My Wardrobe, Myself

The intersection of clothing, emotions, and life

In my last two posts, I gave an update on most of the goals that I set for myself for 2020.  First, I checked in on my “life goals,” which constituted the bulk of my “20 for 2020″ list. Then I shared how I’ve been doing with my goal of selling some of my clothing-related castoffs on eBay and Poshmark (which was my Wardrobe Goal #1).

Now it’s time to reflect back on my four remaining wardrobe goals, which constitute the rest of my “20 for 2020.” I’m not going to delve too deeply into these goals or share a bunch of pictures, as I plan to do standalone posts on some of the included topics as 2021 gets under way. But before the sun sets on 2020 (just hours now!), I want to finish recapping all of the goals that I set for this year.


It’s hard to believe that I created these goals just 11 months ago (I went into greater depth about them a month later), as so much has happened since then. The world we’re living in today scarcely resembles the one of January 2020 and we’re all still adjusting to a new (and hopefully temporary) way of life. I continue to stand firm in my dislike of the phrase “new normal” because I don’t want to believe the changes that we’ve experienced will be permanent. However, I hope that we will collectively emerge from the current state of chaos better in some ways, especially in terms of our priorities and the way we treat our fellow humans and the planet.

Although it can seem frivolous to write about my wardrobe in light of the immense tragedy unleashed by the coronavirus pandemic, life still goes on, and I’ve actually gained some degree of comfort from focusing on the familiar topic of wardrobe management. I realize that I’m fortunate to be able to divert my focus in this way, and I try not to lose sight of that fact. If you’re likewise fortunate or just want a little break from the global chaos, I hope you’ll enjoy reading this update and will find it interesting and helpful as you reflect on the state of your own wardrobe.

Goal #2 – Pare down my “out-and-about” wardrobe to 118-137 items.

I’m pleased to say that I have accomplished this goal! I now have 111 out-and-about only clothing items in my wardrobe. If I add in shoes, though, the total goes up to 138, which is just outside of the range that I was hoping to meet for garments and shoes combined. I’m sure I could pare down my shoes a bit more, but since I haven’t been wearing most of them in this strange year, I’m not sure which ones wouldn’t make the cut. I’m hopeful that 2021 will bring more occasions for wearing both the shoes and clothes in this area of my wardrobe (fingers crossed…).

I do still feel like I have too many clothes, as I also have quite a few pieces that I wear when I’m at home. I could probably get by fine with just half the number of out-and-about pieces that I have now, but I still like variety in what I wear. I haven’t set any goals for 2021 yet, but I would like to continue to pare down my wardrobe and have it better match the way that I actually spend my time. As someone who is mostly at home (and even more so lately), the composition of my wardrobe should probably be two-thirds at-home/crossover pieces (things I wear both at home and when I’m out) and only one third out-and-about items. I’m not going to purge things just to meet a certain number or percentage, but I will continue to be mindful of how many out-and-about pieces I bring into my closet (see goal #5 below) and hopefully will reach an appropriate balance over time through wardrobe attrition.

I will get more into my closet composition and what is and isn’t working for me in a future standalone post. It hasn’t been easy for me to curate a more minimalist wardrobe, as I still struggle with over-shopping and a higher closet set point, but this is still something that I want. I don’t aspire to have a “bare bones” closet, but I’d like to have more space in there and less overwhelm when I get dressed. More isn’t always better and can actually lead to our dressing worse instead of better, as it’s harder to be creative when there are too many choices. I foresee myself doing some more wardrobe challenges next year, so stay tuned!

Goal #3 – Complete two wardrobe/style-related workbooks or courses.

I planned to complete two workbooks or courses related to wardrobe or style, but I ended up doing more than that. Here are the workbooks and courses that I completed during 2020:

  1. Dress with Less and Create a Capsule Wardrobe (Project 333 Video Course)

I also read the Project 333 book that was released in March by Courtney Carver. Although I read the book and completed the course earlier in the year, I didn’t actually take on the Project 333 challenge (where one dresses with just 33 items for three months), although I’ve done it multiple times in the past (you can read all about those adventures HERE).

I definitely recommend the book and the course if you’re looking to do Project 333 – or if you want some insights on how to curate a smaller and more functional wardrobe. I’ve found that even just selecting a potential Project 333 capsule can be beneficial if you’re not ready (or not interested) for the actual challenge. I’ve done that a few times and wrote about it back in September 2016. As a side note, it’s interesting to see how much my summer style has changed since I put together that hypothetical summer capsule wardrobe, which leads me to the next course that I did…

  1. Everyday Style Signature Style Masterclass

I completed both the older and newer versions of this course, as they were included as part of my membership in what is now known as “The Style Circle.” The old and new courses were pretty similar, but the newer version is more detailed and includes an in-depth PDF workbook to complete while doing the course. I shared some of my experience with doing this course in a post back in July, including the three “style guideposts” that I selected for myself after finishing the course exercises.

