This is really a great thread, will munch on it again later! Loved your new dresses last year and that you became such a wise buyer/dresser over time so not making mistakes anymore not only when buying new things but when editing, too, so you kept holding on things with true potential for a later happy use.

Very useful and interesting post. I really liked the way you organized it, both words and visuals.

Suz - you are one of my personal fashion icons - your WIWs are aspirational for me, even though I don't have the same life, and can't always wear the same styles, fits or colors. You always look so put together, situation appropriate, and confident (which I think stems from the first two). You put effort into your "hobby" and it pays off. So it is very helpful to understand how you got here.

Your insightful analysis of your style and comments about others are a huge help to to me and many others here. After a few years of paying more attention and putting more effort into my attire, I'm wanting continue the journey with the next steps. Thanks for showing a path!

Thank you so much for this walk around your wardrobe and your thoughts on it.l think Ifind it particularly helpful as it’s prove that you can build a stylish and practical wardrobe post child raising.Like you I had no money in my 20 s,was raising a family in my 30s and 40s and have arrived here in middle age wondering how to “catch up”in the wardrobe stakes.Hearing that it was similar for you and that you have become so stylish more recently givesme great cause for hope.

Thank for posting this. I don’t have specific feedback except to say you should clearly keep on with what you’ve been doing.

I will add that I relate to not spending on myself. I was a grad student for nigh on to 13 years and even necessary purchases would have me racked in guilt. I got over that but it took me getting a real full time job. I was finally able to attend to things like regular hair cuts too.

Christina, oh, the hair cuts! I know!

Cardiff Girl, so glad if any of this is helpful to you. I think a lot of women here on this forum are in a similar if not identical boat.

Karen, thank you so much for your kind words. I'm honoured. Your observation about confidence being tied to planning is so astute. As Angie puts it, a little effort at the front end makes outfit creation feel intuitive in the moment, but the overall foundation needs to be there to make that possible. It took me years to get that far. I joined this forum in 2010? Maybe 2011. Anyway, a long time ago!

Lyn, thank you, and I hope you are right. I rarely if ever regret the things I edit out.

Shevia, thanks — I’m so happy to be in a city with better consignment shopping. I suspect many of my wild cards in the next few years and not a few of my essentials will come from those shops.

Rachy, ugh — it’s a bit horrifying to think I bought an item per WEEK! Somehow 4 per month doesn’t sound sooooo bad.

Deb — thank you!

Bijou — yes, I loved what Texstyle said, too. Most stylish version of what is practical!

Jenni, thank you for sharing. Quite a few of us, I think, came to YLF after years of fashion forgetfulness. And yes, I’m not angry with myself about those sandals. The brand is usually excellent. Maybe I should write to them. Hmmmm.

Mainelady, thank you so much. And yes, the sales purchases were mainly a matter of timing. I do buy a lot for fall at NAS so it is a pre-season sale, which helps.

CIndy — thank you!

Dakotacheryl — that’s fantastic! Half as many purchases as mine. Thanks for sharing your process. I need to consider how I can reconcile my style preferences and fit needs with ethical buying. It’s going to take some work.

Fashintern, thank you! And no, my life pattern in general is very different from my mother’s. I resemble my dad in temperament. For good and for ill. Don’t give up on Sarto — they are a good brand usually. I’ve had several shoes and sandals from them, all excellent. This is the only flop. As for sales, I don’t shop them on purpose except for NAS. What I do is confine my shopping (by and large) to about 4 “blocks” per year. I’ll shop twice for each season — once early, and once later. This year I didn’t get an early spring shop so I didn’t buy anything until later and all was on sale by then. If I wait for sales for certain items I am sometimes sized out.

Thanks for the recommendation of My Fitness Pal. I know many people enjoy using it. But I’m not a calorie counter by principle as well as inclination.

Nemosmom, I don’t replace one for one, no. It’s much more intuitive than that. I just edit out stuff that isn’t working for me and add in stuff that I hope will. It helps to identify your wardrobe essentials and ensure you have those covered. I bought these over time and replace as needed (it is part of my total numbers.)

If I missed commenting to anyone please forgive me. Running errands simultaneously.

I love the way you kept track of your annual purchases with a Collection in Finds, Suz. I'm going to follow suit and do that myself this year. It provides such a handy visual reference of everything added during the year.

I think it's interesting that, despite having different-sized wardrobes, we both added/retired about the same percentage this year. I think of my items as having about a three-year lifespan because of replacing about a third of my items each year, but that's a huge oversimplification. The truth is, many items cycle through in a year or two of heavy wear, and many others live in my wardrobe for much, much longer. I suspect that's the same for you!

