I spent 2018 defining and refreshing foundation and essential items. What I discovered were the retailers that "got" me and those that didn't.

The best retailers for my specific needs: Madewell (jeans/sweatpants), WHBM (work pants), Boden (knit tops), Thirdlove (foundation bras and underwear), Athleta (gear), and BR (work pants, knit tops). I've cut my shopping time and returns dramatically by just going to the retailer that meets my needs.

The worse retailers for my body: Uniqlo. I am convinced that Uniqlo designs for a substantially shorter woman. Every time I try their product I am disappointed because the garments are always inches too short.

Special mention: Rebecca Minkoff. I just love her bags.

2018 was mainly a year of de-accessioning for me, rather than one of acquisition.

I did buy one Boden dress that I wore just once and gave away because the top half (including sleeves) was stranglingly tight. Need to pay closer attention to fit when I first try on things.

Best purchases by far are 2 pair of jeans 7 for all mankind (Edie). It takes me forever to find jeans that I absolutely love and I am very happy to have found it.
Worst - impulsively bought Max Mare cream pants on a deep discount. These are wool & silk blend, too warm for summer, impractical for spring. Can’t find a topper to create an outfit. Black is too heavy looking and I don’t have anything in light colors. Beautiful pants, I’m still hoping to come up with some ideas in the spring.

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2018 highlights include:

  • Two pairs of Everlane Cheeky Straight Jeans. Nice to find jeans that fit so well right off the rack, especially for such a reasonable price. I wasn't sure if I'd end up splitting wears by adding two different black washes, but they serve very different purposes in my wardrobe.
  • Two ribbed turtlenecks from Amour Vert. Super versatile layering tops that fit perfectly, satisfying a long-standing HEWI.
  • An olive-green linen midi skirt (shown below in pale blush) and olive green polka-dot jersey dress. My white/olive/black capsule for summer makes me really happy.
Looking back, my worst purchases were all the result of trying to branch out into some new underwear brands, as my favourite style has been discontinued and I'm looking for a replacement. I struck out big-time. Seamless mid-rise briefs in soft, non-irritating fabrics, with actual "full back coverage" is my new HEWI. Taking suggestions!

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Best - I had a really good year of well thought out purchases. The highlight was my Coach mixed media black drifter. I am obsessed with this bag. I have also been unable to find a wallet I really like for more than a decade. I finally found the Coach skinny wallet, best wallet ever!! So very happy. The madewell skinny jeans in black gray are workhorses, as is the Everlane Herringbone jacket that has been selling out since its debut. The Pendleton Darby is the best NAS purchase of the year! Warm, hood a big big but livable but just perfect until a puffer is needed. The Everlane $100 cashmere crews are workhorses and my version of a winter tee shirt. The Frye Shane tipped western booties so comfy and so fun. Last but not least my new EF purl booties. Run do not walk to get these before they sell out. I had in the 90's the perfect sock bootie. I've never found their like. Elegant, different, pointy but not too pointy IKYWIM, perfect heel 1.5" but feels like less because weight is centered well back over the heel, padded takes a 3/4 orthotic and so comfy. Do not let this shoe get away. Late to the party but sooooo worthy.
Worst - Rag and Bone Lucie white top. I thought I "should" really have a white top. Interesting, different - I don't love it. I will always change to something else. NEVER buy SHOULDS. Buy what you love. Passing it on. Caslon leather moto. It's nice but the lapels do not snap down, they flap and bend. To me the niche is upgraded hoodie, but I don't wear hoodies, I wear blazers. It's a great piece, but not a great piece for me. Moral: Do not buy for anyone elses life, but for your own. Passing it on. It's super nice and deserves to be worn and loved, but languish. Plan - don't talk myself into things, the, this would be awesome if..... But what you adore, the end. That's my plan!

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Best:
I discovered that I should really stick to oxfords and other lace-up shoes like combat boots. Pointy toes are fine as long as the shoes are flat since my toes are short so don't bang the points.

Those baggy linen pants are comfy enough to wear to bed and are long enough in the crotch. I like them under sack-like shirt dresses.

I am a sucker for denim jumpers/pinafores. And no, I will probably never wear this one without a shirt or t-shirt underneath. And since I'm short, this hits way below mid-thigh on me!

The not so great:
Three bags I've hardly used. Maybe a sign I have too many? I still like them so will keep them. They were cheap, and since they are pleather they won't last too long.

Silvery scarf (same as Joy's). Maybe not such a good idea to have purchased without a specific event in the works.

Angie's booties. Not as comfy as I had first thought, and the color is slightly off for me. I will give them a go again when it is warm enough for bare legs. I often get too cold in sandals, so maybe these booties will do the trick.

