Wardrobe refreshers: Building them in

Angie's recent post on end-of-season buying got me thinking. In my response on the blog I said I rarely buy things at the end of season since joining YLF, because in the past that has usually been a mistake for me. 

But there are exceptions, or near exceptions. For example, I bought two VC tube skirts late last summer. Granted, when I bought them, I believed they would be all-year round purchases for me. Once I got them and realized I'd only be wearing them in the late spring/ summer/ early fall period, I felt a bit guilty and worried that I had wasted my money. Well, it turns out they have been my absolute top summer workhorses! So much so that...you guessed it...I bought another. 

Firmly and decidedly on Team Wear, I have since worn the new VC skirt 4 times in 5 days! 

That's what I'd call a "wardrobe refresher." It wasn't a "need." I could have lived the entire summer without owning this skirt. But I'm clearly enjoying it and it has given my wardrobe a new lease on life. I'm wearing tops I wasn't otherwise wearing all summer, and enjoying the new combinations. 

This has led me to the following reflection. If it's usually a mistake (for me) to buy items at the end of season for next year, it is not necessarily a mistake to buy them close to the end of season for this year. 

Which makes me wonder: maybe I should budget and shop with this idea explicitly in my mind. Buy most of my newer items as close to the beginning of a new season as is practical. But reserve a bit of mad money for one or two key (possibly statement) items that I allow myself to buy mid-season. 

How about you? Do you plan with refreshers in mind or are they always impulse purchases? Do your mid-season purchases get a lot of love? 

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.


  • hedgiehog replied 7 years ago

    Wow, Suz! I really like that skirt on you. The bold stripe is fun and perfect for mixing and matching. The denim jacket and white cons are just perfect and give the outfit a fun, funky vibe. So glad you were able to find purchases that worked out so well for you. In the past, my purchases tend to be impulse but after joining YLF, I certainly give more thought to replacements, wardrobe holes and refreshers.

  • DonnaF replied 7 years ago

    Well, I have to remember that some items aren't even released/available until mid-season.  Last year, I bought a red trench at NAS, but a plum trench came out mid-season.  I have no need for two trenches, but if it is ever marked down to 60% off I may get it because I like the color so much.

    There's not too much seasonal/temperature variation where I live, but I notice that some years are warmer/colder and that makes a real difference in how much an item gets worn.  I run cold, and some years I've worn shorts only once or twice which actually may be a public service.

    But really, I don't shop seasonally so I guess everything is a refresher!

  • Peri replied 7 years ago

    I'm not good at figuring out what I want or need at the start of the season, so I would say mid season shopping is very important for me. I need to be in the weather, trying to get dressed for a month or so, before I really see what I need. And then it takes me forever to find the right items in the store.

    But end of season, not so much...usually I've given up by then!

  • Karie replied 7 years ago

    Since I am starting to be much fussier about my purchases, I shop all during the seasons. I usually don't know what I need until the season gets going, then I make a list and shop for those needed items. I don't need much, if anything, for the upcoming fall season, plus we are saving for a trip to Grand Cayman next summer, so my list will be ultra specific.

    The skirt looks fantastic with the white cons!

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    Hedgie, I am less impulsive since YLF, too, but my mid-season purchases do have a bit of the "impulse" about them, I think. 

    Donna, that's a good point -- if you don't live in a strongly seasonal climate, all of this season talk is probably nonsensical. I actually think I'd struggle to adapt to that situation as well! 

    Peri and Karie, I have the same issue of not really knowing what I will need in advance. This is very slowly changing however (2.5 years into YLF life). When I first got here, I could not for the life of me understand how someone could opine, in February, about what she would need in June. I still find that really difficult. (This may be partly because I keep my clothing separated by season -- the summer stuff goes in storage when it is wintery, and partly because fall/ winter are so dominant in my part of the world that it is difficult for me to imagine summer, period, until it is upon me).

    Oh -- and until recently I never really kept lists or pictures of what I owned. That also plays a role. If you don't really know what's in your closet, of course you won't know what you need or where the gaps are. Duh....

    But Angie's blog posts on establishing your personal wardrobe essentials have been helpful, as has analyzing my own outfits over a season or two, and figuring out what gets the most use. I still can't tell you in any exactitude what I will need, but I can say generally: "I want to update knits this year." Etc. 

