do better this year

Russh magazine's zodiac tableaux with Susan Miller's predictions for 2012. Too bad it doesn't tell me how I will fare shopping.

With another year over, it's time to take a long hard look at how I fared shopping for clothes and such in 2011.

I set a limit for myself to buy just 10 things last year, but argh, I flunked that challenge, and bought twice that. I feel like I didn't buy much - I spent less time shopping and looking at clothes and I remember mostly rejecting stuff. And yet, busted all the same.

It's frightening how little awareness I have of my spending habits, and generally speaking (not just clothing-wise), I need to get more organised about money management.

I set out four categories of shopping at the end of 2010. Looking back over 2011, my 20-odd items fell into the categories as follows:

a) Cute but unnecessary buys
  • A sleeveless white cotton top with a little contrast collar from COS. Cute, but something I bought only because I was on holiday and feeling indulgent.
  • A pretty daisy-print shirt, bought on the same holiday. Again, indulgence.
b) Good staples I depend on
  • Some shirts (checked, leaf print, all cute)
  • Some knits (2 pullovers, a cardigan).
  • A pair of loafers, a pair of flat sandals, a pair of suede Chukka-style boots.
  • Black cigarette pants. Boring but necessary.
c) Dream purchases
d) Out-and-out mistakes
  • Tory Burch Reva flats. They're actually great dressy flats - I wear them for weddings and various dressy dinners - but on a daily basis that gold medallion annoys me a lot.
  • That ivory silk Sykes Silk shirt? I wasn't impressed by the quality for the price, and I rarely wear it because as it turns out, I'm a cotton girl 99% of the time. It was one of the things I had to buy in order to realise I could have lived without it.
  • Black A.P.C dress. Actually, I like this dress. But I've come to realise my dresses go largely unworn, and so I feel like this was a waste of money. I haven't bought a dress since and I'm going to keep it that way.
  • Print trousers from Sessun. I have been really, really, wanting a pair of printed trousers all year and caved to the novelty during the ASOS sale. I regretted it a little after I clicked buy, and to add insult to injury, it didn't fit. I've returned it.
I did not meet my aim of cutting down on categories a) and d), even though I thought I was doing well on that front. Clearly, just because I resisted the charms of 20 cute tops doesn't make it okay to buy one cute top.

This year, I will avoid:
  • The temptation of formal, dressy things: I get it into my head that I need smart dresses and dressy clothes but actually I don't and I always regret the ones I buy that just sit in my closet, reproaching me. I may make an exception for a "dream purchase" but it better be mind-blowing.
  • Novelty items. I keep falling for these, when things slip from comfortable to boring. But the charm is usually fleeting.
  • Shirts. I added three to the mix last year, and I feel like I have a very comfortable total.
  • Knits. Unacceptable to buy so many when it's so hot here. I'm deluded by the air-conditioning into thinking it's okay to buy just one more.
  • Shoe break. My ballerinas are probably going to break down by the end of this year, but other than that I think my current roster of shoes will go quite a long way.
I've broken the shirt resolution already but I think the shirt falls into "dream purchase" category, so I'm not at all apologetic.

So one more time, with feeling: 10 items, and no more!

PS: Editor of Up and Down Town gave me an award - I'm deeply gratified.

I love an opportunity to tell the bloggers I follow how much I like them, so I am passing on the award to five other bloggers, as per the rules of the award:

- Quiet Houses
- Garderoben
- A Crisp White Shirt
- maxima/minima
- indigoalison

This award meant for blogs with less than 200 followers.
The rules:
1) You are to thank the giver, who gave it to you.
2) Reveal your 5 blogger picks, and let them know, by leaving a comment on their blog.
3) Copy and paste the award on your blog.
4) Hope, that the people, you have sent the award to, will forward it to their 5 favorite bloggers.

I'm in Vietnam as this post comes onto the blog. Happy Lunar New Year to all those celebrate it!

Picture from russh


catssaymeow said…
Although you limited yourself to only 10 items but bought more over the past year, I still think you have done a brilliant job at limiting yourself. I would hate to think how many items I bought ended up on my D list... just off hand I can think of 6 already. But at least with each I item I learnt something about what I actually like and my style - so not all lost. (And so did you).
I say sell off the silk top and the tory burch flats. in what i remember of the sophia coppola pics you posted even at swanky events she seems to wear very simple basic flats. what about something roger vivier(esque) instead? the ldb seems basic enough in the off chance that you do end up wearing it for a dressy event.
eileen said…
I love your dream purchases! Mine was the SC bag last year and this year, I have started to set asie some money for a Cartier. But everytime I see how the market is going, I get half-hearted.