There was a lot more to the course than just creating my “Looks I Love” and “Looks I Loathe” boards on Pinterest, but even just that exercise helped me to better define how I want to dress, as well as what I don’t want to wear. I see my newer outfits looking more in line with the ensembles on the “Looks I Love” board, which is a testament to the power of this simple exercise and the entire course (which I recommend, even at the $49 standalone price).

  1. The Ultimate Closet Makeover

This course was also part of the aforementioned membership program. Even though I’ve done many closet cleanouts for myself and others over the years (I used to have a wardrobe consulting business), I can still use some reminders and new tips from time to time. After all, it’s easier to help others with cleaning out their closets than it is to do our own! The process taught in this course is somewhat different from what I’ve done in the past and gave me some helpful insights that can help to streamline the process. I have yet to implement the method in its entirety yet, but I’ve applied parts of it to smaller closet edits in recent months.

I will likely do the full process sometime in the spring after I’ve had more of a chance to wear my cool weather wardrobe items (it didn’t start getting cool here until about a month ago!). I like to do closet edits at the end of a season because I’m better able to assess my wardrobe pieces when wearing them is fresher in my mind (or if I’ve chosen not to wear them, that tells me something, too!). Although I can do -and have done – full wardrobe edits many times, I’ve often found it more helpful to do seasonal closet audits at the close of a given season. Where I live, there are really only two distinct seasons, summer and “not summer” (which is more like spring or fall/autumn weather for most of you – not much actual winter here!), so two closet audits a year is typically what I do these days.

In addition to the above courses, I also read a few wardrobe and style-related books this year, which I will list here in case any of you might be interested in reading them (my Amazon links are affiliate links, so I will earn a small commission if you make a purchase):

  • The Curated Closet – Anuschka Rees (I previously read this book but re-read parts of it this year – it’s definitely a wardrobe management and style book that I recommend!)
  • The Capsule Wardrobe: 1000 Outfits from 30 Pieces – Wendy Mak (although this book was a bit simplistic for me, it does highlight the possibilities in owning less but still having good variety)
  • The T-Shirt and Jeans Handbook – Suze Solari (short e-book with lots of photos to illustrate the points – basic but still interesting and a good review)

I plan to finish re-reading (and doing the exercises from) The Curated Closet soon and will likely also read the following wardrobe-related books:

I guess I’m on a bit of a wardrobe and style reading kick lately! I look forward to reading the books above and perhaps I will share – and implement – some of what I learn in future posts. If you have any suggestions of wardrobe/style books that you enjoyed, please mention them in the comments section or via my Contact Page.

Goal #4 – Be comfortable physically and emotionally in all of my clothes.

I’m happy to report that I’ve made a lot of progress in this realm! I really focused on buying and wearing comfortable clothes this year that I feel attractive wearing. I also placed increased emphasis on my at-home wardrobe, since that’s what I wear most of the time. In the past, I was always physically comfortable in what I wore at home, but I often felt sloppy and not true to my personal style aesthetic in those clothes. I didn’t want to go outside of the house in what I wore at home. That meant that even if I wanted to go for a short walk, I would need to change my clothes, which could impede my getting out.

I’ve found that it helps my mood to get outside at least once during the day, even if it’s just to take a brief walk around the complex where I live. I don’t want anything to stand in my way of doing this, so I want to be wearing clothes that I feel presentable enough in for wearing outdoors. I now feel that I’ve accomplished this goal. I have a nice assortment of at-home tops and pants, as well as some warm casual jackets to put on when the weather is cooler. Now all I need to do is change from my slippers to my walking shoes and maybe throw on a jacket, which is much easier than having to change everything I’m wearing.

My out-and-about wardrobe challenges have been a bit more difficult to address, especially when it comes to pants. Although I now have quite a few pairs of comfortable pants to wear out and about, I’m still struggling with jeans. I love the look of jeans, but I just don’t find them to be very physically comfortable. The fact that I have maybe 20% of the options that most women have for jeans by virtue of my height makes it that much more difficult for me to find suitable pairs. I’m also curvier on the bottom and don’t want thigh-sucking jeans, so that increases my challenge (even relaxed or “boyfriend” styles are usually still tight in my hip and thigh area, even when I size up).

Additionally, I’m not a fan of the high rises that are currently trendy because I have a short torso, so that lowers my options even further. I have a few brands that I plan to try soon to see if I might settle upon jeans that are comfortable to sit down in (sitting in jeans is my main problem due to nerve pain issues). My goal is to have several pairs of comfortable mid-rise, straight leg jeans (my preferred silhouette) in different washes, so fingers crossed that I will find these “unicorns” soon. Suggestions for options to try are definitely welcomed! I will definitely share what works for me if and when I find it, too.

