Great Cost Per Wear, or a Casualty of Casual?

I was looking back on 2016 purchases on my spreadsheet and the CPW of the items.  Great news!  I did better this year than ever before.  Many items over 10 times worn, some above that.  Only a handful under 2 (swimsuits, yoga wear, and dresses that were only season appropriate).  This should be cause for celebration, right?  Sort of.

On the one hand, I’m buying more for my actual lifestyle, and therefore items are getting a lot of use.  This is great.  But unfortunately I’m sliding into more casual than I’d like.  My most recent buys were jogger sweatpants, an asymmetrical sweatshirt, and a striped tee.  Recent gift for Christmas a grommet hoodie.  All very casual items.  Which, in and of itself, isn’t bad in any way.  But I find I’m getting lazier with outfits.  I’m throwing on jeans and a tee and heading out the door.  It’s fine, but it’s not inspired in any way.

Part of the issue is that I really do live a casual lifestyle.  Work is in a restaurant and greasy floors and salsa spills are a reality.  I can only do so much with work outfits.  And that is fine.  I do what I can.  Life outside of work is in a very outdoorsy, active town that also tends towards casual wear.  Not a lot of sidewalks, for instance.  Mountainous terrain.  Not really the place for heels.

So my challenge has always been to buck the societal norms a little but still not look completely out of place.  I think I zeroed in so much at year’s end on items I could wear the most often that I lost sight of putting that little zip into my look. I recently realized while studying an inspiration look I’d torn out of a magazine, that the juxtaposition was what really made it stand out.  This is what I’ve been lacking.  Balancing boyish with feminine details, and drapey with a fitted tailored item.  Contrasting textures and styles.  I intend to refocus on creating more interesting looks, even the most casual ones.


In the end, this should only make for even better CPW spread across my whole closet.  I’ll be pulling more dressy tops to go with the everyday jeans, upping their meager CPW.  Putting on an actual jacket instead of an easy hoodie or flannel shirt jacket.  And grabbing the not oft worn vests, and funkier shoes (when conditions are possible – not on snow days like now).

Sure, wearing your jogger sweats, hoodies, and jeans and tees into the ground makes for great CPW, but maybe not the most fashionable ‘look’.  I will still be concentrating on buying things I will actually wear, but I don’t want to lose sight of the style part of the equation.  Good cost per wear does not have to, and shouldn’t, come at the price of looking put together and stylish.  I can have both!   And intend to.

Shopping List 2016 at year’s end

It may not be the end of the calendar year, but it is the end of my shopping year.  I’ve spent my budget (plus about $50 over – oops) and so I’m done.   I’m super happy with how my year’s shopping ended up, despite my late summer mini binge that had me worried for a bit.

Here is what I bought off my list (in blue):


I got some faux Uggs last minute on a good sale, and will instead wait for next year for the sneakers. The jeans I’d ordered ended up being keepers, so that slot is filled.  I did not get a coat or a pair of shorts, but I did overbuy in my dresses category. Everything else felt just about right.  I am cutting back even a bit more next year, with just about one less of every category, but feel ready for that.  I’m in a good place with not many true wardrobe gaps.

I am glad I started listing the basics and gear in with everything else.  It helped me to not view them as sideline items that don’t really count.  They do count.  Maybe more than the other items given my lifestyle and job uniform needs.

My list looks different at the end of year than the beginning.  It changes with my whims and what’s out in the stores.  But that’s fine.  As long as my amount (allotted spaces) stays under control I’m good.  My issue has always been too much stuff, not too much money spent.

One thing I have noticed about this year’s more lifestyle driven purchases is that I am getting a lot more wear out of what I have bought.  In past years I got a lot of ‘pretties’ that I’d wear once or twice by the time the year was up.  This year most things are over 3 wears, and many up  to a dozen.  Awesome!

Budget Breakdown 2016

Seems it’s that time of year again, as I did this post almost to the day last year.  Guess I’m on an internal clock of sorts lol.

I got to tallying.  This time I included every last thing.  Socks, work shoes, whatever.  Most of my under $10 items are basics like underwear and under layers.  Only one dress and one white tee shirt came in under the $10 mark.  2 items were purged, one of them being $8 plastic sandals that were terrible, and the other a $22 pair of jogger pants that shrank the first wash 😦

  • Under $10 – 7 items for a $49 total
  • $10 to $25 – 13 items for a $204 total
  • $26 to $50 – 15 items for a $533 total
  • $51 to $100 – 8 items for a $506 total
  • over $100 – 1 item for $110 total

I should note that gifts are also included in these amounts, namely 2 cashmere sweaters from last Christmas’s gift money.  Even though it’s not my money, it is money I am allocating toward clothing.  My last purchase of the year is the only one over $100 and it hasn’t arrived in the mail yet, so it may end up going back.  If so, I’m still shopping in a relatively mid to low range – under $100, mostly around $30 or so.   I thought I was spending at a higher price point this year but the numbers don’t bear that out.

