Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Shopping Plans for the Rest of 2020

I've had serious writer's block lately when it comes to blogging! I have many ideas for new posts, particularly personal finance and career-related ones, but can't bring myself to do the actual writing. In times like this, shopping is pretty much the only topic I can manage to write a few paragraphs about. Lighter topics, such as shopping, are much easer to work with when my brain can't focus on writing about anything more substantive. 

With only two months left in the year, I feel as if I can now be somewhat confident in my predictions for what my shopping might look like for the rest of 2020. Though I also don't want to make overly lofty promises about buying relatively few items or about buying almost nothing! The only way to go from there is down, really, by breaking those promises if I get swept up by seeing something new that I think is beautiful or by seeing a particularly good sale. 

Though there are a few factors that make me feel somewhat more confident in saying I'm pretty sure I'll buy what is - for me, given my well-documented history of often being driven by somewhat sudden shopping impulses - a relatively small number of items for the remainder of the year:

  • First and foremost, I'm still social distancing and working from home as much as possible. I'll go to the office if explicitly instructed to or for certain tasks (basically just for filing deadlines or assisting with remote depositions or hearings, things that only happen once a month or so at most under my current caseload). Outside of that, K and I only go out for doctor's appointments or essential grocery or pharmacy trips. So I clearly don't need more clothes, shoes, or accessories! And I also don't encounter new inspiration from seeing what other people wear.  
  • Second, because I rarely go out, I almost never need to wash my outside clothes or put them in the laundry hamper. All my outside clothes are hanging up in the closet or tucked away in my dresser at the same time, a rare occurrence pre-COVID. It really drives home how much I already have. My share of the wardrobe storage space in our apartment is not quite at 100% capacity, but it's honestly getting close. That helps me think twice about potential new purchases.
  • Third, now that I'm - finally! - somewhat close to paying off my student loans in full  roughly 10 months left if I maintain my current rate of paying ~$5,100/month), I've been focused even more than before on saving and my finances. (And I was already extremely focused on these topics before, I've been doing tons of labor-intensive - though not always productive - personal finance tracking for years!) To tell the truth, cutting my fashion-related shopping spend doesn't have a huge impact on my overall financial health. My total spending in this category last year - as documented here - was $4,409.33, a personal all-time high, but that's still less than a single month's worth of student loan payments. Regardless, thinking about these things still puts a damper on my interest in spending more on my wardrobe right now. 

For 2020 so far, I've spent $3,083.22 on clothes and accessories, as described in my monthly shopping posts. Thanks to the lifestyle changes wrought by COVID-19, I definitely don't need anything new for the foreseeable future, though I might still want to add a few things to my closet because I think they're pretty. I'm hoping I can keep the rest of my 2020 shopping to a somewhat moderate level, limited mostly - maybe even entirely - to the following:

The Earrings: As I mentioned last week, I've been trying to decide on a pair of earrings from Lingua Nigra, a Black woman-owned jewelry line. I think I've decided on the smaller, slightly less dangly "Shower of Faith" baby fringe earrings, rather than the more statement-making "Fringe Theory" earrings. (I'm not used to wearing longer earrings, I mostly wear studs and get a little nervous that longer earrings might get tangled up in my hair or scarves, so smaller earrings are better for me.) 

The Coat: I totally said a few months ago that I specifically should not buy a coat this year, because I have plenty of perfectly good ones and will barely leav my apartment building this fall/winter. I even explicitly said, and I quote: "I think I can be counted on to stay away from actually buying any more [coats] this year." Famous last words, potentially. 

Since then, I haven't quite been able to get The Curated's "Classic Coat," a camel-colored wool-cashmere blend wrap coat, out of my mind. There are tons of blogger reviews out there for this coat, see hereherehere and here from people roughly my height (5'4'' or shorter) and here or here from people who are a bit taller (~5'7''). I am, however, curvier and more busty than most bloggers who've reviewed this coat, and would be taking a larger size (a M rather than S or XS) than most of them, so it's a bit difficult to predict whether this somewhat relaxed-fit coat will actually look good on me. 

In any case, this coat is currently out of stock in my potential sizes (sizes S and M) until - according to a now-expired Instagram story from the company - a planned restock in November. I'll have some time to think about whether this purchase would actually be a good idea!

Back in normal, pre-COVID times, coats were one of those things I definitely haven't needed more of since January 2016 or so, after I bought several in short order, filling all the conceivable coat niches in my closet. A second wool coat in a fun color to mix things up once in a while from the first neutral-colored one? Check! A down coat with an actually functional zipper? Check! A trench coat for those in-between temperature days in spring and fall? Check!

Yet I still ended up buying roughly one new coat a year afterwards, including through a birthday gift from my mom one year that wasn't formally documented in my monthly shopping posts. Here in NYC, we typically spend what feels like half the year bundled up in wool-blend or down-filled winter coats, from October through as late as April. So coats feel like one of the best ways to add some variety or fun to outfits during that entire time.

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The Polo Sweater: I definitely have plenty of sweaters, both heavier-knit, chunky ones and also thinner ones, all in a decent variety of colors. And the dresser where I store my sweaters - except for sweater blazers that need to be hung up to hold their shape, particularly the J.Crew Juliette (worn here) and Sophie (worn here) ones - has very little extra space left anyway. In other words, the last thing I need is more sweaters! 

But I do still find myself tempted by the idea of a collared polo sweater, particularly after Kathy mentioned them. They aren't the most common design, but there's a good number of them currently on the market now: Madewell has one in merino wool, in beige, mint, or orange colorblock; Everlane has some in cashmere, in black, off-white, rust, or pink; Reformation has a cropped version in cashmere in beige or navy; and there's also the ultra high-end version, the Khaite "Jo" sweater. 

I'm most drawn, however, to a polo sweater offered by a new-ish startup-y direct-to-consumer ("DTC") brand, The Reset. Their "boyfriend sweater" in biscotti seems like a nice gray-brown that might sort of match the Naadam cashmere joggers I bought last year in the now-discontinued "timber" color. Because The Reset is a newer brand compared to similar DTCs I'm familiar with that target the same market - such as Cuyana or Everlane - I haven't seen any reviews of their products from bloggers or Instagrammers I like. So I'm a little nervous about potentially trying them. But because the "biscotti" shade seems to be somewhat unique, or hard to find elsewhere, I might ultimately take the plunge. 

What do you have your eye on for the rest of your 2020 shopping, if anything? And if anyone has feedback about either The Curated or The Reset, whether you've tried the specific items I'm thinking of or not, I'd love to hear about it! 

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