Shopping resolutions for 2011

My new year’s shopping resolutions post turned out to be a lot lengthier than predicted. It’s called “the art of being concise” for a reason. Initially, it was supposed to be a short list of resolutions, so feel free to skip the discursive part.

Through trial and error, I have indeed learned my lessons and become more aware of my style and taste. Moderating my consumption hasn’t been a hard task at all. I obtained less than 10 garments in 2010, including basics. Last year, I bought some clothing that I ended up reselling. I suppose I’ve finally learned that certain looks and garments can only be admired from afar no matter how pretty they are. This year I am aiming for items that will remain in my closet.

It’s evident that I am fairly good at adhering vehemently, sometimes too religiously, to lists. Unfortunately, I missed out on several staggering finds because I was acutely fixated on merely buying the 4-5 items on my seasonal list. At times, I failed to notice the minor faults in some of my purchases. Moreover, I somehow managed to overlook my consistent style when hunting for the items on my list, in the sense that my purchases didn’t have the intuition of congruity.

What I am trying to indicate is:
I’ll try to ease up on adhering to my lists. I have to learn to give in to a few unpredictable buys if they have the immediate gut feeling of rightness (trust me, I’m so picky that this happens once in a blue moon). From my experiences, the unpredicted purchases are the most successful purchases and the most cherished items in my wardrobe.

2011 will be the year of apostasy from dictatorial lists. I need to trust my instincts more and quell the over thinking. Being vastly selective is a beneficial skill I’ve developed, but when I know that an unanticipated item is absolutely right (e.g. my Isabel Marant coat or boots, both unpredicted purchases, yet the most worn and much-loved items), I won’t hesitate even if it isn’t part of the plan. By all means, I will shop with conviction.


The shopping method I’m using this year is the same one I exploited back in fall 2009. It worked out superbly, which is why I’m repeating it. The method is a cross between sticking to a very strict list of items and mindless, haphazard shopping. I have an extensive list – which is regularly amended – of items I consider as wardrobe necessities. I allow myself to buy 4-5 items a season, but only if they are perfect by my standards. I use the list as a basis but I won’t let it dictate the shopping.

I would also make a smaller list of currently available clothes that I’d take into consideration. Then I’d put these items through an extended deliberative process. I like to wait a couple of months before I settle, because the item must be right. Regarding items such as expensive designer bags, I am willing to wait a couple of years before settling. Inevitably, I always end up eliminating 4 of 5 items from the list, so a deliberative process is required. However, some designers don’t give much thinking time, e.g. Isabel Marant. In this case, I just have to follow my guts.

Rather than being determined to get hold of certain pieces that I don’t seem to unearth, I will move on to the other items on the list and search for something else that may be available. Otherwise I will end up with items that are completely uninspired or just wrong, only because my list says I have to obtain them or because I try to intentionally fill a gap in my wardrobe.

On a different note: I haven’t covered all the basics yet because I’ve been prioritizing statement pieces. In addition, I am quite picky about the basics as they must be perfect. This year, I want to focus on the basics because they are pretty much my style as much as they are my foundation. Then again, if I stumble across a special piece of clothing that ticks off all of my requirements, I won’t bypass it. Incidentally, I will not exceed the limit of 15-20 items a year. Nevertheless, what are the odds of finding 20 perfect basics in a year?

Last but not the least, I have to stop settling for second best. Once second best, always second best. I know that sooner or later I’ll regret and resell the item. I once stated, “I want perfection, not fast fashion”, and I’m sticking to my statement.

To sum up my musings, here are my shopping resolutions for 2011:

  1. Admire certain garments from afar and face the truth that they will never work for me
  2. Not fall into the list trap
  3. Give in sometimes to unpredictable finds
  4. Go with my instinct more and quell the over thinking
  5. Focus more on the basics
  6. Not exceed the limit of 15-20 items a year
  7. Stop settling for second best

43 thoughts on “Shopping resolutions for 2011

  1. I agree about the 2nd bests ("the almosts") and trusting your gut. I'm more likely to have NOT buying remorse, when I passed on something AMAZING. One of which was a Hermes dress I found at a secondhand shop. Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! At least I have a fitting room picture of it.

