Managing my clothing spending with a whitelist

I’ll leave this tidbit for a more financial update: I own 68% of the condo, my husband 9%, and the bank 23%, or in another way: I own 59%, we own 18%, and the bank owns 23%. This is a huge change from December where I owned 76% and the bank 24%. I’m not ready to write a 5 year homeownership update (!!) as I prefer to write about things after they have settled and we haven’t yet figured out how to get approval to make the condo board less broke.

Over the years, I’ve spent the most time managing my clothing spending. I have tried many ways to reign it in, to limit myself, to plan for spending, to budget, etc. and nothing seems to work for very long until now. I’ve struggled with my clothing spending for a variety of reasons over the years. Primarily, I value having a wardrobe with pieces that I love and fit and suit me well. Yet I have donated and purged so much of my closet over the years and worn a really small portion of it.

I feel so, so guilty buying clothes. I feel guilty putting them in my cart. I feel guilty putting them on my credit card. I feel guilty taking them out of the bag they come in. I feel guilty seeing the pile of online shopping bags by our mailbox. I even feel guilty wearing new clothes, sometimes so I leave the tags on them without wearing them! I feel guilty spending down investments or cash savings or using my husband’s condo buy-in money to buy clothes or asking for clothes for my birthday.

I used to over-buy clothes in categories that were easier to buy (tops) and under-buy in categories that were harder (everything else). In May, I went into a store looking for a pair of shorts that fit, a pair of white pants that fit, and a cropped cardigan. What did I walk out with? A pair of shorts, a pair of yellow pants (I decided they were so awesome they were worth foregoing the white pants), a dress that fit splendidly (but was terrible quality and I later returned for a damaged material credit after one wear), and two non-cropped cardigans that were the same colors as cardigans I already had at home. I had reached decision fatigue and bought whatever cardigan I could find instead of the cropped style I was specifically looking for. On the one hand, my color selection at least proves I know my style and color preferences but I when got home with the cardigans, I realized my silliness pretty quickly and took them back to the store later.

Despite all this guilt, when I was filling in my mindful budgeting planner, my best purchases recently were: bras, underwear, workout crops, and a summer dress I bought recently. That tells me that underneath all the guilt, having more than one pair of workout crops encourages me to go to the gym more often, which in turn brings me joy. It also tells me that summer clothes bring me far more joy than winter ones do.

To reduce my guilt and to not stress as much about the necessary clothing spending, I’ve been keeping a “Clothing whitelist” and setting one of my monthly goals as “Clothing whitelist only” and it’s been working. (I use these soft cover daily planners – not an affiliate link. I love them because they are small and fit in my purse or backpack easily!) When I start contemplating a particular item of clothing, I add it to this list. Sometimes the items stay on the list for a few months and other times, I add things to the list and immediately buy them. As I review my spending throughout the month, I check in – is a piece of clothing I bought on the whitelist? If it isn’t, I either need to add it or return the item.)

A recurring theme on the list this year is “X that fits” which falls into the “one in one out” philosophy for wardrobe management: spring jacket that fits, hiking shorts that fit, 2 pairs of workout crops that fit, bras that fit, underwear that fits, shorts that fit, summer pants that fit. Other items have included: N* winter sweaters, N* pairs of underwear (finally swapped down to just black and beige colors which is life changing), a cropped cardigan, winter over-pants for walking to the gym, N* days of summer clothes, shoes for my wedding reception. With my huge exercise push this year, I’ve lost some of the weight I gained in my last couple years of jobs I hated and felt stuck in. It’s been huge for my general happiness levels and has given me the opportunity to shop the parts of my closet I didn’t purge from what fit back in 2014/2015, plus some pieces of last year’s closet.

Similarly, I picked which bra styles and colors to buy in what number by listing out the possibilities, along with which items I would wear with them in my wardrobe. I hate having a bra wardrobe that doesn’t match to my actual closet! (What you get when you take a CS nerd and get them to shop: spreadsheets, tables, and charts.)

So far, this method seems to be working really well this year, better even than assigning a dollar number to the clothing budget. If I gave myself a dollar figure budget, I probably would have kept those cardigans I didn’t need.