But what you said about marking a significant event would be worth thinking about.. maybe when i hit 40

Have a safe trip in Vietnam!
Anonymous said…
Hmmm, last year I bought....11 pieces of clothing that I can think interesting.
Maja H said…
I bought a lot of clothes last year, but I would say that 70ish% of my purchases covered obvious holes in my wardrobe (formal work wear because of a new job, accessories, basics and so on). A friend of mine is a fashion consulktant and went through my entire closet with me in October, so I feel like I am well prepared for a better 2012 :)

Speaking of, do you ever wonder what everyone else considers a normal amount of shopping? I feel like I have a lot of clothes, yet I also have the impression that other people spend a lot more time shopping than I do.. I suspect this illusion might come from reading too many fashion blogs.. :)
Kate said…
Thanks for picking me! You know, I'm not convinced that item limits work. I think if you're as considered and honest with yourself as you seem to be when you shop, it's okay to trust yourself to shop. It sounds like you've come out with some lovely things.
The Waves said…
I am interested to see how I'll do with my limit (12 pieces of clothing in 2012). I'm glad to see that even if you went over your limit, you mostly bought things that you were happy with. I hear you re: formal and novelty items. They really end up being a waste of time and money...
Anonymous said…
This A.P.C. dress is a dream...i wanted to buy a similar one at Petit Bateau, from their collaboration with Didier Ludot, but it was sold out in my size and now it's only available in white..not a fan of white...Would you sell your A.P.C. dress?
Sorry, i have to go anonymous, I don't have an account anywhere! But if you would want to sell it I could contact you!
lapindelune said…
I could probably make use of a list which keeps track of my purchasing habits - or might I be afraid?! I feel similarly regarding formal/dressy attire, and have somehow managed to avoid impulse purchasing in this direction for a few years now. This, of course, surely illustrates that i need to get out more! Oh.

I am still searching for the ideal black dress, which would cover both formal and party requirements (does this even exist?, but it appears to have become as elusive as the perfect white shirt/jeans.
Jenny said…
Thank you so much for commenting on my blog I didn't realize it was you Lin:) I get so flattered when people whos blog I admire take the time to look at my blog. Thank you for making my day!
miss sophie said…
what a great post to kick off the year. i'm glad you got winners from both of your high-ticket items. which were your most fun purchases of the year? once in a while i find that i come across something that's both on my wishlist and just so inspiring and lovely that it makes up for the mistakes...
petrichore said…
Thank you so much, Lin, for the Liebster Blog award! That is so kind of you! I will pass it along in the next couple of days....

I think it's hard to limit yourself to just 10 items, when some things wear out and you just have to replace them (t-shirts, I'm looking at you!). Or perhaps fall victim to the cumulative effects of the washer/dryer. And shoes! How many shoes have I bought, only to discover after several wears (and therefore unreturnable) that the darn things give me such blisters I can't wear them much. But it looks like you've got a system down that is quite successful, and if you tweak it a bit it will bring you to your goal--kudos!

minima/maxima, a blog about minimalist style
Style Souk said…
So much of this chimes with me.

Each year, I buy another dress (or three!) and rush home to hang it proudly in my wardrobe.

I'll have plans to wear it for summer garden parties, the theatre, cocktails - but there it remains, ignored and unworn in my wardrobe, with price tags still attached, as I reach again for good quality 'everyday' basics like a Breton top and wool cigarette pants.

Like you, I've also come to resent the gold medallion on my Reva flats.

Sarah x
Consultoria RH said…
Este blog é uma representação exata de competências. Eu gosto da sua recomendação. Um grande conceito que reflete os pensamentos do escritor. Consultoria RH
lin said…
catssaymeow: Exceeding a certain number wouldn't be such a bad thing but hopefully they are all A-list buys.

pret a porter p: I still wear the flats because I don't have too many pairs of ballet flats right now. I guess I'll wear them out eventually, and look out for a nice pair in the meantime. I am considering selling the silk top, but too lazy to get a move on at the moment, haha.

eileen: Oh, the market. I'm glad I am in a reasonably crisis-proof industry but when the cost of living seems to hit a new high every six months, it makes it all the more important that I moderate my spending on clothing, and maximise what I own instead.

editor: does that number surprise you? I find looking at it numerically quite a different feeling.

Maja H: I did buy a lot more clothes in the preceding you I was building a wardrobe.

I don't think there is a normal number, but there is a number I am comfortable with, based on my income and budget and my dressing habits. I think I shop a lot less compared to friends and my sisters, but ultimately what I aim for is my own number, and not something relative to other people.

Kate: You are welcome!

I used to dislike the idea of limits as well, but as I st down and get organised about finances I think it's a necessity for someone without an unlimited disposable income...and also because I'm absolutely sure that I've all the clothes I could possibly need and I'd like to not to over-indulge.

The Waves: I think cutting out those is more important than meeting my limit....I 'm trying not to be rigid about a fixed number of items because that could become a different kind of trap.

Johanna: Drop me an email if you're interested in the dress? I actually do get some wear out of it but if you're really keen on it it might be better off with you instead...

lapindelune: I have a couple of black dresses for work and formal occasions, and they are very useful - but I never wear them unless the occasion calls for it, hahah. As a staple I can't deny its timelessness and practicality.

Jenny: I am always curious about the new names that pop up :)

miss sophie: The most unexpectedly fun buy would be those Topshop chukka-style boots, they're considered very "statement-y" for me but I ended up wearing them rather often. I actually think I replace them if they give out.

petrichore: No problem, I enjoy your posts very much.

I think busting a number wouldn't bother me so much if what I bought wasnt so regrettable at times. Here's to a better year!

Sarah: Hahahaha, so glad to know I'm not the only one!

Popular Posts