I’m probably the last person that you’d expect to write about building a wardrobe, on a budget or otherwise. It’s not that I don’t wear clothes obviously, but I’ve just never been too interested in the whole shopping process. So the possibility that I may have wasted a lot of money by following my non-shopping method is a given.
But about three years ago, I went through a major purge of my closet. It was pretty obvious that I hadn’t been following any guidelines for building a wardrobe. All I can say is, “Oh my goodness, ‘if only I’d known…”!
By the time I was done, I had five large size garbage bags full of clothes to drop off at the thrift store. Most in very good shape, but the wrong colour, the wrong size, the wrong style…..really just a whole lot of ‘wrong’!
Layers of Dust and Other Discards…
There was even one jacket that had hung there for fifteen years and had been worn once. And that’s not an exaggeration for effect. Periodically, I’d take it out to shake off the fuzzy grey layer of dust that was building up on the shoulders. But I never put it on again. Instead, I would just tuck it back in behind the other things that I couldn’t pry loose from my life. Once in a while I’d catch sight of it and toy with the idea of getting rid of it, but instead, I’d just decide not to think about it one more time. For some weird reason, that little jacket seemed to have me by the throat. But this time, finally, it joined the rest of the discards…… I was very proud of me.
Building a Wardrobe vs. Random Collecting…
Now I know that you are probably going through the very same thing. After a lifetime of collecting random clothes instead of building a wardrobe that works, you’ve got your closetful of unlovable’s. And on a regular basis, you think about how nice it would be to make some space and then when you stand in front of the open doors, you go blank and totally stall.
Being Fearless and Rules to Go By….
Have no fear, I’m here to help. I’m going to give you the guidelines that will make the whole process a lot simpler. ‘Rules’ that will take the emotion out of it and get you on the road to freedom from feeling guilty because of wasted money, both now and in the future. After all, if you can figure out exactly what you do like (the things you’re keeping) and WHY you’re dumping the rest, there’s a real good likelihood that there’ll be fewer mistakes down the road. Does that sound reasonable? So let’s get started.
GUIDELINES FOR BUILDING A WARDROBE THAT’S BETTER THAN EVER BEFORE!
- Recognize that a purge is necessary before you can start building a wardrobe and set aside a morning to begin. With your bags or boxes beside you, throw open those closet doors and get started.
- As you’re starting, there’s a few things to take into consideration. The first is your age. Hate to tell you dear, but there are some things that just don’t suit us. We’re too old to pull it off. The too short skirt, the too tight blouse to top it, the neckline that is reminiscent of Jennifer Lopez at the Grammies. They’ve gotta go. I’m not saying you have to dress like a grannie, just that you can’t get away with dressing like your granddaughter. Besides, we have something to offer that’s beautiful and spectacularly individual so why try to copy someone else right? Building a wardrobe is as unique to you, as it is to the next person.
What Do You Love?
- Take out the things you love. I’d be willing to bet that they are all at the front of the closet, within easy reach. Or the top three or four items in that massive pile of t-shirts and sweaters. Lay them out on the bed so that you can see them (and be inspired!).
- Ask yourself why you love those things. It’s going to be a combination of colour, fit and style. What you’re doing right now, is identifying those factors. Once you’ve pinpointed them, it’s easier to keep those features in mind the next time you’re trying to decide on another purchase. That’s instead of being carried away by an impulse. After all, it’s past impulses that are going to fill your discards bags and that’s a habit you intend to break right?
Are You Hot? Or Are You Cold?
- Now this is something that is very easy to spot as those favourites are laying there, if you haven’t already figured it out. Do you gravitate towards warm colours or cool colours? It’s very easy to tell yourself that you should buy a blouse because it’s a beautiful pink and you’ve got some pink in your closet already, but there’s a difference between how a ‘warm’ shade will look on you compared to a ‘cool’ one. All skin colours are not created equal nor are all pinks, or blues, or greens the same. Cool vs. warm, which are you?
