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Wardrobe Nerd: September Review

September has been a rough month. I’ve experienced loss, health issues and the normal insanity of the fall semester, and I’m ready for October to be better.

Zephaniah 3:17 really stood out to me in church this month:

The Lord your God is in your midst,
    a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
    he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.

I am reminded that God is sovereign and, in the end, my difficulties (and my clothing data) are insignificant in comparison to His glory, grace and love.

Wear Data

Total Individual Items Worn: 47

30 Wears or More: grey suede flats

In the middle of my 28×28 challenge, I decided to throw out multiple items that I had originally included, so I didn’t stick to 28 items. Then the weather transitioned to “fall”. In NC, this means low 60s to mid 90s, so I decided to just dress for the weather which is enough of a challenge.

Wardrobe Changes

I was inspired to purge and purchase this month.

Items Removed (17):

  • Shirts (8): One shirt was uncomfortable, and the other seven were worn out.
  • Dresses (4): Two were uncomfortable, one was an old online purchase that wasn’t what I expected, and one was too tight.
  • Skirts (3): All three were too tight.
  • Pants (2): Both pairs were purchased during my super skinny yoga manager phase of life and were too tight.

Items Added (7):

  • Black Mid-Sleeve Shirt ($30): This was to replace a shirt that died last month.
  • Osei-Duro Sleeveless Tank ($32): I am obsessed with Osei-Duro’s prints, but I absolutely cannot justify the cost. I found this tank on eBay for 80% off and immediately bid on it.
  • Cream Tank ($17.50): I already own and love this shirt. When I saw it on eBay (original price was $50 or $60), I went for it.
  • Black Tank ($17.50): This is exactly the same as the other tank but in black (the best clothing color).
  • White Slip Dress and Fancy Socks ($44): I have been wanting to try this slow fashion brand, so I decided to get this dress when I found it for less than half off.
  • Olive Green High-waisted Wide Leg Pants with pleats ($30): I found these on Poshmark. These are originally from an overpriced fast fashion brand, but they are a tencel/linen blend so hopefully they will last.

Items Returned (2):

  • Black skinny jeans: I special ordered these into the store, and they didn’t fit. I decided to add a pair of wide leg pants instead.
  • Sage high waisted wide leg pants: I had high hopes for these, but they were thin to the point of being see-through. For $70, that’s not okay.

Items Tailored ($41)

  • Osei-Duro Tank ($20): This tank hit at an awkward place on my legs and had side slits all the way up to my bra. I had the slits closed and the shirt significantly cropped. It is now both flattering and office appropriate.
  • Skeleton Dress ($14): I bought this dress at least 30 lbs ago, so it was too big and showed cleavage. I had the straps taken in.
  • Rust Midi Skirt ($7): One of the seams on this skirt was ripped, and it was too visible for me to trust my own mending skills.

October-December Purchase Plans

  • Short-sleeve or mid-sleeve shirts: I’m looking for cotton blends that I can wear to work and on the weekends. Most of the shirts I purged were neutral wardrobe staples, so I know I’m going to be feeling the loss soon.
  • Work appropriate skirts: The skirts I still have are pilling. I’m going to try de-pilling this month but will probably need to replace at least a few of them.
  • Sandals: I need to talk to my cobbler about potential repair options for my current sandals. I don’t think they can be repaired (hopefully he says otherwise), and, either way, I need to add a third pair for next summer.
  • Sneakers: I only own one pair of sneakers that aren’t weird toe shoes, and they look rough from yard work. I’m looking to get a “normal” looking pair for wearing out.
  • Tailoring: I’m going to bring in a few more items that don’t fit well.

Total Wardrobe Cost in September: $212

Total Wardrobe Cost in 2019: $1205

Lesson Learned

Returning to a regular work schedule forced me to review my wardrobe more carefully. I realized how much of my closet was worn out in a way where it couldn’t be repaired. Most of the items I purged were purchased for cheap a few years ago and have been worn frequently ever since. I’m going to be more purposeful in what I purchase this time around.

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Wardrobe Nerd: August Review

August has been a whirlwind. I finished painting the house, spent a week in Florida visiting family and started the insanity which is my fall semester.

I really loved my last 30×30 and decided to start another one for the first four weeks of the semester. I started a 28×28 that began on the first day of the semester and will finish near the end of September. I will report back if I actually stick with it. I chose 15 business casual items that cover my tattoos and will add my other 13 items throughout the four weeks.