Goal #5 – Stick to my clothing budget and “out-and-about” item limit.

The Clothing Budget

This proved to be the most challenging of my wardrobe goals, in addition to the selling clothing items online goal that I recapped last time. For much of my adult life, I’ve struggled to adhere to a clothing budget, often exceeding my limit significantly in many years. While I was writing Recovering Shopaholic and being accountable to readers about my budget and my purchases, I managed to meet my clothing budget for four straight years (2013-2016). I didn’t want to continue to share my numbers online indefinitely, but since I stopped doing so, I have come in over budget every single year, although not at the levels I used to before I started blogging about my shopping issues.

Unfortunately, I didn’t meet my 2020 clothing budget and was over it by about $500. However, I’m hoping that by continuing to resell some of the items that didn’t work out for me, I can recoup those funds. I think I should be able to do this during the first few months of 2021 after I list some more pieces for sale. I’m going to lower my 2021 clothing budget by the amount that I was over this year (I’ll determine the final number next week after I settle our accounts) to act in good faith, as I really do want to adhere to a yearly clothing budget. I think that if I “feel the pain” somewhat, that will help me to improve, plus this will also give me incentive to sell the clothes and recoup that amount for my 2021 clothing budget so that it can end up being the same amount as it was this year (I will count my sales toward future expenditures).

For the reasons I stated in my last post, I’m going to mostly focus my attentions on eBay for reselling my items, but since it’s so easy to list on Poshmark, I plan to cross-post everything there as well.  At this point, I plan to stop selling on Poshmark at the end of January or at least dramatically reduce the time I spend on that app. I’ve already stopped doing most of the social networking activities there, but I do still share my items at least once a day, which just takes a minute or two.

Since November and December were such bad months for selling on both platforms (perhaps due to the holidays), I still want to assess what sells better where, although I still think that eBay is a better option for me because I don’t enjoy the “social” aspect of Poshmark and I also seemed to make more money on eBay. There was a lag in my listing items on Poshmark (I listed everything on eBay about a month before), so there’s still a bit of an “apples and oranges” comparison between the two apps, but if I list all of the new items in both places, I’ll get a better sense of how my sales compare.

The “Out-and-About” Item Limit

I have better news to report with this part of wardrobe goal #5. Since I focused more of my shopping efforts on my at-home wardrobe this year, I didn’t purchase as many out-and-about items. I originally included shoes within my out-and-about item limit, but I later decided to apply it just to clothing. Because of that change, I was able to adhere to my 36-item limit, but I only just made it, and only because of a few caveats that I made to the rule, which I’m revealing here for the sake of transparency:

  • I returned 5 items from late 2019, so I allowed myself to purchase that many additional items this year.
  • I sold 2 garments that I purchased in 2020 (a cardigan and a pair of pants), so I subtracted those from my item total.
  • I’m going to resell 9 additional items that were “final sale” (mostly purchased on eBay or Poshmark) but didn’t work out for me for various reasons (sizing, color, or laundry detergent odor that I wasn’t able to remove). I bought these items, but they weren’t actually added to my working wardrobe, so I’m not counting them toward my item limit.

To sum it up, I bought 11 additional out-and-about items that I didn’t count toward my item limit and I added another 5 slots for the late 2019 items that I returned in early 2020. I feel like this was fair for me to do, but I shouldn’t have had to add these caveats in order to meet my item limit, especially given the year that we’ve had with so few opportunities to actually wear out-and-about garments. I didn’t need to buy 36 out-and-about items, but my shopping isn’t always about what I need. The fact of the matter is that I’m still a recovering shopaholic and I still struggle with over-buying. Shopping is a coping mechanism for me in times of stress and a means of distraction for me not to have to think about what’s bothering me emotionally.

Shopping as Distraction

In essence, it’s not about the clothes, but searching for and buying clothes allows me to distract myself from all of the difficult and scary things that are going on in my life and in the world. Shopping and wardrobe management can be very time-consuming endeavors. They can also be rewarding pursuits, but I often take it beyond that to the realm of the dysfunctional and I definitely did that this year. But in my continuing effort to cultivate self-compassion, I’m not going to beat myself up for going over my clothing budget and struggling with my item limit. I’m also not going to let myself off the hook and I’m not going to stop trying to do better. This will be a continued focus in 2021, which I will write about in future posts.

Selling things online is helping me to recoup some of my losses for too much shopping and purchasing the wrong things, but I’m kind of glad that it has been challenging to make these sales. At first, it almost seemed too easy because I sold a lot at the outset and for good prices, too. But then it got much harder as we edged closer to the end of the year and I learned that reselling my clothes would not be a panacea for ill-advised over-shopping. It can help to mitigate some of the damage, but I still need to do the work to shift my behavior. I’m going to continue to do that work and I’m going to continue to write about it from time to time, albeit not at the level of detail that I used to share on Recovering Shopaholic.

