1 Week 4: Create an Inspiring Wardrobe & Strategic Shopping Introduction You should now have: A good understanding of your shape and proportions A reasonable idea of how to dress to flatter your shape Reviewed your grooming to work out any (relatively easy) changes you will make to give you an instant and noticeable lift Dressing to flatter your shape this is one of the three fundamental style criteria needed to create great style. The other criteria are: flattering your colouring; and expressing who you are (your personality and values) through what you wear. For now I offer these as 1-on-1 services both online and in person, eventually they ll become modules in a complete style program. However, as you ve been working through the exercises, you may have concluded that you re missing some key ingredients in your wardrobe that allow you to create the outfits you d like to create. Now it s time to address that. This week you will: Start auditing your wardrobe Learn how to create an inspirational wardrobe that works for all areas of your life Create a prioritised shopping wish list Learn how to shop more effectively Get ideas for where to shop Create an Inspiring Wardrobe OVERVIEW Imagine if you had a wardrobe of clothes and accessories that allowed you to quickly and confidently get dressed each day in outfits you love that work for every area of your life. How good would that be? In this module we ll look at how well your current wardrobe works for your current lifestyle and your proportions, then we ll start planning what you need to create your wardrobe of inspiring and functional outfits.
2 In this module you will: Assess your needs Identify your wardrobe preferences Start to audit your wardrobe Review the organisation of your closet Learn how to mix-and-match Create outfits for your lifestyle DOWNLOAD: Wardrobe & shopping worksheets. Print out the worksheets and use them in the exercises below. PART 1: Assess your needs Before you audit your wardrobe you need to think about how you spend your time and whether your wardrobe reflects your current lifestyle. Has your work environment changed from formal to casual, or vice-versa? Are you taking time out to bring up your children? Have you recently retired? Have you moved to a new country, or city? Or made a sea or tree change? Any of these changes (and other changes too) will affect what you need in your wardrobe. Step 1: What do you need clothes for? (Use Worksheets 1 and 2). Think about the roles you play and the lifestyle activities you do. How do you rate your wardrobe? Use your answers to help identify the areas of your life you need clothes for. Think about the times when you ve struggled to find something to wear. (Worksheet 5) Transfer the areas, activities and events in your life that you identified in the first two worksheets to the wardrobe planning worksheet. Examples of lifestyle areas You might choose to divide your lifestyle areas into main and then sub-categories, such as: Work Office based work Internal Company meetings Client meetings Networking Formal dinners Casual Fridays Home/Family Family time Gardening Extended family events Cooking/cleaning Relaxing
3 Sleeping Social/Leisure Church Hobbies Exercise/sports Every day casual Outdoor leisure Lunch with friends Casual evenings with friends Date night Dressy parties Special Occasions Weddings Funerals Awards nights Charity fundraiser Step 2: Identify your wardrobe personality In life in general, do you get bored easily and need a lot of variety to feel stimulated? Or are you more of a minimalist? Do you need to be super organised, everything in its place and all neat and tidy? Or perhaps you re a mix of these? Identify your main wardrobe personality to help work out how many and what types items you ll need in your wardrobe. Of course you may identify with more than one of these categories and that s fine too! Your wardrobe personality will also affect how easy you find your Which are you: A minimalist? you prefer having a small number of items in your closet that you can wear in many different ways. You are also super organised and have a strict filing system for your closet! Create one or more small capsule wardrobes of higher quality items that you can get a lot of wear out of. And create one or two accessory bundles that will work with everything. If you have lifestyle areas that have very different clothing requirements, you ll need one small capsule for each distinct area. A purger? (very closely related to the minimalist, but doesn t necessarily want quality) you can t wait to get rid of more stuff! Everything must serve a purpose now! You hate clutter and can t see why you d want two of anything. Project 333 could be great for you! For everything you introduce into your closet you ll want to get rid of the same number of items
4 A collector? you love clothes and wouldn t want to part with a single article of clothing. They are all valuable to you from the Target dress to the Yves St Laurent jacket, which may now be dated. You need variety. Shop for a smaller number of items more frequently. Sales shopping can also work well for you since you already have a good base of clothes and accessories to work with. A duplicator? you have duplicates of the same item. For example, the same sweater in every colour, in case something happens to one of them, or because the style fits and you don t know what else to buy. Hopefully after doing this style program you won t need to get duplicates of items that don t flatter you. However, it could be you prefer less variety and would rather stick with a uniform of items that work for your style criteria A nostalgic? everything in your closet has a story attached, a long story! You have trouble getting rid of things. Please beware of getting stuck in a past decade, and of hanging onto clothes and accessories you don t wear. Vintage clothing might work well for you. Or items with meaning attached, such as clothes and accessories that are homemade, custom made, or hand crafted. A neglector? You have clothing from every decade, every job you ve ever had and you re wearing 5% of what s in your closet. Many items no longer even fit you. Or you have almost nothing in your wardrobe. You haven t been feeling good about yourself. You may also feel guilty about spending money on yourself. The fact you re doing this style program