Clothing Budget: January & February 2019

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Clothing budget time! Despite being rather silent on the blog, my credit card has still been active πŸ™‚ These are mostly purchases that I’ve been thinking about for a while, or replacements for old items, so I feel confident that they’ll get good use. I didn’t shop at all in March (woo!), and a bit in April, so I’ll be catching up with those budgets shortly.

I also started keeping a Pinterest wishlist, inspired by Xin. So far, it’s been helping me clear all the shopping thoughts out of my overstuffed brain. Plus, seeing a pictoral representation of all my wishlist items made me realize: I’m really into black and white?

Anyway, on to the shopping!

  • Sweater coat (Madewell, $110): I bought this as a longer version of my J Crew sweater blazer, which has gotten lots of use over the winter. Lots of reviews said that the Madewell version pilled, which I’m sad to say is quite true. But not as bad as I was expecting! A regular sweater shaving clears it up nicely. The coat is weighty in a comforting way, and it’s the right thickness for our California winters.
  • Cigarette jeans (Everlane, $80): I had two pairs of J Brand Maria skinny jeans, one in dark blue and one in black, but for some reason I found that the black ones irritated my skin, and tended to collect visible, um, skin flakes quite rapidly (I wash my jeans every couple of wears). I also wanted to change to a more straight leg cigarette style. After liking my Everlane skinny jeans quite a lot, I decided to try their cigarette jeans. Pros: They look nice and the stretch is comfortable. Cons: They’re unsurprisingly not as nice quality as the J Brands (the fabric isΒ  rougher to the touch), the inseam is too short for my tastes (just above the ankle), and they have an annoying button fly that I didn’t expect. But they’re definitely serviceable.
  • Maxi dress (Revolve, $40): We’re going to a wedding in the Bay Area this month! And the dress code is black tie?! I didn’t really want to splurge on a dress for one-time use, so I browsed a whole bunch on Rent the Runway, where there were some decent options. But then this purple chiffon maxi dress caught my eye, somewhere deep in the sale section at Revolve. Still need to get it hemmed though.
  • Necklace (Mejuri, $65): This is my catching up with the coin necklace trend. My old “everyday” necklaces from Nordstrom was tarnishing, so I needed a replacement. I’ve found this Mejuri necklace quite versatile so far, although it was a bit smaller than I expected from the pics (seems like a common trend with Mejuri. Minimalist style = tiny). I’m also recently liking the Mejuri Iris necklace, which has more of an “antique” vibe, but I don’t know if I really need two coin necklaces…
  • Sandals (Cole Haan, $100): My old sandals were looking quite worn down, so I figured it was time for a refresh. Although I’m not a big fan of the “toe thong” type sandals (is that appropriate terminology? πŸ˜› ), Kat‘s praise convinced me to try these out. I haven’t worn them out and about yet, as it’s still not yet hot enough here, but they feel very cushy. I like how the metallic horizontal strap blends is close to skin-tone, so it blends in rather than cutting off the foot.

Overall, that brings us to:

Winter 2019 budget: $300 – $560 – $110 – $270 = -$640

Which is quite a lot! I may have been overly optimistic with my $1200 budget for the year, lol. I’ve just allocated another $800 in YNAB to bring it up to $2000 for the year, which is about how much I spent in previous years. Wish me luck πŸ™‚

 

 

Clothing Budget: December 2018

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This month I went shopping crazy! I bought a whole bunch of stuff during Black Friday that didn’t arrive til December, and also took advantage of post-Christmas sales and random mall browsing while on vacation. Back home we have Boxing Day, which is the day after Christmas which is full good sales. They don’t have it officially in the US, but there is still good stuff to be found. I also found some good replacements for older favorites that have worn out, so overall I’m happy.

Since there are a lot of items, I’ll try not to write an essay about each of them πŸ˜›

Shoes

  • Black flats (LK Bennett, $70): As I mentioned in a previous post, I’d been looking for some new black flats. I was super impressed when these showed up. In the online photos, it just looked like a plain pair of flats, but the cut is really… elegant, is how I would describe it. It’s an almond toe without toe cleavage. The quality feels rock solid, although time will tell.
  • Sneakers (Nike, $65): My old Nikes were a few years old. I can definitely tell the difference with this new pair – there is more arch support and traction.

