Spring Wardrobe – Shopping & Spending

Some of my favorite posts on personal finance blogs are the monthly spending summaries. I may be in the minority, but I love seeing how others manage their lifestyles and the numbers behind it all. Such facts & figures are usually kept off fashion blogs, but I think it can be interesting to discuss. In a field that’s ripe with consumerism and mutual enabling, I’d love to hear how fellow fashionistas keep overall consumption in check, while maintaining current, well-curated wardrobes.

Last year, I posted about keeping a streamlined wardrobe. My approach and goals remain largely unchanged, but I’ve indulged in some temptations (fun trends, end-of-season sales, etc) and hope to regain focus. In light of some heavier shopping this season, I wanted to do an update and share some numbers behind the fashion posts.

Since 3/1, I spent $634 and added 15 items to my wardrobe (40% of spending was on 1 item):

I returned/sold 13 items, or 52% of original purchases due to various reasons:

I did alterations at home to save approx. $70 on tailoring (which I include in total wardrobe spending):

As mentioned in my previous post, careful assessment of each purchase can help distinguish a well-curated wardrobe from one that’s a victim of aimless consumption. One method that has helped me personally over the years is a manual log of items purchased…

By spending a few minutes each month updating and reviewing this spreadsheet, I’m able to:
– Evaluate each item individually and in the context of other purchases
– Take note of when return deadlines are; and
– Monitor the ebb and flow of purchases to make sure I’m within a reasonable long-term limit (saving my thoughts on the subjective definition of “reasonable” for another day).

*Highlights = returned or sold

So how did I do?

This season, I added a lot of variety to my wardrobe with new colors, prints, and silhouettes. My favorite additions are the Old Navy wrap dress, the cap-toe Louboutins, the H&M; floral blouse, and the Crewcuts apple pants. They met all of my purchasing criteria, filled gaps in my existing wardrobe, and are getting quite a bit of wear. The Chanel brooch was a little splurge, but it’s an item off my wishlist that should retain it’s value (barring any klutzy handling).

On the other hand, some admittedly unnecessary purchases are the Gap kids lace shell, the H&M; dot dress, the J.Crew $3 turtleneck, plus a third pair of cafe capris. One of my biggest shopping weaknesses is buying items like the aforementioned that meet so much of my criteria (good fit, good value, pairs well, looks good) but just aren’t necessary for my compact wardrobe. H&M; provides a lot of temptation for me on that front, and I’ve been keeping that at bay by putting things on hold, and only going back to buy if I keep thinking about them. We can only wear so many items at a time (and I hate having things collect dust), so a streamlined yet current wardrobe is something I’m constantly working towards.

Fellow fashionistas – How do you maintain a current wardrobe while keeping overall consumption in check? What are some of your shopping weaknesses?


134 thoughts on “Spring Wardrobe – Shopping & Spending

  • PetiteAsianGirl June 3, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    For those asking for personal finance blogs, my absolute favorite one has shut down (was called Me in Millions about a 20-something year old woman working her way into having a million, one step at a time) so I'm also looking for a good one to relate to. Some that I've read include:

    http://www.iwillteachyoutoberich.com/blog/ (not super personal but great articles and good discussions)

  • PetiteAsianGirl June 3, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    Also, on where to sell pre-owned items if you don't have a blog:
    – eBay (I used this predominantely before starting blogging) but there are fees
    – Alterations Needed Forum Marketplace at forum.alterationsneeded.com

  • M Evans June 4, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    I am always impressed and inspired by your resourcefulness. However, and not to offend, but do you think about where/how the bargain clothes are manufactured? Economy at others' expense?

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  • Olivia July 16, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    Thanks Jean!! Also, those Miu Miu pumps are so sweet! – but the heels are too high for me 🙁

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    Great post!

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