Friday, April 18, 2014

Making Your Wardrobe Last Longer

Yesterday, I talked about how to figure out how much you need to buy annually in order to maintain your current wardrobe size (or goal wardrobe size). This can be helpful if you are trying to curb your buying habits, and are trying to figure out what a reasonable amount of purchases is. Of course if you're wardrobe is much larger than you would like, you can figure out this number and buy less.

What if you do the exercise, and find out that the number seems a bit large? Perhaps you're on a budget and find that you would be spreading your budget too thin if you bought so many items. If this is the case, you might want to think about how to extend the life of your clothing and accessories. Here are some ways to do it. 

  1.  Pinpoint your style so that you can make smarter purchases. By narrowing down your style, your colors, cuts and details that suit you, you will make less mistakes. Less mistakes means less that ends up needing to be purged and replaced.
  2. Buy better quality. Better quality does not mean more expensive.  It means long lasting.  Learn some things to look for here on
  3. Taking care of your things. Be careful, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That means avoiding spots is way easier than trying to get them out later. Or hang drying is worth the extra little hassle, compared to a shrunken or misshapen garment that is unfixable after that! Handwashing and air drying in general prevent wear and tear on your items, compared to machine wash and dry. 
  4. Demote some items, from your Core capsule to Casual, and from Casual to Lounge. This will make for less purchases in the lounge/casual categories. But do this selectively. For me that means mostly knit tops, that are just faded, not stained or misshapen. I have learned that looking good at home for me and my family is just as important than looking good out of the home. (And fading doesn't bother me, I like soft colors. ) Maybe you find that you only feel comfortable demoting from casual to garden clothes, or from work to casual clothes. Do whatever works for you.
Have any other tips?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Determining how much to purchase annually

We’re now just over a quarter through the year, and I am only one item away from meeting my goal cap for the year. I also keep overspending into the next month. Even this time when I was ‘so’ committed to saving up for my dress, and I thought it was gonna work because I had a clear goal in mind, I still spent unearned money, on something that I thought was ‘better’, and ‘must have’ because I didnt want it to sell out, and because the company is going out of business. And then I made a list of probably ten items that I would buy in a heartbeat if I had the cash, to take advantage of the liquidation.

I dont think buying more than 18 items (my goal cap) is necessarily wrong, it is a fairly arbitrary number, but I see the danger of going overboard. So I decided to think about how much is a reasonable yearly amount of turn over..I’m estimating i have 142 items in my closet, in all categories from shoes, to undies, to outerwear, everything. If these should last an average of 2 years, I need to replace 71 items, no that's too many. Let me break it down.

In order to figure out how often items generally need to be replaced, I'm dividing the amount of items, by the average amount of years I expect them to last, to figure out how many I will need to buy each year to maintain a set amount. I'm breaking it up into seasons, since my 'seasons' (hot, cold, and mild) last different lengths, and result in different rates of wear. I wouldn't be surprised if all of my 44 summer items needed to be replaced every year. Summer is my main season, taking up at least 6 months out of the year. Also, I tend to wash items after every wear during the summer, resulting in more wear and tear from the washing.

Well, my 25 sleep/lounge summer items will likely last 2 years since I don't expect these to remain pristine, [12.5 annual].  So that leaves [19] (44-25) core summer items to be replaced yearly. 35 winter items to be replaced every 4 years [8.75 annual].  42 mild weather items to be replaced every 3 years, [14 annual] 

My likely annual total comes out to 54.25. Oh boy. That's more than I expected. My purchasing for the last few years, 30-40 items, makes a lot more sense now.  I had an excess of clothes, and so didn't need to buy as much as I might need to now that my wardrobe is closer to my goal size.  But also I should consider wether I really want to keep up with this amount.  Though its comfortable, …its not necessary.. so i’ll keep thinking about what minimal amount can still be acceptably comfortable. 

To sum it up, you can break up your wardrobe into categories of wear (as in wear and tear). I did it by seasons, but you could also figure it out by categories perhaps. For example, you might expect your work cloths to last longer than your weekend clothes, or vice versa. Or your shoes to last longer than your tops. You decide what's makes the most sense for you. After you have your categories set up. Do an inventory of what you have, or would like to have, in each category. Divide these numbers by how long you expect each category to last, on average. Add up the numbers in each category, and you have a target number for how many items to bring in to your wardrobe on an annual basis. I think this could be really useful for managing the size of your wardrobe.  

If you decide this total number is too big, you might want to think about how to extend the life of your clothing and accessories. I'll post some ideas about this soon.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Don't be afraid

Don’t be afraid to be unremarkable.

quiet. soft. subtle. focused. simple. unfussy. to the point.
practical. comfortable. easy. 
even languid. 

be authentic.

Don't be afraid to be you.

Inspired by Janice’s response to this quote, from the article: Sign of the Times/Slaves No More by Cathy Horyn,
"a woman of indeterminate age who knows what she likes and has shrugged off what she no longer has any use for, and maybe never did.  If that sound rather limited, that's the point. I'll stick with the same paint colors and my lovely old kilt, because, it turns out, there's a surprising amount of harmony in unremarkable choices.” (emphasis mine) 

Friday, January 24, 2014

A lesson in generosity

Proverbs 11:24, 25

24  One gives generously and ends up with more;
Another withholds what should be given, but he comes to poverty.
25  The generous person will prosper,
And whoever refreshes others will himself be refreshed
Yesterday I wrote about spending my clothing allowance on a gift for someone else. Today, I received a gift. A cardigan, something that had been on my list for a long time. And it fit all my requirements! Right color, correct length, perfect fit (which is so hard for me to find!)To top it off I came across the scripture quoted above. What a perfect gift from my Heavenly Father: a lesson in generosity.  I was really touched by this, and I want to keep being generous. It's not really one of my inborn qualities.  I tend to keep track of the cost of things, and budgets and such, and sometimes my mind comes to these things first before giving.  More than once I have sensed that I was 'withholding what should be given'. I don't want to be guilty of this anymore! There is much more happiness in giving. ;D Won't you resolve to be more generous with me?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

2014 Goal 1. Quality over quantity

Diane Von Furstenberg Daga Silk Chiffon Top

I just saw this diane von furstenburg silk chiffon pleated top for $155. It occurred to me that with the amount of money I spent last year (which I think is small compared to most people), I could have bought 4 such items.
Or one and 4 more in the $100 range. 
That's really something to think about. I should make it my goal to save up for at least one such purchase.  Which is in keeping with my first 2014 goal of saving up for bigger purchases.

I'm thinking my shopping plan could look something like this:

5 key purchases of 2014-$80 each=$400, $40 each=$200
  1. bra, cotton. esp with cotton straps as well. dark or nude
  2. tan/taupe shoes
  3. true summer everyday blouse/sweater, drapey. esp lt blue/teal/gold?
  4. dress
  5. pants/topper/earrings?-wait and see which I need
By the way, I did do a small 'shopping fast' for the month of January to kick off my savings goal. It was hard at first, but after a couple of weeks I was in the groove of just deleting all those coupon emails.  I did, however, use my budget to buy a gift. (Which to me is totally acceptable and a fantastic use of my money.) I saved about 30% for my future purchases.