    Having said that, I am still in awe of those who, like Shannon, can predict months in advance that she is going to need XYZ highly specific item. How does she know??? But she's always right, darn it! 

  • Elly replied 7 years ago

    I don't think it hurts to refresh mid season, especially as someone with a small summer wardrobe that ends up wearing the same few pieces again and again. I also am more willing to spend if it is something less trendy in a color I wear year-in and year-out, or something I can wear into fall.

  • Adelfa replied 7 years ago

    I find it extremely hard to conceptualize *what I'm going to need*. I've gotten a tiny bit better after a few months active on ylf. I'm trying to learn to have a shopping list, but it tends to be very short and oriented towards basics like "black booties and dark jeans." Then Angie posts something and I think, THAT's what I need.

    So, yes, I buy mid-season!

  • Marlene replied 7 years ago

    I am most definitely a mid-season buyer.  Once I'm in the season, I have a better idea about what I am enjoying wearing, the weather, my activities....all the things that I could not really predict before the season.  Before a season, I will GUESS what sorts of things I will need but mainly I buy the essentials....things I KNOW I will be needing....like stuff I wore out the year before or some other glaring hole.  Or some basic that I will wear no matter what the future holds.  But once I am in the throes of a season, then I  tend to acquire the Fun Stuff (and usually on sale!).  A happy wardrobe needs both essentials AND Fun Stuff!

  • Marlene replied 7 years ago

    Speaking of wardrobe refreshers...today I was at Nordstrom (returning stuff, of course) and I stumbled upon this little gem:


    So cute and I loved it.  I pined for it all afternoon.  But it is out of my budget (the pre-season budget, that is!) and left it in the store.  I continued to pine and suddenly found myself buying it online.  I don't often PINE for clothes but I was seriously pining.  And now it is mine....

  • Caro in Oz replied 7 years ago

    One thing I've always done is keep a little of my budget for "surprises" these are not needs as such just the things I just happen upon that make a big difference to my wardrobe. I'm also for repeating things that work - you are looking fab Suz :)

  • shevia replied 7 years ago

    I realize reading this that I am totally disorganized with my buying. Second hand stores usually only sell in season clothes. Thrift stores sell whatever they get - often the best coats are donated at the end of winter. Zara (my main retail store) has two week seasons. So I have picked up shorts lately, which is sort of mid-season but will be worn for at least two more months, and a coat a couple of months ago that will have to wait until November. Ack, I don't even know where I am going with this so I will just say I love your outfit above and am glad you bought another VC skirt!

  • Lisa replied 7 years ago

    Very interesting.  I think it is 50/50 if a mid season item gets as much love as a bought at the start of the season item.  It really depends on how fast the weather changes. 

  • Firecracker replied 7 years ago

    Love your outfit! I like the layers and the sassy white sneakers.

    Well, I was going to start a budget this year, but . . . now where did that budget thing go?  I thought it was around here somewhere. Uh. . . Seasonal shopping list? That's a good idea.
    I think I'm getting better at buying wisely since YLF, but not thoughtfully enough to answer the question you pose. I'll leave the question to those more organized, disciplined shoppers than myself.

  • Mo replied 7 years ago

    Maybe I should be exempt from this question, because my seasons vary along with my moves so much I can't say 6 months from now if I'll be in snow or on a beach.  When I buy a shearling leather jacket in FL in November it's a crap shoot as to how much wear it might soon get (3 wears).  
    I have learned to buy what I really LOVE if it's off season.  Surely I will eventually move to where I can wear it LOL.

  • ManidipaM replied 7 years ago

    I find I can only predict replacements (layering knits, basic T-shirts, thermalwear, jeans, booties) and really big seasonal holes in advance (dressier rainproof boots, cardigans, nursing-friendly cool-weather tops, warm leggings) beforehand. The rest gets figured out mid-season or else in the previous year's end-of-season sales.

    I have gotten better at paying full price but still prefer to look at the sales because I am still pretty much overhauling my twin closets plus buying for a (relatively) fast-changing body still. (Confession: I thought I'd be in my early pregnancy wardrobe by now...but am not.)