Wear Data

Total Individual Items Worn: 49

30 Wears or More: 1 (black blazer sweater)

I find that academic attire is where I’m most confident, so I’m happy to be back to dressing for academia 4-5 days a week. I’m not as happy about all the grading that is to come, but we aren’t going to focus on that here.

Wardrobe Changes

Items Removed (4):

  • Yellow floral shorts – I’ve always liked these in theory, but I purchased them a little too small and a little too short three or four years ago.
  • White mid-sleeve shirt – I don’t know what stained this shirt, but it will not come out. This one needs replaced because it was one of my most worn.
  • Grey shirt – I purchased this not realizing how tight the sleeves were. I feel like a sausage in it even though it doesn’t look bad.
  • Multicolor leggings – These are just too bright for my current style and never get worn.

Items Added (3):

  • Evening gown ($41) – This was neither needed nor planned, but it fits perfectly and is a classic style. I’ve decided to use it for Halloween and then keep it in case I ever need an evening gown.
  • Bathing suits ($186) – I don’t even want to admit how much I spent on these bathing suits, but my proportions make it really difficult for me to find bathing suits that fit well. I prioritize comfort and quality over cost in swimwear.

Items Repaired (1):

  • Grey shirt with ruffle sleeves (dog damage) – I originally thought that this shirt was falling apart because it was cheap. Upon closer inspection, I realized that Akela snacked on the tag. It left a hole along the side seam which I was able to sew back together by hand. We will see if it survives the wash.

September Purchase Plans

  • High-waisted wide leg pants – I have decided that this would be a good contrasting silhouette to my regular skinny leg jeans, but I don’t want them to be cropped which is what’s currently popular and is a less classic style. I have yet to find an ethically made or secondhand pair in the material, length and fit that I want.
  • Shirts for work – I lost a regular shirt to staining, and I noticed that I have a few others that are getting close to see-through. I need a few more basics. I’ll be choosing these based off my wear patterns of what’s already in my closet.
  • Thrifting list: raincoat, rain boots, nude slip dress
  • Repairs: I have a visible loose seam on the secondhand skirt I bought last month. I also have a few items that don’t get worn often because they are too loose. I’m hoping to get to a seamstress sometime this month to get these items repaired/taken in. I think these are beyond my current skill set.

Total Wardrobe Cost in July: $227

Total Wardrobe Cost in 2019: $993

Lesson Learned

I’ve decided that I’m going to peruse local consignment stores. I think that could be a way to balance sustainability, cost and my desire to try things on before I purchase them. I’ll report back if I find any great places. I’m also thinking I might buy a few more items for this semester and then start a no-buy until all the sales that happen after Christmas.

Wardrobe Nerd: July Review

July went by too fast. I finished up teaching my summer community college course and worked on house projects.

Wear Data

Total Individual Items Worn: 39

30 Wears or More: 2 (black skinny leg pants, green skinny leg pants)

Wardrobe Changes

Items Removed (2):

  • Black and pink capri leggings – I hate capri leggings and thus never wear these. I have no idea why I initially purchased them.
  • Red high-low skirt – I like how this looks but the lining is short and uncomfortable. I have owned this stupid skirt THREE YEARS and moved THREE TIMES in that time frame, yet only wore it out for the first time this July. It’s more than time to say goodbye.

Items Added (4):

  • Midi Skirt in Rust ($75) – I purchased this secondhand and love it. It’s slow fashion on multiple levels and has pockets.
  • Straw Sun Hat ($18) – I realized while running errands before a baseball game that I do not own any hats that provide sun protection. These are easy to find at Goodwill, but I ended up with a new fast fashion hat thanks to my poor planning.
  • Leather Dress Shoes ($78) – I found these used but am super disappointed that they are too big. I’m going to look into the best way to resell them since I definitely cannot wear them.
  • Dress Shoes Part 2 ($110) – After receiving shoes that were too big that I have to figure out how to resell, I decided to just buy a pair of shoes that have been on my wishlist. I was happy they were on sale.

August Purchase Plans

  • Thrifting List: rain boots, raincoat, nude slip dress

Total Wardrobe Cost in July: $281

Total Wardrobe Cost in 2019: $766

Lesson Learned

I feel excessively guilty about buying things that don’t work out, and then I hang on to them for too long. The red skirt incident has inspired me; after a year of tracking, I’m going to get rid of anything unworn unless there’s a legitimate reason why I haven’t worn it.

I also am finding that buying online is difficult. I am very particular about fit and feel which aren’t easily evaluated online.

Wardrobe Nerd: June Review

May was a whirlwind of work. June was…not. I still teach part time over the summer, but the schedule is not nearly as intense. I also had the privilege of having some of my family come up and visit for a few weeks.

