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2016 Superlatives...

...and now, I present some of my favorite and least favorite purchases from 2016. For the past 3 years, throughout the year, I keep an excel chart of all of the items that I purchase, and include data such as retail price, how much I paid for it, where I got it, online vs in-store, and general thoughts (could include if I had to get it tailored before wearing, if it is Made in America, etc.), and then at the end of the year I go through and review/analyze what I bought. This might sound clinical, or crazy, but I like shopping and my system helps me identify trends from my own shopping data. 
     For example, last year I noticed that most of the items that I purchased and never really wore/lost interest in quickly were items I ordered online from J. Crew and Banana Republic. That helped me curb mindless online sale shopping at both of those places, and remind me that if I am going to shop at either store, I need to do it in person.
       This year, just to give you a flavoring, 31% of the clothes I bought were dresses, 42% of the items I bought were used or second-hand, and I saved, on average, 79% off of the retail price of all of the clothing I bought. That last number is heavily weighted by the secondhand shopping, and some key Nordstrom Rack and RealReal.com clearance item finds. 
1. Best Sport: Rag & Bone Varsity Jacket
Jacket  Rag & Bone
Pants | Joe's Jeans
This first piece is a great example of my commitment to bargain hunting. I really wanted a varsity jacket, and had seen a few Rag & Bone ones, but did not want to, and could not, pay $500 or more (retail here, although mine, to be fair, is probably last year's model) for one. I waited and waited and eventually the one I am wearing above popped up on the RealReal for less than $80. Boom. It was one size larger than I would have ordered normally, but the slouchy look totally works on this piece and everything else about it was exactly what I wanted, so I purchased. 
I really adore it and wear it all the time, even though sometimes I think it makes me look like a local high school student. Go Bulldogs? 
2. Most Unflattering: Caslon Pants

The back of these pants is pretty unflattering - even more so in person. I ordered online, drawn in by a $15 price tag, and then missed the return window, so here they sit in my closet. I will probably force myself to wear them to work one time, and then donate them. Mental note to stop adding things to cart just because they are cheap, or because I am like $8 away from free shipping.

3. Best Assist
These pants, on the other hand, feel like they were made for me. Both the top and bottom here were actually random second-hand finds that I did not initially intend to try on. In both instances, I was in the dressing room and needed a top/a bottom, because I was wearing a dress that day and trying on a top/a bottom, so I randomly grabbed these from the rack to assist me in the dressing room. I'm so glad I did because I now wear this top once a week (who knew a metallic could be so versatile....probably Stacey London actually...), and I have worn these jeans multiple times a week, to be frank. 
Long live the skinny jean! 
Top | Calvin Klein
Pants | Citizens of Humanity

4. Worst No-Returns Purchase
Gah. The downside of the occasional online clearance blow-out is the no-returns policy. I don't have a photo of me in this dress because I got it and sold it to a consignment store like a week later. I'm not sure what I was thinking - it is cool, and I like plaid, but a midriff bearing, school-girl inspired dress isn't practical for my life. Also the fit was off and caused strange gaping around the cutout. 
5. Employee of the Month
Top | Ted Baker
Pants | DvF
I've featured this outfit before here - both the top and bottom were new 2016 purchases and, together, they helped me put together a cool, comfortable, appropriate work outfit. 
6. Worst Impulse Buy
I really did not like these Banana Republic shoes, but they kept discounting them further and further, and I ended up buying them, in store, in the pink suede color. They had a lot of toe cleavage, and to get them to stop slipping around on your foot, you had to make the ankle strap way too tight. 
Banana Republic
7. Best Accessories
Tory Burch | J. Crew
2016 was, aside from the aforementioned BR flats, a really good shoe year for me, so last but not least, I wanted to feature two of my favorite new pairs. Neither is subtle, by a long shot, but I really love the color and whimsy in both and they bring me joy when I wear them. Also, I couldn't believe that I got the sparkly, Made-in Italy leather pumps on the right from J. Crew for $85!

I think my clothing goals for 2017 include (a) trying to get the used/second-hand percentage up to or over 50% of my total purchases, (b) stop buying shoes but buy more jewelry (I only bought 5 pieces of jewelry this year and almost all of them were super minimalist tiny earring) and, (c) stop buying jackets and blazers - I keep buying blazers and work jackets even though, if we are being honest, I only wear the same 3 Theory blazers to work over and over. 
Overall, I am really happy with my purchases from 2016, continue to learn about my personal style and tastes everyday, and I hope to continue to share them with you in the coming year!



  1. In 2016 I started pinning my clothes purchase on a Pinterest board, but your spreadsheet idea sounds a lot of productive. I do love gleaning overall trends. Would you mind sharing what data you keep track of? I think nature of purchase (pre-meditated/impulse) is one I'll put on my spreadsheet.

    1. Absolutely! Mine is somewhat limited by my own excel skills, but I do the month I purchased, type of item, brand, size, price (retail), price (what I paid - so you can calculate overall discount), and online vs. in-store. I've heard of some people tracking their wears so you can figure out cost-per-wear, but I haven't gotten that far yet/I think it would take more work.