Even as sale offers populate like Monster Dough in a fridge, it's time to assess how I did on the clothes and accessories budget in 2011.
2011 report card
I track every cent spent on clothing and accessories, and evaluate it yearly. For 2011, I came in at budget, including a spree in Paris. My self-set budget is kind of like Weight Watchers points: I always want more, but if I were super-disciplined I'd manage with less.
|Wide-leg trouser jeans|
Finally, I slew the Sale Dragon, but I did follow Frugal Scholar's advice (for groceries, but you can apply it to clothes, too). I stockpiled sale-priced black jeans (worn almost every day from Oct. through April) from Talbots and department stores.
Did I buy "fewer, yet finer" as I vowed at the end of '11? Yes, and at the same time realized, not without a pang, that I no longer need a power suit, an evening dress or even a dressy coat.
Busted myself down to a minus because I didn't save a penny.
|Pink cardi blitzes winter blues|
I ruthlessly assess the ROI for every purchase. But, you've got to relax, sometimes, unless you want a wardrobe exclusively populated by sedate neutrals. Eric Bompard's Oleander pink cashmere cardi is worth every penny when days turn dark by 4:30 p.m., as is a less-costly black turtleneck from Lands' End.
Clinkers: Mauve mod-print summer skirt, bought on sale, goes with little. Sandals that turned out to rub after awhile. Marimekko summer dress that might step up to the plate next spring.
For 2012, I want that A! After three years of tracking and analysis, I hope I've learned something. I'd live with one mistake; perfection is a grim taskmaster.
Advice to myself:
|Motion pants; Catherine Andri cardi|
1. Buy a dressy item that's perfect and a good buy when you see it, so you don't panic when an occasion arises and then spend way too much.
2. There's always a sale on jeans somewhere. Like cameras, you don't need this month's new model, and manufacturers discount last season's stock.
3. Drycleaning: evil hidden expense! These pricey pants, left, (from the boutique Motion, in Toronto) redeemed themselves: washable, no-iron, three-season. They alone saved at least $75 in cleaning bills.
4. To max value, the "'uniform'" approach (described in my "Simple Isn't Easy" post) cuts costs by at least 50%, once you get the uniform in hand. Not to mention doubles your closet space.
I haven't yet achieved that dream, simple, edited wardrobe. But I have disarmed the "I Like It, I'll Make It Work Somehow" trap.
Onward, to a new year!