Although sharing my specific numbers and expenditures helped me to better adhere to my goals, it also opened me up to a lot of criticism and “trolling,” and I’m not willing to endure that anymore. Some bloggers are able to develop a “thick skin,” but I don’t think I’m built that way. I’m extremely sensitive and the criticism that I received took a toll on me, which was a big reason why I stopped writing Recovering Shopaholic and took a break from blogging. I came back because I realized I still had things that I wanted to say and because I believed I could still make a positive impact through my writing. I thought I was done writing about wardrobe-related topics, but clearly that isn’t true, as I continue to write about that subject and quite often. There will be some changes to the blog in 2021, but I will save that topic for another day because this was supposed to be a shorter post (oh, well…).

Conclusion – and Happy New Year!

So that’s it for my 2020 goals – and that’s almost it for 2020. Good riddance, I say! Some of my readers in other countries have already rung in the New Year, and that time will come for me very soon. I want to close by thanking you for your readership and support this year. I know I didn’t post all that much, but I hope you still got value out of the essays that I did publish.

My goal was to publish 25 posts this year (that was my pandemic revised goal, as I originally wanted to do 30!), but I fell short of that. This “under the wire” post is number 20, which is actually an appropriate number for this year (another version of “20 for 2020”!). If you missed any of my posts or would like to revisit a particular topic, I invite you to check out my Archives Page. You can also browse by category via the right sidebar on the website (if you love wardrobe management posts, you can see them all HERE – or go to the Recovering Shopaholic Archives Page).

As usual, you’re welcome to leave a comment on this post, whether it’s about what I wrote, your own wardrobe goals and how you did with them, or anything else that you’d like to share. I look forward to your feedback! With that, I will close out the year of 2020 for Full Life Reflections and in general. I wish you a very Happy New Year!


My husband and I will be ringing in the New Year at home and will be making a traditional Dutch recipe that his family always made on New Year’s Eve (gluten-free for my delicate constitution – and even then, I eat it very sparingly). His parents have passed on, but this is just one way that we honor and remember them each year, as well as honor his Dutch heritage (in case you didn’t know, my last name is pronounced like “roose,” not like “rose”). I’m part Dutch, too, but am a mixture of many European nationalities (also Irish, German, French, and Italian).

I hope that 2021 will be a calmer and more peaceful year for all of us. I hope the coming year will bring you many blessings and increased fulfillment, despite how chaotic the world is. Stay safe and healthy, my online friends. Virtual hugs to you across the miles! See you in 2021…

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37 thoughts on “2020 Wardrobe Goals – End of the Year Update

  1. Claudette Cormier says:

    Blessings to you and your husband, wishing you abundant better health and happiness in 2021! your post continue to inspire me!!!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thank you, Claudette. Wishing the same for you and your family this year!

  2. Samantha says:

    Best wishes for the new year! Also, congratulations on having the patience to resell clothes! Shopping can be a distraction, especially when I feel powerless about so many issues. I just wrote a hypothetical 333 list even though I know I probably won’t stick to it. I’m going to opt for a shopping ban, which really also means a decluttering ban. It’s probably going to be difficult at first as I feel most clothes tend to end up having something wrong with either cut or fabric. I’m hoping I’ll stop getting annoyed with that in the long run. I have 1945 letters by my (Czech) grandfather complaining to my (French) grandmother about the quality of post-war socks and it makes me smile – he would be appalled today!

    I also just read the Existbetter new year newsletter and it links such problems to manufactured feelings of scarcity. I am quoting passages which I feel might interest you : “This should not spark shame and guilt in us, but instead, self-compassion and a willingness to learn.

    Feelings of scarcity make us obsessively and chronically wasteful. […] It is instinctive, and many of us don’t recognize we are doing it. This means we hoard our possessions, keep up with the Jones’, work ourselves to the bone, buy extra to feel safer, and a million other habits that yield only one result: waste. Wasted time, resources, energy, food, money – you name it, it gets wasted.”” […] scarcity is usually manufactured. It stems more from how our society operates than it does from a true scarcity of resources on Earth. […] Our culture creates scarcity through mismanagement, neglect of land, exploitation of people and resources, and most importantly, a lack of emotional wellbeing.”

    I’m looking forward to discovering the changes to your already wonderful blog this new year!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Good luck wit your shopping ban, Samantha! I know they can be helpful for a lot of people, but telling myself I can’t do something usually makes me want to do it all the more. So I try for moderation, which I am still struggling with… That’s funny about your grandfather’s letter! Yes, I’m sure he would be appalled at the shoddy workmanship of many clothes today.

