French Wardrobe Challenge update

I'm now two months into the French Wardrobe Challenge, and I must admit, I'm not doing too well. 

The concept of investing in basics seemed like a green light to go and buy three pairs of black shoes. Only I didn't stop there, I also found some cute sandals on clearance at TJMaxx and bought those, debating as to whether they should count because they are sandals and therefore a summer shoe? 

Also under the possible heading of summer, navy eyelet shorts from J.Crew factory, which I waited patiently for to go on clearance, and a scalloped crop top from Topshop. The crop top was not worth the $20 spent, however visions of it with a white pencil skirt next summer clouded my judgement, and I also think the return label got thrown away.  

As for the other, definitively fall clothing purchases, black coated skinny jeans fall squarely under the category of a basic, but the skyline dress and the geometric print sweater probably do not. 

However, I suppose that doesn't much matter, since in two months I've managed to spend 80% of the $500 budget I allotted myself for six months. Furthermore, I placed a Piperlime/Old Navy order yesterday, which if I decide to keep, will account for the remainder. 

Perhaps this budget was unreasonable, but it shouldn't have been. I'm not in a position to be spending a lot on clothes right now, and I am also immensely fortunate to get to work with brands who gift me products I genuinely love, and a big part of me feels like it should be enough. 

If nothing else, this has made it quite evident that my shopping habit has gotten a bit out of hand, and it would probably be for the best if I didn't shop for the next four months. While I'm not sure if I can manage that, I really need to work harder at managing my purchases. 

Judge me if you will, here is the price breakdown. It's including any taxes paid or shipping charges, but excluding gift cards.

Easy Spirit black ballet flats - $32
Elie Tahari for Kohl's skyline dress - $44
Topshop scalloped crop top - $20
J.Crew Factory navy eyelet shorts - $26
Joe's Jeans black coated skinny jeans - $70 $6.63 (GC used)
Elie Tahari animal print sandals $41.47
L. Mae plaid crop top - $32.40 $7 (GC used + shipping costs)
Charles by Charles David heels - $48.88
C.Wonder evil eye bracelet - $20
J.Crew Factory Sweater - $22
Forever 21 rings - $7 $0 (GC used)
Avon gold pendant necklace - $7
Nine West black suede booties - $63.76

Total: 395.50

Remaining budget: $104.50

new clothes.jpgnew shoes.jpgjewels.jpg


  1. budgeting while having a fashion blog is hard. I have a $75/month one I try to stick to. Thankfully having pieces gifted to me helps a lot, but I still struggle with it. I am always trying to tell myself to really think about what I need verses what I want and to buy classics.

    xo, Amy Ann
    The Real Arnolds

  2. I love all of these finds, especially the plaid top with jeweled embellishment on the neckline. I'm also really liking the Puma sneakers!

  3. Yea, you definitely shopped a lot this month, but you got some great pieces!

  4. That's why I love these challenges, they really help you realize how much you actually spend. Honestly I think I failed last season, but I've made a lot of progress as well. So keep up with it, it's an eye opener when you document everything you buy. You did get some cute stuff though I'm on a sneaker kick and I love your new pumas.

    <a href=""

  5. PUMA SNEAKERS!! No, this is exceptionally relevant to me - I just posted about my lust for my oldschool Pumas on my blog last week (not even gonna try to linkbait you). But I just had to comment to say I LOVE those dang sneakers (and the rest of your shoes) and it's an honor to be alongside you in StyleCaster's list of Top Budget Fashion Bloggers. :) xo & nice to meet you!

    Broke & Beautiful

  6. Looks like you scored big and got a lot of amazing pieces with money to spare! Great job!

  7. You got some great stuff! Love those booties. I totally get it I need to take a shopping break.

  8. amazing things for the price you paid. i need to go shopping with you. i never find these kind of deals.
    have fun with that left over balance.


  9. Wow, doesn't it make you think, when you see it all laid out and written down. You shopped a lot, but got great pieces. I have actually been shopping the most this month, but it's normal for me to be way under budget, so a splurge for me this month was a good thing. :)
    Patterns and Comfort

  10. My first month I tracked, mostly just to see where I was in the scheme of things and how much I was spending. It was way out of control. At least tracking my spending let me know where I was and helped me to see where I needed to make changes and if I actually needed to purchase that item in my hands, especially having photos of what I took in.

  11. I sometimes get really out of hand too. But you did seem pretty judicious in what you bought, for the most part, and you got some good pieces. So, silver lining?

    Courtney ~ Sartorial Sidelines

  12. Wow, this post really resonates with me! Last night reading a story of a woman who gave up shopping for a YEAR, I was thinking about whether I should try a more moderate challenge to control my spending. But it seems so difficult, doesn't it? You got some great stuff, though.