Wear Data

Total Individual Items Worn: 35

30 Wears or More: There were no new items added this month. Summer is sweaty, so I can’t frequently re-wear items.

I think there’s such a decrease in items worn this past month because I wore a lot of dresses in June (9 different dresses, 13 instances) and did not exercise.

Wardrobe Changes

Items Removed (2):

  • Green dress – Even though I line dry, it is now too short.
  • Blue tank – I just never reach for it.

Items Added (0): I was busy with my family the first few weeks and then I was inspired to finish out the month without any purchases.

July Purchase Plans

  • Midi skirt made of a breathable fabric
  • Fall shoes (???) – I’ve been looking forever and am starting to lose hope. The company I had chosen opens a limited order once every few weeks, and I didn’t get in on this month’s order.
  • Thrifting list: nude slip dress, raincoat, rain boots

Total Wardrobe Cost in May: $0

Total Wardrobe Cost in 2019: $314

Lesson Learned

I have to say I’m pretty happy that, halfway through 2019, I’ve only spent $314 on my wardrobe. The last few years, my wardrobe has had to adapt to new jobs and different climates, and I hated constantly needing something. I started this year with the essentials, and it’s been nice to slowly (and more ethically) incorporate a few more things while removing undesired items from my closet.

Although I don’t abide by a “one-in-one-out” rule, I have removed 7 items from my closet while adding 6 items. In addition, there were 3 months in which I did not spend any money on clothes.

Wardrobe Nerd: May Review

Yes, this is two months late. It’s a good thing I don’t want to monetize this.

May was a blur of ending a semester and beginning another while trying not to yell at my partner about the dirty dishes because the problem wasn’t dishes (I was stressed about work).

Wear Data

Total Individual Items Worn: 56 (29 capsule & 27 athletic)

30 Wears or More: 3 (brown leather sandals, black leather sandals, black and grey sweater)

I was inspired to complete a 30×30 (30 items in 30 days) by Sara. I initially chose 27 items for my capsule with three additional “flex spots”.

My capsule was 3 pairs of shoes (2 sandals, 1 heels), 10 bottoms (3 skirts, 3 jeans, 1 pants, 2 shorts), and 10 shirts (4 mid-sleeve casual, 2 mid-sleeve business casual, 4 sleeveless business casual).    

Wardrobe Changes

Items Removed (0): I focused on creating outfit combinations with my 29 piece capsule and didn’t really worry about the rest of my wardrobe.

Items Added (0): Being overwhelmed by work is one way to not shop.

June Purchase Plans

  • I still need shoes for fall…
  • I struggle to dress for work in the summer because of the heat. I am thinking about getting a few looser/lighter skirts.
  • Thrifting list: nude slip dress, raincoat, rainboots

Total Wardrobe Cost in May: $0

Total Wardrobe Cost in 2019: $314

Lesson Learned

I have written previously about how I’m not a fan of the 10×10 challenge. It’s stressful as someone whose life is full of hot dog slobber and a hatred of laundry. I loved the 30×30 though. Keeping a few flex spots allowed for spontaneity, and I had enough pieces to only have to do laundry twice during the month. Fewer choices made dressing easier but didn’t feel limiting because it wasn’t permanent. I’m actually considering doing a monthly 30×30 once I’m regularly back at the university in the fall.

 

Wardrobe Nerd: April Review

I can’t believe I’ve kept this up for five months. Apparently blogging once per month is a frequency I can maintain.

Wear Data

  • Total Individual Items Worn: 60
  • 30 Wears or More: 3 (coat, boots, and skinny jeans)

This month has introduced a lot of variety in my clothing choices due to the weather. I’ve ranged from boots/coat/thick pants/long sleeves to summer dress/sandals.

As the weather is warming up, I’m making a conscious effort to wear more of my dresses. I feel like I own a lot of dresses for how infrequently I wear them, but that perception may change as the weather changes.

Wardrobe Changes

Items Removed (3)

  • Heels (2) – I bought one of these pairs for a wedding, and they make my feet bleed within a few hours of wearing them. I don’t like them enough to break them in. The other pair were purchased for interviews a long time ago (2010 or 2011), and my style has since changed.
  • Grey Dress – It used to be a form-fitting dress, but it has shrunk to a bodycon dress, so I’m saying goodbye.

Items Added (1)

  • Black Leather Belt ($19) – I almost made it a whole month without buying anything, but I went to the outlets with my husband (so it’s his fault I bought something – he refuses to shop for himself alone). I’ve been wanting a thin simple belt to wear with skinny jeans, but I hadn’t seen something ethical, leather and affordable until now.