      Thank you for sharing the quotes! I think feelings of scarcity contributed to my shopping challenges this year. I didn’t have a scarcity in terms of clothing, but I felt scarcity about other things in life and channeled that into shopping. Yes, there is SO much waste!!! I’m really feeling that at the moment, especially after watching “Less is Now” (The Minimalists’ new documentary on Netflix) last night. I recommend checking it out – I plan to watch it again, as I really need to take the message more to heart.

      1. Samantha says:

        Thank you for the recommendation, I ‘ll check out “Less is Now”. I think the shopping ban can be great for me, but if it turns out it’s not, I’ll definitely make it into an open goal as per Sally’s approach and see how little (clothes and accessories) I can buy (and how little I can declutter!).We’ll see… 😉

        1. Debbie Roes says:

          I hope you enjoy the movie, Samantha! I love Sally’s open goal concept, too, and I’m going to use it this year, but only for buying, not decluttering (because I need to declutter some stuff!). Best wishes with the shopping ban and/or the open goal of buying fewer clothes and accessories!

  3. Sally says:

    Hi Debbie,

    Thank you for sharing your wardrobe roundup.

    I thought you and your readers might enjoy this lighthearted round up of the year:

    10 Points to Ponder as 2020 draws to a close …😂😆😜

    1. The dumbest thing I ever bought was a 2020 planner.
    2. 2019: Stay away from negative people. 2020: Stay away from positive people.
    3. The world has turned upside down. Old folks are sneaking out of the house & their kids are yelling at them to stay indoors!
    4. This morning I saw a neighbour talking to her cat. It was obvious she thought her cat understood her. I came into my house & told my dog…. We had a good laugh.
    5. Every few days try your jeans on just to make sure they fit. Pyjamas will have you believe all is well in the kingdom.
    6. Does anyone know if we can take showers yet or should we just keep washing our hands?
    7. I never thought the comment, “I wouldn’t touch him/her with a 6-foot pole” would become a national policy, but here we are!
    8. I need to practice social-distancing ….from the refrigerator.
    9. I hope the weather is good tomorrow for my trip out to the bins!
    10. Never in a million years could I have imagined I would go into a bank with a mask on and ask for money.🤣🤣

    Hope this brought a smile to your face 😉

    I also thought you might find this article helpful when setting your goals for 2021:

    Here is a summary of the key points:

    Try setting an open goal for your New Year’s resolution.

    Generally, we’re advised to set specific, or SMART, goals (where SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timebound).

    However, one problem is specific goals are all-or-nothing: you either achieve the goal or you fail. When you stop making progress towards your goal, or start to feel like you’re failing, it’s easy to give up.

    Open goals are non-specific and exploratory, often phrased as aiming to “see how well I can do”. Open goals are much more psychologically beneficial than SMART goals.

    Here’s the important difference between open and SMART goals:

    When you set a SMART goal, you’re identifying something in the future you want to achieve, so pursuing SMART goals is about reducing the gap between where you are now and where you want to get to — you’re always lagging behind where you want to be. That can make it feel like your progress is slow, and slow progress doesn’t feel good.

    When you set an open goal, your focus is on your starting point. Rather than comparing against where you should be, you’re constantly building on your starting point. That makes the process much more positive — and the more positive we feel , the more we’ll want to do it again and again.

    Hope this is helpful.

    I look forward to reading your blogs in 2021, in whatever form they take

    Wishing you a happy new year.

    1. Samantha says:

      I had a good laugh with my cat!

    2. RoseAG says:

      Love the humor!

    3. Debbie Roes says:

      As usual, you don’t disappoint with your comprehensive and insightful comment, Sally! I loved the humor at the beginning and I also love the concept of “open goals,” especially the part about their being more positive. Although I didn’t beat myself up nearly as much regarding not accomplishing some of my 2020 goals, I still had a sinking feeling when I realized that I hadn’t completed all of them. I wish the article included more examples because I feel a bit “foggy” about how I might word things. I’m not sure if I’m going to do goals this year anyway, but if I do, maybe I’ll try to pose them in an open format (maybe something like “I want to see how many blog posts I can publish this year”). I like the concept and am intrigued… The steps example was good because I actually have a Fitbit and aim to get the 10000 steps, but I’m okay with not always getting it because I think that overall I’m more active (I guess “being more active” is more of an open goal). I hope your 2021 is off to a good start and I wish you all the best this year!

      1. Sally says:

        Hi Debbie

        I used to set myself a specific goal weight I wanted to achieve each year and then felt like a failure when I didn’t achieve it and that led to me just giving up trying and my weight has been increasing.

        This year I have noted my starting weight as at 1 Jan 2021 and my open goal is:

        “I want to see how much weight I can lose by the end of the year.”

        Therefore, if I manage to lose any weight at all, I will feel more positive about myself and will be more likely to stick with it.