I really have too much such that I don't get around to wearing/using everything as much as I would like.

Best:

Kut plaid ponte pants, worn to and from Bermuda and this week to and from Chicago. Stretchy, comfortable, and even after eating and drinking holiday food and drink for 5 days still comfy on way home. Wash and they spring back into shape, also a flattering fit.

Joe's jeans bought on sale at the very last Last Call offering. They fit really well, reasonably flattering, and I get them in several styles.

Boden dresses, blazer, t-shirts and Vilda sweaters.

Ecco sneakers. Wonderful.

Tommy Bahama linen leopard jacket. Love it and can't wait for warm weather again.

2 worst showed up this week when I took them to Chicago for Christmas celebrations.

Land's End quilted coat. Supposed to be good for -12°. Only 40s and 20s at night, so didn't need for warmth. Feels like I'm wearing plastic and doesn't feel warm on, makes me look like red Michelin man. Tricky zipper. Bought on sale and wish I'd kept looking for something better. Even though I can barely snap my Tahari down coat from years ago, I like it better.

Munro booties. Warm fall and early winter, only wore them around house, took to Chicago in case of rain/snow. Only wore them all day, one day, and my feet felt pinched and squeezed. I need a more rounded toe shape. They looked good on though. I'll try stretching.

Bought several pairs of comfort shoes I should have sent back, but kept thinking I could make them more comfortable.

Couple of pair of too tight in waist jeans, same size as other styles in same brand, but kept thinking I'd lose weight around the middle.

Lessons learned: don't get carried away by sales prices. I know better, but I can't help it. A bargain isn't a bargain if it winds up nearly new in a donation bag.

I keep thinking I will lose weight, but I lose and gain the same 5 pounds around the middle and a lot of stuff doesn't fit right.

Irina, are those pants what could be called "winter white"? Try them with light or bright blue, fuscha, any berry shade, cool bright green or hunter green, if you wear any of those colors

ETA, why do everyone's bad idea sound so good to me? Nemo's jacket, Irina's pants, Gryffin's shirt--they all sound great to me! Y'all let me know when you're ready to drop them in the mail

@LaPed...knickers! They have other colors too, but smooth and full bum coverage. Props to wacoal for pecan color...limited offerings but ill take what i can get.
My orange cardi is getting workhorse of the year status, and my burgundy booties are adding freshness to my winter outfits, though have had a lot of other good buys this year.
Worst- the shoes of shame! Too loose in back too tight in front, like wearing my mothers shoes. I literally couldnt walk across parking lot. Should have returned...

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Best

  • Pendleton Cheyenne wool coat (bargain at $132!)
  • Blondo Lila booties, in black and mushroom suede. Waterproof, comfortable, perfect.
  • Ecco Soft 7 sneakers, in Red leather and Ombre nubuck. I love red sneakers.
  • NYJD stretch knit trousers, in navy and black. Work wardrobe workhorses.
  • 1901 Sweater dress. Pink stripes. Need I say anything more?
  • Boden Tilda sweaters. I own both crew-neck and v-neck varieties, and I like the v-neck better. All have held up well with wear and in the wash, and I think I own 5 of them. Kid you not. Uniform.
  • Boden Sarah Ponte top. Happy little thing, fun to wear with red shoes.
  • Ray Ban 58 mm Aviators in Gold/Blue gradient. I love these!
I didn't realize how many of these items I duplicated until I typed this list.

Worst

  • Vince Camuto tie sleeve pointelle sweater. I wore this one time, and ended up with terrible pilling and it became unbearably short, even with a wash on the cold gentle cycle and block drying. The good news is that I lost weight, and it was way too big very quickly. This didn't get donated, and because it no longer fit, I didn't feel right about returning it.

Thank you, FashIntern for your suggestions.
The pants is kind of mix of cream and light brown threads. My mistake was to think I’ll buy a tan trench or a brown leather jacket but alas... the thing is - I wear a limited color palette: black, cream/white, navy, grey, olive and a bit of soft browns. I have some tops and light sweaters that work with the pants but no toppers.

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Irina, ohhhhh, I completely misunderstood the color of the pants. Your palette sounds really different from mine. Good luck with the pants!

I had a funny year, fashion-wise. What I buy is always reflective of these things:

1. my body image
2. how much I am earning and what I'm doing to earn it - also known as income flow
3. what is available at retail in any given season from my favourite shops
4. whatever idea I've latched onto that will project the image I want

At the end of the story, I didn't buy a lot of clothes and footwear this year. My career went through a major change , and what I could wear to a job I spend the majority of my time at was now dictated by a prescribed dress code. My sales job stayed the same, but because I am spending less time at it, I had less need and opportunity to dress the way I really want and like to. For instance, I can't remember the last time I had a pair of jeans on . My income didn't start to flow well until late this year, and that also had to do with why I didn't buy anything this past spring and summer. I actually found it just fine to stay out of stores and wear what I had. No one died from my fashion holiday.

