A Year of Intentional Shopping Part II
Just a little background for those who didn’t read my first post or last post on this- the idea is that from August 10th 2016 to August 10th 2017, I will begin an experiment designed to change how I approach all purchases that I make. I feel that I can be too wasteful and haphazard about my shopping in general. Going forward, I want all of my purchases to be made intentionally. This will encompass all purchases that I make for myself and my family- food, toiletries, and of course clothing.
I talked about food yesterday and how I plan to purchase food intentionally going forward. Today, let’s talk about my favorite subject: Wardrobe acquisitions!
I have a lovely wardrobe. I’ve added a lot of lovely items over the last year and I’m in a very happy place right now. I’ve reviewed it regularly, and while it isn’t perfect, almost everything fits well and looks good on me. Going forward I need to really take care to not add too many items! That being said, I do have wants and ‘needs’, which is why a complete shopping ban is not on the menu. I also must point out that I divide my wardrobe into two sections- one is ‘Out the Door’ weekend and work clothing, the other is ‘Lounge/Sleepwear/Workout/Underclothing’. Each category has separate needs and will be approached slightly differently.
My ‘Out the Door’ wardrobe includes all shoes except house shoes and my workout sneakers, all jewelry, and work/casual clothing worn outside the home of all categories. This is the best-rounded section of my wardrobe. I do have a few needs for this category, including a pair of winter boots (very important), a pair of ankle boots, and at least 1 if not 2 sweaters (I only have 4 and 1 is lightweight). As for wants- I want to add a few things, such as skirts (I only have 2), a bright pair of heels, etc. In order to help myself, I will set an item limit for the year. To completely pre-plan, however, this item limit stops completely if I am lucky enough to get pregnant (Yes! This is in the plan for the next year!). I have a plan for those purchases as well, never fear! Please read on.
My ‘Lounge’ wardrobe is a little sparse if I’m honest. I’ve worn a lot of items out and some items I have aren’t getting wear because they’re not comfortable. I don’t like purchasing for this section and it’s a bit neglected. I do need a few things- a new sports bra, workout pants, t-shirts, etc. If I set an item limit on my regular wardrobe, I’m unlikely to turn to shopping for this section in order to satisfy my ‘shopping’ fix. However, I won’t rule it out. I’m planning to set an item limit on this section as well, and it might even push me to improve this section of my wardrobe since I rarely pay attention to this side of my wardrobe.
So, without further ado, this is the plan when it comes to purchasing anything I can put on my body:
- ‘Out the Door’ Wardrobe item limit: 26 items or less. That is an item every other week! While it seems high, when I count up the things I’d like to add, 26 seems like a challenge. I want this to push me to be selective but not make me feel super deprived either.
- ‘Lounge’ Wardrobe item limit: Unlimited on necessities (I never ever buy these for fun and only when needed) which are stockings/socks, bras, and underwear. Item limit for the year of 26, but I doubt I’ll get even close here.
- All purchases are to total $2500 or under for the year.
- If I get pregnant, I am to challenge myself with using as much of my existing wardrobe as possible. I’ve branched out over the last year and have purchased more roomy tops that will work likely until I’m mid-second trimester. I also am to get as many hand-me downs as possible and use my previous maternity items if possible (loaned out right now).
- If I do get pregnant, I’ll keep a project 333 style capsule wardrobe and can add needed items as I outgrow my clothing and/or hand-me downs. These items are outside my regular item limits, but likewise I cannot add to my pre-pregnancy side of the wardrobe either and I am to keep them minimal.
- All purchases related to my wardrobe (no matter what!) are to be published on the blog monthly for accountability.
- Try new experiments to focus on what I already have (project333, 30x30, mini-challenges, etc)
- Use the checklist of questions to ask for every item I purchase (checklist below).
Checklist/Questions to ask before buying:
- What is my emotional state/am I thinking clearly right now? Is this intentional or am I shopping to escape my feelings? Don't buy if I am not in the right frame of mind!
- Can I afford to buy this item right now, not using credit? If no, do not buy.
