Holiday Wardrobe Repeats (and Clothes Inventory Update)

The Royals

It was widely noted that Kate Middleton had previously worn her Christmas card outfit several times. It reminded me that I didn’t buy anything new to wear for the holidays this year. While I was out Christmas shopping, I decided I’d splurge on a new sweater – maybe even cashmere – but I didn’t see anything I liked. I am actually a bit sensitive about re-wearing holiday outfits. My family is really, really big on taking photos. We get together on Christmas Eve and again on Christmas Day. I like to wear something different on each of the two days, and different from the year before!

I buy a piece of clothing with a bit of sparkle every few years, and save them for seasonal events. Otherwise I usually have a new-ish cozy sweater I can wear throughout the winter. I checked to see what I wore last year and realized I didn’t have a single photo of myself at Christmas.

Do I really think my family will look at me on Christmas Eve and exclaim, “That outfit is looking tired?” Of course not. I guess somewhere within, I am thinking I should treat myself. And I do look at my Christmas pictures from years past and think about how my look has changed over time!

I spent $1015 on clothes this year, down from $1490 last year. I had budgeted $900 and I am OK with the overspend.

This year I bought:

For work ($411)

  • Grey work jacket (blazer) 117
  • Dress pants (trousers) 43
  • 2 pair dark-wash jeans for work, blue and black, replacements 110 including hemming
  • 3 girly summer tops 89
  • Long ribbed cardigan 52

Not for work ($84):

  • Skort (again! I buy one every year!) 29 – worn once
  • Superdry sporty bomber jacket 23
  • Pokemon T-shirt 16 (wardrobe essential, haha!)
  • Thrifted outfit (hoodie, track pants and long-sleeve T-shirt) that I bought for cleaning out Link’s apartment and helping them move. I intended to throw it away afterwards, but I liked it so much, I made sure I didn’t get it stained or bleached! 16

Workout wear ($210):

  • 2 swim suits 57 and 26 (regular price is 80-100 each for Speedo brand)
  • Sneakers 95 (bad deal, was not able to find my difficult size at a bargain store)
  • Yoga pants 23
  • Workout T-shirt 9

Small stuff ($143):

  • Bras and underwear 93
  • 2 tank tops for sleepwear or layering 20
  • Tights 10
  • Socks 20 (work)

Shoes ($52):

  • Metallic sneakers 29 (not comfortable, minimal use)
  • Slip-on fabric shoes 23

Other ($115):

  • Brown purse/messenger bag 77
  • Canvas tote bag 9
  • Belt 10
  • Gloves 9
  • Toque 7
  • Ball cap 3

So, I have learned I need to take more care with both size and fit for sneakers! On the plus side, I wear sneakers or boots for walking to work every day, which has tremendously saved wear on my better work shoes, and I still have two pair I bought in 2014.

Sometime in 2016, I owned 136 “significant” items of clothing and I’m now at 153, a gain of 17. When I buy new clothes, I often hold onto the old ones. For example, I replaced my dark-wash jeans for work, but I still wear the older faded ones, which are fine for weekends. I bought 3 summer tops last year and another 3 this year without giving any up. Right now, my selection of long-sleeved winter tops and sweaters is very blah, so I hope to refresh them, January through March. Meanwhile, I have long since pared down my T-shirt and hoodie collections, so they are quite reasonable at 37 and 11, respectively!

I feel most of my 2017 purchases were workman-like; just basic functional things. Yet I do like to have clothes that make me feel good about myself. In 2018 I will think about whether I want to upgrade my wardrobe, if I can do so on the same budget…

Do you buy holiday or party clothes – at all, or every year?

Any plans for changing your “look” in 2018?


  1. EcoCatLady

    Ha! I had lunch with my parents today and realized that I was wearing the same sweater that I wore at Thanksgiving… and probably last Christmas, and last Thanksgiving… and the year before. I don’t have many excuses to wear anything other than lounging around the house clothes these days, and it IS my favorite sweater, but I did think it was sorta funny.

    I think my experience with the carpet beetles has made me into a total minimalist as far as clothing goes – with the great exception of bike wear. I find I need to fine tune my biking clothes to the weather… and unless I want to do laundry with ridiculous frequency, I end up needing 2-3 sets for each temperature range. That’s my excuse anyhow!

    I don’t follow things like fashion, so I have no idea if people look at me and think I look like a bag lady or what – but honestly, the older I get the less I care. And even though I buy almost all of my clothing used, it does make me feel less wasteful to have less.

    I sorta can’t believe that people really keep track of how many times Kate Middleton has worn her outfits, but I guess that’s celebrity culture. It actually makes me like her much more to know that she doesn’t go out and buy a new set of clothes for each photo shoot.

  2. thrift deluxe

    I pretty much wear the same things all year round so no special holiday clothing for me, if anyone mentioned me wearing the same dress I’d just claim it was tradition!

