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:
- 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…
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).
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:
- Shop Your Wardrobe – Jill Chivers (this just came out and I look forward to reading it, as I’m a longtime fan of Jill’s – check out her excellent blog posts HERE!)
- 12 Simple Separates: 3 Basics + 3 Capsules = 60 Unique Outfits – Heather Claus (all about getting more style with fewer pieces – something I definitely want to do!)
- You Are What You Wear: What Your Clothes Reveal About You – Jennifer Baumgartner (I read this book back in 2012 but want to re-read it – it’s about the psychology of shopping and style)
- The Confident Closet – Melanie Kluger (the title and description grabbed me, so we’ll see!)
- How to Get Dressed – Alison Freer (about how to rethink our wardrobes like a fashion expert)
- Elevate the Everyday – Jennifer Melville (not only about style, but it seems like a good thing to read in this age of many, many similar days)
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…