Readers, what is your trickiest category to budget for? How do you handle it?

N* is variable, depending on the category.

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How I Use Stylebook to Manage My Closet

iPhone Screenshot 1 I’ve been using Stylebook since January to track and manage my closet. Last fall, I did an analysis of what I had in my closet and what I would like to have and identified where the gaps were. Not long after that, I got an iPhone and discovered the wonder of iOS apps, including Stylebook. I’m a huge believer of having data on your life and data gives you the power to make informed decisions, so I’m surprised I never really tracked my closet before. I probably had the mistaken impression that that was for “fashion snobs”, which I felt was not me.

Closet Organizing

The key data piece in Stylebook is importing your entire closet. This sounds like a lot of work and it definitely takes some amount of time, though I had recently done a huge closet purge when I started using the app, which made the import go much faster.

Categories

Their categories didn’t quite work for me, but you can really define your own categories. I’ve eventually shifted my categories to the following:

  1. Tops
    1. Three-quarter sleeved
    2. Long-sleeved
    3. Short-sleeved
    4. Cardigans/Hoodies
    5. Sweaters
    6. Sleeveless
  2. Bottoms
    1. Pants
    2. Shorts
    3. Tights
    4. Skirts (though I currently have none)
  3. Shoes
    1. Flats
    2. Boots
    3. Sandals
  4. Bags
    1. Cross-Body Bags
    2. Totes
    3. Clutches
  5. Outerwear – three subcategories to match the different types of jackets I wear in my region
  6. Dresses
    1. Fall/winter Casual
    2. Formal Dresses
    3. Spring/summer Casual
  7. Other
    1. Scarves
    2. Belts
    3. Hats
    4. Necklaces
    5. Swimsuits
  8. Athletic clothing
    1. Tops
    2. Pants
    3. Footwear
  9. Items that don’t currently fit – subcategories for each size
  10. Gone Items
    1. Tops

As you can see, I track pretty much all items of clothing in Stylebook except for pyjamas.

Importing Items

I add an item to Stylebook when I decide that it has a place in my closet. Many websites have pictures of their clothing on them and I use those pictures to use as the item’s picture where possible. When that’s not possible, I either take my own picture quickly and take a new picture later when I have some more time or I search for a similar item in Google images and try to find one without a person in it. The background is much easier to clear in Stylebook with its tools when it’s a distinct color from the clothing item and there are no pieces in the background layered over top of the item.

You can add a variety of fields on your items: colors, fabric, size, season, brand, status, price, and notes.

I didn’t use the Season field at first, until I learned how useful it is when I couldn’t figure out why I felt like I had nothing to wear in the summer. I went and added the Season field to all of my clothes and then realized I had about 2 items I would wear in the summer. That helped me be comfortable with going out and buying some new summer clothes.

The Notes field is completely freeform and I use it for a few purposes:

  1. I note when I added the item to my closet, i.e. “January 2016”. (This allows me to then search for “2016”to find all items added in 2016 or for “February 2016” to find all items added in that month – super useful.)
  2. I include the description of the item from the brand’s website.
  3. I include general notes about the item. For outerwear, I indicate a temperature range where I wear the piece. (This has really helped me to think consciously about when I would wear a piece of outerwear before adding it to my closet! One piece I bought this past spring was for a very specific temperature range that I realized I didn’t have a piece for and then it turned out that is a very common temperature range where I live as I have worn it 72 times since I bought it in April.)
  4. If I have multiple of the same item in the same color, I write “Multiple x3” to indicate how many I have.

Style Stats

I love the style stats in the app! You can see:

25 Most Recently Added

This screen shows the items you most recently added to the closet. I like to look at how aged these items are. The least recently added item in this list currently is from August 2016. I didn’t add anything to my closet in October 2016.

Never Used in an Outfit

This screen I don’t really care about. For me, it shows bags and jackets because I don’t usually include those in my outfits.

Never Logged on Calendar

This screen is pretty useful to see what items you added to your closet, but then never worn. If you’re someone who tends to buy items, leave the tags until you wear it, but then never actually wear it, checking in on those items here is really useful.