  2. "Admire certain garments from afar and face the truth that they will never work for me"Yep, it's about knowing what works for you without falling into the trap of being a lemming (i.e. following others) or brand name. For me, I know that most Isabel Marant clothing will never work for me, so I've given up. Lists are good as a rule of thumb because it keeps us in line, but I really do admire people who know when to make that special exception when they spot something that's incredible and fits them perfectly.

  3. I am kind of lost between needing lists to keep me in line with my purchasing and buying things that are on the lists but are not 100% what I want. But I have pretty much concluded that I need lists to keep me from buying things for some alternate personality. Like Amanda, Isabel marant (except for her linen t shirts) just doesn't work for me, neither does overly girly/childish clothes, anything frilly, vintage, layering or 'bohemian chic' looking I pretty much only feel comfortable when I am wearing something very minimal. Anyway, I have similar feelings to you about A LOT of the things I have bought in 2010.

  4. Well said, as usual. It's going to be fun seeing how everyone's wardrobe planning shapes up – it's a great learning experience for me to see how everyone is strategising :)I'm the opposite of you – I've the last 2-3 years putting together perfect basics and then now I'm at the 'what now?' stage. It's going to be a mix of 'upgraded' or super luxe versions of some of my basics, as well as items with some oomph, but I have no idea what these items might be yet.I know I'll be needing a small-ish bag, and I'm willing to wait years too to spend on a good one.

  5. Oh, If only I had your wisdom! I find your post is very helpful, especially for a beginner minimalist like I am trying to be!Je viens posté le première tenue pour le I6L défi de style.Hopefully i will see if minimalism suits me, and better yet, learn a lesson or two.Tellement excité. Que pensez-vous?XOXO-La Copine=)

  6. Nicely summed up. At the beginning of the year I made a list of about 7 items of which I will get 4-5 this season, keeping my budget in mind. I find the list-making very helpful, mostly because while I love lots of things, I do feel like there's only so many clothes/shoes one can wear over time. And at the moment there's very little that would make a real difference to my life.

  7. This is a fantastic philosophy that I'm definitely going to stick to as well from now on…list at the ready!Love your blog! xT

  8. Jeg har skikkelig sans for strategien din – mange bra idèer å hente her! Har alltid vært en "listeperson" selv, med unntak av akkurat kleskjøp, noe som har resultert i alt for mange billige impulskjøp. I år, derimot, jobber jeg med en strategi som jeg håper skal danne grunnlaget for begynnelsen på en god basisgarderobe. Takk for nyttig inspirasjon!

  9. Just when I finished my shopping resolution you manage to put that all together in a few perfect sentences … "Admire certain garments from afar and face the truth that they will never work for me" – so true, you have to stick to your own personality and shape … AND budget;) Interesting to see how it all will work. This kind of planning the wardrobe is compeltely new for me. Thanks again for the inspiration!best rgrds,G.

  10. I think the part about quelling the over thinking is the truest. Sometimes when i read your blog (which I love btw)it comes across as if you are obsessed with shopping, rather than taking a minimalist stand point. don't forget that clothes aren't THAT important and to have some fun with what you are wearing.

  11. I've been following your blog for a while now and i love it. I was really done with buying clothes because all the time i settled for less. Your blog helped me in making a list what i really want and really wear. I now turned back to my 'safe' colors like black, white, grey and navy. I realised even if the colors are safe, it's the colors i love.The list you stated here is a good list. Do you mind if i use it too?

  12. I admire the way you shop and acquire your wardrobe. This may be a stereotype (forgive my ignorance if so) but it seems to be how the French do it: shop with purpose, pay for quality over quantity, resist overtly trendy items. Anyway, your method is key to building a dynamic wardrobe which satisfies the individual- not bowing to fads for the sake of being trendy. Another excellent post! Thanks for sharing your insight.

