2018 in Review (Long)

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.  

Further reflections:

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. 

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This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.

55 Comments

  • Joy replied 2 months ago

    You had an excellent year. No mistakes! Sadly both your Jean finds are sold out. I love consignment for wild cards and yours are perfect for you.

  • Sterling replied 2 months ago

    Good assessment.  Feels good to break it down like that.  You have obviously learned a lot on YLF and implemented those lessons successfully.  YAY.  

  • Runcarla replied 2 months ago

    Insightful, as usual, Suz. I'm a big fan of your Liberty print duo as well as the 'Snow Queen' coat. How fun is it to have clothes you love enough to name?!

  • Jenni NZ replied 2 months ago

    I adored this! Not too long at all for me. I was intending to go write up some performance reviews for my staff but doing this now instead :) I had been musing whether to write more on Jenn's thread about numbers or start a new one, about numbers per year bought and how long we kept stuff. See, I bought just over half what you did (29) but have a bigger wardrobe ( 176, and not counting bags). I calculated the average age must be about 6 years. It's weird because it felt to me from your WIWs that you had a bigger wardrobe than me. Clearly not. I must be keeping things I am not wearing enough too long.
    Why were you a chronic under buyer for years? I bought less in the 90s for sure as barely looked up that decade having 3 children born and still working and a bit poorer mid-decade. But before and since I bought fairly well, most in the past 10 years since age 47- richer but fatter so harder to flatter! I think I've always loved fashion really but always fairly conservative ( upbringing, then profession).
    Mine are also mainly on sale and as ethical as I can manage. I told La Ped I was a tight-wad! And mainly it's because sometimes I buy something that doesn't work out as well as I think, and that hurts more if it cost a lot. I'm really lucky to have 4 excellent factory outlets I frequent, true outlets not made-for-outlet, one being Sabatini which is high-end and expensive- made in NZ but very successful in Australia and a major office ( but not factory) in Sydney.
    I may start a new thread musing more later. Better go do something useful :)

  • Suz replied 2 months ago

    Jenni, thank you for reading and commenting. I think you probably do keep some of your clothes longer than I keep mine. I tend to keep coats, jackets, some blouses/ shirts and some dresses the longest. I buy many of those in very classic styles so they don't date. I wear through shoes relatively quickly because I walk so much. (Dressy shoes being an exception.) Knits do wear, alas, so they see a fair bit of turnover. 

    I have a lot of variety of silhouette in my wardrobe and that may make it seem larger. Also, 50 new items is a lot and again contributes to an impression of variety. I also mix and match a lot with separates so an outfit might look quite different even though I'm wearing some of the same pieces that I wore a few days ago.

    I underbought in my 20s because I had very little money; then I shopped vintage quite a bit and had two big shopping expeditions a year. But I loved fashion and managed to dress pretty well despite my budget because I had time to devote to it and I lived in a large city. 

    When I moved to a smaller city with fewer shopping options (before online) I remained quite poor for a while, repaying student loans and then had a large mortgage. I had stepchildren and a mother in law we were partly supporting. Then I had a child. I wasn't earning much, because at that point I was working part-time. In short -- from the early 90s until about 2010, I more or less lost track of my interest in fashion and it didn't revive until after weight loss and I didn't have anything to wear. My closet included one pair of jeans, a couple of shirts, a skirt and some t-shirts from Old Navy for summers, a few hand-me downs, and three or four nicer pieces that a friend almost forced me to buy on a shopping trip in 2008. 

    ETA: I also seem to be reproducing a family pattern. My mother grew up in the depression without money or means. In college she made friends with several wealthier fashion loving girls who were also incredibly generous and she wound up a bit of a clothes horse. I think in the years she was working (before I was born) she loved to dress up and had some lovely things. Then for years with small children in a suburb she stinted herself. It was only after weight loss in her fifties that she returned to buying clothes. (Sound familiar??) 

  • Cee replied 2 months ago

    I'm glad you didn't have too many disappointments, Suz and hopefully you'll do even better this year :)  

  • kkards replied 2 months ago

    wow Suz, i'm so impressed with how thoughtful and intentional your approach to your closet it...you obviously know yourself and your needs very well...

  • torontogirl replied 2 months ago

    A great assessment Suz - what tracking method do you use? (If you've posted about this elsewhere, lmk and I'll go hunting ... Sounds like you learned a lot from it, without becoming over-analytical about it ... And congrats on a mistake-free purchasing year!!

