Thursday, January 15, 2009

It's time to quit...

...shopping, at least for a while.

And I need your advice & ideas.

I've spent alot of money on clothes this last year. ALOT. Like almost 10% of our income, as it turns out. To be fair, I needed an entire wardrobe, right down to my very shoes. Literally everything I put on my back is new (at least to me).

Why?

Well, the short version of an answer is that in the last 7 years I've lost 130 lbs, the bulk of which was shed in 2001-2002 after DD was born. Yet in all that time I really hadn’t done much to create a new wardrobe for myself until relatively recently. I certainly bought a few new clothes along the way, but I had no goal, no vision for how I wanted to dress.

When I finally lost the pregnancy weight in 2006/07 after DS was born, I started really thinking about what I wanted from my clothes...how to best dress my particular shape at this stage in my life. I watched TV shows, looked at magazines & read internet articles related to style. I also discovered alot of your wonderful blogs!!!!! Thanks to all that I developed a general strategy & criteria ---and started shopping.

It's been a fun & interesting process. During this last year I've created a pretty good wardrobe base to suit my lifestyle as well as my "new" body. I'm looking forward to getting the most out of what I've acquired and coming up with different outfits by exploring the contents of my now fuller closet.

But it's time to start figuring out a reasonable ongoing clothing budget of some sort so I can simply add to my base as needed. So, how much is enough?

Do you have a yearly clothing budget? What percentage of your income would you estimate is spent on clothes? Or do you even handle it that way...perhaps you go by some other method of planning, or maybe you don't plan at all? I know there are alot of shopping bans and various methods of restraint & self-regulation going on out there in the blogosphere -- if you're one of those people employing such a thing how and why did you come to choose that approach? Is it working?

I'd also like to take into account the reality that clothes shopping and adding to my wardrobe is just plain fun -- if it were purely about necessity I would have a MUCH smaller closet :)

Tell me your thoughts on this -- inquiring minds want to know!

PS: no outfit pic today, but will be back tomorrow despite a frigid blast heading our way....tune in to see if I brave the cold for natural light or give up and take an indoor shot ;)

8 comments:

notSupermum said...

First of all, congratulations on losing so much weight - 130lbs is amazing! That's like a whole other person in weight! Incredible. And you look fabulous now aswell!

With regards to the wardrobe, I have a fairly limited budget and tend to wait for sales or offers. I keep a mental note of items I need to add to my wardrobe and wait until I find the right item at the right price, and try not to buy a lot of the 'same' sort of things.

Of course I have the occasional impulse buy just because I like something - a girl has to have some fun! - but generally, if it doesn't fulfil a gap in my wardrobe then it doesn't get bought.

Btw, Audi of Fashion for Nerds is doing a great series of posts about buying and storing clothes. Definitely worth reading.

Jane said...

What a fantastic achievement. I weigh 124 pounds (I'm v small) so I can see how much a loss that is.

I didn't realise you had lost so much weight as you seem such a naturally shapely person. Well done - and I totally understand having a budget blowout to show that figure off.
I agree - Audi's posts have been fantastic as have Sheila's (Ephemera)

Trace said...

To echo the other girls - your weight loss is an amazing achievement and you are definitely an inspiration K!! I'm not a good person to ask for fashion budget advice - I do have a budget but blow it regularly. =) I'm kinda weird, but I'm fine with skimping on other stuff to make up for my fashion purchases - I don't have cable TV, never eat out during the week (pack my lunch and my hub's lunch every single day), turn the heat WAY down and wear sweats and blankets at home, etc. When I'm on a "ban," I actually try to avoid spending too much time online - checking out message boards and blogs ALWAYS makes me want something new. =) I also usually ask for gift cards/money for holidays/birthdays, and enjoy buying new clothes that way. You definitely have a rockin' wardrobe from what I've seen K - great staples, awesome accessories, fab shoes! I'm interested in what the other girls have to say. In today's economy, this is a very important topic.

Sal said...

Wow, more congratulations are in order, I believe! Way to go, beautiful!

As for the shopping budget question ... it's a toughie. Subject to amount of disposable income, how you're wired, and your goals. I'm currently allowed $10/week to spend on thrift/vintage only and it's going really well for me. My goals are to understand why I shop obsessively, and get my finances in better shape. If you enjoy thrifting, this can be a great way to keep shopping but in a very limited, environmentally sound way. More here.

Curious to hear what you decide to do, lady.

Karen said...

Kayleigh, I "need" clothes all the time. Bras and underwear must be replaced, purses and shoes should be current, and one should have a good coat always. I constantly edit my wardrobe, ridding it of superfluous or unflattering or out of style items. I replace what I get rid of. I think you have to honor your husband by asking him how much the family budget can be spared for a monthly clothing budget until you get your wardrobe to a place that inspires you. If you have to eat macaroni and cheese a few nights a week to do it, so be it. It will be worth it. Being a mommy is a low-paying job (but high on satisfaction!!!). I make darn sure I'm "paid" a meager stipend every month for my own fun. Hubby agrees and all works well.

Sheila said...

Brava, Kayleigh - you are an inspiration to us all.

My advice:
1. Enact the "one in, one out" rule. You will quickly discover what you're willing to give up and what you really want to keep.
2. Stop buying duplicates. I used to do it, too. It's easy. But...I'd rather have a top with a different detail or a dress with a different hem or pattern. I like variation.

So far, I think the "one in, one out" is going to be the most valuable lesson I learn from my own shopping resolution.

I don't have a budget for clothes, but I do have my own discretionary funds to spend on whatever I want, so those usually go to clothes.

WendyB said...

All I can say is congrats on the awesome weight loss and you surely needed the clothes! I don't have a budget but I try to avoid buying "stuff." I only want to get things that are gorgeous and special and hard to find. So if you already have the basics, you can stop buying more basics. Buy stand-out pieces!

Erica said...

Hmmm... I started budgeting to save for vacation, so I don't know if I have good advice! But I never look at online stores anymore and don't go shopping alone, and so far it has helped me save.
My greatest weakness is a sale, and often I have to stop and say, "Would I buy this full price?" And if the answer is no, I put it back. (It's different if you wait for it to go on sale, however!)
It also helps if I write down everything I spend everyday--Starbucks, lunch, etc. That tells me where I need to cut back if I do want to make some clothing purchases.