What do you Actually Spend on Clothing?





What a question right? I can remember a time when I would not be able to even look at those numbers.  According to this article we will each spend between $1800-$4200 per year on clothing and accessories. The article further details why we shop. I was disappointed that shopping for the love of fashion was not a category.  I've certainly shopped for many reasons but I happen to just love fashion. I love truffling around 2nd hand shops and vintage stores but almost always leave empty handed.  Finding old garments and admiring the workmanship, fabric and design is my idea of a great day.



The above outfit is a good mix of how I dress on most days.  The shirt is a boys oxford from the Goodwill that was $3.  The old oxford fabric is so incredibly soft.  Finding fabrics like that today is downright hard.  For Christmas a couple of years ago I ordered an oxford shirt from a high-end retailer and was so disappointed in the fabric that I sent it back.  Two weeks later I found this one at the GW.  The pants are the Who What Wear Cropped Flares from Target for $29.  They are great work pants, indestructible, hide oil stains and are comfy.  The shoes are Naturalizer kitten heels that I've had for decades.  The bag is my newest and biggest purchase this year from Frances Valentine.


This is what I've spent so far this year.

Vintage Gold Silk Blouse $12
Cole Hahn Block Heel Sandal $6
White Linen Trousers $2.50
Who What Wear Bardot Dress $35 (similar)
Vintage Brown Trousers $10
Vintage Wrangler Jeans $8
Gucci Loafers $16
White Painters Pant $8
Blush Target Tee $10 (here)
Who What Wear Cropped Flares $29 (here)
Green Vintage Sweater $2
Frances Valentine Handbag $160 (similar)

Total $304.50 EDITED - I returned the FV handbag so that brings my total for the year to $144.50

How about you?  Can you tally the numbers?  Yikes!

xo


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50 comments

  1. Nice outfit! Unlike you, I am generally not interested in clothing or fashion at all! I know I need to look put together but just don't like the process of shopping or fussing about clothing. I probably spend about $125-175/year on clothing. This year, my biggest expense will be 2 pair of leggings from Lands End, a style I particularly like.

    Most of my clothing and purses/bags are bought from a couple great, small thrift stores in my area. I do find wonderful J.Crew items, Eileen Fisher, Talbot, J Jill, excellent shoes and boots etc. in the $3-5 range. I am also trying to keep my wardrobe somewhat minimalist (I am retired now) because I just don't need that much. I also have all the jewelry I could possibly need or want for the rest of my life, so no shopping there. My husband calls me low maintenance!

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    1. isabella isn't it crazy what good finds are out there?! it's a sea of goodies. thankfully, like you i'm not much of a jewelry fanatic. Thank Goodness! i have v little and rarely wear that so that def keeps costs down. x

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  2. Janet- you look gorgeous in that photo! Very polished and chic. I love fashion and like you are frequently disappointed by the quality of late. I also tend towards very classic outfits and find these styles harder and harder to find. I tend to buy very little but excellent quality that lasts for decades. I try so hard to keep my clothes in good shape and condition. Luckily my weight remains stable as most of my clothing is 10-20 years old!!! Sometimes though I do get tired of the same things and will treat myself to a new cashmere sweater or wrap dress. I have spent only $55 so far this year on a gorgeous cashmere wrap that was heavily discounted.

    Love your blog Janet. It has been a true inspiration to me as I always try to live below me means yet look as elegant and put-together as I can!

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    1. dana, what a wonderful compliment to this blog! i admire your shopping prowess and spending just $55 this year. maybe one day i'll be there but for now i'm finding that as i'm ageing, my taste is changing a bit too. too soon to tell if it's a passing thing or not so i'm mostly holding on to what i've got. x

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  3. Well, this made me think! Ugh. There is no way I can calculate what I've spent this year. This makes me a bit sad. I am about to start (late) my Project333. I never shop for myself UNLESS I am out shopping for someone else. I dislike clothes shopping. Weight gain hasn't made it very unenjoyable for me. I recently needed to "upgrade" to a newer jean. I was down to one pair that I worn nearly every day. So while in the store I bought a few items to update my closet. At Old Navy I got away with $130 for two pairs of jeans and 4 tops to take me into the new season. However!.. I have been know to spend a bit of coin on an item if it makes me feel slimmer since it's not often I feel that way about myself these days. �� I tried Project333 a couple of years ago and it helped tremendously with my wardrobe, budget, anxiety, and self image.
    I love your simplictic style that always seems to have just the right touch of flair. That's what I'm going for!