- Do I need this? If No, proceed to 3.1
- Is this something very special/ do you really love it and therefore it deserves an exemption? If no, don’t buy.
- Does this duplicate something I already own in another color/similar style? If yes, proceed to 4.1.
- If this duplicates something I already own, consider why you are buying it. Is another color/print/duplicate style really going to contribute towards your wardrobe? Tread carefully here and pay close attention to question #3.
- Do I already own something I would choose over this item for the occasion I’m purchasing it for/Would this split the wears of something else I own? If yes, do not buy.
- Will it be used often enough to justify the purchase? Consider my lifestyle and how often I have occasions to wear this item, and if I actually have an occasion. If no, don’t buy.
- Is the quality high enough to withstand using it often? If no, don’t buy.
- Can I easily launder this item? If no, proceed to 8.1
- Is the expense of laundering it professionally, or the time spent in hand care worth buying this item?
- Have I tested the ‘fussiness’ and comfort-ability of this item by sitting, reaching, walking, bending, etc? If I find it is uncomfortable or too fussy, then don’t buy it.
- Can you think of at least 3 outfits you can wear with this? If no, proceed to 10.1.
- Is this a special occasion item? Re-check #3-5, if no then don’t buy.
- Does this item fit perfectly? This includes buttoning/zipping all the way! If no then proceed to 11.1 & 11.2.
- Will the fit issue be resolved with a very small amount of tailoring (hems, taking up shoulders, etc)? If no, do not buy.
- Is this item worth spending the extra expense of tailoring? Take the price and add $20-$50 depending on what you want done, and reconsider. If no, do not buy.
- Is this item the perfect color or print for me and my body/coloring? If no, do not buy.
- Is the style of this item flattering on my body? If no, do not buy (no matter how cool it is!)
- Do I have any doubts about how honestly I answered the above questions, or about the item itself? If no, do not buy!
My Daughter’s Wardrobe
I’ve mentioned previously that cute little girl’s clothing is a weakness for me (my little one will be 4 in November). That being said, I don’t go shopping often for them and almost never buy them online. My biggest source for excess here is that when my husband and I grocery shop, one of the stores we frequent has children’s clothing. I’ve absolutely been guilty of purchasing things just because they’re cute (and if she has no 'needs', I’ll buy the next size), and on those rare occasions I’m shopping for clothing for her she needs, I’ve been guilty of picking up extra stuff in the next size, especially if on sale. The problem is that I’m often shopping without a rhyme or reason, and have no idea what her actual needs will be in the next size/year. This is obviously a habit that is doing no-one any favors! What I really need to do is re-organize her clothing by size and season and take a good look at what she will actually need for the next seasons, and only buy items I know she will use. This means evaluating what she has that will fit next year depending on how it fits now. I’m not ruling out buying, for example, summer clothing on sale now for next year- provided I know what she has and what she’ll need. I over-purchased for her last year and we’ve had an excess of summer clothes, so I know I need to be cautious. Sizes for her are fairly easy to predict, she has always been at the short end of her age/size. She’s only just getting close to growing out of 3T for example right now. 4T will fit her well next summer, some of what she has now will fit next year based on stretch and how large it was cut.
So, here are my new rules for buying things for my daughter:
- Organize her clothing (size/season) and know what my daughter already has before considering shopping for her.
- Plan her wardrobe like a capsule wardrobe, and post about it. One- it’ll be more fun, cohesive, and did I mention adorable?, and Two- I’ll not only know exactly what to buy/not buy, but her wardrobe won’t be too large which I’ve struggled with in the past.
- No purchasing anything without a clearly defined need, no matter how cute. If she already has plenty of items in a given category, it’s unnecessary and wasteful to buy more.
- Take into account what she likes to wear before purchasing anything, and while planning her wardrobe. Last year was a fiasco- she decided she only wanted to wear dresses, and all the cute t-shirts/jeans/etc went to waste as I had to do sweaters over leggings and long dress-like tunics.
- Post any and all purchases for her wardrobe for accountability.