Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Best and Worst Buys of 2015

Now that I'm looking back at all of my purchases for the year, I'm actually quite pleased. Although there are a decent number of items that I've yet to fully utilize, mostly because of season-specific needs that did not arise, I'm reasonably confident that I will eventually get good use out of the vast majority of what I bought. I don't have any data on my shopping from previous years, though with the many rounds of closet clean-outs that I undertook before reading Marie Kondo's book and my several additional rounds of closet decluttering after, my general satisfaction with what I bought this year likely means that I've seen some real improvement in terms of learning to buy less, buying things I'll use, and having a better handle on my personal style. 

I don't have one real methodology for picking out my "Best Buys" of 2015. There are other items I bought this year that I wear more often or that filled a more important niche. I suppose my main criteria here was that the purchase in question brought me an unexpected amount of joy, such that I find myself reaching for the item significantly more than I would have expected. So these best buys are more my "sleeper hits" of 2015 rather than my most used items.

Best Purchases of 2015:
  • Lou and Grey Ombre Waterfall Cardigan - When I bought this, I actually wanted a different color of the same sweater (a non-ombre grey and white), but it sold out. Even with that sticking point, I've gotten plenty of use out of this, in both my casual and business casual outfits. Although I've become a bit of a snob about avoiding synthetic fibers in my sweaters, which might make me reluctant to buy another mostly-acrylic sweater in the future, I have to admit that I don't actually notice many real downsides with many of my mostly-synthetic sweaters like this. 
  • Uniqlo Cotton Cashmere Sweater Tunic (similar in other colors) - Both tops I bought at Uniqlo in February ended up being great buys for me, and with the unseasonably warm winter, they continue to be featured in many of my weekend outfits. I didn't previously own anything in light gray, but I've now added a few other light gray sweaters to my closet. 
  • Skagen Freja Watch - I wear this almost everyday, in both my casual and business casual outfits. I like most of Skagen's women's watch designs and the quality has been great.
  • Loft Floral Peasant Blouse (similar in different print and solid colors) - It's strange, but I almost never wore long-sleeved blouses to work before I owned this top. I had a few long-sleeved silk blouses, but tended to wear them exclusively with my casual outfits, which is probably idiosyncratic. One of my main influences in starting to wear long-sleeved blouses to work was seeing some of Adina's long-sleeve blouse-and-skirt work outfits
  • Ann Taylor Lace Dress - This dress could potentially work for a wide range of occasions any time of year. I can even see myself wearing it in my casual outfits in the summer. For now, I mostly wear it to work with thick tights.
  • Madewell Northstar Pullover (similar in other colors, similar from Loft) - I'm still not sure about the quality of this piece: all my merino wool sweaters from everywhere-but-Uniqlo shrank the first time they encountered a machine-washing, even when I made sure to use cold water and a mesh bag to protect the items. This makes me too scared to ever machine-wash this sweater. It's still holding up okay though, and I just love the color and the casual, slouchy feel of the design. With this purchase, I'm realizing that some of my favorite colors are dark jewel tones like this forest green. 

It was much easier to pick out my "Worst Buys" of 2015. These were all items that I wasn't able to use as expected at all, or that I wore once or twice before realizing that the item just didn't suit me. See the list behind the cut:

Worst Purchases of 2015:
  • Loft Twill Jacket - I probably should have known that I don't enjoy wearing blazers. The only time I wear one is with a suit on the very rare occasions that demand full business formal. I've also learned over the past year that I don't particularly enjoy oxblood or burgundy as a color in my wardrobe, even if I quite like other dark jewel tone-type colors like deep green or purple. 
  • Etsy Replacement Handbag Strap - I bought this for a very old Rebecca Minkoff Morning After Bag (MAB) that did not come with a shoulder strap, but the clips on this one don't actually fit over the metal rings. This was therefore a completely useless purchase for me, and it is looking like I won't end up getting full use out of that MAB either as it's just too large and too heavy for me. 
  • H&M Paisley Shorts - I got a few wears out of this while traveling in Asia this summer, but it just doesn't suit my lifestyle in the US. Every time I've tried to branch out to a wider variety of casual skirts and shorts for summer, I end up buying things that I don't actually enjoy wearing much. 

What were your best and worst purchases for the year? Did any of the items on either list surprise you? 

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