January 30, 2019
On New Year’s Eve, I made the brave commitment to not purchase any clothing during 2019! My plan for managing this is to have 4 5-piece clusters each month from which I will get dressed. Because I spent so much of January in Florida, my normal wardrobe didn’t really apply (when I’m there, I wear a lot of gym clothes, and just the occasional “normal” outfit…) and so I only put together 2 clusters for January.
But now, moving into February, I’m going with the original plan. Four clusters, 20 pieces of clothing. From this, I’m going to pack for 10 days in Ireland!
Two of these clusters should look pretty familiar:
This last cluster is for getting dressed up – we won’t be in Chicago for Valentine’s Day, but I’m sure I’m going to need to get prettied up some time in February!
(a warning about velvet tee shirts – if you get a really inexpensive one, you might end up feeling like you’re wrapped in plastic wrap! Some of these fabrics do NOT breathe, and if you layer a cardigan over this kind of shirt, you will melt…)
I considered going through these 20 pieces and seeing how many combinations I could make, but I realized pretty quickly that it was going to be a big number! At this point, let’s all just assume that I will be adequately dressed in February, eh?
But let’s think about TRAVEL!!! This is what I plan to wear on the plane to Ireland:
(a note on the earrings – they are sold in SINGLE earrings, so if you want a pair, you must order 2. What a world!)
I will be wearing this parka constantly on this trip! And that’s glorious, because my (12 year old) version of this coat has Velcro-closure pockets which hold EVERYTHING I need for a day. No handbag! When we’re out tramping through historical ruins, having my hands free is a good thing…
What am I packing? Not a ton; we’re going to be in an AirBnB for most of our trip, so laundry will be available:
Warm and layerable are my 2 biggest criteria for this trip! My hiking shoes are shockingly ugly, but they are warm, water-resistant (maybe even water-proof, but I don’t want to find out!), and comfortable. That’s going to be most important for our adventures. The flats will be great to wear in a pub, or in town on a dry day.
This is everything from which I can build outfits:
My primary concerns on this trip are to be warm, to stay dry, and to be appropriately dressed when we are with other people. I don’t need variety, or a wide range of colors. The weather will be consistent, so I don’t need to worry about that either! I think I’m in good shape with these pieces…
And I’m packing a bright green Ireland rugby winter hat! We’re going to a match in Galway, and the team color there is green… Must support the local club!
I made that exact same commitment, however I said without buying clothes. So that left me some room for accessories and shoes, after all a girl can’t live without the ability to change up some old outfits with accessories and shoes right? I love you posts, and look forward to reading them every morning.
I want to use what’s in my closet and working with clusters helps to plan and visualize the combinations. It eliminates unnecessary purchases. This works for me as I work towards a functional minimalism.
Looks very comfy as well as stylish. And no one gives a rat’s whisker about “ugly” hiking footwear! Have a great time.
Thanks for taking this challenge and sharing your experience with us. Looking fabulous while combating climate change – you are a modern day heroine. I hope I can follow your example. Looking forward to your updates and creative combinations.
Looks good, my one piece of advice is culled from experience in Ireland last fall. My girlfriend brought boots that she found adequate for Ashland winters and scoffed at my suggestion they be truly waterproof. Well, she was miserable with wet cold feet the whole time. The boggy ground acts like a sponge and we were not near shops. I, on the other hand, with my waterproof Columbia walking shoes, was just fine.
I go to Ireland pretty often and I agree with this! Waterproof stuff is always useful in Ireland, but especially waterproof footwear, and winter is the wettest time of year. Also in the winter, make sure to bring warm socks – the country is nowhere near as cold as where I live, but somehow my feet are always cold there.
Have fun, Janet.
Replying to my own post .. just noticed I said Janet not Janice! I suspect an auto correct that I did not notice at first. Oops!
Ah Cat, I’m used to it… And I know it’s never on purpose!
You are making it tough for me ! I am in love with ALL. of your recent packing posts, and especially this one, but it’s so hard to pick a favorite ! The clusters post probably wins ! It’s how I think for packing ! Thank you, thank you for showing the various strategies for travel packing ! Keep ‘em coming !
Oh! I have a velvet dress story. I attended a fancy wedding in Chicago. Church followed by chef’s table dinner at Ambria. I was nervous. I was menopausal. I started sweating halfway through dinner and my gorgeous, thrifted, velvet dress was soaked! So, you’re all warned! These capsules are perfect! I’m bookmarking this post! -Lily
Hi Janice! I didn’t see the source for the black flats and am in the market for a comfy pair. Thanks!
Mine are from Arche – I had to buy them in Paris when a pair of loafers that I’d been wearing for YEARS suddenly got to be madly uncomfortable. (thus my advice to try on everything before you travel!) I look a little bit like a hobbit wearing them…
Look for a store called The Walking Company, and check for shoes there. I’ve had only good luck with them. And Hanig’s, here in Chicago, has an amazing selection of comfortable shoes. I can recommend both stores without hesitation!
warm warm hugs (today’s the day for them!)
You’re a dear, thanks! And brr from Minneapolis–be safe!
Kathleen Doherty says
I just love your choices. These are my colors with maybe a little cobalt blue thrown in now and then.
Have a wonderful time in Ireland.
Do you think Arche runs wide?
