Sunday, 28 December 2014

Wardrobe reflections for 2014

At the beginning of the year, I wrote the following:

In 2014, I resolve to simplify my closet. Simplify as in cut it in half. Or maybe by a third from what it is right now.

I am not sure that I have halved my wardrobe - I do not see much empty space. All I can say is that everything fits a lot better in the space that I have available (which is not much), and I can do with further improvement for 2015. I have donated a lot of clothes, particularly the ones that were ill-fitting and/or of terrible quality. And equally important: I have stopped buying a few low quality items and chose to buy one high quality item that excited and inspired me.

I discovered that editing one's wardrobe is a skill that can be learned and refined over time, with a lot of practice (surprise, surprise). I started out having very little clue as to how to do this, all that I had was a vision, and even then, this vision wasn't exactly crystal clear. I am still working out the details as I go along. And I make sure that all the things that I do is getting me one step closer to this vision.

Another discovery: this vision is not static - it is in fact rather dynamic in nature. I am mostly ok with this because I don't expect this to be static. People change over time, I change over time, it is only natural that what I want change. All I can say is that on the big picture, what I want hasn't deviate much from the original vision. The details (that are largely still vague) are the ones changing, quite possibly because I am getting more specific with what I want, so the things that I thought I was previously okay with ended up being the things that I did not want. This revelation is useful because it prevents me from making acquisition mistakes.

So what happened in 2014?

January: I travelled and perhaps got a lil bit too carried away with shopping. I liked (and still like) all that I bought, they were essentially ticking off a lot of things from the lust list. I tend not to include holiday purchases into the acquisition tally, but I guess I really should given that I have identified that shopping while travelling is one of my Achilles heel.

February: I articulated my wardrobe resolutions for this year and also implemented a one month shopping ban. The goal was to concentrate on what was in my closet, focus on getting rid of things that are not comfortable and do not make me feel good. This is kind of hard especially if they were a favourite and/or comfortable once upon a time. However, given my current living situation, space is a premium and I want to have space instead of things that I don't use.

March: I noticed that when shopping ban ended, I always found it that much more difficult to control my shopping urges in the aftermath, which led me to conclude that having a shopping ban is mostly a terrible idea for me in the long run. It was, for lack of a better description, a band-aid solution to a more serious issue. The weather was quasi warm, and I purchased items for the upcoming winter (boots, sweaters and dresses), including this blue satchel that has been an unexpected favourite, all of which got a lot of use during the next few months, so all in all, I am glad that I bought them.

April: April was a no spent month despite having no shopping ban in place. There were a lot of things that tickled my fancy, but I resisted the temptation to shop. It wasn't easy, but it did got easier throughout the month.

May: I found that resisting the temptation to shop got easier with time. This month, I replaced worn under garments and replaced a couple of new jumpers for winter (the weather was getting colder). I had been putting worn out items to one side, but didn't go on a full force decluttering spree because I didn't have the time to do so. I figured that slow and steady was better than nothing at all.

June: June was a successful acquisition month thanks to the end of financial year sale here in the land of oz. I did not blog this month because ... err... too busy shopping I guess? I added a brown tote and a pair of black boots into the mix, as well as replaced a couple of dresses. At this point, I panicked because this was going in a completely different direction to what I wanted to be at the beginning of the year - i.e. severe deviation from this year's wardrobe resolutions - so the decluttering spree started.

July: There was this jacket that I had been eyeing since last winter - the superdry windbreaker. I was in the middle of a decluttering spree, getting rid of mostly worn out items that were just there, unworn by me because they were worn out. Either that or they were a terrible fit. My body changed ever since I decided to exercise regularly, and whilst I had been purging, I never did it to this extent. I devised another shopping ban after purchasing the jacket with my bonus money from the boss. [Bonus money is one of those unexpected pleasures in life that I spend freely and happily, mostly in the form of food, and occasionally, clothes.]

August: I implemented a self-imposed shopping ban with the aim of letting go 20 items before purchasing anything new. The black wedge sneakers that I had been eyeing went on sale on and I got to action straight away. I got ruthless. I got rid of 2 bags worth of clothes and shoes, combination of stuff given by other people and stuff that are too worn out for swap, not because of wear but because of low quality. I think I behaved this way because I wanted those shoes - and they did not disappoint. I loved (and still love) them to bits, and I feel like it was one of those purchases that are worth every penny.

September: September was a no spent month because I was too busy downsizing my closet. I donated a lot of things - another 3 bags full of clothes and accessories (incl. shoes and bags) to St Vinnies. I also did a major edit of my lust list, essentially successfully convincing myself that there were items in the list that I did not love, and so they shouldn't be on the list. Seriously considering to rename the list as love list, but did not because, well, lust list sounds more raunchy.

October: I got rid of more things that were terrible fit, and this process is getting easier the more I do this. I upgraded my black skinnies (because my current pair was jaded, which is an inconvenience when I wanted a jet black, sleek bottom) and black sandals in preparation for summer. At this point in time, it feels like my closet is coming together and it is easier to get dressed every day because everything is more cohesive. I purchased the black bag that I had been coveting for a long time and have been using it on a regular basis.