means you re ready to change. Practice some kind self-talk and banish your inner critic. Please know that you can look great at any age, shape and size. And that by taking care of yourself first you ll be able to take better care of others as well. Start by creating one or two small wardrobe capsules for the key area(s) of your life. Use the above categories to help understand your current wardrobe, the emotions and issues that may arise as you re auditing your wardrobe, and the size of wardrobe you d like to create. Step 3: How many outfits do you need? The key to a functional wardrobe is to make sure it contains whole outfits that work for each area of your current lifestyle. Add to that your new knowledge of dressing to flatter your shape and you ll be able to create a wardrobe that s both functional and inspirational! Continue completing the wardrobe planning worksheet (#5) to identify how many outfits you ll need for each area of your life. Take the following into account:
5 Consider the time frame you re planning for. Then work out the likely activities and events you ll be doing. I suggest you plan either 3 months out or 6 months out towards the end of season (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter or the 2 major fashion seasons: Spring/Summer; Autumn/Winter) Some of the outfits you create will be suitable for more than one lifestyle area, event or activity. So group your lifestyle areas to plan the number of outfits you ll need How often do you wash your clothes? Some people prefer to do a daily wash, others weekly, or once every two weeks. If you do a daily wash and are a minimalist or purger you ll need very few outfits. However, if you re more of a collector and only wash every two weeks you ll want and need more outfits (at least 14 outfits, more if you need options for varying weather conditions and more than one outfit a day). PART 2: Audit your wardrobe Now it s time to review your wardrobe. I recommend you do this at least twice a year, at the start of the two major fashion seasons ie at the end of March or early April and at the end of September or early October. I find we re more inclined to do this process when the actual season feels as if it s changing. However, don t leave it too long into the fashion season to do your audit, especially if you know you need quite a few items and even more so if you have difficulty finding your size, colours, and things you like. As you go through your wardrobe audit you will assess each item for condition, size, and fit. Follow these steps: Step 1: Identify the area of your wardrobe to audit Decide whether you have the time and energy to audit your full wardrobe, or select the area you will work on. Unless your wardrobe is very small I recommend you work on either the current season or the upcoming season. Please don t get overwhelmed by this task. If your wardrobe is large pick a small selection of items and start there. For example, start with items relevant to the current season, in particular things you re wearing now. Or pick a major area of your life such as every day wear (for work if you re working, or for a particular aspect of your everyday activities). If you re working on your whole wardrobe remove all the clothes from your wardrobe. If you re working on part of your wardrobe remove the items you re about to review. Then re-position what s left. Ideally you ll store totally off-season items either totally away from your active wardrobe, or in less accessible areas of your closet.
6 Step 2: Decide: Keep, alter, get rid of? Firstly, look at the condition of each item you re assessing. Have a garbage bag ready for items that are beyond repair and not good enough to give away. If you re throwing out something that is useful in creating outfits start a shopping wish list and make a note to find a replacement for the item. Then assess each item. If you haven t worn the item recently try it on. Check: It s fit and whether it passes your MPS style rules. If not, can it be altered? Or can you style it in a way that will be flattering? How do you feel about the item? Do you like it? On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being love and 1 being hate, how do you rate the item? You don t have to love every individual item (it may simply be needed to create an outfit, such as a cami, or a long-sleeved tee). However, if there s something about it you don t like that can t be altered (for example, if it s not comfortable) then don t keep it! Does the colour harmonise with your colouring? Again, remember the item by itself might not pass this test, since you might be able to use it in an outfit in a flattering way. Has the item become dated? If you ve had something more than 10 years it may now look old fashioned and be ageing you. If you re not sure, see if you can still buy something similar (in a similar shape and fabric), if so then it s still contemporary. Then for each item you assess: Place items that are perfect back in your wardrobe (see PART 3 below for suggestions on how to organise your wardrobe) If you ve identified that something needs altering, put the item in a different pile and either take to an alterations person you trust, or do the alteration yourself, before you put the item back in your wardrobe For items you re not sure of or want to try and use even if they don t pass your style guidelines either place them in a separate pile for now, or group them together in your wardrobe to re-assess in the next step If an item doesn t pass your style guidelines on a majority of areas and you ve actually been looking for a good reason to get rid of it do so now! Throw it in the garbage, try and sell it, or give it away. However, don t put it back in your wardrobe. CAUTION: don t be too hasty throwing out items at this stage in the next step you may be able to find a way to make an item work simply by styling it in a different way. Recommended reading: My article on auditing your wardrobe