I am a trend-shopper, no doubt about it, even though I have been known to comment negatively about vapid trend consumers et al, and always am looking ahead, and to update, not to stay the same. To me -staying the same can look awfully aging, which seems to be a speeding train these last few years. Spending and buying trendy pieces is also influenced by how I feel about myself and my appearance at any given time. This year, the trends weren't working in my favour, and high waisted bottoms, cropped tops, flared jeans etc were not what I wanted to buy - plus they look crappy on me . Or I look crappy in them - both cases Any new footwear I bought this fall was for my fitness-facility job (black and comfortable) , and some were better than others. The Naturalizer black suede loafers (silver velvet find below) look nice and are comfortable, but are not really supportive, and are so soft that they actually gape a bit when I am walking . They also lack that edge I want in a shoe, and thus aren't a pair I grab outside of my work hours. Other shoe mishaps were from ordering online, where fit was compromised and I was too annoyed and/or time-constrained to get organized to return them. (white Geox bootie below- worn for 4 hours and couldn't get them off my feet fast enough. Still hoping I can return them)

I don't get many of my purchases into finds, unfortunately, and each year I vow to be better at that.

In terms of best-buys, the McQueen scarf replacement was #1. I wear it many times a week, and love the consternation and confusion it gives one of my more fashion -challenged co-workers. " Those aren't *skulls* , are they?" LOL. The other major hit was a cheap GAP black /silver lined zip front coat which I wore literally most days from Sept to Dec . Enough edge to not be boring, and slid comfortably over loose fitting sweaters as well as it added polish to a casual look. Other hits were for the aforementioned fitness facility job, and wouldn't be interesting to most YLF'rs . A Lole floral print rash -type guard top (finds) I wear with loose fitting pants and sneakers , 2 pair of Lululemon On the Move pants, a Lulu bomber jacket , fur trimmed Yaya sneakers, all come to mind. I have no plans yet for 2019 - just going with the flow at this point. I have a whole pile of things headed my way from my on-line shopping binge yesterday. Including but not limited to: teddy bear coat(s), printed blouses, loafers, and a shoulder/belt bag. I believe I also ordered some makeup too. Step away from the computer, Lisa....

My worst was a pair of hose that I  bought a size too small. 

Otherwise I'm pretty happy with my purchases. One of my best was a black patterned flippy, long sleeved fit and flare faux wrap dress. In  a way it was one of the worst too, because it's a bit tight around the rib case. Collateral damage of fitting well around my small bust.

Another one that could be both best and worst is my silver pleated skirt. Loved it, wore it a lot, was planning other item purchases around it (I didn't have enough tops to go with it) then started getting worried about how pleats look around my midsection and stopped wearing it for awhile to try to lose some weight.

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So many great purchases that I can break them into categories:

- Boden dresses
-J Crew, Ann Taylor and Wit & Wisdom jeans
-Boden knitwear, plus a couple of red pieces from BR and Anthropologie
-striped tops from various retailers
-Born boots, which have saved my life, walking wise

Worst purchases include a Hawaiian shirt (I may need to leave it at a family vacation home, as it was a passing fancy), clogs that make my arches ache, and a red twist front shirt from NAS (not shown) that never sat right.

Boden
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This was a great year for me! My best were Angie's perforated booties, the Rebecca Minkoff guitar strap bag which I have carried almost every day since I bought it, the Blondo OTKs and the sweater coats.

In 2018 I gravitated toward solid colors, pinks, reds, greens and browns.

BESTS

1. The taupe, alpaca and silk scarf by Garnet Hill is new to me and is more gray, less pink than the image below. I love the frothy texture and the muted color goes with everything in my wardrobe. I like having a light color near my face.

2. Brown Ariat Wexfords. Adore. Rugged soles and construction, comfy, waterproof, elegant and streamlined on the foot. Couldn't be more pleased.

3. Uniqlo Hoodie. Rich burgundy cotton. Nice metal trims on the hood laces. Nice fit. In general, delighted with the quality of the pieces found at Uniqlo this year.

4. Pendleton Tote. This was a gift and is the first "real" bag I've owned. It's size and shape are perfect for me. I love that it's wool with leather trims. I love that the trims are brown. It's holding up well.

