My Style Goals for 2021 + Setting Clothing Budgets

karen millen forever dress styled with the curated coat in blog post about setting clothing budgets

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The beginning of each year is always abuzz with excitement, and I’m definitely feeling it this year thanks to the annus horribilis that was 2020.  Turning over a leaf in a new year is always a great way to set goals for the year ahead – whether they be financial, career or style focused.  I’ve given consideration to all of these, and in this post, I’m going to share with you my style goals for the year. 

Karen Millen dress (sz 8), The Curated coat* (sz XS), Dior slingbacks (preloved here), Celine bag (review here, shop pre-loved here and here, micro size version), Ray Ban sunglasses

Before setting any style goals, I always have my financial goals set for the year – it’s something my husband and I square away at the start of every year.  With dependants and more responsibilities in the mix, I can confidently say that I know where all our money is going which helps us inch closer to realising our goals, and most importantly – provides clarity as to how much I can spend on clothing for the year!  That hasn’t always been the case and I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t always have the healthiest approach when it came to my finances.  When it came to spending money on clothing, particularly in the early years of my career, the proportion of my take-home pay that I used to spend on clothing was substantial (ie. all). 

Karen Millen dress (sz 8), The Curated coat* (sz XS), Dior slingbacks (preloved here), Celine bag (review here, shop pre-loved here and here, micro size version), Ray Ban sunglasses

There’s a lot of literature out there from financial advisors about budgeting and the amounts to allocate to clothing.  The usual ranges are between 2 to 7% of your income, with most financial advisors saying around 5% of your take-home pay.  Finding this exact dollar amount is simple – multiply your take-home pay by 0.05.  (For example, if your monthly take-home pay is $5,000, you should be spending no more than $250 per month and if your take home pay is $10,000, you should be spending no more than around $500 per month.)  I recognise everyone has a unique financial position and you’re best placed to judge what’s best for your situation, but if you’ve yet to go through a budgeting exercise, I find the 5% guide to be helpful when setting clothing budgets, particularly if you succumb easily to temptation when having a browse at the shops.

As you can glean from the style goals I set for myself last year, I keep things pretty general.  For me, it’s setting a general approach to shopping and personal style that ultimately frames my style-related decisions for the year – whether it’s adding new pieces to my wardrobe, shopping my wardrobe or selling pieces to make way for new items that align better with my style.  Setting style goals for myself enables me to make the most with what I’ve got, and keeps me on the path to staying within my budget and on track with our family goals.

So let’s get to it. 

karen millen forever dress styled in blog post about setting clothing budgets

Karen Millen dress (sz 8), Dior slingbacks (preloved here), Celine bag (review here, shop pre-loved here and here, micro size version), Ray Ban sunglasses

#1 – Shop second hand

More often than not, I fall in love with the fancier things in life that do always not fall within my budget! While these luxe pieces may have been on my wishlist for some time, it doesn’t always mean that they will one day form part of my collection – it is a wishlist after all.  That said, the secondhand market puts a lot of these items within reach.  And with a surge in secondhand purchasing (particularly during our respective lockdowns) and a boom of secondhand stockists and consignors – it’s a great way to shop and it’s thoroughly rewarding.  

Last year, I managed some amazing secondhand purchases – my Celine Seau Sangle Bag and my Dior J’Adior slingbacks.  Both pieces have been a joy to wear.  I also contributed to the “circle of life” (ahhhh savenyaaaa) and bid farewell to my Celine Luggage Tote and Prada Saffiano Bag as they weren’t getting the wear they deserved.  And while there are obvious setbacks to shopping second hand as it requires you to be a more discerning shopper in order to navigate the risks, I consider the pros far outweigh the cons.  You can see my tips for shopping pre-loved bags here

#2 – Consider my actual life, not my dream life

I’ve made this mistake a few times (particularly since having kids) where I buy pieces for a dream existence, which are rather impractical in reality.  I guess this forms part of the equation when your personal style boundaries shift as your lifestyle evolves and for me, the biggest shock to my personal style was having kids which invariably meant that my body had changed.  While I was in denial for some months (and struggled with my changed body and the loss of my style identity for some time), I’ve since embraced the more casual nature of my off-duty style and evolved my wardrobe to suit my actual life.  

Including this point as a style goal just means that I’m going to keep at the forefront of my mind that I should be dressing for me, my shape and my lifestyle.  Dressier dresses and occasionwear, as glam as they are, just don’t work for chasing after the kids!

#3 – Prioritise the key pieces

For me, this means investing in and maintaining the key pieces in my wardrobe and conducting regular wardrobe purges to ensure I get the most wear out of the pieces that matter.  In conducting regular wardrobe clear outs last year (with all the increased time at home), it allowed me to hone in on the pieces that I enjoy wearing the most – like knits, tailored pieces and elevated basics. 

I’d love to hear of any style goals or resolutions that you’ve made for the year and whether you set clothing budgets for yourselves.

As always, thanks for stopping by!

P.S. My favourite outfits of 2020 and the best (and worst) luxury purchases of 2020.



  1. January 17, 2021 / 9:54 am

    Love this blog piece! I struggle with pre planning my purchases so I inevitably pick up random pieces when I get the chance to be at the shops with the kids…I need to stop!! Any tips?? 🙂

    • January 17, 2021 / 1:01 pm

      I find it really hard to resist temptation when at the shops too, but if it’s something I really like, I’ll ask for it to be set aside for me for a day or two so I can think about it and go back if I really want it 🙂

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