Yes – I find them not at all narrow!
I admire your commitment to no shopping and I am trying to do the same. Failed in January, but just a little bit. Re-committing for February! I’ve also re-arranged all of my clusters into groups of 4, which seems to work better for the way I dress – but I can’t keep it down to 5 groups of 4 to match your 20. Going as minimal as I can stand gets me to 7 groups of 4 or 28. Well, I’m a newbie at this. :-) You’re the pro and a great inspiration!
Everybody’s clusters and wardrobes will look different – don’t sweat trying to do it exactly the way that I do!
I’m doing the no new clothes in 2019, too!!! Allowing shoes and accessories – baby steps. ☺️ I mentioned to my husband that I might take this into 2020! It’s so freeing to just delete all the emails (sorry Talbots). When I told him this, the stinker said, “Get through January and see how you’re doing.” My bank account is liking it, too! ☺️
Have a great trip!
Unsubscribing from emails is an essential part of making this work – as is hiding ads on Instagram and any other place that they confront you constantly. We don’t have to read everything they want to send us, do we?
I love your blog Janice and just wanted to say I hope you are staying as warm as you can in Chicago at the moment. I’ve been reading about the polar vortex and looking at the icy river online and it looks ferocious there. (In contrast, in Australia, we’ve had a number of days over 45 C (113 F) which is ferocious in the opposite way.) I hope everyone in places of extreme temperature is able to keep safe and dress for the conditions. Your very sensible blog really helps with this.
I’m not leaving the building today! The building where we live has a gym, pool, grocery store, laundry room etc etc so leaving isn’t really necessary for those of us who work from home!
Keeping our apartment warm is a challenge – we have massive windows that are NOT very thermally efficient. Oh well…
Mary E Jackson says
What a wonderful post – these are my colors and styles. Do you ever worry about the shades of black not blending/matching close enough? I know that different textures will help, but I’m just curious. Have a wonderful trip and hope you are keeping warm in this frigid cold weather.
I never worry about black matching, unless it’s an identical fabric, and in my wardrobe that never happens! And more and more I’m not as concerned about shades of navy; when you visit Europe you’ll see men wearing all shades of navy without a care in the world!
Chris from Indy says
I failed at my resolution for no more shopping in January – insecurity about workwear at a new client made me second guess my standard work uniform. Turns out I worried for nothing –
Am recommitting to no shopping in February – the bank account needs a break and I have plenty of clothes!!
I spoke with a colleague who wears black pants.every.single.day. I admire her consistency! I’m not so crazy about black anymore so I just need to find “my” dark neutral and run with it.
Thanks so much for inspiration!!
Congratulations on your first month without shopping. Also thank you for a very helpful post. Have a great trip!
Chris M says
I just wanted to say thanks for the Blondo ankle boots recommendation. I went to Nordstrom’s Rack last week and immediately recognized these boots — in gray suede, my go-to color! I was so excited, they fit like a dream and were 1/3 off. It was quite the deal. They are bringing me joy. Next, step … decluttering my current closet.
Carol S says
Just my tiny opinion and what I personally do (and nobody has to do what I do)… I think that with the no buying clothes and shopping your wardrobe should also be the other side of the equation – not throwing out what is in your wardrobe if it is wearable. Clothes in less clothes out = total clothes in wardrobe. My aim is to not buy clothes and only throw clothes out if they are worn out. I am retired and don’t go out much. Very warm hugs from Down Under.
Diane Mansell says
I always follow your posts with interest from the UK and I can honestly say that you have changed the way I dress and organise my clothes.
On your trip to Ireland, don’t forget to take at least one pair of gloves. I would recommend 2 though; one purely for warmth and a second pair for evening/town wear.
FLORIDA, FLORIDA, FLORIDA! I live here and need more ideas for dressing with a flare in horrible heat. Layers are not practical here.
Pam Snowdon says
I was so excited to see this blog. I started my no-buy year on January 1, with a commitment to not buy new clothes or accessories this year. I’m shopping my own closet, inspired by you, Janice, and by Hannah Louise Poston on YouTube. Like Hannah, I’m also not buying colour cosmetics (e.g. eye shadow, lipstick, blush), only replacing things like foundation when I absolutely run out. One month in, I feel quite calm. I visited the mall earlier this week, which I had avoided since Boxing Day, and felt proud of myself for not spending any money. Instead, I looked at it as a field trip to get some fresh inspiration for my own closet. I think the calmness comes from feeling like I’m using the creative side of my brain, rather than the stressed out, reactive side. It’s not a no-spend year; I intend to still spend my hard-earned money on experiences (like massages!), just not on those categories where I was making impulse purchases mindlessly. Good luck with your no-buy year, Janice!
Massages! Heck yes… And plane tickets – lots of plane tickets…
Brilliant! Finally a method I can practically follow, and wish I’d thought of the “no shopping in 2019” resolution on NYE.. Our wardrobes are quite alike, helpful. I’m very much looking for your next publication (and probably dumping other fails).
Also. Am heading to Israel mid-February, with only marginally more pleasant weather conditions forecast so I will put your plan to a test. Ireland is lovely, enjoy!!!
Great Idea! I am also trying to “shop my closet” this year! Will incorporate the cluster concept! Good luck next month! :)
Only one pair of earrings??? I’m not sure I could do that :-)