25 Least Worn

This screen is really motivational to me to make sure I’m wearing the items in my closet! If things stay in here for too long, I like to think about why they’re still here. Why am I not wearing the item? Did I buy it off-season and that’s why it’s staying in here for a long time of low usage? (I am not a fan of off-season buying.) Right now, here’s a selection of my list:

  • 1 day: A pair of hiking shorts that I bought because I was too warm hiking in pants. We didn’t have a lot of time to hike this summer, so I only wore them once.
  • 1 day: A dress I bought in September. The tights I would wear it with ripped, which has been a deterrent to wearing it again. I am replacing those tights though and then I’ll be able to wear the dress again.
  • 2 days: A gorgeous summer formal dress that I for some reason bought last fall that I had no reason to wear or buy and then it didn’t fit when it was summer! I’ll slowly get some wear out of it.
  • 2 days: A top I bought last December that is really cute and looks great on me that simply doesn’t fit into my lifestyle and weather. Plus it’s handwashable and I’m a tad lazy with those.
  • 2 days: Colored tights that are a little too out there in color for my more classic, subdued colored dressing.
  • 2 days: Colored tights that went perfectly with exactly one item in my closet that I sold on Poshmark because I never wore it. Thankfully they also go with something I bought in September, so I will get some wear out of them after all.
  • 2 days: A dress I bought for the many summer weddings we went to this year, but I only wore it to two of them because the other two were in the fall and I wore a different dress.

And so forth. If I can’t come up with a good explanation for when I’ll wear an item again, I add “Poshmark” to its description and try to sell it eventually.

25 Most Worn

This one is super fun. For me, it is full of bags, shoes, outerwear, cardigans, and scarves, since those are the items that are mixed and matched more often with multiple other pieces.

25 Worst Cost-per-Wear

I take a similar approach to the “25 Least Worn” items here. I have an ongoing project of wearing the items in this screen to get them out of here! It is really rewarding when they get out of here. Adding new items to my closet is horrible for this screen’s progress, which helps to not shop when I don’t need something.

25 Best Cost-per-Wear

This screen is so helpful for showing me just how much those expensive shoes, bags, or jackets really cost on a per use basis. I acquired a purse for $217 about two years ago now and despite not tracking its usage in Stylebook for most of its first year, it’s just about down to $1/wear, which is pretty good. It doesn’t show any signs of use and I will have it for a long time. It’s also shown me that the flats that I thought were “expensive” turned out to have far better cost per use statistics than some of the tops I bought that were way cheaper.

Archiving Items

Stylebook unfortunately doesn’t allow you to “archive” items, so I’ve developed a way to do this manually. When I think I should sell an item, but haven’t quite gotten around to doing so yet, I add “Poshmark” to the Notes field. I have three strategies here:

An item no longer fits

I have a category for when items no longer fit and I move the item there. I also update its status to “In Storage” and move the price from the Price field to the Notes field. (So that I still have the data easily accessible if it turns out to fit again.) This means that the “Value of my closet” field Stylebook tells me is the sum value of all of the items that currently fit in my closet. If I would wear the item if it fit again, then I keep it. Otherwise, I consider donating it or selling it and follow the other two strategies described below. This section is really helpful for when an item then fits again later and I can reverse the steps I described here to bring it back into my closet! It’s great for tracking items that are in storage somewhere else in your house/apartment too.

Deleting entirely

If an item that I’ve removed from my closet by donating or selling shows up in the Most Worn or Least Worn stats screens, then I delete the item entirely from the app. Before deleting it, I save its info into the iOS Notes app. I save the item’s picture, the picture of any looks, the price, brand, and notes fields, and indicate which days I wore it. I also delete the item from the looks that it was in, so that the other items will still show that they were worn that day.

Moving to another clothing category, e.g. “Gone items”

If the item doesn’t show up in the Most Worn or Least Worn stats screens, then I leave it in Stylebook and simply move it to another clothing category labelled “Gone items”. Like for when the item no longer fits, I mark the item’s status as “In Storage” and move the price to the Notes field.