7 If you find this task overwhelming seek help! It s much easier to be objective about items when we re not connected to them emotionally. Ask a friend for help. Or engage a professional Image Consultant/Personal Stylist or wardrobe de-clutterer. Do, however, remember that you now have the knowledge of your style rules to make decisions on whether items suit your proportions (and you know your lifestyle) so don t allow others to over-ride that knowledge, unless you agree with their views! Step 3: Create outfits For the items that you re keeping, and the ones you re not sure of start creating outfits (see Mixing and matching below for help with this and also use the ideas from weeks 2 & 3 for hiding, harmonising and highlighting). Create outfits for your most pressing needs first (within the wardrobe area you re working on). For example, the 2 meetings you have next week and the date night you re going on. As you ll realise by now, I recommend you actually try your clothes and accessories on, then stand in front of a full length mirror and take photos to assess your outfits objectively. And remember to create complete outfits ie add shoes and accessories and any outer layers you ll like need. I recommend using for finding outfit ideas. Collect items and outfit combinations you like by creating one or more style vision Boards and then pin items you like from within Pinterest, or from around the internet. It s easy to search within Pinterest, for example search for classic outfits, or bohemian style, or over 50 style, or a celebrity whose style you admire. You can see my Pinterest boards here. Rate your outfits To remember the outfits you re happy with, either take photos or document them using the wardrobe chart (worksheet #3). As you re doing this think about where you d wear the outfit and make a note on your wardrobe planning worksheet (#5) that this is an outfit you have for that (or those) lifestyle areas
8 If you realise you re missing something as you re doing this process, then make a note on your shopping wish list Now you know exactly how many outfits you have that are suitable for the various areas of your life and how many new outfits you need. Mixing-and-matching Do you find yourself wearing your clothes in the same way all the time? Always this pair of pants with that top and jacket and those shoes? Do you even buy whole outfits from the one store or in the one shopping trip? Have you slipped into a habit of buying the same or very similar clothes over and over again? Or do you sometimes buy something, but then find it doesn t work with anything you ve got in your wardrobe (these are called clothing orphans)? Understanding how to mix-and-match clothes and accessories means your clothes work harder for you. You need fewer clothes (if that s what you want), but have more outfits. The concepts of mixing-and-matching are used to create clothing capsules. Clothing capsules are particularly useful for travelling. And if you re almost starting from scratch for a particular lifestyle area, then I recommend starting with a small capsule for that area. How to create a clothing capsule As you re putting together each capsule you ll want to consider the weather, the level(s) of formality for the capsule, and also whether you feel the cold, or tend to run hot. Use the capsule wardrobe/travel wardrobe chart (worksheet #6) in the downloads for this module. Identify the lifestyle area you want to create a capsule for Start with 1 key piece, such as a pair of pants Add a top Add shoes Accessorise Add outer layers such as a jacket or cardigan and a coat (if needed for the season and your climate) Use your style criteria to make sure you love the outfit Take a photo or complete a wardrobe chart and note this as a completed outfit on your wardrobe planning worksheet Continue building out your capsule by adding another one or two tops (or note that you need some new tops to work with these bottoms) Add a skirt that works with the tops, or another pair of pants Add a different outer layer Add in different accessories Examples of capsule wardrobes and mixing-and-matching clothes My summer travel wardrobe for 2015 for a variety of locations, climates and activities
9 Examples of different types of clothing capsules on Imogen s Lamport s Inside Out Style blog and examples for how to mix-and-matching clothes Sue Donnelly s video with an example of creating a capsule Search on Pinterest for capsule wardrobe or mix and match wardrobe PART 3: Organise your wardrobe How do you currently organise your wardrobe? Do you have any kind of system? Is it easy for you to find things in your wardrobe? Can you easily see what you have? Whether you hang most items or fold most items will depend on the space and layout of your wardrobe and your personal preferences. However, you ll find it easier to find things and to combine things in different ways if you even loosely do this: If you have clothes you wear only for work, or only for exercise etc, then group your clothes by that category Within that category hang and/or fold the same clothing type together. For example, all shirts and blouses together, all pants together, all skirts together, all short sleeved tee-shirts together and so on. Splitting up suits and items you bought together really does help you see new possibilities If you want to get even more organised, you can put like colours within the same clothing category and lifestyle area together Having only a few hanger styles helps your wardrobe look more organised. And using organisers such as baskets for rolled scarves, and hooks, or accessory stands for accessories also helps you see what you have. It s also a good idea to use the most accessible areas of closets, drawers and shelves for the items you use most. And if you have limited space I find it works best to store items that are definitely off-season in an out-of-the way place, such as in an old suitcase on top of a wardrobe. However, don t forget about these items entirely (if you do and don t miss them you clearly shouldn t be hanging onto them!), bring them out again when you re doing your next wardrobe audit. OPTIONAL READING & VIEWING: For more ideas on clearing out your wardrobe and reorganising it Marie Kondo s book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up makes interesting reading. I don t necessarily recommend everything she suggests (it might not work for your personality or the time you have available). However, she certainly has some interesting ideas. Her method is now referred to as the KonMari method. You can also find her videos on YouTube, where she demonstrates some of her folding techniques. HOMEWORK Assess your clothing needs, do your wardrobe audit and organise your wardrobe by following the steps above.