Total Wardrobe Cost in April: $19

Total Wardrobe Cost in 2019: $314

May Purchase Plans

  • I still need to purchase those shoes…
  • Nude Slip Dress – I’m going to start thrifting for this because this is the sort of thing that shows up at Goodwill.
  • If the perfect raincoat and/or rainboots showed up at a thrift store, I would buy them.

Lesson Learned

I currently dislike my wardrobe. I’m thinking I’m just grumpy because I’m ready for summer and hate doing end-of-semester paperwork, so I’m going to wait it out for now and re-evaluate in a month. I’ve also been thinking that I need to do something different with my current clothing so that I can appreciate what I have despite being grumpy about other things.

Wardrobe Nerd: March Review

Wear Data

  • Total Individual Items Worn: 55

March Most Worn

If you want to see an interactive version of this graph (which includes cost per wear and total wears for each item), you can click on the graph.

Wardrobe Changes

Items Removed (1)

  • Black Criss-Cross Tee: This shirt was a cheap Ross/Marshall’s find, and I wore it a lot because it’s neutral, comfortable and yet has some visual interest. When I tried to take a picture of it for my (failed) 10×10, I realized that it was sheer despite being black.

Items Added (3)

  • Slip ($32): I debated this a lot. I hate buying things that I need but know won’t get a lot of use. I currently only have one dress that requires a slip, but I cannot wear the dress without the slip. I have looked for a while and finally found one that was ethically made but on sale. I really couldn’t justify $60-100 on something I won’t wear often.
  • Bras ($63): I tried to look for more ethical brands, but I’m not at a point where I’m willing to mess with new sizing/fits for $70-100 each just to find out that they don’t work for my weird proportions.

Total Wardrobe Cost in March: $95

2019 Wardrobe Cost (so far): $295

April Purchase Plans: I had every intention of buying shoes this month but missed the order availability notification for my chosen company. I think they accept orders again in May. I’ve also been debating purchasing a rain coat and shoes because March in NC is wet, but I’m pretty sure the weather is going to change and I’m going to decide I don’t want to spend the money.

Lessons Learned

One of my favorite Instagram accounts hosted a Spring 10×10 where you choose ten items and wear them for ten days. I decided to participate because I’ve seen these challenges but never tried them. I have no problem with the idea of re-wearing items – I love when an outfit doesn’t get dirty and I can just wear it the next day. Unfortunately, I hate doing laundry. I gave up halfway through when my shirts needed washed, my husband was sick and I had too many papers to grade.

Although I did not enjoy the 10×10, I did like that my items were chosen at the beginning of the week and all I had to do was choose the specific combination each morning. I might try that on a more regular basis. I haven’t bothered experimenting with this recently because spring weather is insane and ranges from 30F – 75F.

Wardrobe Nerd: February Review

Wear Data

  • Total Individual Items Worn: 53
  • February Most Worn: Black Everlane Jeans (15, CPW = $2.55), Brown Combat Boots (18, CPW = $2.86), Black Coat (20, CPW = $1.71)
  • 30 Wears: Black Coat (41)

NOTE: 30 Wears means I have worn this item at least 30 times since I started tracking in December of 2018. CPW is cost per wear.

My most worn items don’t seem to change much at least from what I have tracked this winter. I wasn’t sure about the cost of my black coat, but it was obviously worth it. I’ve owned and worn this coat since last February, so my CPW is probably below $1.

Wardrobe Changes

Items Removed (1)

  • Cream Silk Tank – I bought this tank at a thrift store over 3 years ago and have never worn it. It was part of my wedding dress fiasco, but I didn’t end up wearing it to my wedding. It’s in good condition, so I will donate it at the end of the season when I do a full winter purge of my wardrobe.

Repaired Items (1)

  • Black Leather Boots ($94) – I had my black leather boots re-soled with high-quality Vibram soles that have a minimal heel. This was a necessity because I had worn holes in the soles.

Items Added

  • Undergarments ($74, online) – I am a comfortable underwear snob.
  • Blue Button-up Tank ($32, online) – This was not a planned purchase, but I’ve been dying to try these shirts and the original price tag was $130.
  • Note: All items added this month were slow fashion.

Total Wardrobe Cost in February: $200

2019 Wardrobe Cost (so far): $200

March Purchase Plans: I still need more undergarments. I’m also planning on buying a pair of close-toed shoes that I know will get a lot of wear. I’ve been looking for leather dress shoes with no heel and a minimal sole. I FINALLY found them and will be ordering them the next time the company accepts orders. I may also re-sole my brown boots, or I may wait until next fall.

