2017 was the year when I fully embraced thrifting. The vast majority of my clothing purchases were made secondhand, mostly through thrifting but also consignment. I lost one of my best thrifting buddies part way through the year – miss you tons, Nicole – but got my BFF hooked on thrifting just in time for us to start an Instagram shop. More on that another time, though I will say that the shop was a natural extension of my own shopping habits (my closet is in a constant state of turnover) and the desire to convert others to secondhand shopping. Thrifting has transformed my closet – literally – as well as my approach to shopping; mostly for the good, I think. I have learned a tremendous amount about clothes and the fashion industry, as well as the resale market. Other thrifters have been a huge inspiration and source of information; it’s a growing community which is incredibly supportive for the most part.
What about the numbers?
No surprise for anyone who follows my Insta: I bought a lot of things in 2017. Buy All The Things is practically my motto at this point. The only reason why my closet has not burst at the seams is because of the aforementioned constant, ahem, editing. A combination of factors are at play. One, I have a profound and unalterable weakness for “orphan” clothes – cute clothes I don’t need or want, but which I am compelled to “rescue” from thrift and consignment stores. This goes back years, as the blog can attest. I am hopeful that ThriftRats (the name of our IG shop) will be a good outlet for my future rescue missions. Two, I am getting much pickier about what I wear, but I can’t resist style experiments. “What if this Thing, which is probably not a thing I need, turns out in fact to be everything I never knew I needed?” is a question I can’t help asking myself far too often. Because of that, I hate making on-the-spot decisions about clothing; I much prefer to wear an item once or twice in real life and then assess if and how it fits into my closet. This approach is only possible thanks to thrifting but I am happy with it and it works for me – and, again, ThriftRats is now here to complete the picture, taking the failed experiments and giving them new life.
With all that being said, I did buy about one third fewer items than in 2016, which is some sort of progress. Of the items I bought, a little more than ½ are still in my closet as of January 2018. I think this represents an improved retention rate as compared to 2016, if you can believe it.
My total clothes (and accessories) spending in 2017 was around $3,300 – by a wide margin the lowest annual amount since 2013 when I first started tracking these expenses. By way of comparison, the estimated retail value of my purchases was in the region of $48,000. There is no extraneous zero in that figure, by the way. This is why clothes are in no way, shape or form an “investment” – even cars have better resale value.
My wardrobe goals for 2018 are largely of the “keep on keeping on” variety. I would like to whittle my closet down a little further, but I also expect to continue subbing in new pieces; the goal will be to make sure that every single item in my closet is a “wow” piece – something that makes me feel fantastic and/or fills a fundamental role in my wardrobe. I would say I’m about 70% of the way there, so there is room for improvement; at the same time, there are few obvious “stragglers” left in my closet at this point, so choosing pieces to discard requires more careful analysis than in the past. Not including accessories, I have 187 items in my closet at this time. That does include seasonal, travel, and special occasion attire (read, cocktail dresses) which are used on an infrequent basis but which, nonetheless, are necessary pieces. I think my ideal everyday/working wardrobe is somewhere in the range of 120-150 items, which should be achievable with minimal additional culling and regular editing.
I also plan on making more strategic use of my archival closet. This is my repository of things which are too big/small or not quite my current style, but which I still want to keep for various, largely sentimental, reasons. In the past, I have tended to err on the side of keeping too much in there, on the basis of a lot of very tenuous “what ifs”. I have been de-cluttering slowly – ThriftRats shoutout #3 – which means there is room in there again. I plan to use the space for pieces that don’t necessarily fit my current day-to-day needs, but which I may wish to revisit at some future point. Quite a few Anthropologie items fall into this category, by the way. With this approach, my working closet will be less cluttered, but I will still have access to unique pieces I may only wish to wear once or twice a year. Win, win.
Alright, your turn: how did your wardrobe fare in 2017, and what are your plans for 2018?