Next year is the year of limiting the number of purchases, and not the budget.  That said, I will not be going out buying whatever catches my eye willy nilly, with no care as to cost.  But I really have been wanting to get over the bargain mindset for years now.

Perhaps my spending parameters will look more like this:

  • 6 items under $25
  • 10 items between $25 and $75
  • 10 items over $75

That would be up to $150 in low end purchases, around $500 in mid range, and $750 to maybe a cool grand in the higher range.  About the same expenditure, just spread out differently.  Ideally, the stricter limit on number of items will finally allow me the mental room to spend more per item, and bring up the overall quality of my wardrobe.  That’s the hope!


List Update Fall 2016

I am nearing the end of the shopping year and down to the last crumbs of my budget.  I have $100 left.  I got carried away late summer, as I talked about already.  That left me with 3 high priority purchases for the rest of the year – jeans, sneakers, and a sweater.  I got the sweater and decided to make room for a dress I want for an upcoming vacation at the end of this month.  I may or may not be able to purchase both the jeans and the sneakers with the remaining $100.  I’m fine with only getting one or the other.  The rest can wait until 2017 shopping season.

Here is what my list looks like for the year:



As you can see,  I overbought in the dresses category and under purchased sweaters.  It should come as no surprise that I now need sweaters more than anything else lol.  This is why I have a list to start with, so I don’t get too lopsided in any one category.  I need to watch my dresses category more closely, as I historically like to buy them more than I do actually wear them.  Next year I have room for only 2.

I didn’t get a coat or shorts, which is fine.  I have plenty of both.  Accessories also got little to no attention this year.  That does not surprise me.  I can use the same bag for up to 3 years straight without a care.  I have plenty of jewelry considering my wear rates (maybe once a week I’ll put on a necklace or bracelet).

What I did get a lot of was basics and active wear.  I hadn’t tended to this category much and it showed.  I now feel that I’m up to date with all categories and am looking forward to a balanced year next year of replacements and updating across the board.


Speaking of next year, here is what I have right now in my head.  Things often change as the seasons roll out and what I thought I wanted gets replaced with a newer choice.


I’m excited for 2017.  I think my closet is in a very balanced place and I’m ready for a metered out pace of updating to keep things current.  Just enough to keep injecting a little fun and some trends.

This fall went off the rails a little bit but I’m course correcting and all is good.  I won’t buy much of anything for the next 2 months but I have enough to get by.  I won’t make this same mistake next year, though!

A New Plan – Every Other Week Purchase

I was having dinner with Debbie of Recovering Shopaholic last month when we got to talking about, well, shopping!  I commented on how it should be enough to buy something every other week or so.  And you know what?  It should.  I got to thinking that I might want to try it out as a means to rein in my shopping while still allowing me to update and replace my wardrobe gradually.


Debbie and I in matching cobalt, of course!

Every other week equates to 26 items in a year.  I’ve been in the ballpark of 40 or so the last few years and know I could make do with less, I just haven’t required it of myself.  What would happen if I finally curtailed my wants that bit more?  Would I still be satisfied?  Surely 2 weeks is not very long to wait to buy whatever shiny new thing that catches my eye!

With my usual Shopping List template in hand, I got to adjusting the allotted slots for items:


I would not ‘count’ basics and gear in this scenario but would still list the amount spent in the overall budget.  I gave quite a bit of attention to gear/lounge/active this 2016 shopping year and feel I can throttle back in that department again to just updating as things wear out.

I realize the remaining slots equal 27, and not 26, items.  In the past I have not filled every line.  Usually shoes or accessories come up short.  Or maybe I don’t need a coat that year, or a skirt.  At any rate, this is about as close as I can accurately foresee my shopping needs.

Incidentally, this equates to one shirt or topper each month, for there are 12 of those slots.  I can still shop seasonally, just more regularly spaced apart.  A shirt for each month, weather appropriate (tank in summer, sweater in winter, etc.)  Rationally, this should be enough.  I hope emotionally I will feel satisfied at this slower rate of shopping.

The bottoms are just as seasonally intuitive.  Dresses in spring and fall, shorts and a skirt in summer, pants in winter.  I won’t get to buy one of these each month, like with the tops, but that’s okay.  Like I said, I have enough to get dressed.  These are wants and updates, not true needs.

Shoes will be a one per season purchase.  Boots for winter, sandals in summer, flats or sneakers for spring and/or fall.  In this category I’ve already been shopping this way for a few years now, and find it works great for my wear rates and need for variety.