  • rosee replied 2 months ago

    Thanks for your insights. It sounds like you are doing well in your style journey and I love you in several of your photos.
    I should keep better track of my own wardrobe and purchases. Right now my wardrobe is not that large but I have quite a few pieces I really like and that work for me. I have about another 40 per cent of items in another closet in the house where I have to see if I will sell or donate or recycle. I wish I could say that I don't purchase "mistakes" anymore but I still do though less frequently than I used to.

  • Suz replied 2 months ago

    Thanks for the nice comments, all! YLF has definitely helped me reduce mistakes but it did take several years (or more) and of course we all continue to make mistakes -- even Angie admits to a few now and again. 

    TG, my "system" for tracking is about the least tech-savvy there is. I keep my "grand inventory" of clothing items in a note on my computer with a list of retired items and the reasons below the list of current wardrobe items. I haven't been tracking individual wears lately (except for September's challenge) but I do have a pretty good idea anyway of what I reach for repeatedly. I may do more formal tracking for a while this year and if I do, I simply write it down or take photos. 

    It's been valuable for me to see that my purchasing and editing are more or less equal (i.e. I buy more or less the same number of items as I retire, most years, without actually planning this). And also that my overall numbers are very similar from year to year.

    Since I've been watching myself this way my wardrobe has grown from 120 items to about 175 and then to about 150 and now 130. 175 definitely felt like "too much" for me, personally. I couldn't make sense of it all or use it all enough to feel I'd got my money's worth. 120 is a bit tight for my needs in my 4 season climate and with my varied roles. 

  • torontogirl replied 2 months ago

    Thank you Suz! I'm onto the value of tracking as I've been doing it with various healthy habits - I may add a column for WIW items, purge items, etc.!

    I think it's terrific that you've defined for yourself what the right size of a wardrobe is for you, for now ... you're so right; it's so variable depending on the roles you play, the seasons you deal with, and just personal preferences, space, budget, etc. You've got such a cohesive but interesting and varied look, it seems you've really nailed it! And we ALL benefit, via your WIWs, from you having fun with fashion :)

  • SarahD8 replied 2 months ago

    Fantastic writeup, Suz. I'm inspired to track what enters and leaves my closet more closely this year. I have tried to do so before but seem to have trouble sticking to it. I think there's an element of I-don't-really-want-to-know, if you know what I mean. I appreciate how matter-of-fact you are about this topic. Thanks for showing the way.

  • Style Fan replied 2 months ago

    Thank you for sharing this Suz.  I find these posts very helpful.  It makes sense that your wardrobe is a moderate size given your lifestyle and the climate.  My wardrobe is on the small size now that I have retired and I do sometimes feel like I am scrambling for something to wear (eg. when I was teaching in the Spring).
    Boden was certainly a hit this year.  

  • Angie replied 2 months ago

    You are VERY good at this. A joy to read and follow. Thanks for sharing.


    Suz, you put in the work (every year and for years!), balance discipline with emotion, analysis with action, relax into your style, maintain a level head, look KILLER, and reap the reward. WELL DONE. 

    Fun to see the numbers, which I found easy to absorb and process.

    Some thoughts:
    • High five. I naturally gravitate to a moderately sized wardrobe of about 130 pieces for a 4 season climate too (which excludes scarves, jewellery, gear, undies, socks, hose and sleepwear in that total), and don’t want a smaller or larger wardrobe. It’s the right number for me who is a fashion professional and wants to maintain a manageable wardrobe with lots of variety. AND I enjoy fashion, style and shopping, so my wardrobe churn is higher for some components of my wardrobe.
    • Yes to the Classics lasting longer in my own wardrobe than the trendier pieces - ESPECIALLY when the quality is there. My Modern Retro items have the same high longevity factor.
    • It’s wonderful to read that you're enjoying fashion, style and shopping after decades of barely shopping at all. Treat yourself! If not now - when? Fun that you found some thrifting treasures too.
    • Your most frequently worn items are almost all a good match with your silver hair!
    • Can you super glue the inside of those red sandals?
    • You ROCKED your dresses and skirts. Soooo with you on feeling more stylish in them than shorts. That two piece dress was a favourite of mine too.
    • I’m a Trendy Classic with you :)

  • lisa p replied 2 months ago

    Very interesting, insightful, and enjoyable to read !   I am not a detail-oriented tracker nor list-maker, and I recognize that I could benefit from introducing some systems into my daily life (i.e. not just for wardrobe management).  I've started and stopped dozens of times over the years, and your insights here have encouraged me to find out what is hampering my own process.  I do  know that the one and only time I counted my closet pieces (during a forum challenge of sorts last summer),  I was horrified to find I had more summer pieces alone than most people had in their entire wardrobe  - this after years here claiming to have a small wardrobe!  I"d be interested in hearing more about your purchasing process : do you craft a list of wants/needs/goals and shop for them? is there much impulse/emotional buying? etc.