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    1. thank you diane! this year i've purchased 4 pairs of pants and that is just not normal for me. some of my pants were snug and i cannot stand being uncomfortable! i donated a few pair and replaced them with what i have now. i did order a pair of Everlane's new jean line but i ordered too small and have not re-ordered yet. x

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  4. Yes I can tally my totals! For the last few years I've set a budget and pretty much stuck to it. I track it on the side of my blog. I buy the best quality I can afford by buying in the sales and in second hand shops.

    My annual budget is £500 (about $657) with £200 ($262) for work clothes, £100 ($131) for gym/running, £100 ($131) for outdoor and £100 ($131)for casual wear. So far this year I've only spent £188.40 ($247) but I do need to buy a new pair of winter boots for work soon and a new pair of running shoes.

    Love your blog, first time I've commented! :-)

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    1. oh thank you ali. thanks for sharing your numbers. love that you keep a running total on your sidebar. i know i need some yoga wear and i thought i'd get another long sleeve T like the blush one i have already purchased but never seem to find myself at target these days. xo

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  5. Love the cut of those trousers, Janet, and your look is simple chic as always. I post every new item but most of what I wear is truly old. However it will be interesting to see what I've spent, so when I have time I'll check my blog. I do know I spent £71 in Zara recently but that was quite unusual (I hope!). I'll also check Ali's blog to see how she keeps her running total as that sounds such a clever idea. Thanks for sharing your spend. Hugs, x.

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    1. tbh mary before i added it up i thought it was going to be much less. i had forgotten about certain items. so prepare yourself. i'm off to ali's blog now to check it out. xo

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  6. I love reading the comments to learn how others manage their clothing purchases. I am no longer working so don't need work clothes, but I still enjoy something new occasionally. And, while I like the idea of a sparse wardrobe, I do get bored and I love having choices. I don't have to buy expensive clothes and in looking at the numbers, I have made progress. In 2016 I spent $2,151 and so far this year I have spent $944. That includes accessories such as purses, scarves, etc. I'd like to get that number down even further in 2018. I have had some weight swings in the last several years which necessitated some of the purchases. Once my weight is stable again, my budget should go down.

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    1. thanks for sharing your numbers. that isn't easy! i agree re the minimal wardrobe. if you love fashion then it can get boring. that's just one of the reasons i shop 2nd hand too. x

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  7. I just started using Rent the Runway unlimited so I spend $130 a month for three items that I get to borrow and return. So far, so great. It's almost a guilt-free splurge.

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    1. oh i know someone else that just used it but it was for a special occasion dress. they sent her 2 just in case her first choice didn't work out - which was brilliant. i think it would be great if i had to dress up for my job. you get to try out so many great things! x

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  8. I love how you approach buying clothes and your wardrobe thoughts are very inspiring...
    thrift and consignment shopping is such fun that I don;t mind perusing the shops and coming home empty handed...which is most of the time and then there are other days when i will grab a bag full of bargains.
    I write all my expenses down since retiring and I have spent a staggering $940 since January 2017 which sounds like a lot but that includes new boots and several pairs of shoes, dresses, tops and pants and purses.

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    1. thanks for sharing leslie. it is an eye opener right? i thought my total would be far less. i love that you have a dedicated notebook just for this. what a treasure that would be someday if it fell into the right persons hands. i love seeing journals like that at estate sales. x

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  9. I also notice the quality of clothes that I have owned for 20 plus years is so much better than anything I can purchase today. I tend to opt for classic styles, but do have some trouble letting things go. One day I hope to have a minimalist wardrobe.