November: Still primarily in downsizing mode, I wanted this month to be a no spend month, and was about half way across the month before the orange dress happened. I loved (and still love) this dress, and have been wearing it on average one day per week. Orange is a colour that I am traditionally not drawn to, so it came as a bit of a surprise that I liked this dress that much. I am also surprised as to how easily orange integrates with my wardrobe, and subsequently, I entertained the idea of getting an orange bag. The shape of the bag doesn't matter so much, but the colour does because I just want to have a little fun with colours. I have gotten this bag thanks to a very generous friend who let me chose my own present.

December: December has been a successful acquisition month. I happily upgraded a couple of dresses, added more silk items, and introduced two new colours: orange and yellow. I spent a lot more this month, largely taking advantage of the various sales (mostly online) and also braved the crazy Boxing Day's sales, walking away with not buying anything for myself (I bought a gift for a dear friend). I am drafting a few acquisition analyses entries, and will post them once finished.

Wardrobe resolutions for 2015

In 2015, I resolve to refine my style concept. Refine as in making (minor) tweaks to bring my style up a notch. This refinement process comprises:

Removing unwanted elements - the decluttering continues (and perhaps will never stop), constant editing is something that I probably have to do to ensure that the state of my closet is inline with my (evolving) style concept.

Cleaning up messy closet - my closet is not messy per se, but it can do with some regular organising. This is beneficial in two ways. First, it assists in the first goal of removing unwanted items. Two, it makes me more aware of what's in my closet. And needless to say, it promotes clarity and organisation: I will know where everything is.

Transforming my outfits by extending its integration capabilities - this means including things like combining accessories, playing with colour mixes and purchasing new things with the purpose of elevating existing closet items.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

December Wardrobe Reflection

if i could be a poem, then this is it. 

Hello December.

I quite like December. It is the last month of the year, it is the holiday season and there is just so much love everywhere!

November purchase I bought a grand total of one item at the end of November: an orange dress. I have worn this dress at least once a week since I bought it. It is a good dress for spring/summer and given that I got rid of a bunch of summer dresses earlier this year, this is really just a replacement of those. That said, this purchase was from, my shopping achilles heel, during their additional 20% off. This made the dress ridiculously affordable. Granted, it is not the best material nor construction, but it is pretty good for the price that I paid for.

Somewhat off topic, asos recently changed their free shipping minimum (from no minimum to $30 to $40) and their additional discount minimum (from no minimum to approx $120 minimum). I told le husb that this just made it more difficult for me to do some impulse shopping, which is actually a good thing! I get that their logic is to get people to buy more things in one transaction, and I couldn't help wondering how many people are in my shoes: they find one thing they like, and can't take advantage of the further sales and free shipping and subsequently decide not to buy anything. Both my wardrobe and my bank account are very happy (and me too).  

Wardrobe observation I have dresses, they are mostly black. Nothing wrong with that, except when it's stinking hot outside, and I was literally melting. Thus the orange dress purchased above. I am quite drawn to orange these days, which is a surprise for me, given that I never stop to consider the colour before. It integrates nicely with my existing colours, and is especially nice when paired with blue. I find that wearing black in summer is rather impractical. I should have known this, but somehow it just escaped me. So I am working on integrating more lighter colours to wear for the next few months. Generally, I struggled to look good in summer, dressing during this time of the year takes more effort than any other season.

December purchases so far A red dress, a pencil skirt in yellow and .... a black dress. I know, I know. I have a weakness for black dresses. They are wearable for about 70% of the year (late summer through to early spring), and are also wearable when the weather dips into the lower temperatures during the 30% of the year. I sound like I am contradicting myself. Black dresses, when chosen well, can last a long time. I bought this black dress because it's silk! These three items, well, two are still in transit (at the time of writing).

Other random observation A few people pointed out to me that there are some days in which I dress like someone that I am not. These people are brave people and I love them a lot, and more importantly, they make me re-think my whole approach to dressing and all that. Lately though, their criticisms had been centred around my foot wear of choice. I am battling a recurring running injury, so I have been staying away from my heels collection. While this is a very good excuse, it makes me realise how a pair of shoes can make or break the outfit.

I did say during last month's wardrobe reflection that it is very unlikely that November would be a no buying month because of Black Friday. I bought one dress in November. So far I have bought three items in December. I don't know how many I would buy this month. Whilst I would like to have a "rule" that says "maximum of one item in per month", I am not too sure that such rule would be useful because the chance of me adhering to it is in December (and also January) is pretty small. And no, so far this year, I have bought more than one item per month; I have exceeded this by 100%.  

I have so much more respect for those people who are able to exercise a very high degree of wardrobe discipline and still look good. The way they are able to buy the best items that would fit their lifestyles and then come up with different ways to wear them and invest the time and effort to maintain their clothes - that is quite something.

I hope to get there one day. One step at a time.

Coming up: acquisition analyses on the stuff I bought so far this year. I find this to be personally useful, they just take a lot of time and effort to write up. As we are nearing the end of the year, I would like to do an evaluation of my wardrobe resolutions for this year, and of course, think of a few resolutions for next year.