    Anyways, I do admire the smart way you manage your closet, and you still seem to enjoy doing so .  The results speak for themselves.  

  • lynn replied 2 months ago

    I didn’t find this too long at all! It is so interesting to read how you approach your buying, purging and (most fun) wearing. Question: if you have many of one kind of item (in my case it’s button up shirts) and you wear them all but only occasionally, do you purge down to a certain number of them? I know I don’t need that many but I have them, like them (don’t love them), and can’t seem to let go of “perfectly good” still useful shirts. I have a very casual lifestyle and only dress in anything except gear a few times a week.

  • Suz replied 2 months ago

    Lisa, thank you. It can be daunting to do a count or to track ourselves. I'm okay doing it with my wardrobe but ask me to track calories and I balk! I've done it a few times but it is like pulling teeth for me -- I have a lot of resistance towards it. 

    At the same time, tracking has been helpful and motivating for me in some areas, like exercise. And with fashion I have attempted to gather the information without judgement. Not completely successfully -- I do still harbour a bit of residual guilt for buying "so much" when others have so little -- shouldn't I be putting more money towards worthy causes, blah blah blah. But on the whole I think this process is instructive. Ah, so I'm the kind of person who likes to play with trends. Who knew? Well, given that, how should I operate? That kind of thing. 

    I do make lists but mostly for the wardrobe essentials that are worn out or wearing out, like jeans, a blue turtleneck, etc. The statements and wild cards are almost all impulse buys or at least emotionally driven purchases. Examples of my emotion-driven purchases below. Some are mixed, like the Minkoff backpack. I really was in search of a bag. Just not this one. But I bought it on impulse and it's perfect for me. 

    Angie, thank you! And high five, trendy classic! I did super glue those sandals but for some weird reason it doesn't take. They are poorly made -- very unusual for Franco Sarto which in the past has been an excellent brand for me. 

    I had noticed that my frequently worn items complement my hair, yes! I think I like to have some item in each outfit that does that to foster cohesion. 

    I think between 130 and 140 is about right for me, but I wonder if I will gravitate towards the lower end if we stay in Vancouver. With less need for deep winter or hot hot summer items, more will be cross-seasonal. 

    Style Fan, it was not having going out outfits that made me vow to purchase and maintain an occasion capsule even if I almost never use it. For me there is nothing worse than feeling I look off at an important event. Plus, I love dressing up so it gives me an excuse to dress up at home if not going anywhere! 

    Sarah, I hear you -- it's pretty much what Lisa said. It can be a bit unnerving to look at our own habits. But we can't really manage genuine change if we pretend to ourselves that we are something we're not. I could fool myself and insist that I have a "tiny" wardrobe or that I don't buy a lot of stuff and it might make me feel good temporarily, but what would be the point? The stuff is there, staring me in the face (or bundled up in donate bags). I actually think that if we are going to have wardrobe churn there is something to be said for churning quickly rather than slowly. I don't mean we should all get on the fast fashion bandwagon, but if we are so tired of a piece that we have to force ourselves to wear it after one year, what is the point of hanging onto it? Somebody else might truly enjoy it while it is still fashionable! 

    Thanks, TG -- blushing. And nodding along with your thoughts on tracking. 

  • Suz replied 2 months ago

    Lynn, it is funny that you mention shirts. :) 

    They are a category where I seem to keep quite a few lesser worn items and for a long time that troubled me. (My current shirts and blouses in Finds. Some of these are five or six years old.) I kept wondering if I should edit down to a certain number. 

    Then I moved from Ontario to Vancouver and found that I suddenly wear my long sleeved shirts a whole lot more and I'm glad that I kept them. I still wear knits through the winter, but in spring and fall the long sleeved shirts play a much more important role than they did in Ontario. 

