2017 favorites

I was much more consistent with my posting schedule this year, so I have a few more blog posts to choose from in selecting my favorites of 2017. In case you missed it, I completed TWO style challenges: Take One, Pass It On and the Common Threads Challenge.

Here are my favorite looks of the year:

1 / 2 /

4 / 5 / 6

7 / 8 / 9

As you can see, my love for neutrals continues to grow, but I also make good use of the occasional pop of red or burgundy.

Thanks for reading, and Happy New Year to all!


2017 budget in review

With 2018 upon us, I thought I would continue my tradition of reflecting upon the past year’s clothing purchases. As a reminder I set a $2000 annual budget for clothing, shoes, and accessories. Here’s how that amount was spent on a month-by-month basis:

2017 total: $1966 ($34 under budget)

As you can see, my spending certainly fluctuated much more this year than in past years. Unsurprisingly, these patterns tend to reflect which months were the busiest for my family and me (and thus left little time for shopping). Fall seems to be my favorite time to shop, so I need to remember to plan accordingly with my budget.

This year, I’ve tracked every single outfit I’ve worn using the StyleBook app, which provides some good data for telling you what the best and worst buys of the year were. First up, the losers…

The worst buys of 2017:

  • nude scalloped flats: I obsessed about these flats for a while (I had really wanted the leather version but settled for the synthetic)…and then I just didn’t wear them. They weren’t as comfortable as the leather version, so I ended up selling them on Poshmark at some point. Not a good purchase at all.
  • scalloped tank in rose: Hmm, maybe I don’t like scallops anymore? I was so excited to find a blush pink top that wasn’t too sheer that I went against my better judgment and paid more for a simple tank than I would normally. Again, it just sat in my closet. I consigned it not long ago.
  • striped sassafras sunglasses: I thought for sure that these sunglasses would be a winner because I have the exact same style in a different color and LOVE them. For whatever reason, these didn’t fit the same, and were just not as versatile. I think I would have preferred a more classic tortoise pair. See them here.
  • black pom pom shift dress: Somehow I seem to have found a little black dress that is NOT versatile. As I mentioned when I bought the dress, the sleeves are a bit too much for me, and I think that deters me from wearing it at all, but particularly in a professional setting. I’m keeping it for now to use as a beach cover-up. See it here.
  • tan sandal clogs: I really wanted to like these clogs. I wore them a few times here on the blog, but they are just not the right shape for my feet. It’s a shame considering how expensive they were. I’m thinking of passing them on to my sister. See them here.

The best buys of 2017:

  • ankle skinny jeans: I bought these jeans out of necessity when I was in between sizes last January. I bought them for just $10, and I’ve worn them 42 times! They’re seriously the comfiest jeans I’ve ever owned.  See them here.
  • tan suede mule booties: I bought these on eBay for $7 just last month, and I’ve already worn them 16 times! They’re the perfect color, extremely comfortable, and easy to slip on. Love them.
  • two tone wedge sandals: These were another super cheap purchase at just $10, but I wore them constantly in the summer and well into the fall–27 times to be exact! See them here.
  • gold locket necklace: I don’t wear much jewelry, but when I find something I like, I wear it over and over again. Such is the case with this necklace. I wore it 26 times this year, and I expect that number to keep on increasing. See it here.

So, I tend to make the same shopping mistakes every year–settling for something that’s almost perfect, buying final sale items, and not focusing enough on fit. These are pretty common mistakes, and ones that I’ll continue to try to correct in 2018.

2016 favorites

I didn’t have as many blogged outfits to choose from for this year’s favorites post, but I did find a few that I can see myself repeating in the near future. The bottom three are from my Take One, Pass It On challenge that I completed in August; in case you missed it, you can see all 31 outfits here.


1 / 2 /

4 / 5 /

7 / 8 / 9

Evidently, my black ankle pants have gotten good use in 2016…and that’s not likely to change in 2017!

Happy New Year to all!

2016 budget in review

Another shopping year is over, and once again, I’m taking some time to look at my purchases. Much like last year, I operated on an annual budget of $2000. Here’s how that amount was spent on a month-by-month basis:

2016 total: $2008 ($8 over budget)

I’ll reiterate that I think this method of budgeting works well for my personality. If I were to stick to a strict monthly budget, I would probably obsess about making sure I was under that amount to the penny, which just adds unnecessary stress to my life. Instead, I now keep in mind that $2000 divided by 12 months is approximately $165, so whenever I approach that amount in my shopping exploits, I know it’s time to “rein it in” a bit. The annual versus monthly budget provides much needed flexibility in spending depending on seasonal needs (and wants…) during the year. I plan on continuing this budget structure for 2017.

