The weather is warming up, and I’m starting to think about what to wear on hot days. But before I start planning for Summer, I have my 2017 Signature Winter Wardrobe Update.
2017 Signature Winter Wardrobe Plan
- 3 work outfits
- 1 chore outfit
- 1 errand outfit
- 1 social outfit
And my planned purchases were:
- Long Johns ($150).
- Dress(es) ($500).
- Jacket ($500).
- Pencil Skirt ($150).
Which all up was more than my allowed budget of $1,000. I had room in my annual budget, so I gave myself permission to go over. Particularly since I wanted warm wool and silk garments in fiery colours.
A lot has happened between then and now. So much that it seems ridiculous to even think about clothes. Nonetheless, here we go.
- Weirdly, I couldn’t get white long johns, so I got cream and altered them for $200 all up. A bit more than I hoped, but my black wool ones from 2015 are still going strong, and I expect these will last as well.
- I bought a tweed jumper dress and had it altered to fit for $135, but it just didn’t look right, so it’s a mistake. Then came two made to measure jumper dresses in red and blue for $415.
- I didn’t get a jacket, but I bought a thick wool cardigan for $390.
In the meantime, I went back to the town I grew up in to see my mother, and again to attend her funeral. After that, I took a trip to Japan, and these (among other things) led to some unplanned purchases and alterations:
- Two summer dresses (on sale) for $150, one I bought for Mum’s funeral.
- Luggage and bags $355.
- Lightweight clothes and shoes bought for and during travel $670.
- Socks, undies and base layers $580.
- Seven tops $155.
- Black leather cuff bracelet $165.
- Jeans, track pants, linen pants $500.
- Sneakers $60.
So, a starting budget of $1,300 (aiming at $1,000) has exploded to $1,140 of planned purchases and $2,625 of unplanned.
It’s not just my winter budget blown out of the water, but also my annual budget which means less for 2018’s budget. Theoretically this isn’t a problem because I should need less.
And which demonstrates the benefit of a longer-term wardrobe plan. And why you shouldn’t go shopping when you are stressed, grieving, or otherwise not in your right mind.
While you can’t adequately plan for some life events, this will often increase costs because you just don’t have the time or space to shop around and are limited to what is available to you when and where you are.
The winter clothes were warm wool, so from that point of view, met my general needs. However, I spent so much of winter unexpectedly travelling to warmer places that I haven’t made the best use of them, and they feel wasted.
The summer clothes are cool cotton and linen so they will be fine when the weather here warms up, though not all of my choices were wise. Not having travelled for a while, my luggage did need upgrading, and I feel as though I have achieved their value.
During the winter I tried to expand my wardrobe into fiery colours, but I have found myself drawn back to red and blue and haven’t worn the oranges or yellows very much. I feel that they were a reaction to the stress and worry of my mother’s illness and perhaps that is why they hold no interest to me now that her life and the uncertainty surrounding it has ended.
I am also finding that I don’t like the looseness of much of my clothing, and want more structured and closer fitted garments.
Oddly, having more clothing makes me feel like I need even more to balance out the new things and I find myself longing for the days when I had just one outfit (black jeans and red tunic) that I wore all the time. And I don’t like being unable to see all the clothes that I own at a glance.
I think that my wardrobe is full of comfort clothing. It might have been better if I had just sat down and eaten macaroni and cheese with a side order of chocolate chip cookies. (I’ve already put the weight on).
I’m not sure that I, let alone my budget is up to further clothing experimentation, and the temptation is to pack it all away where I can’t see it and don’t have to think about it. And now I have so many clothes I almost do have to pack away winter to make space for summer – perhaps an annual wardrobe swap allows you to think more dispassionately about your clothes as you unpack them.
I put this wardrobe together using the techniques I discuss in my book Build Your Signature Wardrobe. It describes how to set a reasonable budget, decide what clothes are appropriate for your current life, how to present your authentic self confidently and consistently, and which clothes and accessories (and how many) you need.
Click here to see some example outfits.