Outfits Organizing

iPhone Screenshot 2

This is where you store all of the possible ways that you have worn or could wear the items in your closet! It is so useful to be able to see all of the different ways that you have worn an item before and then how often you wore it that way.

My lifestyle is so different from the default way the app was set up that it took me a while to figure out how to use this section. Initially I didn’t use it and just logged each item on the calendar every day I wore it. That was a lot of work so eventually I organized things into outfits. My categories here are always evolving and I rearrange them depending on the current season. This feature is really neat because then I can go back to an item’s page in the app and see all of the outfits I’ve made with it.

Categories

At the moment, the list looks like:

  1. Long-sleeved
  2. T-shirts
  3. Athletic
  4. Dresses, Fall
  5. Dresses, winter/dressy
  6. [Jeans] Size X
  7. Long-sleeved Cords
  8. T-shirt Cords
  9. Looks with Missing Items
  10. Dresses, summer
  11. [Jeans] Size Y
  12. Sleeveless
  13. Shorts

The [Jeans] Size X/Y categories are because I have the same pair of jeans in two different sizes and that’s my way of keeping the looks separate.

What goes in an outfit?

In my individual outfits, I include: dresses, tops, cardigans/hoodies, pants/shorts/tights/skirts, shoes, and scarves. I include vests in outfits and outerwear in athletic outfits, but otherwise, I don’t include outerwear in an outfit because it isn’t key to the outfit for me. Everyone is different on that. For me, outerwear is more dependent on weather than on the other items I’m wearing.

Calendar

iPhone Screenshot 3This is the meat and butter of the app really as it powers all of the statistics. This is where you log what you actually wore every day. I log everything that I wear outside of the house, with the first item being the primary outfit I wore. You can log clothing items or looks/outfits.

It’s really fun looking back on a previous month – you can really tell what the overall weather theme just by looking at my Stylebook calendar! It does show you your Most Worn and Best Value for each month. Most Worn is usually a bag or a piece of outerwear for me, so those are not particularly interesting. Best Value is usually the cheapest item I wore that month, so also not particularly interesting. I’m more interested in the long-term patterns.

You can add notes for each item you add to the calendar. I use this for a few purposes:

  1. I indicate if I wore an outfit to the gym so that I can easily search for all outfits I wore to the gym
  2. I indicate the names of the bride and groom for the wedding I wore an outfit to. This makes it easy to search “wedding” and find all outfits I wore to a wedding in my Stylebook history.
  3. I occasionally use other indicators like “dinner”, “hiking”, “walk” etc.

I occasionally will plan my entire week of outfits at once by consulting the weather and what clean items I have in my closet.

Packing

My system for packing clothes on trips used to be pretty lazy for how great I am at organizing so many other things. Now I use Stylebook to manage my clothing packing. I make a new packing list for a trip and add the expected weather, how many flights, and anything else to note (e.g. wedding(s)) in the notes field. You can add multiple outfits at once to your packing list and then once you’re done selecting outfits, it asks you if you want to add the missing items to the clothing section of the packing list. They have a packing list of all the items once you’re ready to pack that is organized by subcategory! I especially love being able to use Stylebook to figure out what is in my suitcase because I can never find anything. We’ll see if it manages to solve my overpacking problem though…

What is it missing for me?

  • Goals of number of items across the following categories: (1) summer dresses/tops and (2) fall dresses/tops.
  • Dates an item left and entered my closet so that I can search on these more easily.
  • Closet holes in list form – the app has an “inspiration” section, but I tend to make lists of things and then search later for “black flats” for example.

What have I learned?