  13. @ linda-mari: Do what?@ Amanda: I know. I am pretty much aware of what works for me or not, but sometimes I settle for garments that I hope will become my style (the Acne shirt, for instance). "Lists are good as a rule of thumb because it keeps us in line, but I really do admire people who know when to make that special exception when they spot something that's incredible and fits them perfectly." My goal!@ Alex: You should start a blog so you can document your progress.. It's really helpful, especially with all the response you get from wise and like-minded people.@ lin: Ah, I can only imagine how it would be like when I've covered all the basics.. how about the Celine box bag? @ pink horrorshow: Haha, let's hope I'll succeed this year. @ Mari: I love the 6 items-challenge. Though 6 items would be too little for me even though I wear the same jeans, shoes and jacket all the time.. 10 items would be more suitable for me! Or 8, haha.@ Ammu: I agree with you! Even though my closet is practically pared down to its bare essentials, I only wear 1/3 of my clothes (and I have very little closet atm!!).. haha@ Taryn: Thank you! Good luck :)@ Nanne: Det blir nok veldig gøy for deg! Jeg er også en liste-person, og planlegging av garderobe er noe av det morsomste jeg vet om. Lykke til! Jeg håper på å få lest om det på bloggen din ;)@ Susanna: Takk! Del gjerne listen din her, jeg vil se :)@ Leenhilde: They are incredible. I tried the Varas in Barcelona and I have settled for them. I just have to make some calls to Paris regarding the bow, because the Ferragamo-store only sells the flats in silver.. I need gold.@ G.: Thank you! Your post on your blog is really inspiring too!@ Fritze: Oh no, haha, I'm not obsessed with shopping, I rarely go shopping but I do look at clothes online. I'm obsessed with not buying too much stuff, because what is the point of possessing a lot of fun clothes (or stuff in general) that I do not want to wear? Clothes aren't THAT important, as you said, but the clothes that give me joy to wear are the ones I find perfect, the clothes that represent ME. I don't enjoy wearing fast fashion clothing, or clothing that I don't feel comfortable wearing.@ Jeanne Damas: J'adore Sofia Coppola. Merci, Jeanne!@ Essia: Thank you! I agree with you. Safe doesn't necessarily mean dull and uninspired. I love black, white, grey and navy too. I love basics too, even though it's just basic foundation clothes.. It's a free world, you're very much welcome to use the list :) I'm glad you liked it!@ Style Odyssey: Yes, it is inspired by the French method of wardrobe building, but I doubt that all the French women are using this method nowadays as the fast fashion is prominent. But I guess they tended to shop this way decades ago. I think it's partly because Parisian homes are so small that there isn't much closet space to store a lot of clothes.

  14. It is a much anticipated and brilliant post. Although I would have loved to see what actual items are on your list in this year. But that's just my personal opinion. I just have one question. If you find a designer item that you really like and can't afford to buy it in that season…….how do you hunt it down later?And when you do….would you pay a higher price than the price it was originally at? And would you settle for something that has minor imperfections….like a perfect Isabel Marant jacket with a broken zipper at a much higher price than it's original because you really really need it?These are dilemmas I constantly face and do not know what to do about. Any suggestions/ ideas?Look forward to hearing from you LoveTashrin – A Toronto based personal style blog

  15. @ Tashrin: I will make a post about the items I want to this season, this is just a resolutions post :) These are all wonderful yet intricate questions. Hmm. The thing is that if I find a designer piece that I truly NEED, I will somehow get my hands on it by re-prioritizing my purchases. I wouldn't by anything else to complement for that particular designer item. But there's always a limit. I saw the perfect little black dress from Calvin Klein for sale, but I don't think I would pay as much as over 1000 euros for a dress (perhaps when I'm grown-up and have a high income). Anyway, I always have funds available just in case I happen to stumble upon a coveted item and can't let it pass by. About the minor imperfections at a much higher price, hmm, I need to marinate on this! Nevertheless, I guess that if I've been coveting a particular item for years and find it at a higher price with minor imperfections, I'd get it.. For example, if I happen to unearth this jacket on ebay, worn og slightly damaged, I would go for it right away.