Clothes

  • Sweater blazer (J. Crew, $90): After seeing this on a million blogs, I finally tried it on in store. So far I’ve really enjoyed wearing this – comfy yet polished.
  • Olive pants (Lululemon, $40): I was looking for a pair of olive work pants to replace a worn-out favorite pair from H&M. Who would’ve thought that Lululemon would be aΒ  good place to find work pants?
  • Sports tee (Lululemon, $40): Lululemon was a madhouse when we went right after Christmas, since they rarely have good sales. In the same trip, I got this tee, and the sweatpants below.
  • Sweatpants (Lululemon $65): Not really a need, but you can’t really go wrong with a nice pair of sweatpants that you can actually wear out. The cut is somewhere in between a legging and a sweatpant, although the material is definitely sweatpant.
  • Long-sleeve top (MEC, $20): This tee is amazing! The quality is excellent, way better than my Banana Republic and Everlane tees. The cut is a good basic (slim, not too low-cut, long). I’m definitely going to stock up next time I visit Canada.
  • Linen top (Zara, $25): My mom and sister wanted to go to Zara, so I tagged along. I wasn’t planning to buy anything, and was just absentmindedly touching clothes on the rack, when I felt this linen top. I love linen, and the quality felt reasonable.
  • Black tank (Old Navy, $5): I saw on Sherry from Young House Love (one of my favorite clothing-related posts ever, have re-read multiple times). I like the high-neck cut that is trendy this year, and might pick up more tanks in this cut.
  • Lace tank (A&F, $15): I’ve been looking for a lacey nighty-style cami after seeing the silk version from Cami NYC and the Nordstrom knockoff. Surprisingly, A&F has pretty cute styles! It’s a little low-cut for me though.

Accessories

  • Earrings (Mejuri, $65): I’ve been liking the styles at Mejuri. The sapphire is a lot smaller than I expected, but I like dainty jewelry, so it’s all good.I also have this pair of hoop earrings.
  • Wristlet (Duluth Trading Company, $35): I really wish I had stocked up on wristlets when they were popular a few years ago. Now it seems like everything is pouches/clutches, without a wrist strap. This was my first time ordering from Duluth, and I really like the solid feeling of the full-grain leather.
  • Leather belt (Duluth Trading Company, $35): Replacing a cheapie old belt from H&M. Solid and serviceable.

Winter 2019 budget: $300 – $560 = -$260

Oops, went quite a bit over! Many of the items were replacements / necessities, though, so I don’t feel too guilty. Thank u, next month (as the young folk say πŸ˜‰ ).

As a reward for reading to the end of this long shopping post, check out this adorable video about a vet and his cats. Commenters compare him to Bob Ross because of his soothing voice and interactions with the cats. This video came up because I took my cat to the vet recently for the first time, and the vet was so amazing at handling her calmly. I came home and started browsing YouTube to see how it’s done, and ended up watching a whole bunch of cat videos, ending up on this one.

(Long Overdue) Clothing Budget: Fall 2018

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Hellooo fall.

Work has been so busy lately that I haven’t had much time to shop, read blogs, or update this clothing budget series. I really just need a breather! I don’t think I’ve had a completely work-free weekend since the summer. The whole semester felt like I was running around frantically, putting out fires everywhere. No relaxing Saturday mornings with a cup of tea and my favorite armchair to work on this ol’ blog. But thankfully things have finally lightened off a bit. Proposals are written, papers are submitted… now just 50 final exams and projects to grade, lol. With the end of the year coming up quick, I figured it was time to summarize my fall 2018 shopping. Here we go!