Now for the best and worst buys of the year. Because I haven’t been blogging consistently this year, it’s difficult for me to know precisely how many times I’ve worn certain clothing items, but I’ve made a list of the smart and not-so-smart purchases for 2016:

the worst buys:

  • silver flats: I decided that I wanted a pair of metallic flats in my life, and debated ad nauseam which pair to buy. In the end, I went with the more “fashion-forward” mirror d’orsay flats from J.Crew. And guess what? I never wore them. They just didn’t seem like “me”–y’ know? So I shipped them off to ThredUp a few months ago, in hopes that they found a good home.
  • white eyelet skirt: The fit on this skirt wasn’t all that great when I tried it on, but the price was such a steal that I bought it anyway, in hopes that it would shrink in the wash. Spoiler: it didn’t. So now I just have a too large skirt hanging around. I stowed it away with my maternity clothes in hopes that it could be useful during my next pregnancy.
  • dot blouse: I’d been searching for a polka dot tee or blouse, as it seemed like something that would be a versatile addition to my wardrobe. I settled for this one from Kohl’s at the time, and I ended up regretting it. While I liked the pattern, I didn’t love the way it fit. I often fall prey to this shopping mistake–settling for “good enough” rather than getting exactly what I want. This ended up in my most recent ThredUp clean-out bag.
  • suede skirt: Even at the time of purchase, I suspected that this might be a shopping mistake. I bought this skirt on eBay for about $70 but justified the price tag since it was real suede. I’m not familiar with Zara’s sizing or quality, but I bought it anyway. Stupid, stupid, Caroline. It fit alright, albeit a bit tighter than anticipated for a size medium, but the quality just was not up to par. It didn’t have a lining, which meant I didn’t want to wear it without a slip….which meant I never wore it. I shipped this one off to ThredUp as well. Lesson learned.

the best buys:

  • cognac leather band watch: I wear this watch all the time. I don’t wear a lot of jewelry anymore (not that I ever did really…), as Caleb just pulls on it and generally annoys me with it. But I do wear a watch almost every day, and I wear quite a bit of cognac/tan/brown, so this watch gets a lot of use. See how I’ve worn it here and here.
  • olive green skirt: I think I’ve worn this skirt at least 50 times now. The elastic waistband was really friendly for my rapidly changing body shape this year, and the color fit right in with my current aesthetic. I kind of wish I had bought a backup one in case my current one wears out! See how I’ve worn it here and here.
  • nude flats: So, I guess I’m fulfilling the mom stereotype here in that I wear pretty much nothing but flats anymore. Quite a difference from my pre-baby days when I wore heels 90% of the time. Anyway, I decided that I needed a nude pair and searched high and low for them–I didn’t particularly want a patent leather pair, and that seems to be what’s available these days. I finally found these, and I LOVE them. They obviously go with everything, and the almond-toe is just right for my style.
  • striped turtleneck: After years of wearing only crew-neck and boatneck tees, I’ve finally embraced the turtleneck. This inexpensive one from Target has held up well to its many wears thus far.

Generally, I am pleased with my purchases over the past year–most of the time, I choose items that will serve my lifestyle well and are versatile enough to be worn a variety of ways. However, I clearly still make shopping mistakes on occasion. The lessons from this year’s mistakes can be summarized by the following:

1) Be myself. It’s all fine and dandy to try new things, but I need to remember to stay true to my own sense of personal style and shop accordingly.

2) Don’t settle. All too often, I want a very specific type of clothing item but can’t find just the right thing, and end up buying something that’s almost right…then end up not wearing it.

3) Fit is key. I’m giving myself a little leeway here in that my body has been changing a lot this year, so what fit in the spring doesn’t fit anymore, BUT I need to be more mindful of how certain brands fit before ordering on eBay or other no-returns-allowed vendors.

So those are my reflections on my 2016 shopping habits. Here’s hoping that the mistakes become even less frequent as I continue curating my closet in 2017!