    My boss donated a massive pile of her clothes to the charity shop a little while ago saying that she’d worn them too much as pictures of her wearing them kept cropping up on social media.

  3. I love your list – I read it wrongly to begin with and thought you had bought 117 jackets and 93 bras then realised that was the dollar price!! It is scary when you list things.
    I am the Cinderella of the family and often have had to repeat what I wear – mum, sister and now my step nieces all look glamorous in their new attire – I must make more of an effort.
    Having said that we have an Aussie relative who came to our wedding in 1976 and wore a dark brown winter dress at our very hot summer wedding so she stood out a little on the photos. Then 20 years later my MIL and FIL took a trip to see these relatives in Aussie and when we saw the photos they took out there guess what the said relative was wearing – yes the very same dress.
    Have a wonderful Christmas. x

    • 117 jackets sounds about right 🙂 I am going to be working at a different location later in the year, at which the norms for work attire are more formal than I’m used to. I wonder if I will put pressure on myself to scale up? Stay tuned!

  4. Margie in Toronto

    I think your purchases sound very reasonable for a whole year’s worth of clothing. I’m going to keep better track of what I spend this year. I seem to have settled in to more of a uniform these days, neutral bottoms, white shirts, blouses & t-shirts, and sweaters. I did buy two new sweaters to wear over Christmas, one in red and one in purple – both on sale! I have made a point of looking out some jewelry that I haven’t worn in ages so that has provided some bling!
    Have a wonderful holiday with your family and a Happy New Year.

    • Hi Margie, Happy Holidays! I will still be looking for new sweaters and winter tops in January. I was surprised how much of my clothing budget went to athletic wear and underwear, but oh well 🙂

  5. I don’t think I have ever tracked my clothing spending. Might be something to consider this year. I only tend to shop while in the States. The only thing that I am doing is turning my hangers around the “wrong” way and re-assessing at the end of next year what clothes I really have no use for. Fair to say if I haven’t worn it in a year I should be able to let the item go, right? lol

    • Hi Sunny, I like clothes shopping when I’m on vacation – seeing things I wouldn’t see near home, and spotting deals! The hanger trick is a good one. A year seems reasonable!

  6. I don’t usually buy special holiday clothes, but this year I did buy an “ugly” Christmas sweater on impulse because I saw a good one while we were out. But then I ended up not going to the work function that it was meant for (they had a contest), so it was kind of a waste of $16. I did wear it to my team work holiday party instead. Oh well. I highly doubt anyone in my family would remember what I wore the year before (and same vice versa) so no worries there.

    I’ve been working on my clothing purchases list for the year but I’m afraid to reinventory my wardrobe, I fear it’s up quite a bit!

    • I don’t “officially” have an ugly Christmas sweater, but I do have a Hello Kitty sweater I’ve worn lots of times around Christmas, even to work on a casual day!

  7. I am embarrassingly casual 24/7. I’m either in ROOTS clothingi or Silver jeans and a button down/cardigan. That’s about it… tshirts and capris in the summer. I’m all about comfort, and since I work at home it totally works for me! No dressy clothes for me thanks… I tried *REALLY* hard not to buy clothing last year as I’m really just trying to wear what I have and is comfortable. I purchased 3 used cardigans ($20/3) and I think a pair of jeans or two. Oh, some super THICK socks too, that’s about it for me! No “style” change for 2018, I dress like a 19 yr old and I’m ok with that.. LOL!!

  8. I rarely, if ever, buy holiday or party clothes anymore. My heart still yearns for sparkly things but realistically, there’s nothing special or fancy enough for us to wear these things to so it’s fine to save money on that aspect.

    For 2018, my goal is to remove things first before adding anything. I think the easiest thing for me to start with my attire / look to look more polished (I’m lined lounger pants, thick wool socks, and a sweatshirt right now, for work) is to add nice dangly earrings. The clothes are a bit more complicated and I don’t have the brainpower to figure out what will fit and look right yet. I do wear the same dress to multiple events but I usually try to make sure that it’s for different groups of people. I don’t share personal photos on social media myself so I don’t care if me in the same dress shows up in other people’s photos 🙂

  9. Fiona

    I think it’s lovely that you are refreshing your wardrobe in such an organised and thoughtful way! I often regret wearing the same things on repeat in family photographs so I think it is something to aim for to have it organised beforehand and to have put thought into it. It must be really fun to look back over the years and to see the changing styles and looks! Also fun to buy some things like metallic sneakers in between the more utilitarian items (keeps us young!)

    • Haha, I love those metallic sneakers – if only they were comfortable – I may need replacements! I just bought a pullover sweater on sale which I can wear to work this month and will also serve as a (non-ugly) Christmas sweater for next year. In Australia, are there Christmas swimsuits and beach cover-ups?

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