  13. All of those are good deals! And that is my fall, also. I have a monthly budget that I spend regularly within the first 15 days. Then I try to be really good, but it's very hard. I find it helpful to pin things I want on my Pinterest wishlist until I'm clear again. It's therapeutical. Also I've tried to actively start shopping for the life I have rather than wish I had. Thirdly I've started experimenting less and buying things I know work for me in multiples. Color analysis also really helped make everything in my wardrobe match so I get a lot more wear out of everything!

  14. Wow you got some great finds! I feel ya tho--we are saving for moving and it has been really hard to cut back on shopping! It seems silly even saying that because I know in my head I have more than enough clothes. But, then I see something cute and its like a free for all ha!


  15. Oh my goodness, I love all these picks so much. The jewelry is absolutely stunning,and I love the plaid shirt.

  16. Great planning! Inspires me to do the same.
    Kendra Scott Giveaway on the blog.

  17. Thanks for sharing your honest experience with budgeting and the French wardrobe! I do think you got some really great pieces though, like those black booties. Those are perfection. The black skinny jeans too, I'm sure those will get a lot of wear.

  18. You found some beautiful items that I think you'll get a lot of mileage out of. I do think it's hard to do the French Wardrobe Challenge on a budget, since a lot of it is about "investing" in items you'll have for a long time. I don't even want to add the money I spent when I did it. I've been a little bit more reasonable with my spending now that I'm back to a regular budget. (But Oct. was out of control and I need to rein it in for the next four months.)

  19. There are some months it is just impossible to stick to your budget. These past two months have been like that for me, too. I should probably go on a shopping ban, but I just don't want to miss out!

  20. AH you got some great pieces for some great deals! I've also been trying to limit my spending lately and I guess just living far away from downtown Chicago where all the shopping is has been so helpful in taking my mind off from it!

    <(') Hoda | JooJoo Azad

  21. I appreciate that you recognizes you could scale back on shopping a bit. You have a lot of beautiful clothes. My suggestion would be to find something else to fill your time with, lots of down time means lots of shopping opportunities, at least in my book :)

  22. Drooling over all those shoes! Having a budget is good because it helps you see how much you're truly spending on clothes each month. I tend to spend more at the beginning of a new season.

    The Tiny Heart
    Visa Giveaway!

  23. Ouch… well, I would have probably bought all the shoes too.
    You've got to realise that having a big blog like yours might make shopping more tempting.
    By unsubscribing and going less to the mall on weekends i have been able to cut down a bit-
    My problem now is that I buy more expensive stuff...

  24. Budgets are definitely hard to stick to, especially with fashion and a blog. Such a great idea you did here. And looking at your pictures, seems like you have done a good job. Love all your picks!


  25. I appreciate the idea behind the French wardrobe challenge, but I find its constraints immensely hard to live with in North America. When I lived in France, a 300 square foot apartment that could feel crowded simply if we brought home too many groceries, investing in pieces I loved and would be happy wearing over and over made sense, because there was simply no room for anything else. I firmly believe that we fill the space we inhabit, and since we've come home, my commitment to quality hasn't waned but my wardrobe has grown exponentially. While there are so many arguments to be made for minimalism, the reality that you're not only trying to change the habits of a lifetime and, also, cultural constructs. Our continent is, after all, the land of plenty and to go without here seems almost absurd. If nothing else, you've learned from this experiment and could try again another season.

  26. I've shopped twice this year (winter/summer) and the second time managed to trim my initial shopping list twice. I've found that Cuyana's "lean closet" frame of mind is very helpful. But also, before it sounds like it's easy-peasy, let me say that it has taken me 7 years to reach this mindful consumer state where I feel I'm in control of my clothes and not the other way around...

  27. you did spend a lot but you also got a lot. love the shows and gold pendant. wear everything in great health Lydia.

  28. well, if you ask me, you are doing well! nice purchases! especially love the plaid top and black booties!

    a possible fantasy
    find me on twitter

  29. i keep a fashion & local events blog and i tend to spend more on the events (food drinks etc) than on clothes.

    those shoes are kind of amazing though. i wouldn't be able to resist getting them all!!

    Animated Confessions

  30. At least you bought some lovely pieces! :)

    I think shopping challenges are hard, especially if you've never had a budget before to work with. But you gain experience and you learn a lot about your shopping habits as a result of taking up the challenge, so that's good!

    You could always just return that recent piperlime purchased, unopened, to still have some money left in your budget?

    Even if you didn't meet the goals of the challenge, you've learned something about yourself and you can decide what to do with that next :)

    Away From The Blue

  31. Lyddie,

    Only you can sport a baseball cap and look so chic. Hope you're having a great start of the week :)

    xo, Tasha
    twenty-something blog