  • Wrap blouse (Ann Taylor. $30): This is top is amazeballs! ItΒ  reminds me of the Fey top from MM Lafleur, but it has a bit of wool in it, so it’s quite warm. I wear it with a Uniqlo Heattech top underneath, and it feels nearly as warm as a proper sweater, despite being thinner by design. The drape is lovely with the bit of wool content. I hope they more colors next year! I’m even considering purchasing the pink color this year, and I never normally buy duplicates. Now that I have this top, I’m considering the MM Lafleur Soho skirt to go with it and complete the bodycon evil witch look πŸ˜‰
  • Wrap skirt (Ann Taylor, $70): Hm, another wrap design… what can I say, I like wraps! I normally love purple, but somehow this skirt is not integrating into my wardrobe as well as I thought it would. I’ve only worn it once since I got it. The skirt is a bit heavy and a tad too large for me, so it’s not as flattering as I thought.
  • Wool miniskirt (Uniqlo, $30): I like wearing these with my knee-high black suede boots. I was concerned that this would look too schoolgirl for a grown woman, but it’s not too tight, and reasonably long enough to look fine.
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On the chopping block.

Normally that would be the end of my post, but that would be pretty short, so I figured I’d talk about some things that I donated or sold. To do this, I dusted off the ol’ eBay account and listed a few things:

  • Lululemon backpack: I gushed about this in August’s budget, but after using it for a month, I’ve found the lack of interior pockets is a deal-breaker. I still love the comfort of the straps and the overall roominess. But it’s missing some more smaller pockets on the inside to hold keys, chapstick, pens, etc. The interior is also pitch black, so I’m constantly fishing around for things in the one giant compartment.Bought for: $110, one month ago. Sold for: $100. This one had very few watchers/views, but bidding ramped up quick at the end, so I was pleasantly surprised by the final sell price.
  • Madewell transport backpack: I bought this a few years ago after being inspired by Emma Stone’s style (love her street style!). I still really do like this, but it doesn’t fit my current 13″ laptop, which is again a deal-breaker. And I can’t think of that many other occasions where I need to carry a large backpack around. The only other leather laptop backpack I’ve found is the Cuyana Large Backpack, but I’m not that fond of the style. It looks like a copy of the Mansur Gavriel backpack, but with pockets. The search for the perfect laptop backpack continues…Bought for: $200 a few years ago. Sold for: $90. This one had a lot of views/watchers at the beginning, but after an initial burst, bidding was quite slow. I was expecting a slightly high final sell price, but I suppose the age of the bag and a couple of markings counted against it.
  • Lush long-sleeve blouses: I bought two of these blouses on the recommendation of Putting Me Together, one in red, and one in olive. I did like them, but eventually some oil stains got on there, and wouldn’t come off. With more expensive fabrics like silk, I find the stains can be washed off or absorbed into the fabric and aren’t that visible, while with cheaper polyester like these blouses, the stain just sits on top and can’t be removed. Donated.

And that’s a wrap for the year! (I count my “shopping year” as December to November, inclusive.)Β  The total for the season is:

Fall 2018 budget:Β $300Β  – $130 = $170

I did buy stuff around Black Friday but I’ll include that in next month’s post. In total this year, I spent $1350 on shopping for clothes, shoes, and accessories. My past years were about $2000-3000, so I consider this good progress! I’m working a summary post with tons of statistics from my last 5 years of shopping (I’m an Excel-o-holic, ok? πŸ™‚ ).

Clothing Budget: August 2018

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The goods.

My Not Perfect Linen order came! Yayy! Actually, it came while I was on vacation, so I put a vacation hold mail notice at the post office, which worked out perfectly. Wouldn’t want that stuff sitting around on my doorstep or getting returned all the way to Lithuana (yikes!). I’ll do a full review soon, but so far it’s been awesome.