  1. How to buy clothes that fit into my closet, rather than buying clothes that seem interesting
  2. I will never be the person who buys ten items of the same shirt in the same color and is happy wearing those every day.
  3. I do, however, like finding a shirt or dress I love and then buying it in multiple colors.
  4. 1-2 pairs of jeans really are sufficient. There is no reason to have any more. 1 pair of athletic pants per style and size is sufficient too (hiking shorts, hiking pants, and yoga crops).
  5. It’s okay to only use a particular bag in the summer or another in the fall – the long-term view is useful.
  6. There is a huge range between “being a fashionista” and “not caring about fashion at all” and I fall somewhere in the middle.
  7. If I don’t have enough clothes to wear in a particular season between laundry days, life is very stressful for me.
  8. I like clothes.
  9. I like having enough clothes to be able to not worry about whether I have clothes to wear that day.
  10. By being more conscious about my closet, my closet is much smaller than it used to be, while wearing a far higher percentage of the items in it.
  11. Stylebook is so great at helping me shop my closet and organize things in a way I never could by just staring at my closet.
  12. I really don’t need that cute dress unless it will fill a closet hole.
  13. Unless I have key accessories to wear an item (re: tights that I would wear with a particular dress), I simply won’t wear it.
  14. Based on my lifestyle, I really only need one formal dress per season and if I wanted more, I should use Rent the Runway over buying dresses because my cost per wear would be better that way.
  15. Women should stop making excuses for why they buy more clothes and instead, use the Stylebook app to manage their closet.
  16. More expensive clothes don’t always have a better Cost Per Wear than cheaper clothes and vice versa.
  17. Clothing is something I am willing to spend a reasonable amount of my discretionary income on, so long as it is conscious.

Defining my uniform

As you all know, I put an ix-nay on the clothing spending for July and decided to continue that into August. I was buying random clothing pieces without considering how they fit into my overall wardrobe. I’m now starting to think about which pieces I reach for regularly and what I wear the most, which I’m realizing has definitely changed with my new job.

I would say that the general dress at my last job was dressy casual, i.e. nice jeans and a nice t-shirt. At my new job? It’s more old jeans, old/free t-shirt. As a woman in tech, I tend to dress in a way that doesn’t make me stand out any more than I already do and so the shift in what my coworkers wear has caused me to reconsider what I want to wear to work. In addition to that, the temperature in my current office is much warmer than it was in my previous offices AND my size has changed yet again. I had been size X from about age 2001-2013. In 2014, I went up to size X+2 and now in 2015, I’m down to size X in some clothes and size X+1 in other clothes.

One thing I find with buying clothing is that you generally don’t know how you will feel about an item until you have it and wear it. For example, I love the t-shirts that I bought from the Gap in 2014 (minus the white-ish ones, though those are comfy around the house) and absolutely hate the ones I bought this year. They’re the same size and the 2015 versions are way tighter and the v-necks lower. The material isn’t as nice either. I bought a few shirts from a store in 2012 and absolutely love one of them, summer after summer, and hate the other two. You don’t always know. I also find that my spring/summer style tends to be a bit different (more feminine mostly) from my fall/winter style. I do have a rule though that if I don’t wear an item outside of the house within two weeks of buying it, I have to return it. And I am really good about returning things!

I’ve done a huge purge of my closet this year and it’s looking really empty! Huge, as in “It’s Deductible” tells me I’ve donated approximately $2,000 of stuff this year. I’ve been iteratively going through clothes, meaning that once some are gone, I have been finding more to donate. We’ve also been donating items that my boyfriend and I have duplicates of since he moved in. Some of the clothes I’ve been donating I bought in high school or elementary school and I haven’t worn in a few years! Also, ahem, my donations pile was taking up about a quarter of my boyfriend’s closet and growing over the last 3+ years and I hadn’t given him that closet space back since he moved in, oops…

Here’s my current inventory:

Item Ideal Have Need
Shorts 1-2 0 1-2 would be really nice to have 1-2 pairs of shorts
Skirts 2-4 3 0
Crop pants 1-3 1 1-2 have one pair jeans, would like a pair of khakis as well
Jeans 2-4 4 0 have 2 pairs skinny, 2 bootcut, 2 dark, 2 lighter
Cords 2-4 2-4 0 have 2 that fit great, 2 that are a little big
Leggings 1-2 2 0
Pajamas 3 3 0 have one pair shorts, 2 pair pants (1 light, 1 flannel). My light pair are totally worn down at the ankles, but whatever.
Robes 2 2 0 have 1 winter, 1 spring/summer
Socks 15-20/5 15/5 5/0 have 15 ankle, 5 boot. up to 20 ankle would be nice
Bras 5 5 0 but they don’t fit, so I need to find new ones in September
Shoes 9 8 1 1 pair running, 3 pairs flats, 1 pair slippers, 1 pair winter boots, 1 pair leather knee-high boots, 1 pair leather ankle boots, 0 pair sandals (would be nice to have a pair of sandals…)
Dresses several several 0 I generally allow myself to refresh my closet with 1-3 new dresses per year.
Outerwear solid solid 0 I have a solid rain jacket, a solid insulation layer, a solid vest, and a solid wool coat. I’m not a denim or leather jacket person and tend to buy good, long-lasting outerwear, which means I don’t refresh this section very often.
Sleeveless 5-9 9 4 3 of these I would not wear to work and 3 are almost worn out, so I will plan on buying 4 more somehow to refresh my closet.
Short-sleeved 10-15 7 3-8
Three-quarter sleeved 5 1 4
Long-sleeved 5 1 4
Camisoles 5-7 solid 0
Cardigans 5-7 solid 0 My grey and black ones are getting a little worn, so they will probably get replaced next year.
Sweaters 5 solid 0

*Note that this list doesn’t include the house clothes that are of indeterminate age and aren’t worn outside of the apartment.

What does this put into my need column?

  • 1-2 pairs of shorts
  • 1 pair of crop pants
  • 1 pair of sandals
  • up to 4 sleeveless tops, 3-8 short-sleeved tops, 4 three-quarter sleeved tops, and 4 long-sleeved tops

I’ve given myself an approximate budget of how much it’ll cost to acquire these items and started shopping! I’m looking forward to having some more clothes to choose from as I’ve definitely been running low on clothes all summer and it was only my combination of sleeveless + short-sleeved shirts that got me through the summer. I don’t have enough short-sleeved, three-quarter sleeved, and long-sleeved shirts to get me through the fall, let alone winter.

Readers, have you done a closet purge and inventory recently?

Reining in the why behind my clothing spending

A few astute and critical readers have commented on my clothing spending occasionally. This year, I had spent $2,608.02 on clothing as of June 30th. In July, I spent $0 on clothing. My goal for August is to, again, spend $0 on clothing.

I’m mostly fairly controlled about my spending, so you’re probably wondering why I spend so easily on clothing. I’ve wondered that too. For most of my life, I’ve kept spending low by being busy with school or work and not having the time to shop for miscellaneous items, which then results in a flurry of spending once the busy season ends. Online shopping can blow that out the window since it’s so easy to buy stuff.

There’s no real reason for me to save the amount of my income that I do. I’m far over-saving for a “normal” aged retirement. I could easily cut back on savings and be just fine, eventually. But there’s also no real reason to unconsciously spend money on stuff that doesn’t bring me joy. Sure, I have a really nice leather purse now, but I have one. And sure, I have a nice smartphone, but I keep them for 3 years before getting another one. The real kicker though is that I still have my five year old car and plan to keep it for many more years, same with my condo.

The little spending can easily get away from you when you make enough money, when it seems small. That exorbitant sum of money I’ve spent on clothing is a whopping 4% of my net income so far this year. I’ve resolved that with my level of income, I’m more than willing to spend money on things that bring me joy. Our trip to New Zealand earlier this year cost me around $7,000, plus two months unpaid off work (that made it a very expensive trip!), but that was totally worth it.

Do you know why I realized I was spending so much money on clothing this year so easily? My new job. At my old job, my to do list was never ending. At this job, sometimes the to do list does end and then I need to busy myself with finding more tasks or go home early. Or sometimes, there’s more wait time while in the middle of task. You know, compiling. Well you know what I was busying myself doing while compiling? Looking at clothes online. And BUYING them. That’s not all of the spending though. One thing I’m good at it is not having too many of one particular item…so then I create new categories of items and buy one of those!

