2020 Shopping Insights

Photo one from right to left: Madewell Cotton Scarf, Hermès ‘Kawa Ora’ scarf, Isabel Marant ‘Gemma Dress, Madewell Whisper Cotton Tee, Massimo Dutti Navy suit, Veja Esplar sneakers, Vintage Quilted Purse, Madewell Journey Dress. Photo two from left to right: Vintage Bally bag, Soeur Eden blouse, Gabor Greta Sandals, Jonak patent leather ‘capucine’ booties, Madewell 9” inch rise skinnies, Masscob Norman Jacket , 14k gold drop earrings.

With 2020 being overall a stressful year but not nearly as stressful as 2019, I didn’t so great on the budget front for my shopping. I definitely exceeded my original budget if one includes my beauty shopping by 200 euro -not communal toiletries, just stuff for me. That said, I didn’t surpass the 5% of my income in spending that many economists or personal finance experts suggest for clothing and beauty purchases. I’ve decided for the coming year that 5% is still a good limit to account for lifestyle inflation as my income starts to (hopefully) exponentially increase again. That being noted, I definitely want to limit impulse purchases.

However, I managed to fulfill pretty much my big wardrobe goals.  I still have lingering replacement and wishlist purchases but of course that is for this year.  I also managed to acquire some items that were really reach/dream wishlist items but I ended up finding them for decent prices which I’m very pleased about. I’ve listed in hopefully not too much detail (brevity is not my forté) in this post what are my best and worst purchases this past year as well as some insights on my purchasing psychology.


Masscob Norman Jacket

Definitely my favorite purchase of the year by far.  It was on the 5 Piece Wardrobe/Wishlist section of my shopping budget this year but I didn’t think this particular jacket would show up secondhand so quickly. It’s a jacket model from S/S 2019 that I loved right away and while I had the money then to buy, I didn’t have the will. Mainly due to impending travel expenses, so it I let it sell out and prayed to the secondhand gods that they would give me their favor.😛   Last summer, I had far more work than I intended on taking on so by the end of the summer I was nearing burn out.  My mother also pointed out that I very rarely really make a big purchase for myself ( true)  and she hoped that with some of my new savings I would at least treat myself. Which I did once I saw this jacket show up on Vestiaire Collective. I’ve been fan of the website for years but never took the plunge. I’m not sure if I would ever buy luxury through this channel but I think they are great site if you looking for mid-end independent brands  that usually only show up in concept stores/multi-brand boutiques or high-end retail sites à la Matches Fashion or FarFetch.

Madewell Silk Journey Dress

I never thought I would have the shot at buying this dress.  I originally got a Uniqlo silk LBD before this came out but if I had a choice in model for a casual silk LBD, it would be this one. Unfortunately, my Uniqlo version was stolen at the laundromat along with some other sentimental items ( like a dress I had just received from my sister) several eyars ago. I had been hemming and hawing about ordering from the US via ebay/poshmark and then hoping that I would pick it up sooner rather than later or gritting my teeth on shipping and duty charges. Eventually the dress showed up on Vinted for such a good price that I don’t think I ever bought something from Vinted as quickly as I did then. It was regularly worn this past summer and into the fall. So happy to have one of my foundation pieces back in my wardrobe.

Madewell High Riser Skinny – Black

Another foundation piece that I was able to pick up for a great price on Vinted. I love the seller’s rationale that she had too many Madewell pairs of jeans which is why she was selling it to me. After Uniqlo no longer being my standby and not wanting to shell out 40+ euros on secondhand Frame again or 60+ for Mother jeans on average, I was able to try out Madewell jeans finally at a good price. The jeans did not disappoint. I’m a definite fan and now Madewell jeans are something I regularly look out for on the secondhand market.

Overall my best purchases were more or less planned via my replacements or 5 French Piece Wardrobe Wishlist. The Masscob jacket was a nice surprise – I wasn’t expecting for a boxy plaid blazer that I would buy be the model I lusted after in 2019 but I’m pleased that I got exactly what I had envisioned.


With planning and budgeting out my shopping wardrobe, I tend to not make any mistakes but of course they still happen. Here are my top 3 worst purchases:

Gabor Sandals Grata

These sandals were to replace my Rainbow flips flops as a comfortable summer shoe. I love my Lanvin wedges but they are too delicate for constant wear. The sandsals filled my need but aesthetically I felt much more let down than I thought. They also have never really managed to break in despite my hard step and the shoes are already showing real wear. This brand came strongly recommended in France FB groups but finally these sandals weren’t for me or my fussy feet. Next time I’m spending extra money to get the model that I keep pining over which is Castaner’s Joyce Model for wedges or a new pair of Rainbows once this pair die which will probably be by next summer.

Vintage Bally Croc Bag

I realized while looking back on my purchases that I tend make far more impulse purchases at the end of the year. It’s not necessarily a bad thing if the item is something that has been lingering on my wishlist for awhile.This purchase was one of them. I was looking for a croc bag but there are several bags I really wanted before this type like a smooth box burgundy type.  I thought I saw a good deal via Vestiaire Collective and it would fit seamlessly into my wardrobe. I even made outfits on the Polyvore 2.0 website that I used. In the end, it wasn’t something  that really works well mainly due to its size which had been listed on the listing but given that this purchase was more impulsive, I definitely made an oversight on this point. However it was a good learning lesson. I learned that for bags I tend to go in extremes – I only want small crossbodies or voluminous rectangular totes. Medium size bags I’m the most picky on and very few models would make the cut and they are clearly out of my price range (which is Celine Box Small or Hermès 28 Kelly ) . So I plan on selling this bag on.

Isabel Marant Gemma Dress

Before the Madewell Silk Journey Dress showed up, I was looking for an LBD and I had this dress model saved as a favorite on my Vinted account for awhile. It had been on sale on the site for at least a year and during confinement, living out of a suitcase at my ‘in laws’ place helped me reflect on what holes I still had in my wardrobe. I had done research and read about how the dress ran slightly big. I just didn’t take into account that my size calculations had to take into account COVID weight gain -which despite trying to regularly work out was substantial.  Now that I have outside help ( a nutritionist) putting me back on good path to a lower and healthier weight, the dress fits better than before. I’m going to see if this spring/summer allows me to give it some real use.

So my worst purchases are typically a fit and proportions issue but that is the risk one takes on when buying secondhand sometimes. That said, Gabor has a store in Paris and I probably should have sought them out to try on first. I won’t be making this mistake when I’m looking for sandals again. Nor will I try to ‘settle’.

Challenges with incorporating gifts/hand-me-downs:
Although none of these items are not shown in the images at the beginning, I got a box of extra clothes from my mother as well as my old dresses (including a heirloom that has been passed down on my mother’s side of the family) from my father in the mail . In reality, my wardrobe count is far higher than I want it to be although in case of my my mother’s package, I need to give away/pass on more than I can keep. On the upside, these packages satisfied quite a bit of my replacements list for 2021 such as my need for exercise gear. On the other hand, I realized trying to incorporate hand me downs takes up a lot of mental space because I don’t like seeing things going to waste. It also lingers in my actual physical space – like now- which doesn’t help with my mental health.

That said, things that I picked out myself as gifts tend to be well cherished and loved – like my new Hermès scarf. I think the lesson learned is that I should stay as discriminating as possible and really make an effort to pass on items that do not suit me ASAP.

What insights did you manage to glean from your shopping habits this past year?

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