10 Share any revelations you experience as you go through the process, in our Facebook group eg do you need fewer, or more outfits than you realised? Continue to Post photos of you in your outfits in our Facebook Group. Let us know where or when you d wear each outfit (it might be suitable for more than one of your lifestyle areas) and how you feel about yourself in the outfit? Remember to ask for help if you re struggling to make a combination work. (Remember to tag me, Jane Liddelow, in your Facebook post if you d specifically like my help.)
11 Strategic Shopping INTRODUCTION Of course, if you don t have the right ingredients in your wardrobe you won t be able to create the outfits and looks you wants to create! Yet, contrary to popular belief many women do not like to shop for clothes and accessories! Most of my clients who say they don t like shopping reveal it s because they can never find items that work for them so they either settle for something that will do or go home with nothing feeling frustrated and disappointed! A big difference to this experience is understanding what works for you. Now that you know your style rules you have a better way of looking for items. That, together with a good understanding of what you need in your wardrobe and the things you ll learn here about shopping should make your shopping more effective and perhaps even more fun! In this lesson you ll: Review your shopping habits Learn how to shop to a plan Get and share ideas for where to shop PART 1: Assess your shopping habits Have a think about your relationship to shopping: Do you like shopping? If no, why not. Is it because you often don t find what you re looking for? If so, using your new knowledge about your style criteria should make the process a whole lot easier How do you feel about spending money on yourself? Be honest now. Are there things from your past that mean you don t feel good about spending money? Or do you have a habit of spending too much money and then feel remorse? Identify anything you need to address above. Now identify your current shopping habits: How often do you shop for wardrobe items (include online as well as in physical locations)? o Less than once a year? Is your wardrobe suffering as a result? o Twice a year? o Every month or so? o Every week (or more often)? Have you become a shop-a-holic? Why do you shop? o To periodically update your wardrobe and keep it up to scratch? Great, especially if you re shopping with a prioritised list!
12 o For an occasion, when you re under pressure to find something? Not good! o When you re desperate for something to wear because you hate shopping so you shop as little as possible and then as quickly as possible? Eek recipe for disaster! o As an emotional outlet, or for a little bit of me time and now your wardrobe is overflowing? Not good! Use your wardrobe planning worksheet and your wardrobe personality to work out your ideal shopping frequency. The wider variety of lifestyle areas you participate in, the more social your life, and the more you prefer variety and options, the greater your clothing requirements and therefore the more frequently you ll need to shop. PART 2: Update your wardrobe (shop!) These steps are with physical visits to shops in mind, but most of these steps work for online shopping as well. Step 1: Plan your shopping Shop to a plan You know how many outfits you need for each of your lifestyle areas, and you have your shopping wish list. Now prioritise your shopping list. Look at your wardrobe planner. Which lifestyle area do you most urgently need to create outfits for? I recommend you aim to create outfits and round-out your wardrobe, rather than to buy outfits that may then only work the one way (unless of course you can see how you can separate the parts of the outfit and wear them in different ways). Research Where to shop? Do you prefer to shop at: Department stores? Chain stores? Independent boutiques? Second hand stores? Markets? Online (catalogues)? Each of the above has its pros and cons. For example, department stores often have better returns policies. And they often have brands and labels that aren t available elsewhere (especially if you re looking for designer labels). However, you may find it overwhelming shopping in a department store. And the choices for chain store concessions within the department store often aren t as good as the actual chain store. Independent boutiques can be best if you prefer unique items that you re not likely to see on others. However, they may not have your size available since they carry limited stock and often can t get additional sizes. And their returns policies are usually not as good as chain stores and department stores.