        Suggestions for your wardrobe opening goals for 2021 is to state your starting point e.g number of out and about clothes (including shoes) is 138 and then your open goal for 2021 would be:

        “I want to see how much I can reduce my out and about clothes (including shoes) by the end of the year.”

        By framing it this way, any progress is good news and will make you feel better about yourself.

        1. Debbie Roes says:

          Sally, thank you so much for sharing these examples – they were very helpful! I really like the idea of having a wardrobe goal like your example because if I reduce the number AT ALL, I can celebrate it, rather than feeling like a failure if I don’t meet the goal (for example) of reducing the size of my out-and-about wardrobe to 100 items. I might STILL get down to 100, but if I, say, get to 110 instead (or even 130), I can still celebrate it. I like this a lot! It’s a big perspective shift that I think will be able to help in my quest to have more self-compassion. I hope it will be very helpful for you, too!

        2. Jayne says:

          Thanks for the laugh Sally and also for the open goal concept. Great idea!

  4. Jenn says:

    It sounds like you’ve made a lot of progress with defining your style, reducing your wardrobe, and achieving your goals, Debbie. Congratulations on doing much much more than merely surviving this challenging year. And thank you for each and every one of your blog posts.

    I took note of the books you listed that you’ve read, or want to read or revisit, and I purchased Shop Your Wardrobe this morning.

    I want to approach 2021 with intention—my word for the year. I want to be more intentional about everything; what I say and do, how I spend my time and money, what I take in, and what I avoid. I also want to stop overthinking about what I “should” do, and instead focus on what brings meaning to my life—something I haven’t done enough of.

    I could go on and on about all the ways I want to improve myself and my life in the New Year, but suffice it to say, I’m looking forward to this reset. Also, I loved the article Sally shared about goals. SMART goals don’t work for me. The concept of open goals resonates deeply.

    Happy New Year, everyone!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      That’s great that you bought “Shop Your Wardrobe,” Jenn. Please let me know what you think. I plan to read it soon as well. “Intention” is a great word for this year! I had “deliberate” as my word one year and I found it very helpful. I like how you posed the way you want to apply “intention” to your life this year. I especially resonated with not overthinking what you “should” do and focusing on what will bring you meaning instead! Best wishes to you with “intention” and your open goals, and Happy New Year!

      1. Jenn says:

        I absolutely loved “Shop Your Wardrobe,” Debbie. It was interspersed with humor which made the book hard to put down. I read it in two days. Many, if not all of her reasons for overshopping resonated with me. And she tends to overshop when traveling, which I do too. I think, for me, part of the reason is that I don’t really like to travel–I’m weird that way–but I’m going to try look at things differently over an upcoming trip in March. Overall, I found Jill’s book entertaining, enlightening, and inspiring, and would highly recommend it.

        1. Debbie Roes says:

          Thanks for reporting back, Jenn! The book must have been good if you got through it in two days 🙂 I’m not surprised, though, as Jill is very engaging and passionate about her subject matter. I met her in person once when she was in San Diego and she is delightful in person, too. I have had issues with overshopping during travel, too. I’m guessing it’s a common problem. I haven’t traveled now in over a year, but I wish you the best of luck with shopping less during your March trip (and I hope you enjoy the trip). I will read the book soon and I’m sure I’ll share some of my thoughts on the blog at some point. I appreciate your vote of confidence for it.

  5. Katrina B says:

    I love that you got another 20 to add to your 20 for 2020! So perfect! You have accomplished an incredible amount this (last) year. In terms of clothing, it’s wonderful relief when you can finally make the shift from appearance to comfort, but then taking the next step of balancing the two is even more difficult! Congratulations on figuring that out. I still have to change my clothes to go for a walk around the block. I love your wardrobe and shopping posts, and I don’t understand why people would come to your blog for the sole purpose of criticizing. I have never understood trolling in general. Maybe it is a new personality type that has evolved in response to the online environment.

    I have only read two of the books on your list, but they were so great i kept them and still reread them from time to time: The Curated Closet (Rees) and How to Get Dressed (Freer). This has been a weird wardrobe year for me as I started out with a specific plan for getting my work wardrobe straightened out – and then didn’t need a work wardrobe. I have not done any buying or purging since last January because it just seems too risky with the unknown future. Either I will buy stuff I will never need or I will get rid of things I need desperately in a couple of months. My closet is in stasis, to the point that there is a layer of dust on everything, but it’s something I will just deal with if and when I need to.

    I love traditional holiday recipes, and the oliebollen look delicious! Since my German family did not share any specific New Year’s foods, I have adopted the Southern Hoppin’ John and the Italian lentil stew (lenticchie) as my New Year dinners – not both at the same time, of course! This year it’s lentils.

