In my recent budget post, I noted I had completely blown my clothing budget. Furthermore, I will spend more on clothes before the year is out! How did this happen in Exacting Land?
When I set my clothing budget for the year, I allocated enough money for all my bills and savings and then looked at discretionary areas. Clothing was one area where I could cut back, so I set an amount lower than last year and said it would do. It turns out this was a false economy. I have to keep a functional work wardrobe, good quality footwear, and good quality outerwear. I had several items in these categories wear out and need to be replaced in the first half of the year, and I expect more by year-end.
I wanted to try a new clothes shopping strategy this year. Instead of looking for an item that met my needs exactly, I would thrift shop and find an item that “would do” instead. I haven’t done extensive thrift shopping this year, but I’m not finding this strategy works – yet, anyway. For example, I don’t like the blazers I wear to work. The trend for the past 5 years has been very short blazers that just go to the waist. I do not like them and they don’t suit my body type. But with no other style being available, I own a couple, and I’ve been trying to replace them. In the thrift and consignment stores, people are off-loading just the kind of thing I’m trying to get rid of, so I’ve had no luck. I eventually spend $150 on a new, brand name blazer with the proper length and fit for me, and I was thrilled to find it after 2 years of looking. I feel fortunate to have the resources to do that.
I had a pair of black leather ballet flats, not cheap, that I loved. I wore them until they were ragged. I was discouraged that for what I spent on them, they only lasted a year (in rotation with several other pairs of shoes). So I replaced them with a synthetic pair from Wal-Mart. I hate them! I don’t know if it’s the fit or the materials, but it’s a purchase I regret.
I have more regrets. I had always thought that a plain white shirt was a classic wardrobe piece. I could wear it with jeans and still look somewhat dressed up. I hadn’t owned one for a few years, but was convinced it would fill a need. Wouldn’t you know, I bought a lovely quality white dress shirt for $35 and I’ve only worn it once. All my other tops are in bright colours and now I know I want to keep it that way. The white shirt made me feel invisible. Maybe I will have to learn how to wear scarves 🙂
I made one big mistake. In March, I bought a new pair of olive cargo pants. They had been a wardrobe staple for me, but I hadn’t owned any in a couple of years, since paring down. They “just” fit, but of course I would lose 5 lbs before summer. You can see where this is going! Not only did I fail to lose the 5 lbs, but I gained a couple, and I have this new pair of pants I haven’t been able to wear once! I will be lucky to get them on by the end of the summer. Shame on me!
Here is the list of what I’ve purchased this year with my $900 annual budget:
- Rain suit for walking to work (100% happy with it. Calling this an investment piece)
- Workout sneakers/trainers – New Balance (Love them. Used only for workouts so they don’t get trashed)
- Casual sneakers – Converse slip-ons (love them)
- Black flats (very unhappy with)
- Short brown fashion boots (happy so far, should be just right for Fall and Spring)
- “Croc” style garden clogs (for stepping out into yard to take out garbage, etc.)
- Blazer (just right)
- Teal colour jean jacket (just right)
- White shirt (not the “experience” I thought it would be)
- White T-shirt for layering (functional)
- Vintage orange floral shirt (not sure if funky or ridiculous, but don’t care)
- Periwinkle blue cardigan (functional)
- Charcoal grey tunic to wear with leggings (decided I don’t like wearing leggings to work so have reserved this for casual wear)
- Cargo pants (Fail!)
- Black warm-up jacket from Bench (a first for me – NOT a hoodie!)
- Long sleeve CBC T-shirt (very over-priced but love it)
- 2 workout tops – replacements (both great)
- Canada Day T-Shirt (frivolous purchase but enjoyed it)
Small Stuff and Accessories:
- Black zip Che cap (couldn’t resist, love this style)
- Winter scarf (destroyed already – chewed by cat)
- Winter gloves – purchased for next winter
- 3 bras – replacements
- 6-pk. panties – replacements
- 3 pair black socks – replacements (hate buying socks when I have so many, but no black dress socks left!)
Budget was supposed to be $900 for the year.
In the Fall I need to replace my everyday winter parka which will be another “investment” purchase. I’m not going to buy a Canada Goose, but I will be buying a good quality, built-to-last parka. I don’t live in Iqaluit or anything, but last year I did walk to work on some -17 days.
All my shopping has meant that my wardrobe has increased by 7 pieces, after adjusting for what went out the door. So my total for significant wardrobe pieces is 157. That includes tops (103), Pants (24), Footwear (15), Dresses and Skirts (7) and Outerwear (8).
Have you changed any of your clothes shopping strategies this year?