Reflections on my year in fashion and style. Very long -- please don't read if it is not your cup of tea!
By the numbers:
Bought — 52 items. Here's the entire collection.
Retired — 62 and also put a dozen or more (if you count bags and scarves and parkas and boots) in holding zone
So I ended up with a slightly leaner but still substantial wardrobe.
I didn’t keep strict track of the age of items I retired but I did track reasons for retirement.
I had very few “failed” buys this year, but I did retire a few failed buys from previous years. I wore those items for at least a season and they didn’t go completely to waste, but in wearing them I decided I didn’t like them. (Crop flared trousers, bell sleeved blouse, leopard print jeans, I am looking at you).
Half of what I retired was either worn out (irreparably stained, out of shape, pilled, ripped, worn down, etc.) or didn’t fit properly (in some cases due to weight gain and in some cases for obscure reasons that only became clear on wear — mostly footwear.) I also retired a lot of jeans this year due to low waists that felt dated for my style. I tried to update with mixed results — but that is info for another post.
What the numbers mean:
After several years of review and tracking, I notice that I have bought and retired approximately the same number of items each year. I guess, then, it is fair to say that given the resources and opportunity, I naturally gravitate toward what Angie classifies as a moderate sized wardrobe. (Currently 130 items including bags, coats, dresses, skirts, trousers, denim, shirts/ blouses, knit tops, knitwear, toppers and all non-gear footwear but not scarves and jewellery or gear.) Also, I apparently like to replace about one third of the wardrobe every year.
This makes a certain amount of sense for someone who lives in a true four season climate, who holds multiple roles, some in the public eye and some very casual, who, ahem, likes clothes and wears the heck out of them, and whose style has been dubbed “trendy classic” by Angie. The classic items last longer in my closet — up to 10 years. But the trendier items get moved along within a 3 year span.
My wardrobe sounds large compared with Jenn’s lean and hard-working closet (117 items, including scarves and gear) and probably small compared to other forum members’ wardrobes.
Still, looking at the numbers, I feel as if I bought an awful lot, perhaps more than I’d ideally like, going forward. I want to reflect on that.
In context — I was a chronic underbuyer for two decades or more, so really had almost nothing for years. Sometimes I think I’m making up for lost fashion fun now! My wardrobe and dressing is my hobby and a source of genuine pleasure. At the same time, I care about working conditions in the industry and care about our environment and want to think more seriously about how I can honour those values while still indulging my love of fashion and style.
Of my 52 purchases, 44 were bought on sale and 4 bought on consignment or second hand. In other words, in 2018, I paid full price for only 4 items! That was not by plan or design — it’s just how things worked out. I’m not sure what to make of it, but obviously buying on sale allowed me to fit more purchases in my (rather flexible) budget. (I say flexible because I set a nominal figure and then if I get a yen to buy more stuff I usually take on an extra contract to pay for it.)
Most frequently worn items (see Finds): CoH Rockets (worn out now!); Gap white GF jeans, Summit pewter chelsea boot, EF silver sport sandal, Plenty grey sweater, western belt, RM backpack in light grey.
I won’t do “least worn” because many items were purchased so recently that I don’t know how much I’ll wear them. None of my purchases this year were “mistakes.” I think that's the first time I can honestly say that -- which presumably means I am getting better at buying for my real life and aspirational style and at integrating the two.
My biggest disappointment was the Franco Sarto sandal. The insole keeps coming unstuck, even though I have tried to repair it. I think I’m going to have to pass that sandal on. The J. Crew tees are just so-so; bought with sales goggles and free delivery in mind but might demote to PJs this coming summer. I haven’t worn the sparkly camisole but it was so inexpensive at $12 or so, I thought it worth the purchase — it’s part of the occasion wear capsule to wear under a jacket and because the straps are adjustable it can be pulled up high enough on the chest to be less exposing than some -- relevant to small chested moi.
Best summer switch up: Dresses! (In Pics) How I loved switching from shorts to casual dresses and skirts this past summer. I almost never feel “put together” in shorts but always feel presentable in a dress. Thank you, Boden, for high quality dresses and knits!
Best statement purchases (in Finds): J. Crew liberty print 2 piece dress. Versatile, happy, fabulous fabric, fun, pretty, fresh. I adore this outfit. It feels every bit as much “me” as my beloved t-necks, booties, jeans, and jacket formula. Western belt — bowing to Gryffin, who’d been urging this on me (correctly!!) for years.
Best wildcards: Two of my consignment purchases - the Pink Tartan jacket, and the "Max Mara" Snow Queen coat.
Instant workhorse items (in Finds): Blondo Elvira booties, western belt, Phoebe dress, Plenty cardigan, Judith and Charles pea coat, RM backpack.
There you have it. That's my roundup for now. I'll be back in a few days with goals and intentions for the year ahead. Thank you for reading if you got this far and I'd love to hear your thoughts and observations.