Little White Dogs and Your Lifestyle Needs…
- Consider all the different aspects of your current lifestyle. If you still work, if you’re retired but still active, do you have pets? Do you like outdoor activities or do you prefer pursuits that keep you inside? All these things are important considerations when you’re building a wardrobe. For example, I have a little white dog and a black cat and I keep them in mind when I’m shopping. Right there explains why I wear a lot of grey by the way. So if pet hair is likely to stick and show up on a top, I’ll chose something else. So lifestyle! Don’t forget it when you’re deciding.
Distractions, Affection and Vanity…
- Standing in front of a mirror, decide which features you’d like to enhance and which you’d like to distract attention from. Even at my age, there are parts of me that I still haven’t grown an affection for. And no, I’m not going to tell you which they are and yes, I know, so vain, so vain. But here’s the thing. Having figured this out just recently, I’ve finally learned to look for a style of top that is different than what I used to get. Where I used to wear a lot of t-shirts tucked in, now I look for softly draping tunics. The result is that I’m more comfortable and less self conscious. So instead of thinking about ‘those parts’, I can relax and enjoy whatever I’m doing at the moment. You need to choose styles that enhance your best aspects and downplay the areas you’re self conscious about.
Essentials, Plumbers Butt and Lifestyles?
- This sort of goes along with the ‘lifestyle’ question up above. As you are at the start of building a wardrobe, make a mental note of which are the essentials that you must have. If you work in an office, there’s a certain look that will be required. If you’re deciding to start a new career as a house painter (just pulled that one out of my….sorry, thin air!), then comfortable pants that won’t show off a ‘plumber’s butt’ kind of look are a good choice.
The Cost of Fashionable Upkeep…
- Decide how much time and money you want to spend on upkeep of your clothes. If you are more interested in flying out the door to the next event or if your schedule has you throwing things in an overnight bag to head off to another conference, you definitely don’t want to buy things that wrinkle when you think the word ‘wrinkle’. And if you’re apartment is smallish, having myriad delicate sweaters that require laying out to dry isn’t going to work either. And if you’d rather not share your cash with the dry cleaner around the corner on a regular basis, avoid silks, acetate, velvet, wool and taffeta. After all, you’re trying to get away from fuss and nonsense when you’re planning on building a new wardrobe.
Do All Things in Moderation and Take Your Time Doing It…
- Except in unusual circumstances (airline or mover lost ALL your clothes) plan on adding to your wardrobe gradually. Not only would a day given over to refilling your closet be exhausting, but you won’t be able to watch your costs as easily. And hey, now that you’ve got a better handle on your entire style picture, you can ‘afford’ to watch for sales and special offers at the kinds of stores that typically offer what you’re looking for.
Fashion or even lack of fashion, is a reflection of your philosophy about yourself, about the life that you chose to lead and how you feel about the world. Whether you find yourself garbed in wrinkles or meticulously ironed pleats, it all says something about who you think you are and who you want the world to think you are. And each of one of the points mentioned above are part of the process of telling that story.
Guidelines and Public Expressions of Who You Are…
It’s easy to sit in front of your computer as you read through the above guidelines. But for the sake of convenience, I’ve created a free printable that you can have right there in your bedroom to help you go step by step through this process. Note your observations in the spaces provided. Then when you go shopping, you can tuck it into your purse or bag. Checking with it can help you stay on track with the new understanding that you have about your own style.
Your Free Printable Checklist is Ready for You to Access Here!
If you’d like to access this Free Printable Checklist to help you build your wardrobe easily, just click here.
Fashion is the public expression of who you are and we’re all going to do it differently. So if you’ve recently gone through the process of rediscovering yourself and cleaning up the chaos in your closet, I love to hear any thoughts or suggestions that you can add. Who knows, you might have a great suggestion that I haven’t mentioned. So do share your thoughts and let me know what you think. In the meantime, be safe, be kind and enjoy your day wherever you are!
As always, I’ll just mention that my goal is to motivate and help you find your best way to live a healthier, happier and more peaceful life. As well, this blog and each post may contain affiliate links. That means that if you buy something through them, I’ll receive a commission, at no extra cost to you.