5. Uniqlo Lambswool Crewneck Sweater. I LOVE the shape of this sweater! It's a bit blousy (like a sweatshirt is blousy) and a bit high waisted but not too much of either. Fab color. Nice wool. Amazing price. (I wish I bought one more of these before my size sold out.)

6. Anthropologie Easy Moto. I wore this almost every day last spring and summer. Gorgeous neutral sage. Stretchy, cotton fabric. Delighted.

7. Evolve Cruzer Psyche approach shoes. Soles are flat and super-grippy which I like. Lightweight. Cute, streamlined shape. Bought in two colors. Nice trail shoe that works around town.

WORSTS

9. Feeling disappointed in this mustard and black silk blouse I got on sale via the Sundance Catalog. It's one of those things I felt attracted to but the main motivator for buying was because it was on sale. The fit is a little wonky. the color is nice, and the pattern is intense. My husband likes when I wear this but I feel awkward when I do. Still desperate for tops, all seasons.

10. Anthropologie Road Trip Flutter Sleeve Tee. Meh. Nice shape. thin fabric. Husband doesn't like. Even though I got it on sale I feel like I paid more than I should. Struggling to sort my t-shirt wardrobe.

This year was not a year of extreme highs or low for me as far as purchases go. There are some definite mistakes (fortunately most were realized before tags were off, and they’re returned or being returned).

But here are my standouts in both categories:

Best: Alexander Wang Kori booties. I admired from afar for years and finally bought. Comfortable but stylish with just enough edge.

Best: Archer black sandals. Comfortable for long days with lots of walking, and funky enough for my style.

Best: black secondhand Gucci bag. Classic and goes anywhere.

Best: Boden Tilda V-neck sweaters. My only regret is that the ivory is now sold out in my size.

Best: Madewell V-neck tees. Solid basics for nearly all seasons for me. I bought in several colors and they are a good bargain for the money and fit me very well.

Best: Maeve patterned skirt from Anthro. I wore this so much. I wish they had made the same style in more prints.

Best: Gentle Souls platform sandals in rose gold. I should have bought them in the silver too.

Worst: silver Jeffrey Campbell mules. They are so cute but stretch enough with wear that my feet fall out of them. They’re still in my closet and Iay try them again in spring, but I suspect they will be given away.

Worst: the really nice balloon sleeve sweater from NAS. Somehow when I have tried to wear it, it doesn’t feel like me. The tags never came off, so it’s in a bag to return to Nordstrom.

Worst: I was seduced by the color and fit of this adorable Tommy Bahama linen jacket, but only wore it once. Lesson: don’t buy summer jackets — I almost never have need to wear them!

Worst (but a qualified worst): the beautiful printed dress I bought on a deep discount from WH/BM as a possible dress for my niece’s wedding. It was right on the brink of being tight when I bought it, so I’m afraid to even try it on now, but it ended up being something like $24 in the end, so I’m not too wrecked about it. I’m keeping it in my holding zone/occasion area of our downstairs closet.

I have mostly had a good year with additions - lots of well worn and loved pieces.

Most loved - lace Ingrid Starnes dress. Only worn twice but I adore it.

new workhorses - cream perforated Oxfords and Duck egg blazer.

Most fun - two piece floral dress.

Worst - black cropped hoodie. I find it hard to style. As it is a designer brand I am considering selling it - if I could get half the purchase price I would be very happy.

This is fun! My worst buys of 2018 have already gone in the trash or been donated. Sadly, some mistakes have been rather costly, like what turned out to be a terrible quality wool sweater from a rather luxe brand that I will avoid in the future.

My best buys have been brown winter booties, lined with sheepskin. So cosy and warm! I also discovered COS this year, and the new to me brand Converse. I also bought a turquoise raincoat that got a lot of wear this autumn. Fresh and fun!

This is such an interesting thread. I have a hard time remembering when I bought things.

Best:
EF linen dress - casual yet dressy because it’s a dress.
Vince Camuto top - works with this skirt, crops and shorts.
Kuhl utility jacket - gear, yet nice enough for casual wear. I donated my other olive utility jacket.

Worst : They must have been bad, but I don’t remember them!

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JAileen, I love the bag you have with the Eileen Fisher dress. They go well together.

Winners:

I am grateful to Boden for having long, lovely dresses: my two twirly dresses (Harley and Lucille) that bring me much joy, and one long skinny dress (Vanessa) that was an unusual shape for me but has been a compliment magnet.

Two jackets from Talbots, one in a pretty dark green that I do not see everyday and a black version that I believe will be a workhorse (I just bought it and have worn it only once).