    I don't think you can set an arbitrary number but if you can go through your collection asking yourself if you ever wear it, or if you would ever pick that over this, then you might be able to winnow it down. If you don't love them, I'd let them go. Life's too short to wear stuff we don't care about. I only keep the ones I truly enjoy. 

  • nemosmom replied 2 months ago

    Wow, Suz, thank you for taking the time to put down numbers, record your collection, and reflect on what worked and what didn't for you last year. It was a really educational read (and not long at all!) Congrats on having only a few "failures" and zero mistakes - that is impressive!  I hope you don't beat yourself up for feeling like you bought a lot - didn't you move last summer or fall to an entirely new climate? 

    Posts like yours, along with your WIW, are so inspirational to me. I am excited to see what '19 holds for you :)

  • shevia replied 2 months ago

    You are such a thorough thinker Suz! I love how you examine things from so many angles but still write in an engaging and non-technical way. Anyway, I hear you about balancing fun with fashion with concern for the environment and sustainability. You know my answer, and even if it is a bit extreme for most, using second hand for the wild cards is a great step. And fun!

  • rachylou replied 2 months ago

    Guess that works out to four items a month on average, which doesn’t seem unreasonable to me purchasing wise... but if you didn’t purge, I guess it would add up... I’m thinking about myself here really and that maybe I should track how much I buy a year... it may be time...

  • deb replied 2 months ago

    End of year thoughts are always so enlightening. Good job!

  • Bijou replied 2 months ago

    You definitely have the balance right - in buying items that suit your style and are fashionable but also practical for your lifestyle. This really shows in your purchases that you have a polished yet more casual lifestyle and footwear that can be walked in is important to you.

    Texstyle said a 2019 goal was to "try to find the most stylish version of practical that I can find" which resonated with me too. In the past I have bought things and then tried to justify wearing them. Wildcards are good, but you don't need a complete wardrobe of them! Far better to be honest about what is appropriate for my lifestyle and then get the most stylish version of that. You demonstrate how this can be done, thank you for your inspirational WIW posts and reflections and I loved your wildcard purchases, especially the snow queen coat.

  • Jenni NZ replied 2 months ago

    Thank you Suz for your lovely reply to me about why you were an under-buyer. ( And I have written up 5 performance reviews today which have been waiting too long to do). I felt lucky to be quite fashionable in my university days even when I didn't have much money, and agree that sometimes you can just end up with not enough clothing in later years. I remember struggling with money in my mid 30s ( we ended up borrowing more from the bank and I was really excited when I found lovely little sweatshirts for my young girls which were only $7 each). It has been great to go back to my fashion interest even although I am harder to dress now. I also had quite a lot of guilt in earlier years about "wastefulness" which I have overcome by being more PPP and not beating myself up too much for the odd mistake. I'm really sorry about your red sandals- I have 3 pairs of shoes also which are dying after not much wear and I am annoyed with their makers rather than myself!

  • Mainelady replied 2 months ago

    Suz, your review is so thoughtful and full of helpful insights I can consider for myself. You had such excellent timing to find so many purchases at reduced prices. Only 4 full price purchases is remarkable. You know your needs and your style well, so I am not surprised that you made no mistakes. Cheers to a great buying year!
    After years of very limited purchasing, I think it is truly wonderful that you are enjoying clothing, style and the happiness dressing well gives you. You are an excellent example of how to put together classics and wild cards. I enjoy seeing your WIW pics very much.

  • cindysmith replied 2 months ago

    I love reading these posts. I'm not really here for the numbers, I just love the introspection. I think you've found your personal style and gotten the hang of buying for it. That's pretty awesome!

    And you look so pretty in all your dresses :-)

  • dakotacheryl replied 2 months ago

    What a nice review of your year Suz. It sounds like you have a happy closet!!

    After reading your post, I went and counted my 2018 purchases and was happily surprised to see it was less than 25 items!!  Wow!!

    I attribute this to 1) loving what I already had, as I practice "one in, one out" closet management with my tiny closets, and, 2) I have been trying to buy "ethically manufactured" items as much as possible. 

    Most of my purchases were manufactured in the US, most at full price as these brands rarely have sales.

  • FashIntern replied 2 months ago

    You look great in dresses! I wasn't around much over the summer, so didn't see those. 

    I like seeing how your wardrobe grew, then shrank, and now seems to have found a sweet spot. Do you feel like your overall life pattern follows your mother's in general?

