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?

17 Comments on 2017 Budget & Wardrobe Analytics

  1. I’m in a rut! My first choice of outfit seems to be long top over skinny bottom. So for 2018 I’ve found couple pairs of straight leg or slightly bootcut jeans and am playing with different length tops and toppers to go with them. My wardrobe is very casual now that I’m retired (smile, smile!)

    • Hey, I feel you! Some of my tried and true outfit formulas are starting to feel like a rut to me as well, so I am playing around with new silhouettes. Trying to repurpose as many of my existing pieces as possible but I’m definitely drawn to some different things now than in the past.

  2. I love how you post the numbers on the price that you bought your items for versus the value of those items. I’ve never been one to thrift, but seeing those numbers is making me second guess my laziness in not thrifting.

    I’m more of a stalk eBay/Poshmark for items than going to the thrift store and searching. I do enjoy this, although I am certainly paying more.

    As far as my 2018 plans, I broke up with J Crew about 2 years ago and I’ve recently discovered Boden. Unfortunately, they do not have a store in the US, although they do sell to US customers via their website. I plan to continue to collect Boden pieces that I can score for a good deal via eBay & Poshmark.

    • I do sometimes get impatient for certain items and I end up on eBay (I wish we had Poshmark!) but I know I overpay. It makes sense, because someone is doing the work for me and convenience, blah blah blah. But I try to stop myself from idly searching though ebay for that very reason – unless it’s something absolutely MUST HAVE RIGHT NOW, it’s better to wait and see what the thrift store brings me.

      But I totally get that thrifting has its limitations as well – time and availability of good stock being key ones.

      Gotta do what works for you!

      P.S. I’ve gotten good deals on Boden on eBay in the past, especially if I searched listings from the UK. Just gotta double check sizes!

  3. Miss you too!! Sniff sniff. I always enjoy your well thought out analysis of your wardrobe and shopping! I don’t really set annual wardrobe goals but, like yours, it is a dynamic place! I think my spending will be up this year because I’m getting more pieces from Thred Up and Poshmark at a higher price point than thrifted, and my volume may also be up. I was on track at the half way mark through my year but then my sister visited and I cleaned out every thrift store in Houston. It’s her fault. I’m mostly curious what will happen to my wardrobe as I continue to settle into US life – will I work? Will I need blazers again? Will I ever lose my Texas/Harvey/sad weight and fit into more of clothes? Will I ponder this over a jug of afternoon margaritas? I can only answer the last question! 😉 Great post and I should also add how happy I am that you are blogging again! I think the blog and Insta are the perfect combo and we need you! xoxoxo
    Your Favourite Texas Trophy Wife

    • Right back at ya! I live for your blog updates, so keep them coming. And I will see you sooner rather than later so get ready to bust that budget again 😉

  4. Oh I’m glad your blog is back!

    I totally overshopped in 2017 and I have a single goal for my closet in 2018 – to end the year with a net negative of 8 pairs of shoes. I’ll definitely buy some (they are my weakness) but it’s a particularly excessive area of my closet at the moment.

    • It’s been a long day and it took my brain way too long to process that. I was, like, you want to own negative 8 shoes?! But how?! Lol

      Anyway, I hope you reach your 2018 goal. I need to do some shoe-weeding myself. I’m finding I’m gravitating more towards flats … gasp!

  5. First, so, so, SO glad you are back! I enjoyed reading over the recent archives over the weekend.

    I keep a clothing spreadsheet and this year I reorganized to really divide items out by category. So, all my workwear on the top half, and all my casual wear on the bottom half. Then sleeveless tops in their own category, short-sleeved, etc. and items organized from most to least worn within each category. I also used the power of Excel to crunch some cost per wear numbers – which were interesting, to say the least. What I have discovered is that I have far too many tops. I also have lots of blazers – I seem to be replacing cardigans with blazers. I practically never wear skirts, still like dresses, and seem to be rotating the same 4 pairs of work pants every week. (And some of those work pants would be jeans in another colour!) More work pants are needed in 2018. And NO tops! I just bought a bunch of shoes on sale at Nine West so I think I’m good for shoes for a while! What I really need are some new accessories – a new watch and workbag are what I’m really wanting to search for now. Unfortunately I seem to be very picky about bags and haven’t found one yet. My current two bags are starting to fall apart, so I’ll need to find a replacement soon!

    • This sounds so interesting to me! Would love to hear more about this, if you do not mind sharing. Did you custom make your spreadsheet? What kind of data do you track?

      It sounds like a fair bit of work to update daily, especially with a sizable wardrobe, but I would love to have more insight in my coast per wear and actual mileage of items in my wardrobe. Thanks for sparking me when the a new idea!

  6. You are back! I just inhaled all your posts since you started blogging again. I missed you. Not counting coats and shoes, I have 36 pieces in my work wardrobe so pretty minimalist. In 2018, I want to continue filling gaps in my wardrobe – blazers and tops mostly – but only if I feel like I will want to wear a piece forever.

    • That blows my mind a little bit – I can’t imagine trying to whittle down my wardrobe to 36 pieces. It’s like choosing a favourite child, lol! I exaggerate but clearly, I have attachment issues. In all seriousness, I think it’s awesome that people can rock “capsule” wardrobes – I sometimes long to do the same. It’s just not in my DNA 😉

  7. So glad you’re back! Thanks for all of the fun blog posts. I love seeing the outfit roundups and the reasoning behind the outfits, because that’s always fun to know. Your rescuing of the wool blazer was magical, and I will never try that and applaud your courage. As to the wardrobe question, I spent more than I wanted to last year for a variety of reasons (including that my feet didn’t shrink back after my second pregnancy and I had to replace multiple pairs…), so I’m trying to be very judicious about what I buy this year. My cognac crossbody is dying after a decade of use, so I’ll be looking out for a good replacement. The hard part is finding the right shade of cognac with an outside pocket for my phone.

  8. I’m glad you’re starting to blog again! I’ve been a reader for a couple of years and look forward to your posts. So, *wave* “Hello from California!”

    Because of you, I started going to yard sales and garage sales for clothes, as i had most of my basics in place. I found how much finding things that are workable and to do so in such a serendipitous manner has added so much to my life. So, thank you! Your blog has pushed me to try looks…I would balk at, if at full price. But since they’re only a couple of dollars, I’m adding new textures, lines, color, and styles and having a lot of fun with my wardrobe.

    It’s just this kind of post that pushed me in this direction. So, count me as one of your fans 🙂

  9. I’m a big thrifter and a data nerd, so thank you for this post! It’s interesting to reflect back on thrifting over the past year.
    I’ve been following your blog for a couple years now and am happy to see your posts again. 🙂

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