Lessons Learned

Apparently, I wear a “uniform” to work/church at least during colder months. I wear combat boots, skinny leg pants, a shirt, a scarf, a sweater and a coat. Overall, I’m happy with this formula, but I would like to figure out what style(s) of shirts I like best. I find shopping for shirts very stressful because I always end up with a few that don’t work out.

Wardrobe Nerd: January Review

Here is my wardrobe count data for January.

Wear Data

Total Individual Items Worn: 48

Note: I wore all but 4 of my long-sleeve and mid-sleeve shirts this month, but I didn’t wear a single dress. It’s too cold for this Florida girl to wear dresses right now.

201901-most-worn

As can be seen from the chart above, black is still my favorite wardrobe color. Those Everlane pants have seen a lot of wear already, and, when my other pants wear out, I will be buying more of these. They are more expensive than the fast-fashion pants I was previously buying, but they fit better and are a thicker material which will hopefully last longer (plus they are a more ethical brand).

Change Data

Items Permanently Removed (1)

  • Cream Long-Sleeve Shirt – is now sheer from being worn so frequently, was purchased in 2016 or earlier
  • I have a few more items that are on the potential “to go” list, but I’m giving them another month to see if I change my mind and reach for them.

Items Added (0)

February Purchase Plans: I still need undergarments and a slip. I also recently discovered that the soles of my black boots (in my Most Worn for this month and last month) are leaking and my brown pair are well on their way to a similar fate. I’m going to look into repairing the soles and/or purchasing an additional pair of winter shoes that are a little more dressy.

Lessons Learned

I have confirmed that I would not enjoy doing a Project 333 (33 items for 3 months) which I have considered in the past unless I get my laundry act together. I tend to wear almost all of my long/mid-sleeve shirts before doing laundry again, so I would struggle with fewer items in my wardrobe.

Wardrobe Counts (I am a nerd.)

Well, I haven’t blogged in a very long time, but I thought I would share a new project that I am working on.

I’ve been thinking recently: How do I make ethical shopping choices that accommodate my budget and allow me to feel good in my clothing at work?

I don’t have a complete answer just yet, but being the data-oriented individual that I am, I decided to break this down into questions that can be more easily answered and might help me come to a more complete answer:

  • What do I own?
  • How do I acquire my clothing (gift, free, or purchase; thrifting, fast fashion or slow fashion; online or in-stores)?
  • How long do I own an item before I get rid of it?
  • What do these items cost?
  • How often do I wear these items?

I decided that the best way to answer most of these questions was to track what is in my wardrobe, how much it costs and what items I wear on a daily basis. I then hope to analyze the data, maybe once a month, maybe once a quarter. We will see how much I follow through.

So, here’s my first month’s data. I started tracking on December 9th. This was a month of some classes, time off from work and a trip to Florida, so it was not a typical month.

Wear Data

Total Individual Items Worn: 41

201812-Most-Worn

As can be seen from the graph, areas of my closet where I own fewer items tend to receive more wears. In addition, areas of my closet that don’t require regular washing also receive more wears. It’s important to not that these areas overlap.  Also, wear counts confirm that my favorite clothing color is black.

Change Data

Items Permanently Removed (2)

  • Black Blazer Sweater – worn out, owned ~2 years
  • Blue UnderArmour Leggings – been too big for over 3 years, owned ~4 years

Items Added (8):

  • Thrifted ($12): Cream Turtleneck, Black Turtleneck, Brown Tunic Style Long-Sleeve Shirt
  • Gift: Black Sleeveless Full-Length Dress*
  • In-Store ($43): Black Blazer Sweater
  • Online ($138): Green Short-Sleeve Shirt*, Black Stretch Full-Length Work Pants*, Black Skinny Jeans*

*Slow fashion

Total Cost of Items Added: $193

As can be noted from the data above, I did a pretty good job of not buying a lot of fast fashion. Unfortunately (?), I found that tracking is how I justified most purchases this month.

January Purchase Plans: The only current needs in my closet are stuff I don’t track in my spreadsheet – undergarments and a slip (that new dress is a little see-through). I will not be purchasing anything else.

NOTE: I track shoes and clothing (shirts, bottoms, dresses, sweaters and coats). I do not track scarves (I don’t want to admit my problem here), jewelry (I am happy with what I have), and purses (I own the only three purses I need right now). I also do not track loungewear that is worn only in the house.