    I think people did the best they could in the face of 2020’s challenges and I give everyone a pass (myself included) on areas where they might feel they didn’t do enough. As you know I am no fan of resolutions or specific goals, since I soon as I know I “have” to do something, I refuse to do it. I function best with the open goals Sally mentions, and I tend to create them in response to need, not the time of year. I do have some hopes though: in 2021, I hope we can all continue to take care of ourselves and each other, make the healthiest and safest choices, be optimistic within reason, and be open to change.

    Much love and gratitude to you Debbie, for everything you do. Happy New Year!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Yeah, it’s interesting how I had another “20” to add to my list with the blog posts, Katrina. It’s a nice way to put a positive spin on it. I feel fortunate in that I haven’t experienced any trolling with this blog, but I also have a lot fewer readers. I think that trolls always come out when there is more traffic. I didn’t have nearly as many as a lot of other bloggers do, but it was still difficult to deal with. I don’t understand people like that, either, but they can’t be very happy inside if they focus so much on criticizing others. I’m reminded of the Theodore Roosevelt “It is not the critic who counts…” quote (a great one to look up if you’re not familiar with it.

      The Curated Closet is an excellent book that is worth re-reading and I look forward to reading the Freer book, too. I’m sorry your whole wardrobe plan got derailed in 2020, but it was very wise of you to hold off on buying and purging until you have a better idea of what you will need. There will be time to deal with all of that!

      The oliebollen turned out quite well. We only made half a recipe, but my husband gobbled most of them up. I hope you enjoyed your lentils! I had to look up Southern Hoppin’ John.

      I can get rebellious when I feel I HAVE to do things, too, which is part of why I don’t do “shopping bans” anymore. But maybe I could have a couple of open goals related to my shopping and wardrobe. Food for thought… I love your vision for 2021 and I echo it. Best wishes to you in all things!

      1. Debbie Roes says:

        In regards to the trolls and criticism issue, I found the Roosevelt quote online, with a very good addendum after it:

        View at

        I wholeheartedly agree with both the quote and the addendum!

        1. Katrina B says:

          Oh that’s so great – I never saw the full text of it before! This is why I used to get so upset watching singing and dancing competitions and hearing the judges tear apart each performance. Definitely saving this quote!

        2. Debbie Roes says:

          I feel the same way, Katrina. Some of the comments are cringeworthy for sure. I think people should at least use the “sandwich method” when criticizing (say something nice, then give constructive criticism, and then end on a high and encouraging note). We learned that in Toastmasters years ago and I still always try to use it when I’m going to give any type of criticism (but of course, a lot of criticism simply doesn’t NEED to be given in the first place!).

  6. Helen says:

    Hi Debbie and Happy New Year!
    Thank you once again for all the work you put into writing your blog and I admire the effort it takes to manage the wardrobe – I know just too well!

    I have read some of those books and agree, they do help with the challenge. Jill’s book makes me laugh and cry with her insights – so many epiphanies !

    My major one is about being more kind to myself – when a friend commented many years ago that I have high standards I took it as a compliment.. Now as I see how hard I was on myself and made myself miserable in the process. May be that was the most important lesson from 2020.


    1. Debbie Roes says:

      It’s so great that you read Jill’s book, Helen. I’m sure it’s great and I love her sense of humor and she always has wonderful insights to share. Amen about being more kind to yourself! That’s something that I’m working on, too. Yes, having high standards can make a person miserable. I have been there over and over again. What a wonderful lesson to glean from the past difficult year. Wishing you more self-compassion and less perfectionism in 2021!

      1. Helen says:

        One step forward for me – it might not work for everyone: we downsized last year from huge 3 bedroom place to compact (ha ha) 2 bedroom place with no garage. I resisted putting things into off-site storage as I know a lot of people who kept things in storage for many years and eventually realized that they wasted the money and no longer needed/wanted the stuff.

        I decided to rent a small locker – 1x1x1, to put my winter wardrobe into it.I am in Australia. I do need to get it out in 4 months and review what I want to keep and what I can let go.

        Eureka! I do not feel stressed about shuffling things and making decision when I am not ready. As I am not into selling my unwanted I have a plan to wear what I like this summer and let go progressively of things for the next 3 months. By then I will have much less to put into storage for next summer.

        Oh, I also let go of my car when we moved from Sydney, I used to hide some things in the boot, until I was ready to let them go. There is very little space here to hide things.


        1. Debbie Roes says:

          This is a great idea, Helen! It’s kind of like the “hidden holding zone” that I’ve mentioned multiple times related to my wardrobe (the idea came from the “You Look Fab” blog: It’s often easier to get rid of things when they are out of sight for a period of time. We often think we will need something, but we usually don’t. Having less storage also helps us to hold on to less, which seems to be working for you!

