2023 Year In Review

Last updated on December 30th, 2023 at 02:30 pm

Happy almost new year! Keeping up with tradition, this post features hits, misses, and a reflection on shopping over the past year. You can find my previous year-in-review posts here. I’ll start with my hits and misses first!

Hits

White Button Down Shirts

I’ve fully fallen down the rabbit hole – several have been on consistent rotation, especially with RTO this year. In the summer months, my ARKET Cotton Gauze Shirt (similar here) and Quince Linen Shirt were great for both high AC offices and hot weather travel. More recently, I’ve been layering the Quince Poplin Shirt (purchased pre-loved) underneath chunky sweaters. Last but not least, the Find Me Now semi-sheer version brings me such joy, it’s very wearable with a tank underneath!

Relaxed Leg Pants

Over time, I’ve found that high-waisted relaxed leg pants are the most flattering for my short-torsoed body type. My two favorite jeans this year were both pre-loved purchases: Still Here Rainbow Jeans (love the fun paint stripe detail), and these SLVRLAKE jeans. For a non-denim option, Everlane’s Organic Straight Leg are very comfortable, thanks to the 2% elastane.

Everlane Washable Silk

This past spring, I reviewed a few different brands of washable silk. Initially, I was underwhelmed by Everlane’s, until I realized that it is supposed to be tumble dried – which was a game changer. I am SO impressed by the thick material, which is wrinkle-free out of the dryer. So much so that I hunted down and purchased a secondhand one in ivory!

Inexpensive Skincare

I love Drunk Elephant’s polypeptide moisturizer, but find the price tag a little high given how quickly I go through it. After some Reddit sleuthing, enter Stratia Skincare. It seems I’m a few years behind, but hey better late than never! Their Interface Cream is a similar formulation to the DE cream, at less than half the cost. And their Lipid Gold cream has helped improve my skin’s moisture, reducing the flakiness I used to get from using tretinoin.

Clothing Rentals

With work and social activities picking back up, I decided to try Nuuly’s clothing rental subscription and have really enjoyed it (review here). If anything, I wish I had started earlier, to curb some of the vacation spending mentioned below. I can see myself subscribing for 4-5 months out of the year, especially around summer and the winter holidays.

I’ve also recently started using By Rotation, a peer-to-peer lending marketplace with an emphasize on contemporary luxury brands. It’s really big in the UK, and just launched in the US earlier this year. So far, I’ve rented out a few items with a fairly smooth experience – I plan to write a full review soon!

Misses

Secondhand Shopping Fails

I was happy with the vast majority of my online secondhand purchases this year, but inevitably there were a few misses. This unfortunately comes with the territory with online thrifting, as most sellers do not accept returns. While I typically stick with brands or styles I’ve had the chance to try on before, it can be limiting at times.

Alas, it didn’t quite work out with a metallic top purchased for a Beyonce concert, and a ruffled knit tank dupe for this Find Me Now version. I’m trying to rehome the former, but may need to donate if there are no bites soon. Another fail was a workout top that I misread the sizing on, which was 100% my fault /facepalm

Quince Mini Slip Dress

I completely understand the thousands of positive reviews for both the mini and midi versions of this dress – who doesn’t love a washable silk slip, perfect for a multitude of occasions? It’s a very flattering cut, adding curves for those of us with a straighter body shape. However, after washing I found that it shrank ever so slightly – just enough for the hips to be too snug, resulting in bunching at the waistline. Sizing up would make the bust too loose for me, so I ultimately rehomed it.

HOFF Sneakers

Purchased from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, I tried this in two different sizes but it was a miss for me and returned. The interior platform makes this a pretty stiff shoe. And while I loved the colorway, it just wasn’t as comfortable as my Sam Edelman sneakers in a similar style.

Songmont Luna Bag in Jade

To be fair, categorizing this purchase as a “miss” is stretching the definition somewhat. As mentioned in my review here, I believe this bag is a great value for its price! The leather is pliable yet sturdy, and it’s extremely functional with the multiple styling options. And Jade is a gorgeous color; however, it’s one that I have a hard time pairing with outfits so I don’t reach for it as much as I should. Originally, I was eyeing the Topaz yellow, but it was sold out at the time – I’m debating switching to this in the spring.

Reflection & Learnings

Re-reading my 2022 post, I realized I never actually posted my intentions for the year, ha. After failing to adhere by my 1-1-1 monthly rule (1 new, 1 pre-loved, 1 handmade) in 2022, I was hesitant to set strict guidelines again. Especially knowing that my lifestyle would likely continue to change this year as well.

Instead, my main goal was to increase my secondhand purchases as a percentage of total shopping. In 2023, 41% of my purchases were secondhand, an increase from 33% in 2022. So, I’m pretty happy about that!

However, my overall number of items bought also increased as well. This was primarily driven by three reasons:

  • Travel: Our big trip to Portugal, Spain & London earlier this summer kicked off with a friend’s black-tie wedding weekend. I bought a few formalwear pieces and accessories in preparation, with some extraneous shopping abroad.
  • Special events: I was lucky to attend Beyonce’s Renaissance Tour on a girl’s trip, where we dressed in our best silver get-up to answer Queen B’s virgo season call. I bought most of these items secondhand, and was able to re-home my silver blazer pretty quickly afterwards.
  • New hobbies: In the fall, we decided to try our hand at pickleball! We took an 8-week beginner group lesson, and have really enjoyed it as a lighthearted exercise activity. With this, came the need for new footwear and exercise skorts.

In retrospect, I don’t necessarily regret these. But, leveraging a clothing rental service like Nuuly would have been perfect for the first two use cases. For 2024, I’d like to lean more on rentals instead of purchases (even secondhand) for one-time and seasonal events.

Would love to hear if you have any suggestions, or similar reflections over the past year!

Partnership Disclosure: This blog post was not sponsored by any of the brands listed above. As always, all opinions are my own. This post may contain affiliate links, in which I earn a commission on purchases.

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Im Kristy, a marketer based in sometimes-sunny San Francisco ⛅ This is my personal blog, where you will find my random musings, in-depth reviews, and latest sewing endeavors.

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