Thursday, February 4, 2016

Living with Less - Wardrobe Edition

First off, I would like to thank Andrea of  Season + Salt for featuring me as part of her weekend roundup and say "hi" to all the new readers that she directed here.  Welcome!

Part of my goals for 2016 is to buy less for my wardrobe and home. Today, I want to focus on changes I will be making to my wardrobe to curb mindless shopping and live with less possessions. I plan to follow up with a post on my home soon.

In an effort to buy less and get away from mindless consumerism, I have decided to limit clothing purchases to 10 things or less in 2016.

To some, 10 may seem an extravagant number, not really minimal at all. I agree it could be less.......a lot less. For me though, 10 things is less compared to last year so I am moving in a more positive direction. Let me explain why I decided on 10.......

Unfortunately, in the past, most of my clothes were bought at lower-end retailers that thrive on $5 tees and $20 sweaters and jeans. While this was good during years when we didn't have much income, I want to get away from these low quality items that need replaced every 6 months......and most of my clothes have seen better days. With a small wardrobe, things are put into rotation often, and a low quality item that unravels or piles after 4 washes really isn't a savings.

I want to focus on buying better quality items this year. Hopefully the things I buy will last longer; thus needing replaced less often, having me spend less time in stores, and in the long run less things will go to the landfill. I DO plan look for things second hand and buy gently used, quality pieces if I can.  I have been particularly successful with finding great used coats, shoes, and jeans on eBay in the past. All 10 items I plan to buy will be replacing something already in my wardrobe that is either worn or too big/small, so my wardrobe will not be growing in numbers.  In fact, there are a few thing that are on their last thread that I don't plan on replacing because they are duplicates.  Fewer, better things is what's in store for 2016.

The 10 things will include pants, tops, coats, jackets, shoes, scarfs, bags, and workout clothes.  It will not include lingerie or sleepwear. I am well stocked in those categories for years to come.

I've also done away with the "capsule wardrobe" (a certain set of clothing I wear for 3 months) which I followed in the past. I want to have a small, edited wardrobe that fits my lifestyle in all sorts weather.  But rather than a capsule wardrobe comprised of low quality items replaced every few seasons, I want to just have a small, quality wardrobe.  While I see the usefulness in a capsule, I want to give myself permission to wear any of my clothes if the need arises, not just a certain set. I do like the capsule wardrobe concept of only buying something once a season, but what about the great deals on winter coats you can find in the spring when you know you will need to replace your coat the following winter? I want to be able to buy that perfect well-made coat when I find it and put it away for the cold months, saving myself a good chunk of cash in the process. This is why I feel limiting myself to a certain number of new clothing purchases will work better for me than once a season shopping.

I wrote before how I keep a notebook with a list of things I would like to replace.  At the beginning of the year, I took everything out, tried it on, and checked it for wear. If something was looking worn out or two big/small, I wrote it down. I also took notes of duplicates in my wardrobe. For the past several months I had already been making notes of things I wanted to purchase in the future, so I feel I have a pretty good idea of what I need this year. Before I buy something I will make sure it's on my list, so I know it isn't a passing fancy. This helps me a great deal when I shop - I don't go randomly rummaging through racks of things I don't need. I also plan to do mostly online shopping this year as it is easier to stick to my list that way.

Armed with my notebook and list, as well as staying accountable to you all, I KNOW I will have much better luck avoiding getting sucked into consumerism this year. I have yet to buy any clothing this year, so I am on the right track!

How about you, friend? Does a small wardrobe appeal to you? Would it be easy or difficult for you to limit yourself to 10 new items of clothing this year? Are you interested in hearing about the purchases I do make?


  1. As always, you inspire me Rebecca! I love your 10 item limit, that is so thoughtful. And what you said about capsule wardrobes makes perfect sense! Gosh, I am ready to tear into my closet right now and get rid of things. I think the capsule process has me hanging on to things a little longer than I need to... But something about toggling the items in my closet semi-regularly helps me get excited about what I already own.

    1. I have thought about that, the excitement about bring out something I haven't worn for awhile.....but really, I still kind of do that. Right now, summer clothes are in the back of my closet and will most likely stay there until May. My main reason for switching to no capsule is so I'm not stuck in seasonal buying anymore. I can buy the perfect item that is on my list if I find it off season or end of season. Also, since I want to replace my closet as it wears out with a high quality, ethical counterpart, and those are a little harder to find, I don't want to have seasonal "rules". For example, I found a pair of Paige jeans at TJ Maxx for under $100 last May and I didn't buy them because jeans were not on my list for summer purchases. I kick myself for not snagging them......... :-)

  2. Yes, I have sort of broken away from the shopping rules, I still don't do it much but i have given myself more freedom for when. I have found limiting myself in the number of items has really helped me from not shopping or buying too often.