Most of my projects for the summer have been to try to see what I’ll give up for grad school, combined with some deep cleaning. I’ve figured out how to get my hour of exercise a day: walking to/from the bus stops on my commute and going for a 15 minute walk mid-afternoon at work. Getting an hour of exercise on the weekends will always be a work in progress. I’ve developed some strategies for bringing my lunch to work and that it’s not that expensive anymore if I forget. I’m trying to reduce the amount of time I spend thinking about clothing. I’ve developed some strategies for spending less time geeking out over spreadsheets: reducing transactions has been a huge help with this. We have also been purging and reorganizing things around the house as part of merging two households into one.

Usually telling myself I can spend $0 on a category results in me spending tremendous amounts of money on it, so I’m quite surprised this worked. Now to stick to this no clothing buying plan through August as well!

Readers, how do you keep yourself from spending money on clothing?

Clothes I Bought: June 2012

I really need to stop this shopping thing that I’ve been doing lately…

Dresses! So this might surprise you, but this is the first black dress I have purchased. I don’t know what I would wear it for – maybe I should start wearing dresses on dates instead of jeans and nice tops? But I’m sure I’ll come up with something! I’m especially excited for the yellow dress – it looked absolutely perfect :) I would love to find a colored belt to go with the black dress to add some spice to it, but I’m having troubles finding one, so perhaps I should look for a necklace instead?

When I showed my mom the brown top, she said it looked exactly like something in my closet. You know, I would really love to find some stripes or something instead of all these flowery tops!

I’m still eyeing those green shoes, now that I’ve broken in the brown ones

Readers, have you bought anything fun lately?

Sleeveless shirts: the answer to spring and summer

Last summer, I found that I was always ridiculously cold in the office, so I stocked up on cardigans. This summer, I realized that I don’t have much in the way of sleeveless shirts, so I’m way too warm when I’m outside!

I’ve slowly realized that sleeveless shirts are the solution to my wardrobe problem. So long as the shirt extends out to the edge of my shoulder, I’m comfortable wearing the shirt to work without the cardigan. (This is important because I try not to buy shirts that I can’t wear to work.)

I may have gone a bit overboard and bought 4-5 new sleeveless shirts in May. On the other hand, it’s definitely no longer sweater and long sleeved shirt weather and I have a brisk 20 minute walk to work, so I don’t want to overheat while walking to work.

So why do I think that sleeveless shirts are the answer for spring and summer?

Long-sleeved shirts and sweaters can really only be worn in the winter months, which gives them a pretty small time window of wearability and they really need to last for several seasons for me to get my money’s worth out of them.

Short-sleeved shirts, with cardigans can be worn in the winter, under a nice wool coat.

Short-sleeved shirts with no cardigan are far too cold to wear in the office, unless I’m running around to a lot of meetings that day, which isn’t very often. But in the summer, they tend to be too warm outside.

Sleeveless shirts are perfect to wear outside in the summer. If you add a cardigan in the office, you’re warm enough and if you’re not, you can just add a scarf. Or you use a scarf as a shawl, which I tend to do quite a bit.

So really the difference between short sleeved and sleeveless shirts is that one is better for wearing outside in the summer, making that one more versatile.

I spent about $190 on some new sleeveless shirts in May. I think my stash is sufficient at this point and we’ll see how this summer goes! I really have no idea how I went outside so little last summer because I most definitely envision a lot of time spent outside this summer.

I’m so glad that I’ve been able to find sleeveless shirts that hide bra straps – that’s mostly why I was against them before since I don’t like buying clothes I can’t wear to work when I work 5 days a week and my office is super casual.

Readers, what is your favorite item you’re eyeing for summer this year?

New Skirts, at long last

The last time I bought a skirt was in 2006. I bought two of them. Well, those two are kind of on their last legs finally.

It was a stroke of luck that I found this:

First, I bought it in black. Then I realized that a black skirt makes everything look dressy, so I also bought it in a pink/purple color. I really wish I could find it in blue, but I guess it’s not meant to be.

I went shopping intending to buy shorts, but skirts are even better! I just hate how shorts fit at the knee. This skirt falls a little bit above my knee, which seems to be the best I’m going to do. I’ve mostly given up on finding longer than knee length skirts at this point…

I hope you’re all enjoying the long weekend!

Readers, are you finding any good skirts this season?