  • Linen scarf (Not Perfect Linen, $30): A nice summer scarf. It’s not quite big enough for a wrap (when did that trend of huge scarves start, anyway?), but it’s perfectly airy for hot days and low-cut dresses that you want to cover up a bit.
  • Linen skirt (Not Perfect Linen, $70): I bought the “dark graphite” color, which is a little lighter than the photograph above. At first I thought it was a little too peasant-ish, with the linen fabric and the slightly schoolmarm style, but it’s grown on me. Plus my style is a bit 1950s anyway. So hard to find good quality, longer skirts with pockets!
  • Exercise top (Under Armour, $30): After last month, I promised myself not to buy any more items for my trip to Peru, but I really wanted a long-sleeve exercise top to wear under my fleece while hiking. It ended up being quite neon, more than I expected/prefer. I think I can pull it off for now, but I think in 10-20 years, all those neon clothes will be going to the donation bin :/
  • Dress (Madewell, $25): Ah, random Internet browsing. I’ve cut down a lot on random browsing online, but sometimes one gets through πŸ˜› It’s a trendy midi length, very comfy, and a really pretty dark heather green (doesn’t show up in the photo well). I actually saw another girl wearing it on the street, with a completely different body type, and it looked great on her too. The online reviewers say that the shape changes horribly after washing, though. Let’s see, fingers crossed…
  • Work backpack (Lululemon, $115): After reading Xin’s post on professional backpacks, and flip-flopping between various options (including the Cuyana one, leather being fine out here in sunny California), I was visiting Canada and got tempted by the excellent exchange rate. After accounting for taxes, it worked out to ~$25 off compared to the US. Anyway, I like the color and the clean design (the straps don’t dangle), and somehow the fit is really excellent. I can’t say what it is exactly, but it feels more snug to my body – maybe it was designed for women specifically? The downside is that there aren’t enough interior pockets, so things end up getting lost in the cavernous main compartment.

In other purchases, I re-stocked my Drunk Elephant Vitamin C serum during the Sephora sale. The color of the serum in my new bottle is definitely lighter orange than my old bottle, which means the old one was getting ineffective. I stopped using the serum for the 2 weeks when I was traveling, as I have this weird idea in my head that my skin occasionally needs a “break” from these active products. No scientific basis at all, though. I resolutely did not order any other beauty products, as I’m waiting for my current products to run out. Next up on the replacement list is a new sunscreen (thinking of the Biore one), but apart from that I really have no excuse to be purchasing any skincare/makeup products.

Summer 2018 budget:Β $300 –  $155 (June) – $110 (July) – $270 (August) = -$235

Oops, way over. Spent my entire budget for the year, and I still have until end of November to go. I’m not going to beat myself up over it, though, since I set a pretty tight limit this year, and I think I’m doing fairly well overall compared to previous years. I’m actually thinking of switching to a quantity-based budget rather than a monetary budget. I feel like my current system is encouraging me to purchase cheap stuff, instead of quality stuff, to stay under budget. Or maybe this whole budgeting thing is a load of tosh, but at least it forces me to think a little more about what I’m shopping.

Clothing Budget: June 2018

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Parade of headless people.

Not a lot of original content happening on these days on this ol’ blog, but my upcoming work deadline is this week, so life should get back to normal after that. (Or another deadline will pop up. Funny how that seems to happen…) Anyway, still found some time to do some shopping πŸ™‚Read More »

Clothing Budget: April 2018

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Don’t the Make P:rem and TLC packaging look similar (rightmost bottles)? And yes, that is a giant pikachu in the background πŸ˜€

I spent a whole lot in March, so for April and May I was trying to shop less. And I’m proud to say, I didn’t buy a single clothing item this month! Mostly because my time was filled up with deadlines and a week-long work trip (to Hawaii πŸ™‚ ). Funny how being busy stops you from shopping, right?

Well then why, you might ask, did I write this post? As you can guess from the pic above, I diverted my attention from shopping for clothes to shopping for – sigh – beauty products. I don’t count beauty as part of my budget, although maybe I should. I also purchased some underwear (Everlane’s bralette and bikini), which I also didn’t count in my budget. Too many exceptions?Read More »

Clothing Budget: February 2018 Purchases

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February 2018 purchases.

This was a pretty light shopping month for me. I haven’t felt the impulse to shop as much over the past year, because of two factors: (1) I unsubscribed from most of the fashion blogs I used to follow, and (2) after a few years on the job, I’ve pretty much bought all new clothes necessary for the job and the relocation. I still enjoy shopping, and will browse sales online, but don’t go to the mall much anymore unless it’s a social event with my relatives, who really love shopping πŸ™‚Read More »