Fessing Up About Slow Fashion

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I guess it’s no secret that I love clothes. I love to plan my wardrobe, dream up outfits, and talk about them. And during this slow time of year between Christmas and New Year’s I’ve fallen into the habit of looking back on the year that was… wardrobe-wise. Looking at what I’ve purchased in the past twelve months, and whether I’m making any headway in my efforts to become a more ethical shopper. Fessing up about slow fashion, you might say, when things are a bit slow around here in every other way.

So to that end, today I hauled out my little book of lists, ransacked my closet, and my storage drawers, and looked at old blog posts to see what I’d bought since January 2019.

When I started this whole New Year’s wardrobe review thing back in 2016, I began to do a lot of reading about the slow fashion movement, ethical shopping, and sustainable fashion. According to an article in Bust magazine, in 2013 the average American shopper purchased 70 items of clothing and apparel. So I thought of counting what I had bought over the year to see how I measured up. In 2016 I purchased 26 new pieces. In each of 2017 and 2018 I bought 25 pieces. And when I did my 2019 count today, I was pleased to see that I purchased 24% fewer items in 2019, than last year. “Well, done, Sue!” I thought, patting myself on the back. “That’s excellent.”

But before I put my shoulder out of joint with all this back-patting, let’s analyze this, shall we? Let’s break down the year and look at the hard numbers.

Spring and Summer:

I did a fair amount of shopping for spring and summer this year. I purchased 11 pieces: a white jacket, three tee shirts, two pairs of jeans (one white and cropped, the other blue and boot-cut), a scarf, a pair of sandals, a belt, a pair of yellow linen pants, and a straw bag.

Spring purchases for 2019. Vine tee, belt from Nordstrom, Frame boot cut jeans, sandals from Town Shoes, Eric Javits tote.
Some of my spring-summer purchases. #2 is pointing to my new belt

On the positive side, some of my purchases were necessary to replace worn or stained items. I ordered a new, white Vince short-sleeved tee because my old one was discoloured, and getting a bit tatty. And, while I was at it, I bought a black one in the same style to replace the black Madewell tee that had become stained with pasta oil in Italy last year.

Still on the positive side, all my newly purchased pieces work together, and helped breath new life into old, well-loved pieces in my closet. My brown sandals and straw bag worked wonderfully with two old jackets. I wore my Elie Tahari safari jacket (above) and my very old, linen Max Mara blazer (below right) for the first time in years. The gold and cream striped Theory tee shirt, the yellow scarf, and the white Theory blazer meant I suddenly liked my cream Michael Kors cross-body bag again. And I loved my ancient block-heeled raffia sandals with the yellow and cream palate of that outfit on the left, below.

Spring purchases for 2019. Theory white blazer, yellow linen pants and scarf, and gold and cream striped tee.
Some spring purchases breathed new life into old pieces languishing in my closet.

But not everything about my spring and summer wardrobe exuded slow fashion purity. I had a devil of a time finding outfits I loved that included those darned yellow linen pants. And maybe buying another pair of white jeans was not exactly adhering to the minimalist philosophy that I should only buy what I need. My Frame cropped white jeans looked good with my old Tory Burch tunic which I hadn’t been wearing much. But… did I really need another pair of white jeans? Really?

Still, I’m pleased overall with my spring-summer purchases. Especially my white Theory blazer. I know it will be a stalwart in my spring closet for years to come.

Travel:

I made three purchases specifically for travel this year. That’s a lot fewer than in previous years. Especially in 2017 when I bought seven pieces before we left for South America. I’m still wearing many of those pieces. But travel is hard on tee shirts, and the two I bought specifically for that trip were relegated to exercise/camping wear as soon as we came home.

This year for our Balkan trip, I bought three hard-wearing tees from Talbots. I deliberately went for colour this time. I found that I was bored with only black and white tees in Italy last year. The Talbots tees are heavier than many of my other tee shirts so they wash up well, and look neat and not too crumpled after a long day of sitting in the car or wandering hot city streets.

I wore all three of these tees a lot, with a lot of different outfits when we were in the Balkans. And then I packed them away for our next trip.

Fall and Winter:

Somehow I managed to be quite frugal this year in my shopping for fall and winter. I made only five purchases. I bought my pink Uniqlo hoodie late last winter, for the express purpose of wearing it with my navy Veronica Beard spring suit. It was a good substitute for the zipper-out, partial hoodie that goes with the VB jacket and was much warmer. So I was able to wear the jacket earlier in the spring when it was still pretty cool. Now I’m wearing the hoodie with my Max Mara fall coat. In November and December, I bought black Liverpool jeans and a long-sleeve, baby-blue tee shirt. I also bought two pieces not shown here: a light-weight turtleneck from Vince, and a cashmere, crew-neck sweater from Uniqlo.

Fall pieces purchased in 2019. Uniqlo hoodie, Liverpool black jeans, Zella blue tee shirt.
17 + 2 pieces not shown = 19 purchases overall

I’m pleased with my fall-winter purchases this year. Especially how they worked with what I already owned. In particular my very old jackets. My goal this fall was to wear what I own. So I made a point of shopping my closet, and wore several old jackets that had not been out and about much since I retired.

In total I purchased nineteen pieces in 2019. That’s six fewer pieces than my 2018 total of twenty-five. So I have been patting myself on the back over reducing my total number of purchases this year.

But should I be?

The Analysis:

If that statistic of 70 new items per year in 2013 is at all accurate, it seems that I buy way fewer new items of apparel than the average North American shopper. And I improved on my numbers considerably this year. So, that’s good, isn’t it?

I know that I send much less clothing and textile material to land fill sites than the average North American. This article in The Saturday Evening Post cites a 2014 report from the EPA. It says that the average American sends over 80 lbs of clothing and textile waste to landfills each year. A CBC article puts the number in Canada about the same. Apparently that’s about eight garbage bags of clothing. I can’t remember the last piece of clothing I threw away. Oh… wait a minute. It was a pair of hiking socks with holes in them.

So I shop less, buy less, and throw away less than average. That’s good, I think. Except who do you know who DOES throw away eight garbage bags of clothing and textiles? Anyone? It does seem to be an enormous amount. But don’t take my word for it. Have a look at this article about textile waste and recycling.

I’ve always been of the opinion that I hang onto my clothes far longer than average. I mean, all those old tweed jackets prove that. Don’t they? Well, not quite. I found a couple of articles that said the average life of a garment in the U.K. and in North America is between two and three years. And to be better than that I’d have to still be wearing all the clothes I purchased back in 2016. And that’s unfortunately not the case. I checked.

Out of the twenty-six pieces I purchased in 2016, three pieces are no longer with me. This past summer, I donated two tank tops and a tee-shirt dress that I bought in desperation in the middle of the very hot summer of 2016. From the twenty-five items new in 2017, two of the tees I bought to take to South America have been relegated to camping wear. And I donated a zippered athletic jacket bought in haste a day or so before we left for our trip. An Eileen Fisher tunic languishing in my closet will no doubt be donated this upcoming spring. That’s four gone out of twenty-five. I’m still wearing everything I bought in 2018.

I can justify the demise of the tanks tops and the tees as normal wear and tear. Ha. Pun intended. The tee-shirt dress, zippered jacket, and Eileen Fisher pieces are the result of buying in haste. And I should know better.

But as I mentioned in my post last year, what really haunts me are the overall numbers over several years. If I’m buying about 20-25 pieces a year… eventually that adds up to be a lot of new clothing over four years.

In my own defense, I will say that for the first couple of years after I retired, I made an effort to give away to friends or consign most of my business wear. And since most of my wardrobe at the time was work wear, the rest of my closet was pretty thin. I think that’s what I’ve been doing these past few years, buying for the life I now lead, and getting rid of the stuff I don’t need or wear anymore.

So, What Now?

Good question. I’ve been tossing around the idea of ethical shopping and slow fashion for a few years now. I try to be organized and shop conscientiously and “consciously” (as opposed to unconsciously.) A few glaring mistakes aside (can you say Eileen Fisher tunic?) I buy what I love, what looks good on me, and what works with everything else in my closet.

I try to be a wise shopper. And by “wise” I don’t mean bargain hunting. A follower (who is no longer a follower, presumably) took me to task on Instagram last summer for buying my Eric Javits straw tote. I think I mentioned in my post that it WAS pretty expensive. But I don’t apologize for the fact that I spend more on certain items. We all have our price comfort level. I justify that expense by looking at my history with bags, knowing that I will still be using that tote in five years.

But, there’s not much point in doing all this analysis stuff if I’m simply going to pat myself on the back, rest on my laurels, and not try to improve.

This year, I’m going to try hard at doing the thrift shop thing. I have NOT been good at that in the past. In fact, my friend Krista (who you met here on the blog last summer) and I are hitting the thrift stores soon together. She’s way better at this than I am. I’m hoping to learn something.

I’ve also not been very good in the past at identifying ethical brands before I buy. I promise to try harder at that too. But it’s not as easy as it might seem. I’ve looked at numerous articles recommending the best ethical brands, many of which I have never seen in stores. Except for Eileen Fisher, a brand which always seems to get top marks. I found several articles which give brands a grade on their sustainability and efforts to be more ethical. I’ve tried to find ratings for brands I love, but many of the ones I own are not listed or rated. Have a look at this article for yourself here.

I guess what I can do, what we can all do, is to continue to read and stay informed. To not be fooled, as one article says, by the efforts of big fast-fashion brands like Zara and H&M to “green wash” their products. And we can continue to ask retailers the question: “What do they know about the sustainability of the brands they carry?” That’s one of the things Caryn Franklin suggested when Alyson Walsh interviewed her on the That’s Not My Age podcast recently. Maybe, as Franklin suggested, many voices asking these questions will convince retailers that consumers care about these issues. Franklin describes herself as a “disruptive fashion lover.” She loves fashion but feels that the business she’s been involved in for decades can do better. You can listen to Alyson’s interview with Caryn Franklin here.

I love that Caryn Franklin can criticise fashion and at the same time love it. The whole slow fashion, ethical shopping thing is a huge, complex issue. We don’t have to stop loving fashion. Or stop dreaming up outfits. But we should, at least, stay informed, shop more wisely, buy less, and keep our clothes longer.

Even when they may need a little TLC.

For instance, the other day I noticed that my long, green, winter dress coat has two small moth holes in it. I know! I love that coat. So I’m going to see if I can learn how to repair it. I found a Youtube video on darning.

We’ll call it my January slow fashion project.

So how did you fare this year, my fashionable friends? Did you lose your head, and break the bank in one massive shopping trip? Or were you very, very good: restrained, deliberate, and highly ethical in your shopping habits? Or were you somewhere in between? Do tell. And I mean tell us everything.

Linking up with Catherine at #IWillWearWhatILike and #ShareAllLinkup, and Patti at Visible Monday

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66 thoughts on “Fessing Up About Slow Fashion”

  1. Happy New Year Sue. I’m neither a saint nor a sinner, buying less than previously but I could do better. I’ve always kept most of my clothes for ages and always choose natural fabrics so I think I do okay on those parameters. I need to be more systematic with lists of what I have to avoid buying things I don’t need, but I’m not a big transgressors in that way either. I do admire how organised you are about your wardrobe – very impressive. Thanks for all the lovely and thoughtful blog posts and the great images. May 2020 be kind to you and yours.

  2. My first thought is ‘ crikey, is it really a year since we did this ? ‘ You’ve been very measured & sensible as usual . I’ve made my usual mistakes . Not expensive ones , I give a lot of thought to expensive buys . It’s the quick whiz round Zara where I make my mistakes . Usually just before a holiday in the sun . I must stop that .
    Hope your Xmas was merry . Ours was , thanks to a 3 year old great nephew & a crocodile glove puppet . Tonight will be much quieter . Just the two of us & a dog having a scandi murder mystery binge . All the very best to you & Stu for the year to come X

    1. Thanks, Wendy. Same to you and Max. That sounds like a good way to spend New Year’s Eve. We’ll be having fresh mussels, homemade pasta, and Casablanca. I love that movie.

  3. This made me do a quick mental count and I surprised myself with the results. More than I thought, as it turned out. But, running through the purchases, I can see a few clear points; I mostly replaced that which needed replacing, sent for recycling as much as I could, or off to charities and everything I bought will be worn for years. What helps is having limited wardrobe space – enough for my needs but with no room for expansion. I would say that this year was an unusual one for me, clothes-wise. I shall think very carefully indeed when next considering a purchase, so thank you for that.

  4. This is a good post to make us stop and think. Moving into retirement and to a new city has challenged me on the wise shopper front. Walking shoes instead of work shoes, warmer clothes (ahem, long johns) and a whack of stuff wearing out has meant a lot of hunting for where and how to buy. Things are settled down so I am hoping 2020 will be an improvement. I was startled to see the article on mail order shopping where it is cheaper for the retailer to throw out returned items than try to resell. Perhaps factoring in that sort of discarding is included in the figures you cite. I thrift and consign and try to find good homes for things but not consistently. Thank you for the analysis and encouragement to do better!

    1. I still have all my work shoes, pumps, kitten heels etc and never, ever wear them. It’s boots or sneakers most of the time. I also read an article on that disposal of returned items bought on-line. I guess that’s where all the multiple sizes go when people order three of everything try on and send back two.

  5. Brava! I like the way you think,buy and have lists-I do pretty much the same ,although I have 1 notebook for all spending (including grocery,clothes,eletricity….) and another for all the plans and lists (menus for dinners,gifts to buy,travel wardrobe….)
    My “magic number”this year is 22 ! I really try to buy ethically produced clothes and made of natural fibers. Could I do better? Yes,I could-maybe half of it was what I need( pyjamas, shoes….) the rest have their justification,but I could live without them as well. But,I agree,fashion (or style ) games are supposed to be fun and one needs a thing or two to upgrade things we already have (and I must admitt that my wardrobe has very well made foundations). I don’t think that we,you and I, buy too much or things that we don’t plan
    I wear my clothes for a very long period of time but a year period is too short to evaluate: it depends on the kind of weather we have: this year (or should I say last year😊) it was warm and sunny autumn,I’ve wear my leather jackets all the time and trench coat no more than 5-6 times,it was completely the oposite during the spring. Summer was very hot and I didn’t need my new silk sweater a lot in the evenings-maybe the next summer will be different
    There is space to improve but I must say that the quality of (well made,good materials,ethical brands….) deteriorate as well,some coats or bags I’ve bought to wear them for at least 5-10 years are not as good quality as they were before a couple of years
    For a lot of objective reasons I did’t maintaine my closets this year as I did before,so I’ll try to improve next year. My goal is to be around 20 pieces /year (I don’t count only lingerie here),bought and wear with love,plan and ethical attitude
    Dottoressa

    1. I hear you. My hot, hot weather things mostly stayed in the drawer this summer. I didn’t wear my silky Rag and Bone tank once. And since we travelled for most of the fall, there were a couple of jackets which will have to wait for next year to get out and about. And I agree that buying one or two things just for the joy of owning that perfect top or jacket that you love is not a bad thing. Happy New Year, Dottoressa!

  6. You are really good! I buy too much, I know I do. I put on weight this year so had to buy new pants and leggings! all the old ones are tight to say the least! I seem to be always on the hunt for a better pair of slacks that will make me look slimmer. I should just lose the weight, but that is so hard at my age! (over 70). I do buy clothes on ebay which I feel is helping to save the planet! At one time I had a complete wardrobe up north and another down here in Florida, so when we moved to Florida full time I definitely culled my wardrobe and donated quite a bit!

  7. Oh, I forgot to ask: don’t you have another wardrobe that you wear at home? I have at least 3 wardrobes: one, just to wear around the house, two, clothes to wear to the grocery and to run out to the library, and three, another wardrobe for special times such as going out to dinner.

    1. I do have a wardrobe that I wear at home, sitting on the deck, walking the trail, vacuuming. Mostly tees and old turtlenecks and sweat pants. But I always count them in my new purchases. It’s just that I keep them until they fall apart.

  8. Interesting. I am a thrifter mostly and did not buy too much this year. A couple of brand new items too. I still think your yellow pants will look best with white in summer… Lise

  9. I buy almost nothing, not really by choice, but it’s OK. I have discovered dye, which resurrected a pair of dingy white jeans and a white blouse with perspiration stains, both now cherry red and stains gone. Works great on cotton clothing; polyester doesn’t take dye very well.
    I also have dyed my tired black clothes back to a deeper black.
    I’ve tried selling clothes, mostly my kid’s things which have barely been worn, but takers are few when you can buy new for so little. My cast-offs tend to be cut by me into rags for cleaning or taken to the recycling center, where the attendant assures me that what isn’t made into rags will be ground into housing insulation.

  10. Are you familiar with “sashimi” – the art of visible mending?
    I love it and plan to do it with a few things that have moth holes.
    I think you’re a very organized and responsible shopper.

    1. I remember last year that Frances over at Materfamilias Writes learned how to do saskiko, and did some lovely repairs to an old wool sweater. I will look to see if there are any Youtube videos on that. Thanks, Kathy.

  11. My purchase history is too long for 2019…blaming it on handbags and other accessories such as jewellery. In my defence the items purchased are classic, usually of natural fibres, coordinate with my usual black/white or black/ivory colour scheme and worn for many seasons…but I can and will do better! Wishing you a decade of health, contentment, peaceful moments of contemplation and exciting travels…may 2020 bring you much to be grateful for!

  12. I have taken to heart all I’ve been reading about the impact fast fashion has on our planet. I think I’ve been pretty good , haven’t bought much this year, and always from companies who have a good ethical policy. I always try to buy quality over quantity, and wear my stuff for years. This morning I was wearing boots that must be 20 years old !
    Things like nightwear and clothes for doing housework are worn until they literally fall apart and then they go in the cleaning cloth bag. I do try to donate anything that I really can’t wear anymore. I know my downfall is handbags, I have far more than I need, but quite often my daughter will take one she fancies ( not my favourites of course, I’m not that generous ! ). Lets all do what we can in 2020 to keep this momentum going. Happy New Year !

    1. I really need to be better at finding out which companies are best, or at least which of the ones I have access to. There are always lists of ethical companies on-line, but most of them are overseas. Happy New Year to you too, Maisie.

  13. Hi Sue, I just wanted to let you know that in addition to the improvements you have made for yourself, you have inspired me (and I’m sure many others) to do better. I still work full time so I struggle with ‘work clothes’ vs ‘home clothes’, but our company relaxed their dress code this year so I have much more cross over. My biggest challenge is (ironically) the fashion bloggers I follow. I get so tempted by their recommendations. I appreciate that each time you post about fashion you are very clear as to why a purchase is meaningful to YOU specifically. I have learned to pay much more attention to what works for me, and what doesn’t, rather than following trends. Thank you for this gentle reminder of the impact we make, even with our choices for necessities, and encouraging us to be more thoughtful. I am going to follow your lead and track what I buy and how well it holds up in 2020. I hope you have a happy and blessed new year!

  14. Dottoressa shared good points in her comment. Certainly the quality of some brands I used to buy have deteriorated (e.g. the prevalence of cheaper fabric and shoddier manufacturing at not cheap prices) over the past several years. I still have clothing from some brands that are 5+ years old and still look good, but I would not expect their current offerings to last more than a year or two. Changing weather patterns in some places, as she mentioned, may also change how often one wears something year over year. The prolonged blast of heat and humidity of this past summer pretty much wore out some of my summer clothing. Most of my winter jackets/coats never made it out of the closet.
    I have not kept a close tab on my purchases this year, but I don’t think they were too excessive. Problems with foot/ankle have sent me on a search for comfortable shoes with very little success. Several pairs initially seemed like they would work, but were ultimately problematic. However, one DIL wears my size, so I passed them on to her. She now has long-term shoe wardrobe. Any clothes that are still wearable but now unloved (or don’t fit) are given to charity on a seasonable basis. Have only actually thrown away a couple of items, but they were well-used, years old and/or repaired multiple times before hitting the bin. Not expecting to make too many purchases in 2020–unless I lose weight. Then all bets are off. 🙂

  15. Thank you for putting this reminder together for us all to read. Like so many other of your readers I try to purchase good quality and wear them for years. As I make quite a few of my clothes for the reasons of fit, quality and style I could become complacent but as with buying clothes trying to find out where/how the fabric is made is a challenge. As Caryn Franklin said in her interview we must start to ask more questions of retailers about the provenance of their goods.

  16. I’m embarking on the huge transition from working life to retirement (today – yay!) with a projected move from Los Angeles to Lisbon, so I’m doing an immense amount of closet clearing. I started by this year focusing on what I wasn’t wearing – things I would put on and say, “Eh, no.” I really listened to that voice and got rid of a good number of items (I had a few of my own “Eileen Fisher tunics” even if they weren’t EF and weren’t tunics. 🙂
    Going forward it’s the work wardrobe. Exactly how many pairs of black silk pants I need for retirement? Pretty sure the answer is 1.
    Does Eileen Fisher do its recycling program in CA? Here in the US, you can bring any garment back (no matter the condition) and receive a $5 credit. They resell (in good condition), remake (pieces that can be combined creatively with other donations), and recycle (ethically). It’s a wonderful program, and my new EF puffy vest was purchased entirely with the proceeds of recycling!

    1. I have heard about the Eileen Fisher recycle program. I wonder if it’s only in their stand-alone stores. Here in Ottawa the brand is sold at Nordstrom. Good luck with retirement and the move, Carol. Big changes coming your way!

  17. Love your blog and am inspired by your thoughtfulness about fashion and your careful purchases! Although my budget for clothes has always been pretty lean, it is certainly clear to me that spending for classic quality in the first place can pay off in terms of longevity and good looks; I’m aiming to commit to excellent quality, likely on sale or at consignment shops so as to have better outcomes. Do others have an annual clothing budget? Do your needs/gaps dictate what you spend, or us that a consideration? I’m so curious about what other women do!

    1. I don’t have an annual clothing budget, and never have had. When I was working and I’d go on my seasonal shopping trip I always had a maximum amount in my head that I could spend, and tried to stay within that. I’d sit in the dressing room and do a subtotal of the items I wanted and then make some tough choices. I’d try to channel my mum… “You can’t have everything you want, Susie.” Ha.

  18. You have inspired me to keep a list, so I started last January and kept a monthly tally. I did not do as well as I would have liked but at least I have the important first step of being aware of all my purchases. And about 50% were second hand items. So that was good….
    Thank you for that list idea and all those other pearls both you and your readers share. 😊
    All the best for 2020
    Suz from Vancouver

  19. Well done! You were very disciplined. I bought more this year than any other year as a new metal allergy made me rethink half my wardrobe. So frustrating as I lived in jeans and jackets. Happy New Year. Looking forward to reading what you are up to in 2020.

  20. Great rundown, Sue! You often choose well-made items with the intention of keeping them for years, which certainly does make sense, both from an environmental and budgetary perspective. Kudos to you for being thoughtful and conscientious. I’ve also been trying to learn more about what really makes a brand or garment “sustainable,” and it’s not always straightforward!

    1. Thanks, Sue. It definitely is not easy to find how a specific company rates. I couldn’t find any info on many of my favourite brands. I guess I’ll have to see if I can figure out the parent company, if there is one, and try from that angle.

  21. Over the past 6 years I have moved from a corporate job in a colder climate to a sub tropical climate for 3 years, and back again to the colder climate for more relaxed part time job. This seems to have necessitated three lots of massive buying sprees and lots of culling and giving away of clothes. In hindsight I shouldn’t have wasted so much money and Earth’s resources as I could have adapted. This year I am going to be much more mindful, trying to rework my wardrobe, buy second hand and use the tailor – I have found a good one that is not overly expensive.

    PS – As an avid mystery reader, I have loved your recommendations for new authors. Thank you.

  22. What a conversation.
    I honestly cannot list what I have purchased this year.
    I can say I purchased 1 new item, but the rest of my purchases, which were a lot, were from op shopping (second hand).
    I could pat myself on my back and say I have done ok, but it is still consumerism, and this concerns me. While people think donating clothes to goodwill etc they believe they absolve themselves from their responsibilities, I believe we need to purchase conscientiously whether new or secondhand. I know from experience working in an op shop, some items donated will go to landfill.
    Well Sue as usual you are challenging me, I will keep a list of purchases and how they work within my wardrobe this year.

    1. I always worry about where my donated clothes will end up. When I take them to the drop-off centre there always seems to be a mountain of bags. I wonder how many of the clothes just sit there and grow mold or end up at the landfill. Perhaps they need a better system. A box for nearly new things and a box for worn out things. Or something.

  23. Well don’t I feel like a wardrobe failure! I do wear most of what I buy for years, do donate and give my mother first dibs on those tops I don’t love afterall. BUT I have a Lucky Brand obsession-I really loved the 70’s evidently!! I also have an “at home” wardrobe and a “out in public” wardrobe. Somethings I like too much to clean the bathroom in😊 Now I just need to check the sources of those items I buy, I really do care about our planet and the exploitation of those in the garment industry overseas. Happy New Year to all!!

  24. Great article! It’s my first time here, I found your blog on notdressedaslamb. I think you have done a great job cutting down on your impact on the environment while finding some fantastic clothes. There are so many things to think about with sustainability from the fabric to how much transport is needed to how it is made. Good luck with your thrifting. I am a recent convert – sitting here in my thrifted teal jacket. I used to hate thrift shopping and love it now.

  25. In the last few years I have completely overhauled my wardrobe to make it more cohesive and flexible. Now that I have completed this process I need to be disciplined about future purchases. My biggest problems are buying for my fantasy lifestyle or buying the “almost good enough item” instead of waiting patiently for the right item. I need to be more restrained, deliberate and patient. I have never had any luck buying second hand. I haven’t tracked purchases and may consider doing this to help me keep on track. I want to maintain a relatively small wardrobe of items worn regularly.

    1. When we first started travelling a lot, I bought lots of pieces for the fantasy trip we never took. Now I assume I will dress on a trip pretty much the way I dress at home and I make better choices.

  26. I just wanted to say how much I have enjoyed all your blogs. I had been looking for a local Canadian blogger, with fashions & suggestions that could be found here. So I was thrilled to find your site. Thank You for all the great reads. Love the mystery book recommendations from you & your followers. Best Wishes to everyone for a great 2020!

  27. You have given me food for thought. I’ve never kept track of what I buy but I will for 2020. I had a fairly serious illness in July /August and lost 20 lbs (I still need to lose another 20). Now all of my formerly too tight clothes fit but many of my pants and tops are too big and I’ve had to replace them. I even had to size down in underwear. This is a good time for me to purge and be more thoughtful about what I buy. Coats are my weakness and I live in Southern California but travel quite a bit! Thanks for the suggestion.

    1. I hope you are fully recovered now, Cindy Lou. That’s a difficult way to lose weight. But if you’re feeling good now, looking on it as a fresh start wardrobe-wise might cheer you right up. It would me.

  28. Happy New Year, Sue! Great post, and as always I am so impressed by your organization when it comes to your wardrobe. And again, you inspired me to do a count — 19 new items (at least, can I count a pair of shoes as “an item”?;-). . . Planning to post a few thoughts on this myself soon so I won’t hijack your post with a way-too-long comment, but I will say that adjusting from a working wardrobe to a retirement one took a few years. I think I’ve almost got the balance right now, and my closet is almost as streamlined and effective as I’d like.

    1. Thanks, Frances. It took me at least two or three years to get my wardrobe retirement friendly. But it was a labour of love, that’s for sure. Ha. Happy New Year to you too, and I look forward to reading your post. 🙂

  29. Following your example again this year, I kept a careful list of all my wardrobe purchases over the past year and I’m working on my year in review post which will appear on my blog on Friday. I definitely bought more than you did,! Overall I’m very happy with my purchases and how much I spent, but I do struggle with trying to be an ethical shopper.

  30. This was a great post– very thought provoking. I have had many of the same thoughts over the last few months about being more aware of what I am buying and having more “purpose” in my shopping. I have found that the influence of some bloggers (not you) has made me buy things I otherwise would not think I needed (white mules). I also buy a lot of thrift and it is soooo hard to pass up a J crew cashmere camel hoodie in perfect condition for $25. Or a beautiful vintage red coach bag in perfect condition for $45 or Ferragamo Riva shoes for $80 in brown alligator and black patent. I covet this stuff (my version of mental illness). My yearly tally of store bought stuff is around 40 (yikes) and that is not counting thrift. I must do better in 2020 when I will be a year away from retirement. That snuck up and I was stupidly not focused on the diminishing need for workwear. I think it has something to do with loving clothes. I am vowing to not be influenced by the influencers 🙂 and to spend more time wearing what is languishing in the closet or donating it. My guidelines now are “cost per wear” . If that doesn’t look like a good number, I am not making the purchase. Unless it’s thrift. . . .I need a 12 step program.

    1. Ha. That last bit made me laugh out loud, Jeanne. I think a year from retirement is a good time to stop buying strictly workwear. That’s what I did. And started thinking of what I’d be wearing long term. Call it step one… of twelve. 😀

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