A Mid-Year Capsule Wardrobe Check-In: Spreadsheets, Budgets, The Lot

Where am I at with it all?

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At the beginning of the year I set myself a manifesto when it came to my capsule wardrobe practices for 2020. I was hanging on to the minimal clothing bandwagon by the mere tips of my fingertips and my monthly Monzo budget made for some *interesting* reading, so it was time to rein it in BIG TIME. So how’s it gone so far? That’s what I thought I’d look back on today because let’s face it I have all the time in the world right now to look at spreadsheets and numbers and pie charts (and cake icing tutorials – which is how I spend 97% of my free time) in an attempt to make sense of it all.

I’ll be real with you. Some parts have gone pretty well and are aspects that I’ve kept at the forefront of my mind when I’m making purchases. Shifts are happening people! Other parts are *gulps* eye-opening for sure, but are ones that I’m finding difficult to untangle and make sense of in the context of content creation and the thirst for ‘newness’, whilst also marrying that with wearing the same shirt from four years ago, you know? It’s a tricky one. Let’s break it down…

An Open Book…

What I wrote in January 2020: ‘This year I want to share with you E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G that enters my capsule wardrobe. That’s items that I’ve purchased myself, sale bits that I pick up occasionally, gifted items, clothing pieces that get added in through jobs that I’ve done, the lot.’

I feel like I’ve done a pretty good job of this one. I’ve shared seasonal hauls that have featured everything I’ve purchased and then shared gifted items more through Instagram Stories and on the grid as it feels weird to include those items in a haul when I haven’t paid for them myself. Keeping track of it all has been made much easier thanks to my new organisation system that I’ll mention next (HELLO SPREADSHEET!). For instance 17% of the pieces that I’ve added to my wardrobe since December 2019 have been gifted and 83% have been paid for with my own money. I do feel like one day I would love to log everything that I wear in a month or a whole season just to get a real feel of what truly are the most-worn pieces in my wardrobe. I feel like it would really help me to evaluate where it is worth investing, working out a true cost-per-wear and to get even more in tune with my style. I know it all sound a bit eye-rolly, but I think it might be an interesting experiment to carry out. I’ll report back on this one.

Be Real About Budget…

What I wrote in January 2020: ‘Hello my name is Anna and I spend way too much money on clothing. It’s a tricky one as the contents of my wardrobe is partly related to my job and ultimately my income, but I know that for the past few years I’ve spent a disproportionate amount of my earnings on clothing and that’s something that I really want to put an end to this year.’

Yeah about this one. I still have a lot of work to do here. As I touched on back in January and in the introduction to this post, it’s a hard one to unravel and even as a viewer I love to be able to click though to see the exact pair of jeans or jumper that someone I follow is wearing. It’s the ‘mate recommending you something’ nature of blogging that’s always been there. *BUT* there is just no need to be spending an extortionate amount a month on clothing, it’s not realistic and it doesn’t fit with the capsule wardrobe thinkings that I’m ultimately aiming for. I’M SUPPOSED TO BE SAVING – GAAAHHH! The best thing that I’ve done is to create that spreadsheet that I said I would. I keep track of all new clothing and accessories that I add to my wardrobe – whether they are purchased by me, or gifted, or part of a piece of work I’m doing with a brand. I note down whether they are sustainable or not (sometimes a grey area but I make notes of that), and the price. I’ve tallied everything together because it feels like cheating to not include gifted pieces in that number and with my current calculations I’m on to spend £324.33 per month on clothing during 2020. Now that is A LOT and a figure that I would like to not drastically increase, so I’m trying to find ways and methods to reduce my sending for the second part of this year in order to do that. Perhaps a blog post on how I’m doing that might be helpful? Shout and let me know.

More Second-Hand Clothing…

What I wrote in January 2020: ‘This one does what it says on the tin. I hope that my hauls over the year contain more vintage and second-hand items than ever before.’ 

This is one that I feel I’m doing so-so with. I’ve ultimately added more vintage purchases to my wardrobe this year than ever before, but I’m still a long way off from second-hand buys making up the majority of hauls. My pursuit has definitely been helped by the burst of Instagram-led vintage shopping – places like Retold Vintage and Wear Not New make it so damn easy – and I’m always adding new ones to the list when I see places be recommended by friends or other content creators (Imparfaite is my latest discovery). What I have been more successful at is trying to make ‘more sustainable’ choices, so whether that’s a puffer jacket made from recycled material, a linen shirt made from a plant that’s grown on terrain that’s unsuitable for food crops or a tie-dyed tracksuit made from ‘dead stock’ that was otherwise sitting there unused – I’ve been trying to find more items that might not be vintage or second-hand, but just feel like a more mindful choice. Of all the clothing I’ve purchased or been gifted since December 2019, 14% are vintage or second-hand purchases, but bang on 50% of the clothing that’s entered my wardrobe I would put into the category of a ‘more sustainable choice’. This is by no means ‘pat on the back’ material but it’s a step in the right direction and something that it feels right to track, monitor and aim to increase going forward.

So there you have it, that’s exactly where I’m at with my wardrobe at the end of July 2020. Some progress and some ‘OH MY WORD STOP SPENDING MONEY ON CLOTHING’-ness. I’m working on it. Right, time to get back to cake icing videos…


Photos by Mark Newton