And a cheat, as I bought them very late in December 2017 but have really only work them in 2018--black leather Taos sneakers. Younger me wore black loafers with most things casual, but I do not have a comfortable, wear-with-everything black pair of loafers right now, and these sneakers have saved the day...and my no longer young feet.

Not as winning:

My only dud--no picture--was a Physicians' Endorsed baseball cap with a zip-off top that converts it into a visor. I had an old version of the hat that is on its last legs. I zipped the top on and off with no difficulty; the hat has a substantial metal zipper. The new hat has a thin plastic zipper that broke the first time I zipped off the top, and so that "hat" is now permanently a visor. So I can use it, but not in the versatile way I intended. Otherwise, this is a great visor--not the cutest hat ever, but very efficient at keeping sun off my face. Maybe mine was a dud: YMMV.

The PE hats are all beige and do not follow the general green and black theme you may note here. Red is my favorite color, and I acquired two new red, extremely sensible robes. But it was a mostly green and black year.

This is a hard question since i don't define a winner by the number of wears, rather the number of occasions that i reach for an item and feel appropriate for the occasion, especially when i travel.

This year, I also changed how I shopped after a loose shopping pause in 2016-17, concentrating on clothing basics mostly from uniqlo, cos and old navy. Shoes and accessories were used to update these basics. That said, I did have a lot of winners that got a lot of use this year after a wicked purge.

Winners:
Uniqlo extra fine merino knits
Cos black silky shirt dress
IRO black linen dress
Old navy summer wear (tops, shorts, long sleeve denim dress)
Massimo Dutti basket weave blouses
Isabel Marant navy booties
Rag and Bone studded booties
AGL suede knee boots
Adidas original sneakers
Equestrienne lozenge scarf
Hipsi belt in black
Halogen cashmere wrap (NAS)
NM "pearl" bib
Lafayette 148 mixed media swacket (NAS)

Duds:
Gold pleather mules--turns out I don't like mules
Malone Souliers blue glitter flats--scratchy, will try with socks
Proenza Schouler black knot slides--too visually heavy for summer, too open for spring/autumn

Infrequent poster here -- but I really enjoy reading others' best and worst so I couldn't resist adding my own. 2018 was a year with a lot of change for me, and I started the year with my closet reduced to a few cardboard boxes while we remediated our flooded house, post-Hurricane Harvey. Important lesson learned: I do not enjoy a minimalist wardrobe, even made up of (former) favorites. I haven't tossed those items yet, but we are taking some time apart.

Post-remediation, I was sick of my jeans (all Levis 501s for women) but had no alternatives. During the Spring and Summer, I found it easier to just wear dresses. The Chaus dress in finds below is first one I picked up, for all of $18 at Ross, remains my favorite. It is easy to wear, and the longish midi length is fun. I wore every week until Fall weather arrived.

I also discovered Vionic flip flops over the Summer -- they have heavenly arch support! I wear these at home, and for dog-walking when it's warm.

In the Fall, a trip to India for work prompted me to look for lightweight pants. I ended up with Athleta's Gramercy Pant and On the Fly pants from Lululemon -- both fantastic for traveling, and easy to dress up to look reasonably professional.

Well into Fall, I still lacked jeans, which are both my favorite thing to wear and the hardest for me to find. I tried on lots before finding Gap Curvy Fit jeans, which are probably the best fitting jeans I've ever had. I picked up a variety of washes and they are in heavy rotation. I would still love to try some of the newer denim trends, but for now having comfy jeans is enough!

We ended up selling our flooded house and moved from the suburbs back into the city. Now I do a lot more walking, and my old favorite Saucony Jazz weren't really up to the challenge. The local running shoe store hooked me up with the Hoka One One Clifton 5, which are incredibly cushioned but lightweight -- like walking on marshmallows. I have arthritis in both knees, and switching to these shoes has improved the way my knees feel day to day. Pre-arthritis, I was a runner, and wore top-of-the-line running shoes from Saucony, Asics, and Brooks, but they don't compare to the Cliftons! That said, I don't find them particularly attractive, but no other item of clothing has done more to improve my quality of life this year.

As for worsts -- I definitely over-bought dresses. There were some duds of the $20-and-under variety that have already been passed on, but I still have more than I need, especially now that I have jeans and pants that work too.

Tough as it is for me to admit it, I really should've had more resolve about heel height when I bought my red boots. They are cute and I really like them, but they tip my winter footwear decidedly into majority low heels, which is not me. It's easy enough to shake my head in a store at a shoe with a heel, but seeing it online let me somehow tell myself it wasn't really so tall. Not a completely bad purchase, but one I could've done better.

Runs--that Chauss dress is great, and what a deal!

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