A month ago, I outlined some goals for the new year, and I’m coming back now to refine them a little bit and add one “big picture” goal. The big goal is to reduce my overall purchase rate somewhat this year, and move towards a more intentional “big shop” approach, versus adding a couple of things every month. With some discipline, I think I can move from my usual three dozen purchases per year (very approximate) down to roughly two dozen (also very approximate, and I’d feel really good about cutting back by 1/3. It means greater mindfulness, being strict about sticking to my criteria, not settling, and quelling the desire to duplicate and have “backups”. I’m okay with all of those considerations.

I placed a flurry of orders in late December/early January (taking advantage of post-holiday sales and a couple of gift cards), and I’m now sifting through things as they arrive. I'm not used to placing multiple orders at once, but I appreciate being able to compare styles/sizes side-by-side; somehow it's easier to identify the keepers and the rejects when they're both sitting right in front of me. I've always done "big shops" for DS and DH, so I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to try this approach out for myself. So far, my additions for the year stand at 4 basics, 2 knitwear, 1 pair of pants and 1 summer top. The other slots that need filling are: long-sleeve layering tops, a couple of footwear purchases, one or two outerwear pieces, and probably at least one or two pairs of pants/jeans. A summer dress/jumpsuit/skirt and a fall cardigan or blazer are “maybes”.

I’m hoping to finish up my spring/summer shopping in the next few weeks, and then take a long break from browsing and buying until sometime in the summer when I’ll turn my attention toward f/w. I’ve never really thought of myself as the “big shop” type, but I’m inspired by those who do it. I’ve started by identifying which of my original 2021 goals should be dealt with immediately, or in anticipation of S/S, and which can be put on hold until new F/W inventory appears.

  • Find new lounge pants (I had three out of four pairs develop holes this year and have only replaced one -- pandemic problems!). I’ve taken care of this for now by adding one new pair of lounge pants and one new pair of pajama shorts on deep discount. I will keep looking for more, and I think this is a category where I need to relax my “natural fibers” standard. I’m finding that 100% cotton french terry sweatpants just wear out too fast for the price, whereas my oldest pair of sweats has just a little bit of added polyester (and maybe Lycra too?) and is still going strong after many years. I develop holes in the seat and knees of my lounge pants, and often at the seams near pockets; I could patch them and feel a little bad about not doing this, but when the fabric starts thinning all over it seems a very temporary solution, and I really dislike the feel of patched knees in general. So I think I will stick to textile recycling in this case.
  • Add more variety to my knitwear (colour, pattern, texture, silhouette). Feeling pretty good about this one, having added a sweater dress and a v-neck pullover during a post-holiday sale. Both are currently in frequent rotation! The only thing I might still look for is a chunky cardigan in a light neutral (oatmeal heater, tweedy/donegal grey, etc), but it isn’t high priority and I’ll wait until something jumps out at me.
  • One pair of great “out-in-the-world” boots (low-heeled chelsea or lace-up; no zippers; olive, navy, or dark brown). I have my eye on a particular pair and will probably order them in late summer/early fall as a seasonal refresher, early enough to give myself time to return and look for something else if they don’t work out. I just can’t get excited about boot shopping right now after wearing nothing but for the past 10+ weeks. I know I want one new pair of sneakers to enjoy this spring, and will reevaluate f/w footwear later in the year.

  • Keep looking for a super-cozy fleece jacket or coat (hood, pockets, lining). I’m still browsing long sherpa fleeces, and am also considering the possibility of a lightweight long puffer. I haven’t seen a fleece that checks all my boxes (hood, good pocket placement, lining for easy layering, not super boring); I suspect I might end up with one practical version with a more performance-oriented cut for fall/spring hiking, and another big/heavy/floppy impractical one for fashion/around-town purposes. But maybe Patagonia/North Face/etc will surprise me by releasing the perfect thing next fall.

  • Keep looking for a long/oversized blazer. I was feeling very motivated to add one new blazer back in the fall, but that motivation has since waned. I may revisit that idea next fall, when (I hope!) there might be more opportunities to wear blazers and greater variety at retail.

  • Socks/hosiery audit in the spring. I’ve already dealt with the socks part of my audit, replacing two pairs of Darn Toughs that had worn out with more or less identical pairs. I really need to go through hosiery, but it’s a tall order because I haven’t been reaching for it at all. Tights are impractical for me to wear at home, too cold for winter out-and-about, and all the pairs I have left just seem boring (opaque and semi-opaque black, navy, grey). I’ve culled all my sweater knit tights (two cotton ribbed from Boden, and two synthetic fair isle from Uniqlo) due to pilling and overall itchiness. I was looking forward to wearing them but now find I can’t bear having them on. I haven’t seen suitable replacements. There’s not much out there in the way of fun hosiery this year -- perhaps due to WFH wardrobes? Replacements may have to wait a while; a bit of a shame my winter dresses aren’t seeing much daylight this year, but I don't feel like forcing things that aren't working.

  • Maybe a fun dress, jumpsuit, or matching separates for summer (natural fibers only; has to be just the right pattern and/or colour). I’ve added one high-summer piece already -- a white windowpane linen tank (not see-through! I wouldn’t order white linen from anywhere else) -- and I have my eye on a linen dress in a dark/moody gingham that I know would get a lot of mileage. Pyne & Smith is doing a big clearance sale next weekend, and I’m debating whether to order at full price now, or wait for the sale but risk it selling out before I can snag one.

One thing I'm enjoying about the "big shop" approach is that it makes it easy for me to stay focused on a cohesive palette. I'm feeling dark heathery greens, blues and greys this year, especially as a counterpoint to the warmer earth tones I've added over the past few years. I'm also looking forward to being done for a while, and just enjoying what I have. I don't intend to be terribly strict about any of this, since that approach doesn't really work for me, and won't beat myself up if I deviate from these goals. It is early in the year after all!