When we reached Germany in July of 2013, all of my clothes fit in two suitcases. My two winter coats, top hat, and a pair of shabby old boots practically filled a suitcase by themselves, leaving little room for the rest of my only semi-functional wardrobe. Turns out that packing sentimental favorites doesn’t always add up to useful outfits (see: top hat).
Starting from (nearly)scratch was great for me. In 2014, I became better at only buying the few colors I enjoy wearing, avoiding painful shoes, and choosing versatile pieces. As the year wore on, I got better at shopping by priority order. As I became used to the many shopping options of living in a city, I became less hasty, more selective. Gradually, I’m becoming better at identifying what will improve my wardrobe as a whole and when I’m just feeling grabby and stuff-hungry.
Each month’s purchases are arranged roughly from head to toe. Onward!
1 Earband (brown knit/fleece) (deep clearance; this cost 2 Euro and has served me faithfully)
4 pair Earrings (1 pair rhinestone studs, 3-pair set spike studs)
1 Scarf (mauve knit)
1 Shawl (teal)
1 Pajama set (pink tank and matching panties)
8 pair Tights/Pantyhose (great end-of-season sale)
4 pair Socks
1 pair Shoes (brown, low-heel shooties)
1 Tank Top (olive)
2 Skirts (brown w/matching belt, tan cupro)
1 Pajama set (navy)
2 pair Shoes (gray sneakers, olive low-heel pumps)
1 Shirt (sky blue T-shirt)
1 Cartilage Cuff (didn’t fit, wasted money)
2 Bras (black, nude)
4 Tank Tops (tan, lavender, oatmeal, sky)
3 pair Leggings (olive, tie-dye blue, med. brown)
2 pair bike-short type Undies
3 pair Socks (no-show)
1 Bra (nude, lacy)
2 Thongs (they match the bra! So fancy!)
1 pair Shorts (khaki with matching cotton web belt)
1 Scarf (blue-grey ombré)
1 Dress (palest pink A-line shift)
1 Septum Ring (got my nose pierced!)
1 Cardigan (oatmeal)
1 Jacket (tie-dye waterfall-type thing)
2 Septum Retainers (one was the wrong size)
2 Bras (black plunge, nude convertible)
3 Shirts (blue cap-sleeve T-shirt, pink v-neck, blue-striped dress shirt w/white collar)
4 Thongs (2 black that match the plunge bra, 2 nude)
1 Jacket (wine collarless, faux leather panels)
1 pair Running Capris
1 pair Leggings (medium blue)
8 pair Socks
2 pair Shoes (T-strap wingtips, brown-on-beige heeled oxfords)
2 Septum Retainers (for stretching up to larger gauges)
3 Shirts (beige ruffle-sleeved T-shirt, pale pink draped jersey top, blue cap-sleeved T-shirt)
1 Dress (gray denim, cut like a motorcycle jacket. Better than it sounds)
2 Belts (green cotton web, brown cotton web)
1 pair Jeans (striped)
1 Dress (navy jumper)
2 Belts (navy cotton web, two-tone brown faux leather with studs)
1 pair Tights (wine)
3 Shirts (maroon sweater, oatmeal sweater, teal hoodie)
1 Skirt (denim pencil)
1 Hat (navy blue faux fur, wonderfully preposterous)
2 Septum Retainers
1 pair Boots (blue knee-highs with heels)
1 pair Glasses (wait, why do glasses count but not contacts?)
1 Dress (black, for choir concerts)
1 pair Shoes (black pointed flats, for choir concerts)
2 vintage Brooches
Wearable Gifts: Not purchases, but still contributing to my 2014 wardrobe
1 Labret (came free with septum jewelry. Can’t imagine anyone cares, but I’m striving for accuracy here)
1 Shrug (periwinkle, lovingly hand-knit by Ms. Mama)
2 Dresses (both Trashy Diva, a red Honey and a teal Deb. Squeal-inducing gifts from my little sister)
For the millionth time, buy quality – Those 3 pair of spike earrings were garbage. I bought them all for 50 cents and still paid too much. The teal hoodie was cheap and looked pilled within a week. The bike-short-like undies were a massive fail; poorly made, and the instant I put them on, the legs would roll all the way up, creating super-bunchy panties. Sure, my thighs played a role in this fiasco, but I shouldn’t have bought such chintzy things in the first place.
Germany calls for warm clothing. I started buying tank tops and shorts in the spring but seldom needed them. Tanks and T-shirts remain pristine, but tights and lightweight sweaters take a real beating. I wear scarves around the house and one or two pairs of tights under jeans or skirts.
Spent too much on septum retainers. Accidentally. More about that in a future post.
Cotton web belts are not my style. A smarter person might have realized that before buying FOUR. See, my two pairs of jeans won’t stay up without a belt, but I could never find a vegan belt I liked. I’d been wearing one of Mr. Jaunty’s leather belts for years and was uncomfortable about the fact. Cotton web belts are vegan, sturdy, and generally cheap…. still, I could have put that money toward properly fitting jeans and bypassed belts entirely!
The US is a mecca for thrift shoppers. It took me ages to find two local thrift stores, and they’re both small boutiques. Nothing like the secondhand superstores back home. Of the many garments I purchased in 2014, only nine were secondhand. Germany has plenty of shoddy fast-fashion; where does it go?
On the bright side, buying new can make it easier to buy coordinating colors, which makes building ‘capsule wardrobes’ easier. I’m much more selective when paying full-price, which leads to fewer regrets. On the downside, I’m a step closer to supporting sweatshops directly. You’d think buying used would save me money, but I used to do so much thrifting… low prices can blind me to reason, though I’m slowly improving.
Predictions for 2015:
Now that I have a workable mid-sized wardrobe, I won’t need as much in 2015. Will that knowledge keep me from shopping?
I WILL need work clothes, whatever that may entail
Did you notice how little underwear I bought in 2014? Time for new skivvies
As ever, I have too few pants. I only bought one pair of jeans and one pair of shorts this year— plus running capris, which don’t fit!
Next winter, I’ll need new everyday boots. Mine are on their last legs, heh
Medium brown dress shoes would work with nearly all of my opera dresses, I’m hunting for the right ones
My two winter coats should last another winter, I hope. Coats are expensive.
Lost a glove this week, reducing my glove collection by 50%. Must buy new gloves
Enough about me! How did your wardrobe change last year? What do you expect to need in the coming year?