  7. Terra says:

    Nice update Debbie. Thank you for the resources too. I’m in the process of trying on all of the clothes I have not worn in the past year due to COVID-19 and I’m letting go of everything that no longer fits me. In the past when I have lost or gained weight I saved my clothes. But twice now over the years when I have gained or lost, I’ve found that my body weight seems to shift to different parts of my body and even though my weight is the same, the clothes fit differently or not at all. So, this time I’m just letting it go. And I’m currently reading You Are What You Wear. An excellent book, thank you for suggesting it.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Great to hear from you, Terra. Good for you for letting go of things that no longer fit you. It took me a while to do that after menopause, but there is freedom in letting go. You’re right that our weight can be the same but not all in the same places. That was true for me after I lost a lot of the menopausal weight gain and I didn’t want to wear some of the old things even though they technically fit me. I’m glad you’re enjoying “You Are What You Wear.” I look forward to revisiting it and gleaning more insights on the psychology of clothing and shopping. It’s a lot deeper subject than many people think, but I know that you know otherwise. Wishing you and your family a more peaceful and happy year, and I hope to get to see you sometime in 2021.

  8. Gigi01 says:

    Long time reader here – just want to let you know I appreciate your blog. I think your current blog achieves a nice balance of subject matter, including wardrobe management and shopping in more general terms than your previous blog. Your genuine voice shines through….
    Thank you

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I appreciate your taking the time to come and leave this nice comment, Gigi. I’m glad you like my blog and its varied topics and resonate with me and what I write. All the best to you in 2021!

  9. RoseAG says:

    Debbie – I enjoy your blog and you are right, pondering wardrobe management is a welcome distraction in a crazy year.
    I think all things considered you did well to get so close to your goals. I have several Summer dresses and sandals that I never put on b/c I wasn’t going anywhere. I’ve already decided I won’t buy any Spring clothing, I’m going to wait and see what happens then.
    I acquired a new toy, an Air Fryer, and have to wonder whether the oliebollen can be air fried. Frying them in olive oil must lend a different flavor to them, I don’t know that you’d get that with the air frying.
    I’m about to hit my 2 year mark on growing out hair, I’m anxious to hear how your hair journey has gone.

    Best Wishes and a Happy New Year –

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I didn’t wear a lot of my summer dresses, either, Rose. I know I could wear them at home, but I like to wear things that I don’t worry about because my cats like to sit on my lap (and I like to have them on my lap, too). Good for you for deciding not to buy any Spring clothing. I feel like I need so very little at this point. I’m glad I bought more at-home items in 2020, but I don’t need much at this point. I hope I can buy LESS this year! That’s great that you got an Air Fryer. I’ve read about them, but haven’t taken the plunge yet. I think my digestive tract would prefer air-fried oliebollen because the oil can be heavy. Something to look into…

      Congrats on reaching the two year mark with growing out your gray hair! I wish you the best of luck with the rest of your journey. I know it’s been a long time since I posted on that topic, so it would be good for me to check in on it again. I said most of what I wanted to say, though. I wish my hair were grayer or more of a steely color, but we don’t get to choose how our natural hair looks. I think I looked at too many pictures on social media and had high expectations for what my hair would look like, so when it looked less bright and vibrant, I was disappointed. That in and of itself is something I could write about, plus I have a few other things to share. I will look to do that update pretty soon. Happy New Year to you!

      1. Jayne says:

        Debbie, I am glad to hear you haven’t had any trolling here.

  10. Gail says:

    So enjoyable to read your excellent writing, Debbie. I particularly like the open goal idea. I changed my rather rigid house-cleaning schedule about a year ago and decided that I’d concentrate on making it cleaner than before until too tired to continue. I am no longer nearly killing myself with housework, and I wonder why it took so long! Finally, at 74, I am relaxing. I continue to enjoy decluttering, though, and organizing, even when there is so little to go through.
    I am with you: I try to go outside except in messy weather. Even changing rooms I read in sometimes helps.
    Hang in there, and keep writing for us and for yourself. Best for 2021, Debbie.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      The “open goal” concept is resonating with a lot of people here, Gail, so I’m grateful to Sally for bringing it to all of our attention. Good for you for easing up on your house-cleaning schedule. My mom told me just yesterday that she has done the same thing. Getting things “cleaner than before” is a worthy goal that is easy to accomplish. I love to declutter and organize, but I’m not too into cleaning my house, so I will stick to “cleaner than before,” I think 🙂 Best wishes to you in 2021, too!

  11. So glad I found your blog! Let the binge reading begin! Thank you for mentioning my book! I hope you enjoy it. I wrote one on personal style too. A fun topic (:

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Welcome, Jennifer! I hope you enjoy my blog. I look forward to reading your book very soon and I’ll check out the personal style book, too. Yes, it’s a very fun topic to both read and write about!

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