Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Revamping Your Style Part 2

This post picks up where this one left off - if you missed the first one, I recommend starting there!

Step Three: Compare your list to your Wardrobe 

Basically this step involves doing a big closet clean-out with your new "list of shit I like" in hand.

Start with four piles/bins/boxes: "Keep", "Storage", "Ditch", and "Fix."
Caveat: You ONLY get a Fix box if you know you will actually fix things, either by DIYing it or taking it to a tailor. If you know in your heart that the Fix box will sit around untouched for months (*coughcoughIdontknowwhatyouaretalkingabout*) then skip it. 

Now go through your wardrobe piece by piece and ask yourself these questions:

1. Do I love this and have I worn it in the past year? 

2. Does it fit well and flatter my shape? 

3. Is it in good shape? Or could it be improved with repairs/tweaks/a dye job? 

4. Does it fit in with my list of style elements? 

A "no" on 1 goes immediately to Ditch (exceptions can be made for things like "the dress you only wear to other people's weddings" as long as you like it a lot and you're pretty sure you'll need it in the next year. Otherwise, ditch it, you probably won't like it anymore by the time you need it.)

A "no" on 2 goes either to Ditch or to Fix, if the fit issue is something that can be fixed (if it's too big, it can usually be taken in, but if it's too small you're probably out of luck.)

On 3, if it has issues but they are fixable and you know you'll do it, put it in Fix. Otherwise, Ditch.

If you get a "no" on 4, but you otherwise love the piece and want to keep it, put it in Storage (same for anything else you just can't bear to Ditch. You can also put out-of-season stuff in there.)

Everything else is a Keep and can go back in the closet- I recommend doing the "backwards clothes hanger" trick- hang everything up backwards and then when you actually wear it, hang it back up the right way. That way you can easily see what's not ever getting worn.

The Ditch box gets donated/sold/given away/tossed. Schedule a time to tackle the Fix box, ASAP- if you need to drop it off at a tailor, do it TODAY. If you're doing it yourself, pick a time to sit down with your sewing machine and get on it. Put the Storage box somewhere out of the way. In a year, if you haven't needed or missed something in it... Ditch it.

Step Four: Identify Gaps & Shop Smart 

What elements on your list are woefully underserved by the clothing you currently own? In my case, I love long oversized sweaters and own precisely ZERO (I've been on the lookout for the perfect one recently, but no luck yet- I'm very picky about fiber and softness. I'll probably have to make one, hah.) It has also become clear to me that I should buy a nice trench coat, and some more flannel shirts. I've managed to fill some other gaps: basic foundation layers in blacks, whites, and grays, things with stripes, black leather leggings, some jackets, some boots. By trying to limit my palette to the colors I'm most drawn to (neutrals and almost-neutrals, mostly, with some reds thrown in) I'm left with stuff that coordinates pretty well, which makes getting dressed easier. Put those missing items on a list and keep it with you so that when you're shopping, you know where your weaknesses lie.

Also keep that list of elements with you, so you can see where a potential purchase fits in (or if it does fit in at all.) Avoid buying things on your "conspicuously missing from my style board" list- they're probably missing for a reason! Obviously you don't have to be too strict about your list - if you love something, you love it, whether or not it "fits in" with your lists, and who the hell am I to tell you what you can and can't buy? - but by keeping your lists in mind you can avoid falling into the "but it's in style!" trap. It doesn't matter if it's in style if it's not in your style, you know what I mean?

And Voila, you're done!  Keep pinning to your boards, and revisit your list a few times a year- your list is bound to change over time as new trends that you love crop up and you get sick of other ones. I try to brutally cull my wardrobe about once per season (which is also a good time to peek in on your storage box and see if you're ready to part with any of it yet, or if you absolutely want any of it back in the drawers- plus you can swap seasonal things in and out.)

Anyone else have a great style-identifying or wardrobe-organizing tip? I'm all ears!  


  1. Hah, yes, this resembles my 'process' in a way...though I am ruthlessly heavy on the 'ditch' end and usually don't have money for many new acquisitions so I wind up wearing the same five things to death until I realize I have no more nice clothes left...

    p.s. I love your new fonts!

  2. I got a really nice trench coat during after-Christmas sales a couple of years ago. It has a removable liner, so I can wear it all year round if I want to. I get it dry cleaned at the beginning of the winter, as I am super klutzy and spill food on my coats all the time. I also got a really fun kelly green trench from Old Navy, as an experiment with bright coats. I decided I like them, so I think I will try to get a bright trench coat that's more well-made this year.

    1. Yeah I think I missed the affordable-trench-coat window for this year but I'm going to start keeping a serious eye out. I've tried a few on at TJ Maxx but none have really turned my screw so far.



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