It’s the beginning of December and I have spent my shopping budget for 2019, and am left quite grateful and content. December is too busy for clothes shopping in my book anyway. Time for some introspection...

For context: halfway through the year, after much consideration, I decided to increase my shopping budget. I realized my wardrobe was still heavily in transition two years after having had a baby and this was just something I had to accept.

I’ve bought 43 items in 2019 excluding undies, sleepwear and gear. I keep no numbers on culled items. But I did get rid of a lot of ill-fitting pants and shoes, and put some items I’m not feeling right now in a holding zone. So all in all my active wardrobe remained more or less the same size.

Breakdown by type:
10 pairs of pants (the first to go when weight fluctuates)
1 skirt (new-to-me midi style)
1 dress (also midi)
5 sweaters (started to prefer sweaters over cardigans)
3 jackets (also prefer jackets over cardigans)
6 shirts
5 tees
7 pairs of shoes
2 bags
3 scarves

Of these 43 there have been 3 duds and 3 items that aren’t currently earning their keep. The duds were a bag I ordered online with no option of returning, but that was disappointing in quality and has been relegated to casual wear only. And a pair of Ecco shoes bought on holiday – I know they get a lot of love from Angie but the fit was off on me and they caused blisters. I’m hoping to resell the Eccos as they’re in pristine condition but will need to accept a big loss margin. Lesson learnt: for bigger ticket items, make sure to have a return option. Last ‘dud’ is a shirt that came apart at the seams after about 5 wears.

The other three are inexpensive mistakes: a t-shirt in a color that doesn’t suit me as well in daylight as it did in-store. A scarf in a color that’s harder to match and isn’t part of a complement. A knit shirt in a color that’s outside my palette too, and too sporty. Lesson learnt: cheap ‘experimental’ items bought on a whim rarely work for me.

I was pretty bummed at first to have a 14% ‘failure rate’, but after reading other forum members numbers I concluded that this amount of shopping ‘mistakes’ is actually pretty common. So probably I’m not such a bad shopper after all .

So all in all I am pleased with how this year went: the other 37 items have all (but my final two additions) been worn several times. There are hard-working essentials, much-loved statement items and outfit-enhancing completers. My budget increase allowed me to work on all these categories resulting in wardrobe happiness in every season!

For 2020 I’m going to try and focus on upgrading my casual wardrobe. I say try, because I just have so much more fun buying office clothes that I know won’t get dirty in the blink of an eye…

I'll follow up with some MVP's in a comment, if you're still reading.