I have been inspired by Lucinda Sans, who bought no new clothes in 2013, to ‘fess up to what I bought this year!
In 2012, I pared down my wardrobe a lot. It will never be minimal, but it’s not bloated any more, either! In 2013, I wanted to shop conscientiously. I would buy replacements for items that wore out, and basics and classics and things I would wear forever. In theory.
I didn’t actually make a plan and stick to it, and that was my downfall. I tried to critically assess each item I considered buying, but I made some poor decisions as well as some good ones.
Over the last 12 months, I bought 48 items of clothing: 33 substantial things and 15 accessories. I spent CDN $1262 out of a $1200 budget!
Here’s how it happened. First of all, I did have a mental list of things I needed to replace:
- Tall, warm-lined black leather boots would be replaced with warm-lined natural rubber boots
- Fake suede “hiking” boots with no treads left would be replaced with real hiking boots
- Black shoes for work would be replaced with similar ones
- 2 baggy cardigans, black and white, would be replaced with new fitted ones
- Needed to replace 4 single-colour T-shirts I wear to work – they were 10+ years old and faded
- Needed to replace 1 pair beige/khaki trousers for work – old ones were too casual
- Would replace an old ‘skort’ that didn’t fit with a new one
Those items would have come in at $500 if I hadn’t run into two problems. After wearing my new work shoes for about a month, they started squeaking. So much that I couldn’t wear them any more! I am trying to work out a solution with the local cobbler (!) but meanwhile I had to buy another pair of shoes. My second problem was an excess of single colour T-shirts. I bought 4 for the intended price, but then fell in love with a purple Ralph Lauren Chaps T-shirt that I bought on impulse for $36. For one T-shirt! But you know what? I don’t regret it – I love the shirt and I’ve worn it a lot!
- My estimate for the replacement items: $475
- Actual (including 2nd pair of shoes): $640. The 2 pairs of shoes cost $173.
Next I had a list of new items to buy:
- 1 pair dark wash jeans
- 1 work jacket (blazer)
- Grey or silver sandals or very casual shoes
Long-time readers might remember that I got sized in a Me-Ality machine to help me find jeans that fit! Before I found the perfect jeans at Banana Republic, I found another cheap pair at Giant Tiger and bought them too. I like them both! In the search for a work jacket, I bought a plain brown one for $17 that I never wore. Then I bought a pinstripe one at a consignment shop for only $10. I like it, but the pinstripe is turquoise so I can only wear it with a turquoise shirt, of which I only have one. Then, I bought a bright orangey ruched zip-up work jacket that I love. Unfortunately, I am finding it a bit too dressy for my workplace and more appropriate for formal meetings and conferences. Sigh! Finally, I bought a pair of grey cotton espadrilles to wear with my one-and-only sun dress, and I actually got a lot of wear out of them.
- My estimate for the new items: $185
- Actual (including both pairs of jeans and the 3 blazers): $198
So I’ve now spent $838 on new and replacement items that I was actually looking for and planning to buy. The remainder of my clothes spending for the year consisted of things I didn’t plan to buy. Some of them were good finds and I am making good use of them:
- Vintage boy’s cycling jacket $10
- Vivid blue pullover sweater for upcoming holidays $10
- Dark blue button-up shirt for work $17
- Purple tunic sweater to wear with leggings (below) $23
- Short-sleeve “crochet-look” summer cardigan, used, $5
- Green cable knit boat neck sweater $17
- Coral/white striped boat neck T-shirt $23
- Pride Parade T-Shirt $17
- Black golf-type T-Shirt with ruching $10
- Black leggings/jeggings (which I swore I’d never buy, but I succumbed) $22
- Long plaid shorts (I rarely wear shorts, but I liked these) $21
- 3 winter hats $18 (2 would have been enough but I bought one in Toronto because it was unexpectedly cold there!)
- Day pack (small backpack to replace carrying a purse when travelling) $31
- 2 pairs of tights $15
- Infinity scarf (i.e. circular scarf or cowl) $17
- Domo character hat for Hallowe’en costume $29 (splurge)
Total of unplanned stuff I’m happy with: $285
This is the List of Regrets – the unplanned things I wish I hadn’t bought:
- 5 packages of socks. I had over 50 pairs of socks before I bought these. I needed some replacement socks but not this many! $38
- 2 belts. Don’t wear them, gave one away $40
- Short-sleeve zip-up fleece jacket. I have one that I love so I thought I needed another! $35
- Waffle-knit zip-up hoodie vest, bought used, not worn yet $12
- Black “peasant” top. This is a bit girly for my usual style but I have worn it maybe twice $14
Total of these money-wasters: $139
Over all, I am happy with the new and replacement stuff that I thought through in advance. I think $139 is a reasonable amount for impulse purchases – if I had actually worn or used those things at all, which I didn’t!
I am currently thinking up a new strategy for 2014, which will start with the new and replacement items I actually need. Assuming I can be said to “need” anything, given the amount of clothes I already have.
I’ll be back tomorrow with an updated clothes inventory!