    I assume my wardrobe will also choose its own size and settle down, now that I'm only buying/keeping for where I am. I expect it will be medium/large in the end, and I hope not to have much churn, but we'll see. Right now it's about 80 items, not counting shoes, bags, outerwear or summer clothes, which are in a suitcase that's hard to get to, so I haven't counted them. That might put the total up to 150. Having the ability to add a contract to buy something special sounds awesome!

    I love seeing your patterned shirts and blouses. For someone who likes pattern, I don't have much of it in my closet. But I'm sorry, for selfish reasons, to hear of the demise of the Sarto sandals. That's a brand I've had in the back of my mind as "one to try" sometime. Now maybe I won't.

    Your "emotionally" bought items all fit in well with the rest of what you have. I presume the price was part of what made you look at them again, before doing a real assessment. I'm happy to see you did so well at sales. You are a great dresser and have a great wardrobe, so I'll keep that in mind when I hear naysayers about sales.

    Off topic, you mentioned above that counting calories makes you want to kick & scream. I like using My Fitness Pal. In the beginning, getting everything into your account takes a couple minutes each time you make an entry. Using the app lets you be entirely dispassionate and distanced from the calorie number--you don't have to write it down, and don't even have to think about it. For me, the app can be a totally observational tool, without judgement.

  • nemosmom replied 2 months ago

    After I read your post last night, I went into a deep dive of my numbers (man, it was DEEP!) and it got me thinking -

    Did you find that you replaced items or were the items unrelated (e.g., 2 worn pants replaced by 2 new pants, or 2 worn pants replaced by 2 other items like a blazer, bag?)

    I hope to achieve wardrobe nirvana and I wonder, do you aim to keep certain numbers of certain items in order to maintain a good variety in a moderate sized wardrobe? I have a similar sized wardrobe (168, excluding gear, scarves, jewelry, loungewear, special occasion) but wonder if there is a disconnect in my items (22 pairs of jeans?!)

  • lyn67 replied 2 months ago

    This is really a great thread, will munch on it again later! Loved your new dresses last year and that you became such a wise buyer/dresser over time so not making mistakes anymore not only when buying new things but when editing, too, so you kept holding on  things with true potential for a  later happy use. 

  • karen13 replied 2 months ago

    Very useful and interesting post. I really liked the way you organized it, both words and visuals.

    Suz - you are one of my personal fashion icons - your WIWs are aspirational for me, even though I don't have the same life, and can't always wear the same styles, fits or colors. You always look so put together, situation appropriate, and confident (which I think stems from the first two). You put effort into your "hobby" and it pays off. So it is very helpful to understand how you got here.

    Your insightful analysis of your style and comments about others are a huge help to to me and many others here. After a few years of paying more attention and putting more effort into my attire, I'm wanting continue the journey with the next steps. Thanks for showing a path!

  • Cardiff girl replied 2 months ago

    Thank you so much for this walk around your wardrobe and your thoughts on it.l think Ifind it particularly helpful as it’s prove that you can build a stylish and practical wardrobe post child raising.Like you I had no money in my 20 s,was raising a family in my 30s and 40s and have arrived here in middle age wondering how to “catch up”in the wardrobe stakes.Hearing that it was similar for you and that you have become so stylish more recently givesme great cause for hope.

  • Christina F. replied 2 months ago

    Thank for posting this. I don’t have specific feedback except to say you should clearly keep on with what you’ve been doing.

    I will add that I relate to not spending on myself. I was a grad student for nigh on to 13 years and even necessary purchases would have me racked in guilt. I got over that but it took me getting a real full time job. I was finally able to attend to things like regular hair cuts too.

  • Suz replied 2 months ago

    Christina, oh, the hair cuts! I know!

    Cardiff Girl, so glad if any of this is helpful to you. I think a lot of women here on this forum are in a similar if not identical boat. 

    Karen, thank you so much for your kind words. I'm honoured. Your observation about confidence being tied to planning is so astute. As Angie puts it, a little effort at the front end makes outfit creation feel intuitive in the moment, but the overall foundation needs to be there to make that possible. It took me years to get that far. I joined this forum in 2010? Maybe 2011. Anyway, a long time ago! 

    Lyn, thank you, and I hope you are right. I rarely if ever regret the things I edit out. 

  • Suz replied 2 months ago

    Shevia, thanks — I’m so happy to be in a city with better consignment shopping. I suspect many of my wild cards in the next few years and not a few of my essentials will come from those shops.