13 In reality, you ll probably need to shop at a range of places. Before you go on a shopping trip start online by researching the current clothing and accessory lines at various stores. Of course this isn t possible for every shopping option, but it s good to get an idea of where you ll shop before you leave home. (Also be aware that not all options available in stores will be shown online and vice versa!) I ve uploaded a list of store ideas in our Facebook group, in the Files area. Please note this was created a few years ago now (it s one of the bonuses available with my co-written ebook on style personalities) so is a little out of date (some of the stores may no longer exist, for instance). However, it may give you some new ideas of where to look. Returns policies Check the returns policy for each store you use. Market stalls and second hand stores may not have any returns policy. Also note that the online returns policy may be different to the returns policy from the physical version of the store. With a good returns policy you can make a final decision as to whether you ll keep an item after you ve got it home and tried to work it into two or more outfits. Style ideas Now you know the outfits you need and what suits your shape look for inspiration for specific outfit and styling ideas from your Pinterest vision board (update your board periodically as you find new looks you like). You can check what s contemporary by looking at the occasional fashion magazine, by reading online fashion blogs and trend updates (I usually provide two updates a year and link to them through my Style Snippets newsletter, for instance), and by looking at the what s new area in online stores. You can also get ideas for trends in styling from various online sources, many online stores show their new season items in look books, for instance. You can also take note of shop window displays, and in-store displays. Step 2: Shop to your plan Take Your prioritised shopping list with the ideas of where to find the items, from your research Anything you need to remind you of your style criteria. For example, your style words/style glossary, your Style Guide booklet, your colour swatch (if you have them) A bottle of water Heeled shoes or dressy sandals, dependent on what you re looking for Any items you re trying to match up. For example, if you need shoes for a dress, take the dress
14 Wear Easy on-off clothing and think about what you ll be trying on. For example, if you re looking for tops or bottoms it s easiest not to wear a dress! Any special underwear, shapewear or slip you will need for the items you re looking for (or take these items with you) Good fitting underwear (ideally a nude, tee-shirt bra) Dealing with shop assistants Use shop assistants to help you find the sizes you need, and to locate styles of clothing you re looking for. They know their stock, but remember you know your style and what suits you, so don t rely on them for objective help with how you look. Remember their purpose is to sell you something! If a shop assistant becomes too pushy, either politely explain that s not what you re after, or that you don t like it, or leave the store as soon as you can! Do not be bullied into buying something you don t want or don t like! How to shop Start with highest priority items. (Remember you don t have to buy everything in the same trip! If you know your stamina for shopping is not high don t attempt to look for too many different items at once) If you re not sure about an item, see if the store will hold them for an hour or so (take a photo and use it to decide over a cup of tea). Buy no-brainers as you go. For stores that have money back return policies you can always buy the item and return it later if it doesn t work as well as you d hoped. Remember to use your style criteria to assess each item and think about how you ll wear it and where While you re in a store, look around for other items on your list so you don t need to back track. However, if you haven t yet found your highest priority items don t take too long doing this you don t want to run out of energy too soon Take as many breaks as need: drink water; break for refreshments or when you need a rest Step 3: Integrate new purchases into your wardrobe As soon as possible after a shopping trip (though ideally not the same day) use the items you ve purchased with other items in your wardrobe to create outfits and assess the new outfits against your style rules and make sure you love the new outfits. Ideally, you ll be able to use each item in at least two or three outfits. Take photos of the outfits you love (and/or update your wardrobe charts) Step 4: Return items that don t work If you ve checked the returns policy of the stores you re buying from you ll know whether they ll give you your money back for a change-of-mind. I find stores in the US particularly open to this. However, many Australian and British department stores and chain stores also have good returns policies.
15 Take care when buying from smaller boutiques since these often won t give your money back unless the item is faulty. They may give you a credit note, but that may be of limited use dependent on the range they carry. Also, there are some types of items that can t be returned such as some underwear items and earrings. For any items you can return make sure that if they don t work in step 3 that you do actually take them back before the return policy runs out. Your aim is to make sure you don t waste money on items you never or hardly wear. HOMEWORK As you start to buy new items share photos of the new outfits you can now create in our Facebook group (you will have continued access to this group to support each other). Say how you feel about the outfit, if you re unsure about it ask for feedback to help decide whether to return it (if that s possible) Do also share any good stores you find in our Facebook group and let us know what you ve found there, such as unusual sizing, or comfortable shoes etc