Looks like accessories equal one per season as well.  I’m not a huge accessories gal, but I expect I’ll buy a bag for the year, maybe a belt or hat, a piece of jewelry and perhaps a scarf.

This should cover all my bases and not find me truly needing anything.  In recent shopping years, I’ve toyed with seasonal shopping.  It didn’t work out – mostly because I was attempting to do it in bigger ‘chunks’.  4 to 6 items at the start of January and then just maybe one a month to refresh for the rest of winter, for example.  That’s not how I naturally shop and I found it was harder to do.  I do better at steadily doling treats out.  Whether it’s cookies, or wine, or clothes shopping.  This is where I hope the every two week rate will quench my desire but still keep everything under control.

Essentially, I can get a top every month, a bottom every other, and a shoe and accessory each season.  I don’t have to buy things in such a regimented way if I don’t want, but it shows that I can still keep updates coming at a reasonable pace, season by season.

If I do buy a couple items at once, I will wait out the corresponding 2 week interlude per item, to resume the shopping plan’s bi-weekly rate.  As for budget amount, I don’t often have issue with spending too much, but rather having too many things, so I am leaving it open.  I assume I’ll end up somewhere between $1200 to $1500.

So, that’s the plan for 2017!  Do you have any ideas about fine tuning how you shop?  A new plan?

I Have $200 and 3 Months To Go

Or, how I got ahead of my budget by summer’s end.  I was on track all year at $125 per month spending.  Then getting some peeptoe booties in July and the swimsuit ordering caper that lasted into August set my budget back.  I was only into next month’s spending at that point, but late August and September continued to see me ordering many fall items on my list.  Here’s the gory details:


Now I am left with $200 (instead of the $375 I should have at this point) and 3 items I still really want off my list.  Namely, slip on sneakers, jeans, and a sweater.  Ideally, I can slow my roll and buy just one of each of these items a month, up to the end of my shopping year.  First that means waiting until October to purchase the sneakers.  I have 2 pair in mind and slowing down is actually helping me to make a careful decision between them.  At first I wanted the shiny silver Vans.  But then my BF pointed out that I have plenty of silver shoes (he’s right).  So I went back to the wine colored Dr. Scholl’s that caught my eye.  They just scream fall, lol.  BUT, they would not be so great for work because you can’t wipe spills off flannel fabric.  I may end up buying the wine ones this year ($50) and the silver at the start of next ($70).


As for the jeans, I don’t have a specific pair in mind, but know that I need more to rotate in for my job.  Now that I don’t have to wear black uniform pants I found that really only 2 pair of jeans are work worthy.  That is, comfortable enough to run around the restaurant in.  A third pair is definitely in order.  I imagine I will spend up to $100 for whatever pair I decide on.  I also think this will be an in-person purchase.  I have ordered jeans online before and it takes a lot of trying on and returning to get the right fit.  This time around I want to go to brick and mortar stores even if that means paying more.

Lastly, I have a few sweaters on my shopping list but know that I can only afford to buy one with my remaining budget.  Either ombre/dip dye or an asymmetric if I’m forced to make a choice.  I have enough ‘regular’ sweaters to get by.  I have my eye on a Vince dip dye on eBay but it’s a bit more $$$ than I have budget for.  Might have to wait until the jeans and shoes are bought to see what I really have left to spend.  It’s hard to see what I like and know I want, but wait on it to see if I can budget for it.  But it’s good for me.  Right??

Basically, I got carried away the last 2 months and am going to have to pay the proverbial price for it to get back on track to finish out the year. I think I can do it, though.  I’m excited to try anyway.  I know realistically I don’t need anything for the remainder of the year.  But we know it’s not just about what we need when it comes to clothes shopping!

Athleisure Capsule

I had been meaning to attend to this since the start of the year.  Other things took priority, but now I’m focused on flushing it out.  Last week I got some Skechers, mostly for work at the Mexican rotisserie, but they also could cross over into athleisure apparel.  I bought some Athleta tights yesterday and Sanctuary joggers today.  Both should arrive soon.

In addition to these new items, I have the following already in my closet.  I just need to get in there and get mixing and matching!

I also have plenty of true ‘gear’ items, for running and yoga, which I may or may not decide to mix into the capsule.  PrAna, Adidas, Reebok, Nike, and the like.  The above are more a nod to the idea of sporty wear without being true technical fabric, sweat-it-out, gear.

Not listed, but obvious (I hope!) are the t-shirts and tanks to layer with/under everything.
I’m not really sure how it will pan out, but I’m eager to try.  I don’t want to feel or look like I literally just got done running or left yoga class.  But I like the idea of a casual sporty look that will be super comfy to boot!