    Rachy, ugh — it’s a bit horrifying to think I bought an item per WEEK! Somehow 4 per month doesn’t sound sooooo bad.

    Deb — thank you!

    Bijou — yes, I loved what Texstyle said, too. Most stylish version of what is practical!

    Jenni, thank you for sharing. Quite a few of us, I think, came to YLF after years of fashion forgetfulness. And yes, I’m not angry with myself about those sandals. The brand is usually excellent. Maybe I should write to them. Hmmmm.

    Mainelady, thank you so much. And yes, the sales purchases were mainly a matter of timing. I do buy a lot for fall at NAS so it is a pre-season sale, which helps.

    CIndy — thank you!

    Dakotacheryl — that’s fantastic! Half as many purchases as mine. Thanks for sharing your process. I need to consider how I can reconcile my style preferences and fit needs with ethical buying. It’s going to take some work.

    Fashintern, thank you! And no, my life pattern in general is very different from my mother’s. I resemble my dad in temperament. For good and for ill. Don’t give up on Sarto — they are a good brand usually. I’ve had several shoes and sandals from them, all excellent. This is the only flop. As for sales, I don’t shop them on purpose except for NAS. What I do is confine my shopping (by and large) to about 4 “blocks” per year. I’ll shop twice for each season — once early, and once later. This year I didn’t get an early spring shop so I didn’t buy anything until later and all was on sale by then. If I wait for sales for certain items I am sometimes sized out.

    Thanks for the recommendation of My Fitness Pal. I know many people enjoy using it. But I’m not a calorie counter by principle as well as inclination.

    Nemosmom, I don’t replace one for one, no. It’s much more intuitive than that. I just edit out stuff that isn’t working for me and add in stuff that I hope will. It helps to identify your wardrobe essentials and ensure you have those covered. I bought these over time and replace as needed (it is part of my total numbers.)

    If I missed commenting to anyone please forgive me. Running errands simultaneously. :)

  • Jenn replied 2 months ago

    I love the way you kept track of your annual purchases with a Collection in Finds, Suz. I'm going to follow suit and do that myself this year. It provides such a handy visual reference of everything added during the year. 

    I think it's interesting that, despite having different-sized wardrobes, we both added/retired about the same percentage this year. I think of my items as having about a three-year lifespan because of replacing about a third of my items each year, but that's a huge oversimplification. The truth is, many items cycle through in a year or two of heavy wear, and many others live in my wardrobe for much, much longer. I suspect that's the same for you!

    I was intrigued by JenniNZ's comments about longevity and wardrobe size and purchasing and all those interesting details that make up how we manage our closets, and I was thinking that I'd peg JenniNZ as a more eclectic, less trend-driven dresser than your trendy classic persona, so it makes sense she might keep items longer, even if only worn occasionally. You cycle through your trendy pieces with heavy wear, and keep your classics in your closet longer. With a smaller closet, I wear almost everything quite heavily, and rely on regular (and necessary!) replacements of both essentials and statements to keep myself up-to-date.

  • Suz replied 2 months ago

    Jenn, yes -- I completely agree. Jenni's more eclectic, like Joy, so items can live in her closet longer. I wear my trends heavily and they wear out or I tire of them. I wear my essentials (classics, mostly) pretty heavily too but often they are woven items that tend not to wear out as quickly and the classic styles don't date. And yes, isn't the collection a great idea? Really helped me. 

  • Jenni NZ replied 2 months ago

    Thanks Jenn and Suz. Both of your posts, as well as Deb's, made me think a lot. One thing that troubles me is not understanding why I go off something and don't wear it so much any more. I look down my lists and several things were not worn at all in 2018. Then I say, well why is that? I still like those things! It often takes about 7-8 years for me to actually DIS-like something or be "over it". You are both right that I don't care too much about trends. They affect me rather peripherally/vaguely.

  • nemosmom replied 2 months ago

    Thank you for responding, Suz! You have such a great approach and it's clear you're nailing it! I am off to dig through wardrobe essentials now...

  • Suz replied 2 months ago

    Nemosmom, I'll bet Angie posts again on that topic in the blog very soon. It's an annual thing. 

    Jenni, I, too, keep certain items and then don't wear them. In some cases the reason is obvious -- they are special occasion wear, etc. In other cases, it's not so clear but usually it comes down to not having the right support act to create an outfit that makes me feel fab in this leg of my style journey. I may have had those pieces before (when I bought the thing) and passed them on, or I may not want to wear exactly that silhouette any more, or something. 

