My 2017 plan calls for a major decrease in spending by 80% on wardrobe items. For several years I have used what my DH calls the "see it, like it, buy it budget". It's basically a mindless, gratifying spending plan that can serve you well until you develop competing priorities which require funding. Minfulness suddenly becomes essential. In fact I highly recommend that everyone work on their Minfulness skills for 2017. I have made that my one and only New Years Resolution.
I developed my 2017 style/wardrobe plan knowing that I have a hard time with moderation. I'm a competitor, type A personality, etc. Even though I'm often organized, methodical, analytical and even a bit on the obsessive side, I'm not one to follow a budget or self imposed limits. I'm either all in, or I abstain. Refraining from spending is easy for me, in fact, no problem. However, my goal isn't to stop spending, it's to cut my spending by 80%. That requires moderation and will be very difficult for me. Here's my plan:
1. For 2017, I need to adhere to my style descriptors and my color palette. Having some guideline for what to purchase helps limit the pool of items that can be purchased. That is immediately helpful in creating moderation. If you have a specific color palette that you adhere to and items are not available in those colors, you will make fewer purchases. The same goes for style adjectives, and statements. The more you know about your style and the better it's defined, the easier it is to limit purchases. I have worked hard to define my style over the past few years. This is an ongoing process, but I am happy with my current style statements and adjectives. They make sense to me and serve practical purposes of limiting inappropriate purchases. My style statements, Serene Elegance and Genuine Composed and my style adjectives: Soft, Calm, Fresh, Classic, Polished, Light continue to serve me well. My color palette comes from Light Summer. The colors I wear are primarily greens, blue greens, blues, pinks, and my neutrals are grey/charcoal, white and navy. So, if an item isn't in my color palette, I shouldn't purchase it, period. I wear mostly solids. If it's a pattern, I wear abstract florals, abstract geometries with fuzzy lines and rounded shapes, color splashes and the look of an impressionist painting. Crisp lines and stripes are almost always a mistake. I'm not planning much change in my style over the next year. I have been heading towards a more refined and formal look, wearing dresses and skirts more often at work, and at the same time bringing in a fun component with color and accessories. I think this will continue with less denim in my wardrobe.
2. Some items don't count in the budget. This may not seem right, but there are some wardrobe items that my DH and I decided were either so necessary, and so frequently used, or kept for such a long time that their CPW became negligible in comparison to the myriad of additional wardrobe items we compared them with. These items are: undergarments, loungewear/pajamas, socks/hose and tights, coats and jackets, exercise gear, shoes and boots. You may question the shoes but we looked at the data from our spending over time and made the call. None of these items will count in my budget. Scarves and jewelry won't either, but they have a separate category.
3. My overall goal is to keep my wardrobe fresh by purchasing some key fashionable statement pieces each season cycle. For me there are two main season cycles, Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter. This means I will need to make some purchases of new items without going overboard. The key is going to be judicious selection of trendy statement pieces. I know what works for me and have seen that when I stray, I gravitate back to my comfort zone. If a trend is a variant of something that I know works than I should try it; if not than I should bypass it. A good example is culottes. A big no for me!
4. I will maintain my essentials as they are and replace them if they wear out or if they need an update. I have created a list of essentials for my personal use for each season cycle.
5. I set some parameters for shopping. These are not limits, just guidelines. For example, I will not shop online first thing in the morning before work. I will review everything I plan to purchase in my shopping cart to make sure I don't have something similar already in my closet that can play this role, and to be sure they meet the criteria I set above. I do best shopping alone, so no friends when I am shopping. I have set time limits and day limits for my shopping as well (more on that later).
6. It's very easy to click a button when shopping online and lose track of purchases. I plan to record my purchases in a separate expense application on my cell phone. I'm still trying to sort out which one to use so if anyone has a suggestion that would be great. I use an Android application format. I think this would be easier than using a notebook or keeping receipts. I always have my cellphone with me.
7. I have a yearly budget maximum. My plan is to divide it by 12 and put 1/12 in my debit account each month. This account is specifically designated for my clothes shopping only. Whatever isn't spent will then carry over to the next month. I need to confess that I pay the bills each month. Nothing stops me from transferring more than the designated money into the account. There is also nothing to stop me from using a different credit card or writing a check. Seriously! It's like a bag of potato chips. Once they are opened, I keep eating. My plan therefore needs to have sharper teeth. For this I am using some additional strategies.
8. I am not unaware of my spending, I just haven't been willing/able to limit myself. I know when I exceed a preset limit. I know if I transfer more money than designated, use a credit card or check, etc. It's the same as knowing I have no ability to eat only one potato chip. I know the chips are in my fist, my mouth, my stomach, etc. How could I not know? The problem isn't whether I know or not, it's the strength of my motivation to stop eating chips at that moment, and the balance of deterrents available to support me in that endeavor. To keep me from going over my spending, I need strong incentives. For example, in my case, I know that if I eat a large bag of chips, I greatly increase my chances of developing kidney stones. Trust me, that's strong motivation. Congruently, very strong reminders of my new spending priorities placed front and center could be helpful as motivation. For me this takes the form of keeping some pictures in key places around the house. It might also help to have a smaller bag of chips so there is less available at any one time. The equivalent in clothes shopping may seem less obvious, but I came up with the idea of setting a timer and only allowing shopping to take place for limited times on limited days. Another way to limit the pool is with budget constraints, but this isn't a good limitation in my case. I'm better off limiting access.
9. I have substitute activities and ways to spend my time instead of shopping. Here's where Mindfulness comes into play. I'm not going to spend too much time elaborating here. If Mindfulness isn't on your list, you can certainly find something else. If you want, you can still enjoy fashion, just not shopping. One example I came up with is to create new outfits from what I already have in my closet so I can have an assortment of FFBO's ready to go for my work week. Another might be to take sewing lessons, or to try a small sewing project.
10. I have very few wardrobe gaps. My biggest need in 2017 is for a good all season travel capsule of easy care, light weight mix and match clothing.
I am still trying to figure out if I need separate cold and warm weather capsules. Prior to making any purchases I am going to do some research on what I need for the capsules and see what I already have that can be used as part of the capsules.
I have been folllowing my plan, minus the spending application on my cell phone since November 1. It seems to be working. I have made some purchases. Two dresses, a skirt, a sweater and a necklace. The total cost for these items is well under my budgeted amount. It gives me hope that the plan is viable. I would love to say that I am going to add daily outfit pics, and track CPW for 2017. I know that isn't going to happen because I have higher priorities for my time. I don't want to make a promise I cannot keep.
Oh, I also bought new glasses frames! It's hard to believe but it's been over two years since they were last updated so it was time. I usually replace my frames every two years minimum. I did it without YLF consultation this time around. They are probably my biggest wardrobe refresh for 2017. I even replaced my sunglasses, which I haven't done for 6 years. Perhaps the glasses pics will be my first 2017 post. (I never go small/minimal with glasses so there are 3 everyday pairs, 2 sunnies, and 1 for reading/computer - need I say more?).
My best wishes to everyone for a Happy New Year!