  16. I was about to write something smart now, but you've said it all!Since I started reading your blog again, my closet contains only the pieces that I actually wear, and the little closet that I have, suddenly got bigger, haha. So I agree with you – you should not be dictatorial to lists, but take good desicions.One problem for such a lists, is the fact that one live in Norway, and constantly have to face the changing weather…

  17. I like your list more than the ones I've seen elsewhere. It's not too detailed yet, as I really don't know what fabulous pieces I'll come across during the season. It's good to allow yourself surprise purchases, and knowing that you have enough means to do so when great finds pops out. I'm happy with the basic wardrobe I have at the moment, and haven't really got a "statement pieces list of the season" yet. From last year's wish list, I got a leather jacket and a classic cashmere-wool coat, both on sale. But unlike you, I do allow myself cheap, but less-than-perfect basics from shops like H&M and zara. I'm thinking of casual shirts & pants, summer dresses that won't cost me more than a meal in a restaurant. Because at the end of the day, fashion is not only a way of life or a philosophy, but also good old fun. It's like a dash of red lipstick can kick up the spirits on a somber November day, a impulsive purchase that doesn't weigh down your wallet can give you that good "loosing up-feeling" as well.

  18. right on – you articulate yourself on this issue so well! i am making my list currently and am inspired by your and pret and lin to do a post of my own this week…i think the beauty of lists is that they're great for clarifying wishlist items and prioritizing, but sometimes you find that pair of golden goose boots or current/elliott jeans on sale online or something and it's a serendipitous decision to purchase 'off-list'! kudos on trying to keep the balance between focused discipline and informed impulse!

  19. I really wish I could do this. But unfortunately, I go to the mall with a list and come back with a bunch of different stuff!!! I really need to stop because I have piles of clothes in my closet that I never wear. p.s. I don't mind you using my picture, I'm really flattered actually!

  20. I so agree with you on the first resolution, admiring things from afar. This is probably the biggest cause of mistakes for me personally, and it's something I still have to constantly struggle with. So what were the "staggering finds" that you missed out on due to them not being on your list? I've never been a list person myself, because I don't know what I want until I see it. Therefore, in a way, everything is an impulsive buy, so my goal is trying to tease out what will become well loved items that merry well into my wardrobe and style and those that are simply beautiful but for someone else.

  21. Do you keep a detailed list of your entire wardrobe? I'm obsessive about it. I own 104 pieces including shoes and bags for all seasons. Once that number gets a little higher, I start getting nervous. Do you have an ideal number of pieces you aim for to achieve the perfect wardrobe?

  22. Fleurette,Thank you for this post, it's very interesting and helpful. I find that I usually make a mistake if I stray from my list. There may be that item that just strikes me that is not on my list but I bond with immediately but this is very rare. I'm finally learning what silhouettes work for me and now my thought process on whether to acquire an item is I base everything on how it makes me feel – I want to feel like the best version of myself. And this allows me to forget myself! If my outfit is just right for me I can feel confident.

  23. Very inspiring post! You make the best collages!I hope to prevent some purchases this year by learning that some pieces I do like will never work on me. About the Zara coat, you're right! I was hoping it would look better in real life but probably not! I'd rather spend the money on some books or another chanel lipstick, haha;)

  24. Quality over quantity, mind over matter is certainly the way to go. Since reading your blog I have since abandoned colours, trends and garments that look good from afar but do not suit me at all. Thank you so much for rescuing my bursting wardrobe!On another note, a pair of Ferragamo black flats is definitely worth getting for the years to come. They tend to pop up at sporadic time on ebay UK at ridiculously cheap prices. Good luck! x

  25. I do this a lot. I have a list of general basics and then I also make seasonal lists. It works pretty well for me. For instance, my wishlist for next season only contains 4 items, which makes me very proud because that means I am becoming more frugal with my purchases and also my wardrobe needs less to be completed.

