Wardrobe Report 2015

Photo: Pinterest, too many generations to trace

Photo: Pinterest, too many generations back to trace

Nearly year-end and it’s time to sum up how I’ve fared with my apparel this year. Let me go back to the beginning. I set a budget of $900 for clothes this year and I spent $1516. And am I well-dressed? Probably not. In my own defense, I underspent in other categories and didn’t go into debt. But I was far from frugal.

Here’s how I shelled out the money:

30% on footwear (6 pairs)

I bought shoes and boots I love:

My favourites!

My favourites! – chunky 90s-style shoes


Similar to these

Brogue boots like these

I made two bad purchases – brown sandals I like, but only wore once; and sensible black flats that I later decided were too sensible. I also bought brown shoes for work and “athleisure” cushy black sneakers.

24% on Tops (13 items)

Some weird and wonderful choices. I don’t understand myself sometimes. I was determined to buy more thrifted wool sweaters. One was an unusual marigold colour and a retro style, intended to look funky:


I managed to wear it to work 3 times, feeling successively sillier each time before giving up on it. I concede that retro funky is just not my thing. I am relieved I only paid $10 for it.

I also bought a wool argyle-ish vest! I get a kick out of wearing it. It makes me feel like Ellen!


Ellen Vest

I somehow bought myself two blue pullover sweaters, and didn’t stop to think, “Hey, I already got a new blue sweater this year.” They are not too much alike, but still!

My favourite purchase was this Nepalese cotton tunic:


21% on Pants/Trousers (6 items)

I am not long-legged so I accidentally bought a pair of 7/8-length trousers thinking they were ankle-length skinnies. They shrunk about 10% and revealed their shortness, so I had to donate them! (I can’t actually wear 7/8s because they just look ill-fitting with my particular proportions).

I bought another skort. I seem to fall for one every summer. You guessed it; I only wore it once. But will keep for next summer, just in case I turn into another person.

I had two favourites this year, the Suki Silver jeans, and these plaid pants:


18% on Accessories and Non-Wardrobe Pieces (29 bits and pieces)

I like this messenger/organizer bag:


The rest of this category included a robe, summer pyjamas, workout top, underwear, socks, tights, mittens and gloves.

7% on Miscellaneous (2 items)

That Paris dress, and a lightweight, early winter jacket.

Thus went $1500! Barring any “emergencies,” that is it for the year. How did you fare with clothes shopping (or non-shopping) in 2015?


  1. You did good! Some people spend $900 every quarter! Love the tunic – it looks great on you! I think I bought a jacket and couple of pairs of shoes this year. Pretty darn boring.

  2. I personally love argyle vests. They make me feel like I’m in a 1950s British movie.

  3. EcoCatLady

    Oooooo… I LOVE the Nepalese tunic! And it looks absolutely fabulous on you, very flattering.

    I tend to save my clothes buying for this time of year. I splurged on SmartWool… my new obsession. I bought 3 tops, one pair of pants, a half dozen pairs of socks, and a “neck gator” for keeping my neck and chin warm on cold bike rides. In my defense, all were bought either used on eBay or on deep discount at the REI clearance site. I’m looking forward to being cozy warm whenever I want, and not just when my few pieces of Smartwool happen to be clean! 🙂

  4. Is there bling on that Nepalese tunic? Fairly glittering in the photo.

    And you are channelling Ellen in that vest.

  5. And those chunky shoes will keep you above all manner of hazards. Safety first with retro style.

  6. Juhli

    I agree with your great buys! Shoes are the hardest to get right in my opinion and good ones eat up a chunk of the budget as does good underwear, sleepwear, exercise gear & coats. I think we tend to under budget in those categories. I think you look fabulous in the vest and tunic. The Paris dress was another great look.

    • Thank you. That is my situation (re: the shoes) especially since I wear a hard-to-fit size. I don’t mind having spent so much on shoes and accessories since they underpin everything. You inspired me to try some new combinations!

  7. Claire/Just a little less

    Great choice of chunky footwear, Dar! I also like the tunic and vest (we’re more likely to call it a tank top in the UK). I think footwear is a good investment if you can get it right. I’ve not spent a penny on clothes since September 1st – but spent around £600 from January – August which shocked me when I added it up (although some items were gifts). I’m hoping to continue to track my clothing purchases in 2016 and hopefully shop more mindfully. It’ll be interesting to see how long I can continue to go without buying any clothes. You look great in these photos – your fitness drive has given you good results!

    • Thank you, Claire. Now I don’t feel so bad because 600 pounds is over $1200 CDN, ha ha! One factor in how much I spend on clothes is whether I have changed sizes during the year. I can’t imagine a year of not buying anything – I would have to stock up first and ensure I didn’t need any replacement items.

