Wardrobe Wake-Up Call – a $41K investment without a plan

Where This Started

My son Brandon is 4 years old, and since he was born, my life has dramatically changed.  I wouldn’t trade it for the world, but from a wardrobe perspective, the reality is there’s not much time for leisurely shopping and trying on clothes, less budget to allocate towards personal items, and fewer going out occasions (most of my social activities revolve around his birthday parties, playdates, and school activities.) And let’s not forget the permanent “baby” I’ve gained, i.e. the 10 extra pounds I now carry around.  All of this has added up to impulse sale buys in an effort to “save” money, a closet of going-out clothes that I don’t wear (I have a brand-new Robert Rodriguez evening dress that is one size too small sitting in my closet as I write this), and clothes that were “good enough” since I didn’t have time to return them.

It was because of this frustration that I started tracking my clothing through the Stylebook App for the past 6 months.  Friends think I’m crazy for cataloguing my wardrobe on a daily basis – even my husband thought I’d quit after a few weeks – but the analytical part of me loved it.  Like any good data geek, I wanted to see where my wardrobe stood from a data perspective.

The Wake-Up Call

A few shocking conclusions became apparent from my 6 months of tracking

1. A wardrobe is an investment!  The total amount of my wardrobe is currently about $41K.  Now, this is a grand accumulated total, but the reality is that most of the items are from the past 10 years (and doesn’t include items I’ve already given away).  So, I’m spending $4K/year, or about $350/month on stuff.   If I were investing that money or spending on a car, I would be pretty careful about it (I drive a 10-year old Toyota that cost less than that).  I can’t say I’ve applied the same approach to my wardrobe.


2. My items don’t get a lot of wear – In my head, I feel like there are key items that I constantly wear.  But the reality was that in a period of 200+ days, my items were barely worn.  My most worn item was the Tory Burch Perry tote, that was worn 49 days, or 25% of the time.  25% may sound pretty good, but remember that is my number one item.  In order to get onto my Top 25 list, I only had to wear an item 14 days.  On the flip side, I had a long list of items that I’ve wore exactly one day.  Come on, who am I, Kate Middleton?  There are some items on there that probably need purging, but truthfully I just have too many things.


3. I’m still not happy with my clothing – So with this huge wardrobe full of lots of stuff, you’d think I would be joyous and wake-up every morning eager to get dressed.  Nope.  There are some days I feel great, but overall still find it frustrating, still feel like something’s missing.  I wonder if some trends are too young for me (cut-off shorts?) or appropriate.  I have clothes that I like wearing, but make me feel like I can’t be at ease with my 4-year old with sticky hands (white pants and blouses!), and days when I think I really need an upgrade on my T-shirt and slouchy jeans weekend uniform.

What’s Next? 

I recently bought this book, The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees, which gets fantastic reviews, and plan on going through it step-by-step.  I’ve also started following minimalist clothing bloggers, such as Caroline at Un-Fancy and Lee at StyleBee, and have been joining some of their style challenges.  My goals are to better understand my idea style, reduce the time and money I spend on my wardrobe, yet feel more content and at ease with it.  Do you have any methods you have tried that has worked?  If so, please let me know – I can use all the help I can get!

7 thoughts on “Wardrobe Wake-Up Call – a $41K investment without a plan”

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