About Mo

I'm a mid 40's California native who's always had a thing for clothes. Besides fashion, food and fitness are close behind in my interests. And wine. Definitely wine.

Halfway Point

It has been months since I’ve posted.  I have been doing my bi-weekly shopping plan, and it’s been working just great.  I get ahead sometimes, but then catch back up to pace with a week or two off.  Mostly, though, I’m finding 2/3 of what I try needs to be returned.  This is mildly annoying but part and parcel (pun intended) of online shopping.

What I have had very little of, is new things that sit unworn in my wardrobe.  I have had a couple maybe not so great choices but most were home runs.  Maybe I’m being pickier knowing I can only have that ONE thing every couple weeks.  Maybe I’m homing in on what I truly need or will wear for my actual lifestyle.  Either way, I’m very happy with what I’ve bought this year.

At the halfway point, here is what I’ve bought, and returned:

halfway.JPG

The returns are higher than I’d like, but again, better to send it back than keep it and not wear it.  I’m a bit on autopilot with my shopping these days – in a good way.  Not much obsessing and when I do, I am now just getting the dang item.  Half the time it’s not as great as I hoped/thought it would be.  But then I’m freed up from searching and hunting and price comparisons for hours online.

I will always like clothes and like to shop, but I feel like it is settling in the proper priority spot in my life and that’s the real goal of moderation for me.  This means less focus, and less posts, about my process.  That’s only natural.  I will be sure to stop back at least for the 3/4 mark and of course year end.  But maybe not much more than that.  And that’s a good thing.  Really.

Shopping Plan 2017 – Update 2 Months in

I started my shopping year just after Black Friday.  I did this last year as well, but tried to ‘fudge’ the numbers to make them fit into my plan and this year decided to just face my reality.  I shop at year’s end.  There are good sales, I have gift money to spend, it happens.  That puts me 2 months in to my 2017 shopping year.  Let’s see how I’m doing.  Here is what I’ve purchased so far:

2017-feb

This first list is my yearly plan, which is based on frequency of buys.  Last year I found I had a few buying spurts that I needed to rein in.  So this year the rule of thumb is one item every other week.  If I get ahead of schedule, I need to wait out the next purchase.  Also, I don’t have to buy anything just because it’s been 2 weeks, rather I want to slow down the overall rate of purchases.  In this regard, I’m doing fine.

One thing I want to note is the timetable for online purchases isn’t as smooth as A) I bought it B) I wear it C) I’m done.  The cardigan from Modcloth still isn’t here, for instance.  It is on a 3rd exchange.  I’m debating how I want to deal with such time lags due to returns and exchanges. (It shows one wear because I did try it out for an afternoon and then realized the sizing was off and exchanged for another size).  Anyway, it’s more a skewing of how it looks like I’m not wearing something for months, when in reality I just don’t have it to wear!

others-2017

This second chart shows my basics and gear, not included in the every other week plan.  Last year I incorporated all buys into one long list, as I realized a lot of my shopping was for these ‘extras’.  Why would I go back to separating them?  Well, I flushed out that category pretty well last year and now am in a place of just replacing as needed.  Also, these items are for home or workout so they are not assimilated into my regular wardrobe.  They go into the gear/basics drawer and don’t get figured into ‘outfits’.  (I want to note that the moto leggings are intended for workouts, but I know I also want to incorporate them into some athleisure outfits, so they went into the main shopping plan.)

These purchases are largely driven by need, not want, and so they aren’t an impulse issue for me.  Bra worn out?  Get a new one.  Sweatpants were 15 years old with too low a rise, and hand me downs to begin with (yes, true story). Buy a new soft pair for yourself.  Cold toes, buy some socks.  You know.

I do think that I want to slow down even these ‘needs’ purchases.  It could be that I simply reviewed my lounge attire and found the need to upgrade at just the same time that I joined a gym’s boot camp class and found need for some gear upgrade.  But going forth I’d like to keep these buys from coming in chunks and space them out more as well. Maybe one to two a month, as needed, if needed.  Thinking on that still.

Lastly, here is my Shopping List for 2017 and how it’s coming along:

list-feb

I have purchased 5 items from my list.  The hoodie dress has not arrived, and it may go back, making for 4 list purchases.  As mentioned, I have several gear and basics purchases racked up already and am easing off there.  Overall I feel good about my shopping so far.  I am making careful choices, and returning where something is not quite right.  It makes for a bit of a merry go round, but in the end, what stays ends up getting worn.

I am in the depths of winter right now, and we had tons of snow.  This has meant little more than work, working out, and staying home for me.  Not a lot of opportunity to dress up in outfits and go run about town.  Heck, couldn’t even leave the house for days on end, but that’s another story.  Consequently,  my regular wardrobe has not been utilized much and I can see a period of little buying while I get back in there and start putting some looks together again. I think buying pauses are natural, and I look forward to one (or more) during my year’s plan.

I believe this plan will work well for me.  I’ve got a good base wardrobe and just need some replacements and updates here and there.  But I don’t need a lot of stuff anymore.  I don’t feel restricted too severely and it’s hitting that sweet spot for me so far. Will it continue to satisfy once seasons change and the new pretties come out to be perused?  I hope so.  Stay tuned!

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.

marie-claire-inspiration

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):

end-of-year

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.

https://moderatewardrobe.wordpress.com/2015/10/20/checking-in-on-the-budget-breakdown/

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:

2016-shopping-list

 

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.

2017

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.

9-6-outfit

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:

bi-weekly-shop-plan

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?