  8. You go girl. I like what you selected.

  9. Very nice – love the tunic! This makes me want to spend more money on clothes. I spend under $500 per year, typically, but I’m realizing how good it feels to have clothes that I like and make me feel good about how I look. It has a huge impact on my self-perception. I had one pair of work shoes that were ugly and hurt my feet and yet I wore them for 3 years – not worth it! I replaced them this year and life is much better. 🙂

    • 3 years – it pains me to think about it! I remember the first year I spent $500 on clothes for myself. I felt very decadent. But now it is important to me to wear clothes that fit and, like you say, make me feel good (and not always how others think I should look).

  10. jbistheinitial

    I only started tracking my clothing purchases in March of this year and I’m slightly dreading getting to the end of February 2016 and adding up my spending! I’ve bought a lot this year, lots of which has already been eBayed or donated already. I need to get better at making sensible choices rather than impulse buys.

    • I make so many clothes shopping mistakes. Mostly I wouldn’t even call them impulse purchases – I will carefully select something that fills a gap in my wardrobe, only to find it isn’t quite right for some reason (quality, fit, fabric, colour, or the way it goes/doesn’t go with what I already have). I have donated quite a few things that have only been purchased in the past 1-2 years. I am not sure I’ve found a permanent “personal style,” or whether i want one! I always like what you choose for yourself on your blog.

  11. Lane

    I’ve tracked my clothing purchases for decades now and find it very instructive. If I vow not to buy anything new, I spend about half what I used to when I had a regular career! But, I do shop very purposefully, no unplanned things, everything must be coming home for a reason. I got some short black boots with zips on both sides, extremely comfortable on a trip I took. Also, black sneaker like walking shoes. Exercise leggings and one grey workout top. A grey v neck cashmere pullover–love! A brown crossbody bag(Fossil) for travel that kept me perfectly organized overseas. 2 infinity scarves– never tried these before, but now I wear them everyday. A lightweight knit skirt from Patagonia at the REI sale. And new winter weather boots from Sorel– my last boots from another company finally fell apart and had to be ducktaped to get through last winter( everything was sold out!). I’m done for awhile, I hope.

    • Hi Lane, That is a dream clothing list 🙂 I do plan my purchases but I often find fault with what I choose after the fact. I am trying to think of a more successful strategy!

  12. NicolaB

    I’ve spent quite a lot this year- some of it necessary, some of it not! I’ve bought new walking boots (the old ones are from 2002 and have cracked along the top, so are no longer waterproof). My running shoes died, so I bought new ones. Unfortunately the new ones were wrong for me and I kept turning my ankle when I ran in them…so I got a second pair which are good and fine for ankle! I now know what suits me, but it was expensive finding out!

    I will consult my spreadsheet and see what I have spent over the year.. Whatever the total is, I feel the need to reduce it next year! There are one or two things I can see I will need to replace, but other than those I am feeling the need for a frugal year!!

    • I spend a lot on replacements too (and replacements of replacements when I don’t judge well!) I can’t imagine ever saying “Next year I will spend more than ever on clothes,” but I suppose it could be justified by a new job, new climate, new size, etc.!

  13. Even I completely blew my clothes budget out of the water – but then the budget was 0 besides the cost of a rain jacket. I spent probably less than €50 (besides the rain jacket). I will count and report back.
    The man wears an argyle west – he looks like Ellen too! 🙂

  14. Fiona

    I love the Ellen vest and the Nepalese shirt! Very flattering and cool at the same time. I have also made retro-errors! I like how you ask, ‘Am I well-dressed?’ rather than just focussing on the dollar amount. I have started focussing more on that question, rather than whether I have a ‘capsule’ wardrobe or a set number of items or have stayed under a dollar amount. I love the Messenger bag, too! Has the Paris dress seen any renewed wear? Can it be teamed with a jacket for winter?

    • Alas, the Paris dress is stashed away for those rare Nova Scotia hot days next July or August. It is made of cotton eyelet which just screams “Summer!” and is not a fabric I would layer. But I haven’t given up on it yet. I try to have enough clothes that I can mix and match my work outfits for about two weeks without too much repetition except for basics/classics. And since I have to buy for 4 distinct seasons, it does stretch the budget (as well as forking out for occasional big expenses like winter coats and boots). I have really cut spending on casual, non-work items, wearing what I already own and no longer buying new hoodies and T-shirts!

  15. Those chunky shoes make me shudder and remember my school years!

    I must do a similar post soon: my year of ‘second hand only’. It’s been good, I’m a little more one in one out with it too!

  16. loving your choices.quite fancy a pair of brogue boots myself.

  17. I love your tunic. You look really great in it! I also have a soft spot for your messenger bag. 😉

  18. I have an argyle sweater vest just like that. We can be twins!! 😀

  19. Pingback: This Year in Money | An Exacting Life

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