, but did recently add to my 'want/need' list a formal dress that is suitable for multiple functions, particularly for work and with clients and not just holidays. I also have a 10-year reunion coming up, and absolutely plan on wearing this to my company holiday party. When I saw this dress, I was hooked! This dress fits phenomenally and is sexy without showing anything inappropriate. It'll be a great dress to have for a number of events, and I rate it over a 10 which is a first for me! The price is much higher than my typical range- it's $250 full price and I grabbed it at 35% off before it even was available to ship! I probably could have stalked it to sale but a fear of missing out yet again won the battle. It's cost per wear will always be high, but it's classic enough to wear and love for years. 11/10!

WHBM Cardigan- $31.49
I've been searching for a berry colored cardigan for a couple years and finally have found the one! It came out a bit more purple- I wanted more raspberry- than I expected, but it's a great pop of color and goes very well with what I own. I foresee it getting worn frequently in all seasons, and it fits wonderfully. 10/10

Express Light-grey Trousers $67.90 w/tax &shipping
These trousers are replacing my tan trousers, which are slim cut and only long enough for flats (and are too tight). These are perfect height for heels and are a beautiful silver grey. I'm extremely pleased with these! Again, I can see these being worn in all seasons (in the coldest weather I layer tights under)- the color is very versatile. 10/10.

Kelly Green Blazer
I didn't buy this, but did pay $6.15 in shipping. It's pre-loved from Lisa over at Shopping Brake and fits great! She was purging this as she was tired of it. I have been wanting a colored blazer and especially have been looking for items in this color, so I jumped at the chance! It's more casual than my typical style but it's got the versatility more of my clothing needs! I've already worn this in a successful outfit. Not to mention- how lucky to be able to do a quick google and find the exact product picture? 9/10!

Overall I didn't do too badly. I originally ordered 3 other items this month but they did not work out (returning one for a smaller size to see if it works, if so I'll report it next month). I did go back to the original limit of 45 items this year, which I have mixed feelings about. It's less than 1/2 of what I bought last year and is on par with my closet re-evaluation. It's just that I hoped to do even better! Overall the things I have been adding have been great additions to my closet, and are getting well-used. 

Lastly, I plan on having a big month next month, I'm replacing several items (particularly worn-out shoes), am focusing on accessories to bring more versatility to my outfits, and am planning on taking every advantage of my birthday discounts.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Wardrobe building- Coral Capsule

I was inspired by Lisa of Shopping Brake to see how my clothes would make out if I divided it out by capsules. I decided to organize my first one here to see how it looks. 

My first capsule contains clothing I tend to wear for spring, summer, and into early fall. The capsule colors are coral and tomato red. This is the most limited capsule season-wise- the dresses and coat are not able to transition to colder weather, and I don't tend to wear the tops in winter at all.

Shown: Coral printed dress, pink and red color-blocked dress, pink trench coat, tomato red cardigan, coral dolman top, coral print top, coral bib necklace, pointy taupe heels.

I then threw in some neutral coordinating bottoms:

Skinny legging jeans in light grey, chocolate/espresso wide leg trousers, pinstripe wide leg trousers, light grey wide leg trousers, very slim taupe-y grey trousers.

This capsule could be better served with a light colored skirt, some variety in tops, a colored bottom, and a light colored neutral cardigan. It's got a good start though! I already can see some combinations but had to throw in some other items for versatility below. I like wearing coral with burgundy and gold tones:

Gold/white/black sandals, burgundy pumps, 3 necklaces, two pairs earrings, one bracelet, burgundy faux-leather jacket, burgundy cardigan, denim trousers.

Burgundy is great for transitioning from winter into spring and summer into fall in my experience. I have two white tops, regular skinny jeans, a set of real pearls, and a dark-ish grey blazer that will also help add more variety in outfits to what is here. 

I can go to work, go to the grocery store, or a wedding with what I have pictured. Looking at this- it's almost a wardrobe in itself! The funny thing is I have a few more capsules to go, some much larger!  Blue and black&white will be very large! Green, purple, and burgundy are smaller. There also will be a teeny 'evening' capsule and a teeny 'winter' capsule. I live in upstate NY in the lake effect snow belt, so I have 4 clearly defined seasons and temperatures from 100+ to -30+. I currently own 84 pieces of clothing and 87 accessories all told, though I do plan on another few purges soon.