  26. Just wanted to say that I really enjoyed this post and also number 2 on what is another list, made me chuckle! I am a fellow list fan too x

  27. I wish I could edit my purchases this way. Although I guess to be able to do that I need to figure out what it is I want/need and like Mari I am a 'beginner minimalist' You have inspired within me a resolution of my own – to NOT buy any jackets. And to figure out what bottoms work well with me and also this Australian summer!

  28. Hi Fleurette, I've been meaning to comment for a while but could never seem to put the right words together! Here goes…Your blog is such an inspiration to read. Honestly, I would be so sad if you ever stopped writing! Your posts on "The Long Way To The Perfect Wardrobe" have becoming a kind of style manifesto for me. What I most admire is that you have strong views on fashion but you acknowledge that everyone has their own personal design aesthetic.Anyways, you've inspired me to declutter my wardrobe this year. It is a little painful parting with things, whether I spent $10 or over $100, but I know the payoff will be great. I've put up the more high end stuff for sale on my blog and plan to sell the rest for cheap at my local markets…Thank you again! xx

  29. - maria: I agree with you! The worst part is that the winter season lasts for almost 6 months..- Vegalyn: I understand your point. When it comes to cheap clothing from high street stores, I don't shop there because of ethical reasons as well. But all in all, clothes from high street stores rarely look good on my body, I always end up looking bulky in H&M basics. – miss sophie: Thank you, miss Sophie! It means a lot coming from you. You have such a well-edited wardrobe.-Emmy: Oh my.. we should all encourage you to slim down your consumption and wardrobe!! I cheer for you!- Sarah: You're right.. everything is kind of a impulse buy. Said staggering finds include some pieces from Isabel Marant and a navy blazer from A.P.C. I tried on in Paris but didn't buy because the jacket was a size bigger than my normal size. It was even discounted on 70% off.- Anonymous: No, I don't keep any detailed list of my wardrobe content. As long as I don't need a bigger closet, I don't need to worry. I try not to be fixated on numbers because it reminds me of anorexia. – Holly: I definitely agree with you, especially the part about feeling like the best version of yourself. – heart in a cage: You're just too kind, Kimberley! Thank you!- K: Thank you!- Maria: Good to hear that I'm not the only one! – Anonym: Den er fra J. Crew. Men de shipper ikke til Norge :( Så du burde se etter den på net-a-porter. J. Crew pleier å lage klærne i petite-størrelser, perfekt for petite kvinner/jenter som oss. Ikke så lett å finne petite-størrelser når man bor i Norge, hvor gjennomsnittshøyden på kvinner er 170 cm +… lol.- Amd: Thank you!- Adellie Blogger: I'm glad you're trying to sort out your style and likes. Good luck!!- Arstcrylique: Thank you!- i.d: Oh my.. i don't know what to say, I'm literally taken aback.. Thank you for the kind words!!- theepitomeofquiet: Thank you for sharing, C! She's incredibly kind!- Dylana Suarez: Thank you..

  30. i really admire your point of view, as in not turning shopping into a hobby, and making it a thought out decision. making sure you want something and then going and getting it feels great.however, as i went through the post i felt more and more "repressed shopper anxiety" (i'm just making it up as i go). things may not always be perfect. the imperfections are the best part, even in fashion. when things are a little off, they get interesting. and having fun. do you have fun? i really hope you do. because you sound like you're buying components for nasa, not pretty trousers.did you see the black swan? anyway, i'm ranting.loosen up, that's all. :)

  31. Pingback: Postmortem dissection on last year’s wardrobe curation | Dead Fleurette

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