    I watched the documentary The True Cost https://truecostmovie.com/ and it changed the way I feel about shopping certain stores.

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    1. the quality has gone way way down. i love vintage clothing just for that fact alone. the workmanship was so superior than todays. i do shop new still but i keep it to a minimum. i don't feel that comfortable in new stores! i prefer an old dusty attic. lol x

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  10. YOU are doing A LOT Better than ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    XO

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  11. This was so timely, thank you.
    With a newly retired husband---he is so very happy--I took stock and have not bought anything this year with the exception of sweaters at the year end sales. I've always bough quality things (like the items you found at GW and at 2nd hand shops) and worn them---not always on trend, but people seem to think I look fine. The blazers and suits that I bought years ago are coming back around!
    But the best part? On a recent early weekend morning, I washed sweaters, and diligently put needle and thread (and yarn) to work mending. What a happy feeling to put what I have in order for the coming Fall. ...and with my hands in wool wash, and plying my needle, I felt my Mom and Grandmother draw close to me...those hours sewing together and learning how to take care...
    What fun it would be to shop with you and find treasures...and to look so pulled together. You are a Dear One and I love your writing. Thank you.

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    1. sally i LOVE this comment. i find mending and tending to my clothing and shoes so meditative too! i have a few cardigans from the 60s and 70s that every year i have to mend with yarn. these are what i call my house clothes. they are always comfy and worn in and i cannot wait to slip into them when i get home. thank you for sharing such a loving memories. xo

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  12. Wow, there is only one item on your list that is over $35...your amazing. Beautiful clothes..Good job

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  13. I have no idea how much I have spent on clothes - I don't shop to speak of and really buy very little, so . . . You do look wonderful in that outfit. Well done!

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  14. I wish I could shop at thrifts but there just aren't a lot of great thrift stores where I live so I usually have to buy new. Although I'm fairly slim I absolutely hate shopping for clothes. I never know what looks good on me. I'm glad skirt/dress lengths are getting a bit longer and from the runway shows waistlines on pants are moving up more to the natural waist also. But even with these changes the styles and quality for the average woman are awful. I'm going to visit a daughter in Ohio this week, she asked what I wanted to do and I told her I wanted to shop a couple of the thrifts near her. I'm excited and hope to have a bit of luck. I also adore your blog Janet and how you embrace the changes that happens as we all age.

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    1. thank you QV. when you travel to ohio just be sure to be patient. thrift shopping takes time. i can't tell you how often i leave empty handed. but every once in awhile i find a gem and that's what keeps me going.lol xo

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  15. You know what? I don't think I'm that much of a clothes shopper. i love shopping on line, but hate stores. thus I'm not your vintage shopper. I do love shopping for makeup and skin care. When I find a line of clothing that looks good on me. I will buy multiples. You look great in everything. Me? No.

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    1. i beg to differ with you sandra. i've yet to see a bad photo of you! you are smart and stylish! x

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  16. I stopped working and been home for the past 3 years, since beginning of 2017 I have not bought myself any clothes, I have forced myself to be creative. Only items I bought were my few Clarins products and haircuts every 8-9 weeks. But I scored the most amazing vintage linen and tableware for an absolute song!

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    1. so smart noreen to force your creativity. i try to do that but then i get an itch for fashion and i hit the thrift store. but overall being creative should come first! x

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  17. Vintage shops here are really expensive in comparison to US ones, I'm amazed at your finds.
    My style has really changed, well what people thought was 'my style' before was just a reflection of working at a magazine for a while, a sort of group uniform, a carapace I had to put on.
    My everyday look is very laid back LA, I like being comfy more than anything, but I do dress up maybe twice a year and so I like to have something dressier at the back of the wardrobe for my birthday and the festive season. I haven't bought anything new for about 8 years but have bought a couple of second hand things off Ebay. That said, I'd love to have a well paying job which would let me get rid of the old me and start afresh

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    1. well you always look so fabulous T. i know LA or Malibu is your spiritual home so i get that connection. starting new/over is such an intoxicating idea isn't it? x

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  18. Hi Janet, I've kept a running total every year since 2003, about the time I realised that no matter how many clothes I had, I only ever alternated two outfits! Annual totals go up and down depending on whether I need to replace coats and boots, but average out at about £330. Secondhand has never appealed to me, but I'm currently reading Zero Waste Home, so maybe I will be inspired to start looking!