Overall this has been a great exercise! I can see what would benefit to add vs. what doesn't make sense (coral cardigan I was considering purchasing? Waste of $, too matchy-matchy, and wouldn't get worn frequently). I also feel like I have more than I thought and a lot of options!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Shopping Challenge follow up

My challenges:

Online shopping/browsing only once a week

This was a big challenge for me because I'm literally addicted to browsing. It's been a total fail. 

The first week I inadvertently found myself browsing when I had a free minute without even thinking about it. I stopped, but then browsed on my designated day on the weekend. I then just didn't stop browsing! I know it would be beneficial for me to stop, but I let the fear of missing out drive me to browse constantly to see what is new, what is available, and what is on sale. And of course, browsing leads to seeing things I want, which leads to buying.

I'm going to try this again, but I need a new plan because this was a lot harder for me than it should have been, and I was only successful for a few days.

No purchases during the next 14 days (may extend).

I did purchase a pair of pants on day 16, but I was successful in meeting the 14 day trial. I since have fallen off the wagon, ordering a top and two dresses (waiting, we'll see if I keep them) I've been eyeing when a very rare (seriously) 50% off sale was offered on items over $150. I would have to have waited several months before anything I ordered would have been reduced that low in price- each item cost $150 or more each and are new arrivals. But in truth, I really didn't NEED any of it- I just wanted it! I NEED replacement shoes, or a fitted white top, not another dress. I just have found a lot of things I like and want. 

I have decided I am not buying anything more for the next 16 days (birthday shopping trip with friends), and then focusing on NEEDS for the rest of the month per my new plan outlined in the previous post.

Sunday, July 20, 2014


I've spent the last few weeks mentally regrouping. I have identified a lot of issues (my shopping challenge, which I will post about soon) but also have been feeling a big shift in terms of my thinking.

I absolutely have an addiction with shopping in terms of feeling the compulsion (and most often acting upon it). It's something I am working on but I have a long way to go.

I want to redirect my focus in shopping for my closet in terms of purchasing items that will give me more versatility and more 'bang for my buck'. For me that means choosing items that can be worn multiple ways (too many items I have are not versatile). Most importantly, I need to focus on expanding my options in colored accessories and shoes so I can switch up my looks and make better, less boring outfits. A recent revelation for me was that my outfits are too boring for me, so I constantly feel the need to buy new clothes! I am still considering going back from 35 to 45 in the item limit, but with a stipulation that it's only for accessories that fit my new goals.

I re-did my entire budget and put more focus on paying off my car loan, which makes my personal spending much tighter overall. I'll have to be more careful in the future to keep spending under control in all areas, and expect to cut the budget and item limit next year.

I truly feel that minimalism is the way for me to go, though it's at odds with my compulsions (or perhaps BECAUSE it is so). While I am still purchasing to get to a versatile wardobe, I also am focusing on letting things that don't work for me so well go and reselling them. As for the rest of the house, I am doing at least an hour a day of deep cleaning, organising, and purging room by room (even the walls and windows along with all storage). I have a long way to go but feel like I've made excellent progress along the way. My dining room looks amazing!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Shopping Challenge

I'm considering dipping a toe back into a shopping ban! I'd all but given them up but now want to try again after reading Jill Chiver's 'How a Shopping Hiatus Can Help', a guest post on Debbie Roe's blog. She lists 10 tips on how to be successful and has inspired me to try again.

My challenges:

Online shopping/browsing only once a week. This is a big challenge because I'm literally addicted to browsing I believe. I took the month of June to see how often I shopped (online as well as in person) and analyzed my results. They're quite scary (post coming soon). If I can cut down my several times a day browsing into once a week, I will be a long way into kicking this shopping compulsion! The fear of missing out has me right now so while once a week is still high, I'm not really ready to commit to less just yet. I hope to get it down in the future to once a month.

No purchases during the next 14 days (may extend). I already pre-ordered my 2 allotted purchases for July last month (available to ship 7/7) and should wait for them to come in before ordering anything else! I'm considering going the whole month regardless if the items work out or not, but I'm not ready to commit yet. I'll re-evaluate in two weeks and may commit the rest of the month!