I was intrigued by JenniNZ's comments about longevity and wardrobe size and purchasing and all those interesting details that make up how we manage our closets, and I was thinking that I'd peg JenniNZ as a more eclectic, less trend-driven dresser than your trendy classic persona, so it makes sense she might keep items longer, even if only worn occasionally. You cycle through your trendy pieces with heavy wear, and keep your classics in your closet longer. With a smaller closet, I wear almost everything quite heavily, and rely on regular (and necessary!) replacements of both essentials and statements to keep myself up-to-date.

Jenn, yes -- I completely agree. Jenni's more eclectic, like Joy, so items can live in her closet longer. I wear my trends heavily and they wear out or I tire of them. I wear my essentials (classics, mostly) pretty heavily too but often they are woven items that tend not to wear out as quickly and the classic styles don't date. And yes, isn't the collection a great idea? Really helped me.

Thanks Jenn and Suz. Both of your posts, as well as Deb's, made me think a lot. One thing that troubles me is not understanding why I go off something and don't wear it so much any more. I look down my lists and several things were not worn at all in 2018. Then I say, well why is that? I still like those things! It often takes about 7-8 years for me to actually DIS-like something or be "over it". You are both right that I don't care too much about trends. They affect me rather peripherally/vaguely.

Thank you for responding, Suz! You have such a great approach and it's clear you're nailing it! I am off to dig through wardrobe essentials now...

Nemosmom, I'll bet Angie posts again on that topic in the blog very soon. It's an annual thing.

Jenni, I, too, keep certain items and then don't wear them. In some cases the reason is obvious -- they are special occasion wear, etc. In other cases, it's not so clear but usually it comes down to not having the right support act to create an outfit that makes me feel fab in this leg of my style journey. I may have had those pieces before (when I bought the thing) and passed them on, or I may not want to wear exactly that silhouette any more, or something.

Also, I frequently "go off" a beloved item for a year or so and then return to it and wear it into the ground.

Thanks Suz - I enjoyed reading this. I love your Looks - you have a signature style that suits you brilliantly - but leaves room for some flexibility too. You seem to have added pieces this year that work for your life - and climate - and that is fantastic.

I also relate to TexStyles motto and will keep that in mind this year.

Wow suz soooooooo impressed!! No mistakes! Well done! Kudos! Congrats! You have a gorgeous and functional wardrobe, so elegant and just perfect for your elegant, edgy but always practical style! I stand in awe, truly!! Each year I have made better choices, worst mistakes and best buys are often NAS. It's the only time I really get caught up in the frenzy. Right now I am in the midst of a whole house clean out (nothing like helping your Uncle into assisted living and mom downsize to make you want to throw absolutely everything out). This helped me really let go of the "ok" because "ok" is not good enough! I hope 2019 will see me to the zen place of no mistakes. It's ok if something doesn't work out like shoes - but I'd like to feel that I didn't keep anything that wasn't loved completely from the start. So my new question - would suz, who is soooooo much more disciplined and insightful, keep it if she were me?!!!

Suz, coming back late to this, but thanks for those additional thoughts on purchase/discard tracking and making change. You made me think through why I am drawn to track these things and I think I could learn a lot about which purchases really prove useful and which types of items don't have staying power in my wardrobe. So it's not just about the numbers. (Although, like you I have aspirations about being more environmentally/ethically responsible with my wardrobe, and thus the number-related guilt begins to creep in.)

Back to read some more! The contributions of fabbers is interesting and educational. I'm intrigued by your return to judicious sourcing of consignment. I recognize second hand was once necessity, but some of your signiture pieces have been sourced that way. Your bright pink suit, and now the PT jacket and SQ coat. Full circle?

Something from Jessicam's post to my 2018 review has been rattling around in my head, and I've written it across the first page of my fashion journal - 'Know Thyself'. It seems to be an apt theme for 2019.

Carla, I hadn't actually thought of that -- full circle -- but you're right, there is an element of that to consignment/ vintage shopping. I am unlikely to buy a lot of things this way because of the "trendy" part of my style, but I do enjoy the hunt, and if I'm able to find items that I genuinely love and use, recycling is a responsible way to shop.

Sarah, that's a really important insight. I've learned that the items with deep staying power in my own closet tend to be those that are extremely well made classics that are also essentials to my personal style, e.g. a fabulous navy blazer, great-fitting denim, even if it does wear out on me from time to time. Vintage statement items also live a long time in my closet -- like my Biba kimono.

Gryffin, wow, you are flattering me! Thank you for those kind words. I feel luck played some role in my lack of mistakes this year. I don't think it's really possible to go forever with no mistakes -- sometimes we can only tell in the wearing of an item if it will work. In your case, your style is so carefully honed that if you have a hole there must be a very intense desire to fill it because it makes such a massive difference -- you can't just substitute any old thing for the type of thing you are after. So it would be extra tempting to hold onto items that seem to scratch the itch for this or that HEWI. Especially since I'm sure you often meet success when you decide to try the item -- or discover something great in another way, like your Gibson jacket example.

