Warning, long and navel-gazey.

I am not a numbers person when it comes to my wardrobe, but I have been inspired by posts from Greyscale and La Pedestrienne to take a look at what I purchased in 2020 and at least try to assess what I did and what I can learn for the year ahead.

Well, it was a weird year of course. Even before the pandemic hit, I had an intention of dialing back my purchasing, and I was successful in that. My priciest purchase of the year was probably the Fuzzi patterned skirt, or the Fjallraven vest. The former was not terribly practical but brought a lot of joy to my closet; the latter is hugely practical and will earn a very low CPW over time. This is a departure from earlier years in which I spent more money and on fewer practical items -- regardless of the number of items purchased, I clearly spent less on clothes this year than I have in the past, and that is in line with one of my main goals.

My purchases for the year are in this Finds collection. I bought approximately 52 pieces this year. That includes a couple new bras (one sports bra and an additional wire-free style) and strictly gear pieces like hiking shoes that do not cross over into regular wear. It also includes a few guitar straps to give some old handbags new life. It doesn’t include socks, panties, or sleepwear — I got new hiking and running socks, and did buy a new set of pajamas at Anthro recently. I don’t think I bought any jewelry this year — that’s kind of a shocker.

Most of my purchases were basics or essentials — gear and super casual tees featured strongly. A couple of casual dresses for summer that got lots of wear. Replacement flip flops. Replacement hiking and running shoes. Three Ripskirts which may seem a lot, but the style works for me and my life, and they discontinued that length, so I'm glad I bought them when I did.

Dresses: 2
Tees: 5
Sweaters: 2
Tops other than sweaters or tees: 4
Coats/jackets: 2 (both casual puffers)
Vests: 2 puffers
Blazer: 1 (deep sale, post holiday purchase, the sequin one)
Skirts: 4
Jeans: 2
Pants: 6 (2 cropped athleisure for summer, 3 casual joggers spanning warm to cold weather, 1 strictly gear, lined winter hiking pants)
Hoodies: 3
Bags: 2
Non-gear shoes: 5 (most of which were sneakers)
Gear shoes: 4 (3 replacing old ones)
Scarves: 2 (solid cashmere basics for outerwear)

I have a couple of Heattech underlayer pieces due to arrive (a cami and a long sleeve one to relieve laundry bottlenecks).

The most impractical pieces are ones that were bought before we were aware this year would bring a pandemic and months spent mostly either at home, camping, or trekking through the woods. The patent leather booties are one of those things I'm dying to wear, but don't have much occasion right now. Same for the printed skirt. And the sequin blazer still has tags on. Even the casual fashion sneakers did not get the wear I would have expected in any other year.

All-star items that more than earned their keep in terms of wear: The Minkoff silver backpack which has been used a TON, the black Sweaty Betty summer dress, the joggers, and the hiking and running shoes. The AG Angel and Harper jeans are up there too.

Items I could have done without: the red sleeveless top, the Vince platform reptile print sneakers. That's a success rate I am pretty happy with.

Items that were not necessities but make me very happy: The grey Sarah Pacini sweater that I considered for months after trying it on in NYC, the star-patterned zip hoodie, the blue patterned mesh top from Anthro, and both pairs of Converse sneakers (one summer, one winter).

50-something items is more than I thought I would purchase, which makes me realize how much I must have bought in prior years. But the kicker is that I let go of a LOT more than that. I thinned out my holding zone, and my shelves and hanging spaces have more room than they used to. I would venture a guess that I let go of at least 120 pieces. Things in every category — lots of jeans, tops, shorts, jackets, and other items ranging from shoes to belts to hats. So clearly I had a lot of old things that deserved to be set free. I want to do a jewelry edit soon, too.

I still have plenty to wear. Unfortunately I tend to get tired of seeing the same stuff in my closet and the shopping urge strikes me. I’m trying to be content with what I have and pull older things out of the shadows to remix and wear them again, as I did in recent WIW threads with my argyle sweater and velvet shirt outfits.

For next year, I'm going to continue the effort to be more mindful of number of purchases and funds spent, and of how useful a piece will be. It's not terribly satisfying to see something sit in the closet and not be worn, as lovely as the item might be to look at. I will refrain from dictating specific numbers, but I'd like to continue the downward trend in new purchases, as well as the upward trend in thinning out my closet. I keep moving empty hangers to the guest room closet, so that's a good visual indicator to me of my progress. I'm thinking of giving away a batch of them so I'm never tempted to fill them back up again!

The only thing I anticipate a need for in coming months is a replacement pair of hiking pants for some old ones that are starting to look shabby at the seams, and maybe a new pair of cold weather running pants -- I have two pairs and one is nine years old. I think these will get me through this winter, but it might be a good time to see if I can find replacements on sale before next winter. New running shoes will be needed in 2021 also.

Another consideration for 2021: Since I have let go of nearly all of my old skinny jeans, and jean shopping is hard for me even in non-pandemic times, I've decided for the moment to stick with one of my two tried and true denim silhouettes: full-length bootcuts/flares and slim straights. AG Angel and AG Harper cuts are my current favorites, so I just ordered a pair of Harpers in black to replace my old black skinnies. I tried a grey pair but they were cut smaller and I had to return them -- I may try them a size up. In the meantime, I'm trying to wear my existing pants that have been going unworn (the old plaid pants from the other day are a good example). But my denim stash is as small as it's ever been, at about half of what it used to be. I'm a little scared of wearing out my favorites since it's so hard for me to find the right fit.

Thanks for reading if you followed along this long and not terribly interesting saga! But putting this all in writing has made me take a good look at the year, and helps me be more mindful going into the future.

Zappos
Converse Converse
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4
Zappos
Converse Converse
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8
UNIQLO
Cashmere Stole
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4
UNIQLO
Cashmere Stole
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1