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    1. they say that we all alternate between just a couple of outfits. i find that's pretty true for me too. zero waste home is so inspiring and it's def the way of the future. where are we going to put trash in 20 years??
      x

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  19. I find clothes to be art that I can wear, so it doesn't bother me to spend a little on clothes, even if it's just on ebay. Not a lot, but enough to get what I enjoy wearing. And I buy to keep for years, especially with my basics. Truthfully, one of my favorite finds recently was a midi wine colored dress at Old Navy for 18.00 that I can wear with almost any other color in my current wardrobe. There is so much versatility that I believe I can get about 7-8 outfits from that one inexpensive dress. And I love it!!!! So much more exciting than basic black, though I do love black and bought the same dress in black, too. I used funds from my ebay sales and got free shipping, so a good deal all around! :)

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    1. oh UF i like that you sell in order to buy/replace clothing. i do that too with eBay. i set whatever i make aside and keep it just for what i want or need! x

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  20. I tried to leave a comment yesterday but it flew away from here...so, at risk of repeating...

    ...just wanted to answer that I think it's easier to figure out what's been spent on clothing when the closet isn't so jammed up (with more things I need to rid myself of); then, I might be able to do the calculations of what I've spent but, so far this year, I really only bought some swimsuit coverups and a couple of thin cotton/rayon sheaths, which I tend to 'live' in as pants & I aren't the best combination. I don't buy expensive clothes in this stage of my life like I did when younger. Exception to the coverups/sheaths, though...and thanks to you, as I wouldn't have known about A New Day at Target (I don't have a store near me)...I did buy two things after you told us about that line of clothing. They're sort of boucle-style (almost tweedy) jackets, one is a short 'blazer' and the other is a longer-length 'top coat'. For the price? Not bad! I was pleased. Amazingly-perfect fit right out of the package (I ordered online). They remind me of stuff I saw with Balmain Pre-Fall '17 (but Balmain blazers at $2,000 [or more] are never happening in MY life). These two items will go great with basic black or solid navy, providing some texture and color. Great to just throw over something when I run a errand once the weather chills yet also could accessorize a brunch or church outfit. At a local football game or a holiday parade, the sweater-y "top coat" would be comfy. (I no longer own a coat-coat although I love coats, but it's never THAT cold enough in SoCalif for me to wear one now.)

    Man, so glad the Santa Anas died down a little today although we're still so warm and dry. Feeling badly for the homeowners who lost their homes to wildfire in Anaheim yesterday.

    I love this new thing of you in fashion in interesting backdrops; great photos and fun looks!

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    1. thanks vicki. oh the fires are devastating. the winds are just dying down here too. i can't believe you don't own a coat. omg, i have so many and you are right, we barely need one! but i really have a passion for old ones. my favorite is a vintage balmain. the cut on it is so perfect. glad you found some goodies at target. i've yet to make it over there to grab another t and yoga top. x

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  21. Janet, your wardrobe is beautiful and i love your classic style. After I read your post, I realized that I focus more on how much I save on clothing purchases rather than how much I spend in total. I never pay full price and most of the time get items for at least 75% off the original price. But this makes it easier to rationalize mistakes or buy for just one season. After weeding out my wardrobe recently I realized I still want to hunt for bargains, just fewer of them.