    It helps a bit with buying for next year that I am both a slow adopter and not very trendy.

  • rae replied 7 years ago

    I am with Mo and have been changing too much to establish set patterns. Already, some items I thought would be workhorses when I bought them last year (when my reality was skinny jeans and a uniform tee every day) have not been needed much this year. 

    But to respond in theory: yes, I do think it's wise to set aside a little cash for a mid-season refresher. Besides emerging needs/wants/inspirations, sometimes a person just wants to shake things up after months of the same outfits.

  • anne replied 7 years ago

    I don't exactly plan with mid season refreshers in mind - but it takes me a long time to get everything I want in a season, so often that is when I'll end up getting things.

    That has been exacerbated for me by the fact that in recent years, living in the country, my trips to the city where I could stop were often in the post Christmas period and in July!  For summer stuff particularly, I bought the majority of my purchases in late Dec. But over here in Australia summer lasts for a long time, so that would do me for at least 3 more months.

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    Anne, you raise an excellent point and one that pertains to me also. I don't get all that many bricks and mortar shopping opportunities so I need to seize the ones I get, whenever they fall. And they usually fall mid-season, just as yours do, for the same reasons! 

    Rae, I'm glad I'm not the only person who needs to shake things up. 

    Mani, it's totally natural to be in flux at this point -- you have had to deal with many changes. But your recent insights are really going to help guide you moving forward. 

    Mo, you definitely get a free "seasonal" pass, LOL! 

    Firecracker, I have to confess that my "budget" is pretty fuzzy around the edges. Which allows me these mid-season purchases, ha ha....thanks for kind words. 

    Lisa, you are so right. If you buy mid-season and the weather lasts, you're golden and will certainly get wear from the item. 

    Shevia, you have less defined seasons that I do anyway, so buying the way you do probably works a lot better. There's more crossover than there is in my climate. 

    Caro -- wise as usual! 

    Marlene, I don't blame you for going back to that vest, and I think you will wear it in winter. White is huge for this winter! It is cross seasonal and a great purchase. 

    Adelfa, I have the same kind of list at start of season -- oriented towards the obvious essentials. Maybe my mid-season purchases are the fun statements. I'll have to keep track of that. 

    Elly, that's a really good point -- sometimes I'm conscious of that, too -- is this an item that will transition well? 

  • Transcona Shannon replied 7 years ago

    This is a brilliant realization Suz and I really appreciate that you posted about this. 

    I also posted on Angie's blog post about no longer buying items at the end of a season for the following year. I have wasted far too much money and energy on that habit. But...I think you are right in that there are exceptions and clearly the VC skirt is that exception for you. And buying a refresher mid season is much different than buying an item at the end of a season with the thought of wearing it next year.

  • texstyle replied 7 years ago

    I love this outfit on you Suz!  It's fun, lively and looks incredibly comfortable on you too. You've been doing such a wonderful job at choosing your new items, I think if saving up some budget for late season additions works this well, you should definitely do it often.

  • Angie replied 7 years ago

    (OT: Suz, I replied to you in my outfit post yesterday: Suz, you and I wear the same tops – and often in the same size. DVF usually fits me very well, so keep a special eye out for her stuff. Karen Millen tops fit me well too, so be sure to give her tops a bash. And high five, jumper twin).

    (I'll also add in Zara, Theory, Rebecca Taylor, Club Monaco, Alexander Wang, Derek Lam, 3.1 Philip Lim, Anne Fontaine and J.Crew - as good top fits for our body type. Sometimes Banana Republic).

    Now back to what you were saying. KILLER outfit, and excellent for today's post too. I am an early and mid season shopper. For Autumn and Winter, I sometimes buy off season. Your  reflection is great, especially when the items are transitional.

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    Thank you, Angie, for those great recommendations! I am so very tempted by the silky Tee by DVF...maybe the raspberry one instead of the blush one....but it is a big splurge. 

    I have already discovered that Zara, Theory, Club Monaco and J. Crew as well as some Banana Republic stuff can fit well. Thank you for the list of others... it is helpful! Especially since I love those designers. :-) 

    Thank you, Texstyle -- I know you were worried about the high contrast for me on top, but on the bottom it seems to work without any problems. 

