For the past couple of weeks I’ve been working on simplifying my wardrobe and creating a capsule wardrobe for fall. As a stay at home mom of two little ones, I really want to relieve stress in the mornings and look put together for the day.
I’m not a fashion blogger and I don’t want to become one! But every woman, and moms especially, can benefit from having a great wardrobe that fits our needs, style, and comfort, am I right? At least I know I could benefit from it, so that’s the project I’m tackling this month. And I’ve already learned a lot in the process. Here are just a few things I’ve learned, and I haven’t even started shopping yet.
1. Take It Slow
This is my first time planning an entire seasonal wardrobe at once, instead of shopping for random items as I need them. (I’m pretty frugal so spending $200 on clothes at once is something I’ve NEVER done and I sort of cringe thinking about it.) I knew when I started planning that I wanted to take it slow, but I didn’t realize how helpful it would be for a first effort at putting together a wardrobe.
Since I didn’t put the extra pressure of a quick time limit on my wardrobe planning, I’ve been able to hone in on what I like. I’ve been able to figure out (over this whole week) what fabrics, colors, shapes, and patterns I prefer and which specific items I really want (looking for a great plaid shirtdress!). Without the extra time, I would’ve already bought a whole closet full of clothes after a day of pinterest-scrolling and just have to figure out by trial and error what didn’t work out. I’ll still have to do some of that, but I’ve already sorted out a lot of it. The extra time planning is worth it!
2. Make a List
And then make another list. Seriously. I made several lists and each one has helped me hone in my style and clothing needs. After browsing pinterest for things I liked, I went through each pin and tried to decide what I liked about it. If it fit my lifestyle and comfort needs, I added it to a brainstorming list. That list has circles and notes and arrows all over it and I had fun making it.
With my second list I got a little more strategic. What exactly was I looking for? Do I really want that cute floral pencil skirt? Or would a skater skirt be better for chasing after two little kids all day long? I got really, really specific about the colors, patterns, fabric types, and details that I really wanted. I also added in “options” if I liked several things, so I wouldn’t be left with no choices if the stores don’t have exactly what I want. For instance, I know I want a shirtdress in my wardrobe this fall, but I like red buffalo print, a blue plaid of some kind, or dark chambray. I don’t need all three, I just want to find one that I like.
3. Be Specific
Be specific about what you like. Instead of “black skirt”, I honed in on “black leather skater skirt”. Instead of boots, I honed in on 4 different types of boots, then decided the ones that I would use most were brown, knee-high riding boots. Now I know exactly what to look for when I go shopping, and I won’t compromise when I find that cute thing that’s on sale (but will probably never wear). And hopefully since I’ve thought everything out ahead of time, all the items on my list will work well together and build a cohesive wardrobe.
4. Try Old Stuff in a New Way (and Take Pictures!)
This one helped more that I thought it would. I kept pinning a bunch of cute, dressy fall outfits with skirts and blouse-y tops but I wasn’t sure if I would wear dressy stuff. And I was kind of lost when it came to accessories. So I went to my closet and pulled out the fall skirts I already had, and tried them with lots of different tops I don’t usually wear them with to create the fun, dressy pinterest look. Then tried mixing in the accessories I already had. It was fun because I never give myself the time to put an outfit together, or think through my outfits.
And taking pictures made me realize that some of my combos actually worked pretty well! …And some that I thought would be cute didn’t work at all. Give yourself an hour after you try stuff on to take a break, then go back and look at the “outfit pictures” with fresh eyes. You’ll be surprised at seeing what works, what doesn’t, and what new ideas you get.
5. Prioritize the Items You Really Want or Need
After I got done making my lists, I had a lot of items I wanted to buy. And many of those things were very similar. How many pairs of boots do I really need to buy in a season? Do I really want to buy six pairs of shoes in one weekend when I usually buy maybe one pair of shoes a year? So I went back through my strategic list and asked myself a couple questions. Which boots (or dress, shirt, coat) will I really like the most? Which one will I use the most?
The best question though was “If I can only buy five items for this wardrobe makeover, which ones would I choose?” That one question gave me clarity where I was stumped. For instance, I realized I wanted knee-high boots because I prefer the way they look with both skirts and jeans (rather than cute, lace-up hiking style boots). If I had to choose one pair of boots, it has to be those. Or I can make my current t-shirts work for this wardrobe (even though I would like to replace them eventually), but I am really lacking warm layers like a chunky-knit cardigan or trench coat. Clarity with just one question! Prioritize your list and make sure you know which items you really want or need.
Bonus: Plan Your Stores
After getting really specific about what items I want, I’m able to plan ahead for the stores I’d like to shop at. I know I want to buy boots new, so I’ll be hitting the local shoe stores for sales. But I don’t mind buying skirts or a black dress second-hand if I can find them at a thrift store. So I’ll check there first.
So there you have it! Five lessons I’ve learned planning a wardrobe makeover. And I haven’t even started shopping yet! Have you tried putting together or simplifying your wardrobe? What are your best lessons or tips?
I hope you enjoyed the third post in my Fall Wardrobe Makeover series! You can read about my first and second steps here: