Twelve Pieces: Shopping Challenge Update

Twelve Pieces: Shopping Challenge Update

This year, I’m adding only 12 new pieces to my wardrobe…or that was the plan.

I’m such a rule follower that it literally pains me to say this, but I’ve added 13 new pieces.

While I hate that a little bit (ok, a lot. I really didn’t even want to confess it), it’s also freeing. GTR is a place that I’ve been chronicling my break up and reunion and restricted diet of shopping. It’s a place of honesty and encouragement, and growth. And we don’t always grow forward. Sometimes there’s a step or two backward. But making the choice to continue moving forward is more important than an all or nothing stance.

If you’ve been working on your shopping habits and you messed up, take heart, and keep moving forward! Some beats none! 

Even though I missed my original goal of 12 new pieces, I’m really excited about how far I’ve come, and I’m focusing on that rather than beating myself up for not reaching perfection.

Here’s a look at the pieces I’ve added:

January: lace top

Greater Than Rubies

February: striped dress

Greater Than Rubies

March: coral top

Greater Than Rubies

April: radiant orchid dress

Greater Than Rubies

May: polka dot button up

Greater Than Rubies

June: peplum top

Greater Than Rubies

July: pink patterned shorts

Greater Than Rubies

August: printed skirt

Greater Than Rubies

September: olive skinnies

Greater Than Rubies

October: striped jacket

Greater Than Rubies

November: coco jacket

Greater Than Rubies

December: gray cords (which I have yet to wear)

Bonus: black wedge sandals

Greater Than Rubies

And a few replacements:

  • Two holy tanks replaced (red and pink);
  • Beyond-repair black pumps with a new pair;
  • Striped tee for a striped sweater;
  • Too-small leopard flats for a new pair;
  • Grungy white tee with a new version;
  • Worn out wedges for a pair of leopard ones (shown above with the fuschia dress).

I’ve decided not to make myself wait to wear any of the items, so over the next few months, since I won’t have any pieces to update you on, I’m planning to do a few ‘one item many ways’ posts, showing you how I’m working them into my closet.

How are things on your end? If you’re on a break with shopping or just working on learning how to remix, share what you’re learning below!

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  • Amy G September 12, 2014 at 7:39 AM

    Thank you of being honest with us on this! You may have broke the rules, but you did get some really nice pieces. I’m kind of jealous about the olive skinnies – I’ve been looking for a pair for over a year now. It’s hard trying to find the right fit and the right shade of green! I’m looking forward to seeing what you do with these pieces. Good luck resisting shopping for the rest of the year!

    • Caitlin Author September 12, 2014 at 7:50 AM

      Thanks for being so kind, Amy! I had been searching for over a year for mine, too, and they were the last item I purchased. I found them at the Clothes Mentor, and they’re the perfect fit, color, and they were so cheap. I knew it could take me forever to find another pair, so I went ahead and got them. Not shopping the rest of the year should be a piece of cake! If I went for a year, I can for sure go 3 months ;) Hope you have a great weekend!

  • Maricel @ My Closet Catalogue September 12, 2014 at 8:46 AM

    I’m on Day 26 of the 90-Day Spending Fast and so far so good. The only hiccup for me was a pair of gold flats I got from Ideel but I used store credit so I’m not counting that? Yeah, that’s what I tell myself anyway.

    What I’m finding is that it’s not just me and clothes – I just find retail therapy, well…therapeutic. The other day, my daughter expressed interest in a bean bag for her newly-created book nook and I bought her one after doing a mild Google search. I think I’m just addicted to the hunt.

    So the bad news is that I’m not “cured”. The good news is that my shopping mojo is now no longer as selfish and I find myself more willing to spend on others. As it should be, I guess?

    • Caitlin Author September 17, 2014 at 7:48 AM

      I counted gift card purchases as ok during my fast. I think that what you’re doing is perfect: thinking, challenging yourself, buying things on purpose, and figuring out what’s behind your desire to shop. It’s still sometimes a struggle for me. I think we’re inundated with buy, buy, buy! And it takes effort to be purposeful. So proud of you, Maricel!

  • Lisa September 12, 2014 at 11:20 AM

    I have resolved take on a SHOP MY CLOSET challenge for 1 year starting October 1st. I am very inspired by your blog and see the gorgeous outfits you have put together. I really don’t need anything. Fall is my downfall as that is when I do major updates: carefully chosen and VERY expensive. Usually I purchase less than 12 items per season, but fall is the more expensive as I have a penchant for choosing the best money can buy at Neiman Marcus. I usually gather less than 12 items, but spend way too much. They are not impulsive purchases. I earned a 400.00 gift card from Neiman’s for participating in a Focus Group, but I included that in my 12 items. I did not o not include birthday gifts people buy me as my birthday falls in September, nor Christmas presents. My mother (85) always buys me a wonderful gift on my birthday and on her travels. My husband gives me 300.00 on each occasion to purchase something. I do not include these items, nor do or will I include a travel purchase–limited to 2 items per place I visit. So, I will be taking on my challenge (which I really want to do as I need to know I can take control and show the creativity and resolve you have shown during your journey). Thanks for the inspiration and ideas to get me fired up.

    • Iris September 13, 2014 at 11:26 PM

      Caitlin inspired me to take a year off shopping too and kinda like you, I didn’t count gift cards or gift money. It was amazing to see how I could still shop by just waiting for Christmas, my birthday (February), Mother’s Day, our anniversary (July). People/family who didn’t even know I was doing the challenge would just give me clothes, too. I learned so much that year, and was amazed at God’s faithfulness and goodness (He spoils me!) I could totally do another year I think, especially with all of Caitlin’s tips!

    • Caitlin Author September 17, 2014 at 7:49 AM

      Lisa, I’m so excited for you!! I can’t wait to hear more about your no-shopping challenge. I hope you’ll keep us updated!

  • Victoria B September 12, 2014 at 2:12 PM

    I ruthlessly went through and cleaned out my closet this summer. And then I actually started a break up from shopping for clothes and house decor for the rest of the year. The day I decided to do it, your first “Shop Your Closet” email came in. Honestly, you have been very helpful so far. I’m realizing that I have so many clothes! I have also realized that when I focus on wearing my more casual items I feel more comfortable and look more myself. I am currently planning on doing the 12 new pieces of clothing next year to round out my wardrobe with what I am sure I will decide that I “need” to have in these upcoming months.

    • Caitlin Author September 17, 2014 at 7:50 AM

      Ee! This makes me so happy, Victoria. I can’t wait to hear more about your break up and what you’re learning about remixing! Keep me updated! Please :)

  • Carly September 12, 2014 at 6:48 PM

    First of all, I love the pieces you have purchased this year! I just went through and figured out how much I’ve purchased so far this year and I am pretty disappointed in myself. I definitely have bought more pieces that I intended. I was trying for half the number from last year and I am very close to the same number with 4 months left. This does include accessories, things purchased with a gift card, etc. For me, this isn’t a money thing – I buy so much from Goodwill and garage sales – but I still buy more inexpensive items than I think I should. I guess I am still defining certain aspects of my style, and buying something for $1-6 secondhand allows me to try it out, see if I love it, and then either donate it again or put it in a ThredUp bag or whatever. I have filled a lot of my closet gaps this year and got a bunch of things using gift cards or at garage sales in the last couple of months, so I guess now is the time to wear all of the new things! I may try a shopping fast from now-the end of the year. My birthday and Christmas are during that time, so I will get items as gifts, too.

    A couple questions for you (and you might have answers already somewhere on the blog): How did you decide on the piece each month that you bought? Do you have a list of things you are looking for? Do you purchase many new accessories? I love scarves and keep finding them for under $2 at Goodwill. I have purchased 10 scarves so far this year – and I do wear them all. I enjoy wearing them and they make my basics look very different, so I think they are good purchases for me.

    Sorry so long! Thanks for the inspiration and helping me to thoughtfully reflect on my purchases so far this year!

    • Caitlin Author September 17, 2014 at 7:56 AM

      I totally understand where you’re coming from. Pre-shopping break up, I bought almost all second hand. I still buy quite a bit from my favorite consignment store, but I have started buying a few staples from stores like J. Crew Factory. I love their quality, the fit is perfect for me, and they’ve almost always got the staple item I’m looking for. That being said, I think part of what you may be struggling with is that even if it’s $1 or $5, if you end up not liking it, it’s still a wasted dollar. It’s so hard to find balance! But you’re on your way. Thinking about it, setting and tracking goals- all great ways to move toward defining your shopping habits and making them what you want them instead of letting them lead you.

      Now- my A’s to your Q’s!
      I do have a list. I know I wrote about that somewhere before, but I can’t remember where. From the year of no shopping, I figured out pieces that would make my closet extra versatile, and added them to the list. I made it the same way I do the Remixable Shopping List for my style consultation clients. It helps you add pieces that will go further and make your closet super versatile.
      I don’t purchase a ton of new accessories. I try to stick to one per category that I really love and here and there will fill in. This year, since I was only doing a few pieces, I stuck to clothing v. accessories. This is also not to say I don’t have more than one of an item. I’ve got a decent amount of scarves, but I don’t “need” any more, so I try to only add scarves that are very different from what I’ve got. Like this year, I added a floral one because most of mine were plain.

      Hope that helps!

  • Iris September 13, 2014 at 11:20 PM

    Twelve pieces or thirteen or thirty…you have grown so much on this style journey of yours and I applaud you. You’ve also helped so many women like myself learn how to shop wiser and remix what we already own. Every post of yours encourages us to shop our closets, step out of our comfort zones and rethink that impulse purchase. I love what you’ve done here and look forward to seeing these pieces remixed! You are awesome!

    • Caitlin Author September 17, 2014 at 7:58 AM

      Aww, thanks so much, Iris! You’re always so encouraging. I’m really glad that we’ve met, and I get to see so much of your remixing journey! I’m really proud of you and how much you’ve learned! Keep up the amazing work!

  • Brynn @ brynnash September 14, 2014 at 5:59 PM

    I’m doing a year-long shopping freeze right now a) to save money and get out of debt quicker, and b) because I already have enough. It’s been such a great experience! I’m 3.5 months in, and only have bought two tops for my new job (and both were thrifted for $4 apiece). This shopping freeze has been so good for me! I love playing dress up in my closet and not feeling like I need more, more, more. I’m enjoying other, more creative hobbies instead of shopping and spending money. I’m allowing myself to buy things with gift cards and rewards, but I have to say that because I know that they’re limited, I’m very able to talk myself out of certain items, saying to myself, “I don’t really NEED that.” I know I will need a new pair of jeans and a pair of black boots pretty soon, so I’m saving my rewards/gift cards for those things.

    • Caitlin Author September 17, 2014 at 7:59 AM

      That’s awesome, Brynn! I’m really glad you’re part of GTR, and are so open about sharing how your shopping freeze is going. It sounds like you’re learning a ton and I can’t wait to hear more about it!!

  • Victoria B September 16, 2014 at 8:47 AM

    Would you count jewelry in your 12 pieces? Thanks!

    • Caitlin Author September 17, 2014 at 8:04 AM

      I did, and as you can see, I didn’t buy any. I stuck to items that I felt would get more wear. I knew if I added jewelry, I’d be tempted to use those as an excuse to keep buying. Totally a personal preference thing!

  • Agi September 16, 2014 at 10:27 AM

    Love it. Well done. I love your 13 pieces. I think the focus should be on the not the fact that you bought extra pieces that you were able to stick to so many and that you were honest about it.


    • Caitlin Author September 17, 2014 at 8:04 AM

      Thanks, Agi! You’re always so encouraging :) Hope you’re having a great week!

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