    Also, I frequently "go off" a beloved item for a year or so and then return to it and wear it into the ground. 

  • Sal replied 2 months ago

    Thanks Suz - I enjoyed reading this. I love your Looks - you have a signature style that suits you brilliantly - but leaves room for some flexibility too. You seem to have added pieces this year that work for your life - and climate - and that is fantastic.

    I also relate to TexStyles motto and will keep that in mind this year.

  • gryffin replied 2 months ago

    Wow suz soooooooo impressed!!  No mistakes!  Well done! Kudos!  Congrats!  You have a gorgeous and functional wardrobe, so elegant and just perfect for your elegant, edgy but always practical style!  I stand in awe, truly!!  Each year I have made better choices, worst mistakes and best buys are often NAS.  It's the only time I really get caught up in the frenzy.  Right now I am in the midst of a whole house clean out (nothing like helping your Uncle into assisted living and mom downsize to make you want to throw absolutely everything out).  This helped me really let go of the "ok" because "ok" is not good enough!  I hope 2019 will see me to the zen place of no mistakes.  It's ok if something doesn't work out like shoes - but I'd like to feel that I didn't keep anything that wasn't loved completely from the start.  So my new question - would suz, who is soooooo much more disciplined and insightful, keep it if she were me?!!!

  • SarahD8 replied 2 months ago

    Suz, coming back late to this, but thanks for those additional thoughts on purchase/discard tracking and making change. You made me think through why I am drawn to track these things and I think I could learn a lot about which purchases really prove useful and which types of items don't have staying power in my wardrobe. So it's not just about the numbers. (Although, like you I have aspirations about being more environmentally/ethically responsible with my wardrobe, and thus the number-related guilt begins to creep in.)

  • Runcarla replied 2 months ago

    Back to read some more! The contributions of fabbers is interesting and educational. I'm intrigued by your return to judicious sourcing of consignment. I recognize second hand was once necessity, but some of your signiture pieces have been sourced that way. Your bright pink suit, and now the PT jacket and SQ coat. Full circle?

    Something from Jessicam's post to my 2018 review has been rattling around in my head, and I've written it across the first page of my fashion journal - 'Know Thyself'. It seems to be an apt theme for 2019.

  • Suz replied 2 months ago

    Carla, I hadn't actually thought of that -- full circle -- but you're right, there is an element of that to consignment/ vintage shopping. I am unlikely to buy a lot of things this way because of the "trendy" part of my style, but I do enjoy the hunt, and if I'm able to find items that I genuinely love and use, recycling is  a responsible way to shop. 

    Sarah, that's a really important insight. I've learned that the items with deep staying power in my own closet tend to be those that are extremely well made classics that are also essentials to my personal style, e.g. a fabulous navy blazer, great-fitting denim, even if it does wear out on me from time to time.  ;) Vintage statement items also live a long time in my closet -- like my Biba kimono. 

    Gryffin, wow, you are flattering me! Thank you for those kind words. I feel luck played some role in my lack of mistakes this year. I don't think it's really possible to go forever with no mistakes -- sometimes we can only tell in the wearing of an item if it will work. In your case, your style is so carefully honed that if you have a hole there must be a very intense desire to fill it because it makes such a massive difference -- you can't just substitute any old thing for the type of thing you are after. So it would be extra tempting to hold onto items that seem to scratch the itch for this or that HEWI. Especially since I'm sure you often meet success when you decide to try the item -- or discover something great in another way, like your Gibson jacket example. 

  • Windchime replied 2 months ago

    I always enjoy reading your posts, and this one is no exception! Congrats on a year without shopping mistakes—that is really impressive! It does seem you’ve in a really good place with your wardrobe for the last year or so.

    I definitely made at least one shopping mistake this year, and that was NOT purchasing your fab B.P. silver shirt. :) Every time I see a post with you wearing it, I love it all over again.

    My wardrobe is around the size of yours. I enjoy keeping an accurate, up-to-date inventory , including when I bought things and how much they cost. I don’t keep lists of what I get rid of or when; I just delete those from the inventory.

    I keep telling myself I should follow a strict one in/one out policy, but it doesn’t always happen right away. My numbers stay about the same over time, though, which I’ve decided meets the criteria.

    Looking forward to the next part of your analysis!

