As the first cold days of fall set in, I felt rather distressed about the state of my fall/winter ten-item wardrobe. High-waisted skinny jeans don’t allow much room for weight fluctuation and mine were feeling a bit too tight for comfort! I wore a large hole in my beloved Elizabeth Suzann Florence pants, after wearing them four to five times a week for thirty-nine weeks (and washing them almost as often, due to small, sticky hands). I had recently purchased a couple of sweaters at the consignment store, which, once I got them home, I realized looked odd and frumpy on me. What was left of my cold-weather ten-item wardrobe from last year, coupled with my current budget, was not feeling like enough.

While it may sound overly-dramatic, I had to take a deep breath and reassess needs and wants and possibilities for change. Did I need to buy larger jeans, or could I stand to lose a couple of pounds and save the money? Did I need to buy a new pair of flowy, linen pants, or could I finally begin my goal of learning to sew clothes and make a new pair or two? Was I stuck with the clothes I bought at the consignment store or could I sell them on eBay?

While I’d love to trade in my skinny jeans for flowy jumpsuits or looser-fitting high-waisted pants, I’m hanging on to them for now and cutting back on dessert. ;) My mom has graciously helped me make a pattern from my worn-through linen pants and we’re going to sew up two or three pairs with linen yardage that she thrifted for $2-$4 a piece. We’ve started a pair in a pretty olive green linen and she also has black linen. I’ve posted a few items on eBay and, while the fees added up to more than I anticipated, I’m still glad that I sold some things instead of letting them sit. I’m taking a slow approach to putting together my wardrobe this year and trying to learn from and enjoy the process.

My budget for fall/winter 2017 is $300. For the six-month period of September through February, that averages out to $50 per month. So far, I’ve purchased one pair of shoes, one new long-sleeve t and one secondhand, plus one layering tank top and one pair of socks. The remaining $75.94 I’m reserving for fabric and patterns or secondhand sweaters, as I find time to sew or thrift. Here is my budget breakdown for the season, including tax:

Everlane Pima Long-Sleeve in Black $16
Smartwool Secret Sleuth Socks $13.18
Long-Sleeve T $16.72
Sam Edelman Petty Ankle Boots $125.35
Hanro Cotton Seamless V-Neck Tank $52.81
Unspent Cash $75.94
Total Cash Budget $300

A few notes on these purchases:

While a bit thinner than I had hoped, the Everlane Long-Sleeve is soft and nice and long.

The ankle boots were shoes that I’d had my eye on for three years, but I’m afraid they don’t adhere to the Fairdare goal I made at the beginning of the year. I have to humbly admit that I gave in to immediate gratification in this case, as I didn’t want to put more money toward a more expensive, ethically-made pair of ankle boots. I have certainly been feeling the tension between wanting to purchase new on certain items (such as shoes), wanting to purchase fair, and having a budget to adhere to. Furthermore, in my search for fairly-made ankle boots, I just couldn’t find much to choose from at the moment! The Elizabeth Suzann Suzi Boot in Limestone was the closest ethically-made thing I could find to the style and color, but it is no longer available. I tend to be able to make my shoes last a long time, and I find these to be really comfortable, so I hope to get many years of wear out of them. They’re the perfect color to wear with just about anything in my ten-item wardrobe for fall.

Before the Hanro tank arrived in the mail, I thought I would probably return it, because the price was steep for a tank. However, once I tried it on, I didn’t want to send it back! I love that it doesn’t have any seams on the side and the fabric and trim are high-quality. Also, it serves its purpose of making a couple of shirts work for me that weren’t working without another layer. I’m thinking of it as one would a nice bra—an item to care for and make last. Though, I’ve actually already washed it heavily, because watercolor that was marketed as “washable” was spilled on it and I had to soak the shirt in stain remover repeatedly to get the stains out. Thankfully, the fabric has held up nicely and has not pilled at all!

There are so many beautiful things to want. It would be so easy for me to spend another thousand or two, in a matter of minutes! However, my husband and I are working together toward meeting some financial goals, so this budget is set-in-stone. Not a penny more on clothes shopping until March 2018 or later! I stuck to my budget for spring/summer, so I know I can do it again! Posting about it on the internet helps strengthen resolve.

I will likely put together a complete ten-item wardrobe post in a month or two, once I’ve finished sewing some pants!

What about you? Have you done any fall shopping or sewing? If you have a capsule wardrobe/minimal wardrobe do you plan out and purchase everything at the beginning of the season, or spread out purchases over the duration of the season? I would love to hear in the comments below!

Note: If you sign up for an Everlane account and make a purchase through this Everlane link or purchase an item through an Amazon link, I will get a credit for the referral. Thank you for supporting Cedar & Bloom!

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Great breakdown! I love reading through these things and seeing real-life budgets, etc. I have purchased a cream tee and ochre everlane pants so far. I’m currently searching for ankle boots but I’m not sure what color I’m truly in need of, so I’m holding off til I get a better feel for the gap in my wardrobe. I want an oatmeal cardigan. I have plans to sew some midi skirts with my mom but now I want to make pants too! Wish I had a template like your working from…share the after results when you’re done!


You are always so impressive in this department! The money goes so quickly, doesn’t it! Ugh. I’m so excited for you to sew your pants! It will make your ES purchase more worth it too. And thrifted linen!! Woohoo! I have a couple of those Everlane pima tees that have held up well. Finding fair sweaters that I like + that don’t make me sneeze has been tough for me…probably doesn’t help that I know exactly what I want. :) I love your boots + I think you made the right call…fair, new ones definitely could have eaten up your entire budget. Just for future reference (or maybe not) :) Sevilla Smith makes the boots for ES. Her website offers so many choices + they may even be a little cheaper. Thank you as always for sharing this! It’s so interesting to hear about other people’s efforts + approach!! :)


Oh, maybe you could even make a pair of ES pants out of a lightweight, flowy denim…they always have a selection at JoAnn + you can always get at least 40% off with the mailer coupons. Just a thought. :)

Mandee Pontasch​​
Mandee Pontasch​​

How do you plan and purchase for your kids’ wardrobe?


Thank you, Heather! I appreciate the budget breakdown…helps me know that decent, delightful clothing IS available on a slim budget! Being due with Baby Boy #2 in December, I’m trying to assess what winter maternity clothes to buy that might also be worn through the rest of winter after he’s born. (Of course, living in Alabama, true “winter” weather isn’t nearly as long as you have in CO!)
Well done on pursuing your goal of learning to sew!! You are truly an inspiration to me. :)


It’s been a couple years since I’ve committed to the ten item wardrobe, but your posts are quite inspiring. I generally look for things throughout the year. I’m not as methodical as I should be. I basically have decided that I really only need a white button down and a nice pair of brown boots. I do have some things to post on Poshmark, but I am getting so lazy about do in it. 😔 I think I need 6 interchangeable pieces for church and 8-10 interchangeable pieces for the week plus my extras. We’ll see.


Love it, Heather. Your taste is so inspiring.


This is great. And I would love to see the pants you are working on, as well as any other additions. I am badly in need of some inspiration in this department!


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