I always enjoy reading your posts, and this one is no exception! Congrats on a year without shopping mistakes—that is really impressive! It does seem you’ve in a really good place with your wardrobe for the last year or so.

I definitely made at least one shopping mistake this year, and that was NOT purchasing your fab B.P. silver shirt. Every time I see a post with you wearing it, I love it all over again.

My wardrobe is around the size of yours. I enjoy keeping an accurate, up-to-date inventory , including when I bought things and how much they cost. I don’t keep lists of what I get rid of or when; I just delete those from the inventory.

I keep telling myself I should follow a strict one in/one out policy, but it doesn’t always happen right away. My numbers stay about the same over time, though, which I’ve decided meets the criteria.

Looking forward to the next part of your analysis!

Windchime, yes -- if the numbers stay more or less the same, you have reached the size that works for you. At least for this leg of the style journey. It's interesting what seems important for each of us to track -- for me, knowing the "why" and "how long I keep" is important but the price, not so much (as long as I'm generally in budget) and I don't track that. And thank you for your kind words.

Sally, thank you so much! Your small yet extremely varied wardrobe is an inspiration!

Thx for sharing! I am particularly interested in what you say about buying for your real life AND your aspirational style and integrating the two. YESSSS.

I work for myself, so I could just wear sloppies most of the time. And I did, in fact, for a few years. But boy, it was bringing me doooooown and I felt totally invisible. I am so much happier now that I dress up more. I struggle to strike the right balance- sometimes I look silly/overdressed (I have a weakness for sparkle even in daytime) and sometimes I buy “evening” stuff that doesn’t get worn. But I think it’s valid to buy for aspirational style and I do think that is different from “buying for a fantasy life.”

Great analysis! It sounds like you had a great year. You are a finely honed fashion machine.

Question for you: Regarding items that were culled for reasons other than poor fit or excessive wear, did you have difficulty choosing what to let go?

Such great analysis, Suz. I am always impressed with how thoughtful and disciplined you are about your wardrobe. I am such an impulsive shopper and emotional dresser that I sometimes lack discipline, but I’m working on it.

I just did a pretty major closet edit (and am looking forward to more), and it helped me pinpoint where I tend to make mistakes. Take for example, the sheer number of tops I own — I couldn’t wear them all in a season, there are just too many — but many were several years old and no longer worn, although in good shape. I tried them on and they fit and they look fine, but I’m no longer feeling them. I need to be smarter about moving things on when that happens, and also to not adding more tops and jackets because those are the things that are more fun for me to shop for (unlike pants, jeans and dresses, which stress me out because they so rarely fit or look good on me).

I also need to be smarter about buying for my real lifestyle. I have/had too many tops that are just a bit too dressy or precious for my real life. I need to keep it wash-and-wear. Tees, lightweight casual sweaters, and not too precious wovens.

Thanks for the thought-provoking insights, Suz!

not having the right support act to create an outfit that makes me feel fab in this leg of my style journey...

The lightbulb just went on in my metaphorical closet, thank you. Why is this blazer sitting unworn? Why is this blouse doing this same thing? Because the top, jean, pant etc that I once wore it with is longer in my closet or now looks too dated . I tend to just abandon the whole look rather than finding the new supporting piece....which creates a lot of wardrobe churn . Huh. Not sure why this didn't dawn on me earlier ....

Thanks for sharing the details Suz! You have a beautiful wardrobe and seem to do a great job of choosing what is right for you. Love all the comments too - so helpful. I also keep many of my items for many years and sometimes don't wear them for a few years and then find myself wanting to wear them again. I do try to do occasional "try ons" to be sure I'm not just holding things for the sake of holding (or out of being lazy).

My biggest change this year I think was to start finding some of my jeans via consignment. I was having a hard time rationalizing $100 jeans and then finding after a few wears that for some reason they weren't perfect. Now I tend to spend much less - sometimes as little as $25 and if they don't work I'm not nearly as troubled by it. I will pay more if I find something I am pretty certain about of course, but for someone who wears jeans nearly every day in fall/winter I need a decent selection and my wallet is happier.

I was glancing at some of your WIWs on the "Wall." You certainly slayed it in 2018.

No shopping mistakes- wish I could say same #wardrobegoals
I love the skirts and dresses, and I'd consider your style consistent (from what I've seen so far) but not stagnant. You definitely know what works for you but aren't afraid to try new combos!

Suz, thank you for sharing your thoughts on your style journey. So happy to hear that you did not have any purchasing mistakes! I missed the last year, but it sounds to me that you’ve had a successful year, stylewise. And BTW you look great in dresses! That “polished” effect of dresses is why I almost exclusively wear them in summer (I still wear shorts though). Glad to see it worked out for you!