  • Suz replied 2 months ago

    Windchime, yes -- if the numbers stay more or less the same, you have reached the size that works for you. At least for this leg of the style journey. It's interesting what seems important for each of us to track -- for me, knowing the "why" and "how long I keep" is important but the price, not so much (as long as I'm generally in budget) and I don't track that. And thank you for your kind words. 

    Sally, thank you so much! Your small yet extremely varied wardrobe is an inspiration! 

  • Jessikams replied 2 months ago

    Thx for sharing! I am particularly interested in what you say about buying for your real life AND your aspirational style and integrating the two. YESSSS.

    I work for myself, so I could just wear sloppies most of the time. And I did, in fact, for a few years. But boy, it was bringing me doooooown and I felt totally invisible. I am so much happier now that I dress up more. I struggle to strike the right balance- sometimes I look silly/overdressed (I have a weakness for sparkle even in daytime) and sometimes I buy “evening” stuff that doesn’t get worn. But I think it’s valid to buy for aspirational style and I do think that is different from “buying for a fantasy life.”

  • Gigi replied 2 months ago

    Great analysis! It sounds like you had a great year. You are a finely honed fashion machine. :)

    Question for you: Regarding items that were culled for reasons other than poor fit or excessive wear, did you have difficulty choosing what to let go? 

  • Janet replied 2 months ago

    Such great analysis, Suz. I am always impressed with how thoughtful and disciplined you are about your wardrobe. I am such an impulsive shopper and emotional dresser that I sometimes lack discipline, but I’m working on it.

    I just did a pretty major closet edit (and am looking forward to more), and it helped me pinpoint where I tend to make mistakes. Take for example, the sheer number of tops I own — I couldn’t wear them all in a season, there are just too many — but many were several years old and no longer worn, although in good shape. I tried them on and they fit and they look fine, but I’m no longer feeling them. I need to be smarter about moving things on when that happens, and also to not adding more tops and jackets because those are the things that are more fun for me to shop for (unlike pants, jeans and dresses, which stress me out because they so rarely fit or look good on me).

    I also need to be smarter about buying for my real lifestyle. I have/had too many tops that are just a bit too dressy or precious for my real life. I need to keep it wash-and-wear. Tees, lightweight casual sweaters, and not too precious wovens.

    Thanks for the thought-provoking insights, Suz!

  • lisa p replied 2 months ago

    not having the right support act to create an outfit that makes me feel fab in this leg of my style journey...

    The lightbulb just went on in my metaphorical closet, thank you.  Why is this blazer sitting unworn? Why is this blouse doing this same thing? Because the top, jean, pant etc that I once wore it with is longer in my closet or now looks too dated .  I tend to just abandon the whole look rather than finding the new supporting piece....which creates a lot of wardrobe churn . Huh. Not sure why this didn't dawn on me earlier ....

  • texstyle replied 2 months ago

    Thanks for sharing the details Suz! You have a beautiful wardrobe and seem to do a great job of choosing what is right for you. Love all the comments too - so helpful. I also keep many of my items for many years and sometimes don't wear them for a few years and then find myself wanting to wear them again. I do try to do occasional "try ons" to be sure I'm not just holding things for the sake of holding (or out of being lazy).

    My biggest change this year I think was to start finding some of my jeans via consignment. I was having a hard time rationalizing $100 jeans and then finding after a few wears that for some reason they weren't perfect. Now I tend to spend much less - sometimes as little as $25 and if they don't work I'm not nearly as troubled by it. I will pay more if I find something I am pretty certain about of course, but for someone who wears jeans nearly every day in fall/winter I need a decent selection and my wallet is happier. 

  • Sterling replied 2 months ago

    I was glancing at some of your WIWs on the "Wall."  You certainly slayed it in 2018.

  • suntiger replied 2 months ago

    No shopping mistakes- wish I could say same #wardrobegoals :)
    I love the skirts and dresses, and I'd consider your style consistent (from what I've seen so far) but not stagnant. You definitely know what works for you but aren't afraid to try new combos!

  • MsLuna replied 2 months ago

    Suz, thank you for sharing your thoughts on your style journey. So happy to hear that you did not have any purchasing mistakes! I missed the last year, but it sounds to me that you’ve had a successful year, stylewise. And BTW you look great in dresses! That “polished” effect of dresses is why I almost exclusively wear them in summer (I still wear shorts though). Glad to see it worked out for you!

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