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    1. thank you mags. i think your method of saving makes perfect sense to me. either way it's bringing a mindfulness to our lives.xo

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  22. Hi Janet, My quick calculation is about $700.00. This year, I was mainly focused on filling the "smart casual" holes in my wardrobe. But, Wedding invitations and (dare I say) memorials have necessitated updating my attire for those circumstances. Fortunately, I was able to purchase dresses/LBD's + shoes, etc. at great discounts. Now, looking at my wardrobe, I'm well set for pretty much any occasion. And, that feels nice! BTW, I purchased the Target "blush" t-shirt you recommended...it's so comfy..I love it and love your blog!!! Thank you!!!

    Renee in Northern California

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    1. hi renee. there's nothing like that feeling of wardrobe contentment! ahhh. sounds like you are there and that tee is as soft as the color right?! x

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  23. I wish I knew how much I spent. It might make me cut down. I so enjoy finding nice clothes and adding them to my wardrobe. Not that I spent a whole lot because I only buy used. We have some wonderful thrift shops here in S. FL. My weakness, however is clothes for cooler weather– boots, sweaters, long- sleeved tops... And the warmer the climate gets, the fewer days I have to wear them down here. But we do travel, so they don't go to waste.

    I assuage my shopping guilt by thinking of how much most people spend on poorly made new clothes.

    Zero Waste is so inspirational, and, at the same time, intimidating!

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    1. cara i always look forward to wearing my coats here in so cal. last year we had a cold winter so they all got use and it was fabulous so i know your situation. i hear you re zero waste. i think we will all have to do it eventually bc where is the trash gonna go??? x

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  24. As others have commented, you look fabulous in your chic outfit (perfect model posing as well). Like others, I haven't required formal business attire in years. Remote freelance work doesn't require much more than a casual wardrobe. Nowadays, my style is minimal with an edge, sometimes with a boho vibe, most often with jeans.

    $132.00 is what I've spent thus far this year on clothing and shoes. I've kept track of my expenditures, but hadn't actually added it up until reading your post. Since I first put together a capsule wardrobe back in 2012, I've simply added and subtracted since then. I could probably cull the herd a bit more, but even so it's a small and manageable wardrobe.

    I really appreciate your blog, this post, and all your wonderful commenters. Cheers, Ardith

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    1. thank you ardith. i love your add/subtract style. it sounds like a natural flow of things, the way things should be. i am there somewhat but i have too much still. i do let lots go each season and that gives me a couple of inches in the closet to fill back in. i'm taking note of how many ladies here just don't like shopping and so shop way less than i do. i want to examine more closely the why of it all. thanks for sharing your numbers! x

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  25. Love your post. I haven't kept a running total for my year but I think I've only bought a handful of brand new clothes. I try and follow the 10 item wardrobe and have enjoyed it so much. Growing up with 5 sister's we all loved clothes and make up and decor. I just choose to do it inexpensively as possible.
    I like you..enjoy a well made brand piece. In my younger years I would buy and buy and never was settled.
    One of my sisters worked in make up lines for years and taught me about skin care..lines you can purchase at drugstore ECT. I've learned much from your blog as well.
    It doesn't take much to bring beauty wherever you are.

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  26. Janet, Love this post. First, you look so chic and timeless. I love the new bag too. I am so with you- there is something satisfying about finding nice things second-hand and for a fraction of what they were was new. I also really like the green aspect as the clothing industry is so polluting to the world and if even some of us did this it would be a huge help. My favorite spot to go is Crossroads, which we have a few in the Bay Area. I bring a few bags to sell and often find something cool and unique. My favorite finds this year are two Theory items- a lovely denim blazer I wear all the time and from my last trip a great 'Theory for Barneys' raincoat that looks like a Vince version in black.

    Right now I am writing about my search to replace a Burberry raincoat I lost via some of the new sites with pre-owned items like the Real Real.

    I don't know what I have spent this year, but I love the idea of keeping a journal about it. I think I will start doing that. Thanks again always for your stylish blog and inspiration to live better! Kim

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kindness is never out of style.

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