    Shannon, you're right that mid-season is different from the end of season. 

    And Angie's point about sometimes buying off season for fall and winter (her dominant seasons) makes me think that if one knows one's own  style very well, that might work, too. But only in small doses. 

  • shedev replied 7 years ago

    I usually buy for the season I'm in but I will buy something I really like regardless of the season. It was pretty late spring when I bought the Ella Moss moto, but I've been sneaking that in whenever I can. I actually started buying for fall in June. I have a running wish list in my head and when I find it I buy it. The taupe Aldo boots were a late find but I work them in too.

  • Day Vies replied 7 years ago

    Adorable! I love the cons with this outfit and the denim jacket.

    Many moons ago I worked in retail management and knew that depending on what your needs are and size the best time to buy is at the end of the season. I've done this again and again since leaving retail. The caveat is if an item is really popular it's not going to be at the end of the season sale. However if you are open and patient you could save 70-80% and find exactly what you need.

    I just went shopping the other day. I was not able to buy this year at the beginning of the season because I just didn't have the time. But I had a budget and a desire for printed summer blouses & tops with a little more volume or a peplum.  I got a few surprises in addition to 3 blouses that perfectly fit the bill. I got a fit and flare sleeveless dress, a printed skirt, and a perfect seersucker jacket (score!). I only spent $100. So I am a fan.

  • Sveta replied 7 years ago

    Hah, this is about the same number of times I wore my striped skirt last week as well! :-)
    Love your outfit and I think I need a sleeveless t-neck ASAP...:-)
    I realized the power of wardrobe refreshers last summer when my yellow/cream oxfords, nude cage sandals, BF jeans and white Editors completely changed my summer style landscape. While I got footwear early in the season my BF jeans were a NAS purchase and still they played a huge role for the rest of the summer.
    But I don't know how to plan for this: it seems to be a happy accident for me. Love when this happens though! :-)

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    That seems to be it, Sveta -- happy accident. I guess just accepting that it will happen (we hope) and striking when the iron feels hot is the answer. We have already worked our CPW on those striped skirts down considerably in just a week! 

  • Sveta replied 7 years ago

    Yeah, it is just like love from the first sight: you did not plan for this but know when it happened :-)

  • Joy replied 7 years ago

    I typed and submitted a long post to this thread yesterday but it must still be floating around out there. To address your question, I had planned to do a summer wardrobe refresher in mid July this year, not really needing much this year and hoping to get lots of wear out of what I have.
    A cooler than normal summer meant I could vary things more than usual, and the only mid-season buy has been some nude ankle strap sandals. I am debating about the white denim vest and a red dress I've been watching
    (Both now on sale) but will probably pass as neither is a real need.
    I think Angie has finally converted me to an early season shopper, and maybe I have a better idea of what I need/want.
    Thank you for this thread and encouraging thought on this topic.

  • Firecracker replied 7 years ago

    Reading this thread has given me some insight into my shopping habits and what makes sense for my life and climate. I do like to shop at the beginning of a season, and I will weigh carefully what to buy at full price. If I think I'd be really sad not to have it, or I think I can get enough wear out of it before it would go on sale, I'll consider buying it early in the season.
    Something Angie said made a light go on in my head: summer in Seattle is so short, I don't like to buy at the end of summer sales, for fear I won't get to wear my new things much if at all! I've seen "summers" here that were practically nonexistent. I mean, socks and long sleeves weather through the summer months! However, end-of-fall/winter sales are another thing--well worth looking at. I picked up two very nice cashmere sweaters at the Rack last early spring/late winter, paying for both of them about a quarter of what one of them would have cost at the beginning of sweater season. I had plenty of weeks left to wear them, and they are colors I'll wear again this year.

  • Nova replied 7 years ago

    I find that I am more organized shopping for fall/winter season than I am for summer which is more casual and filled with outdoor sports.  I tend to buy throughout the season as well because I have fewer opportunities to shop (my small community doesn't have any clothing type stores and I don't get into the city too often).  I have become braver about shopping online and am doing that more frequently.  It has helped me to be a bit more conscious about my purchases and I have had fewer closet orphans as a result.  I love your outfit.  That bold skirt and the cons are fantastic!

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