Developing a personal style, and having a timeless and elegant wardrobe that doesn’t cost the earth, is attainable for each of us. It just requires careful thought and a bit of strategy. And while we don’t get it right all the time, we can put a few flexible and thoughtful measures in place to make the most out of our respective budgets.
Part one: Wardrobe audit and forward planning
Many people get caught in the world of fast consumable fashion. It is a common story. First, you get drawn in by seasonal trends and styles. These don’t necessarily suit your lifestyle, so you forever feel like you have nothing to wear. Then, at the beginning of the same season the following year, you are throwing out piles of clothes which are no longer ‘on trend’, many still with tags still attached. And then, you go out a buy new season ‘on trend’ clothing to replace all the ones you have just thrown out.
And the cycle continues. Sound familiar?
Like many of you, this was my own personal story. It was expensive, wasteful, and ultimately, unsatisfying. So I decided to be more deliberate about they way I shopped.
Before you even get close to hitting the shops, do some proper planning.
Have a good look in your wardrobe and do a critical audit. To do this properly you have to be rational and a bit brutal. If you are in denial or have trouble making decisions, enlist someone to give you a hand.
- Pull out everything you don’t wear regularly
All of it. Anything which is classic but heavily seasonal (heavy jackets and furs) or reserved for special occasions (formal dresses) can go back in the wardrobe should you wear these items when the occasion calls for it. Everything you don’t wear, or are unlikely to wear, should stay out.
- Think about why you don’t wear certain clothes
If they don’t suit you …get rid of them. If they are too small, too big … get rid of them. If they are from a past trend … get rid of them. Avoid trying to talk yourself into thinking you are going to wear certain things, you are probably never going to … get rid of them.
- Don’t keep clothes you don’t like or have never worn just because they were expensive or were given to you
That ship has sailed, cut your losses and move on. Emotional blackmail is not going to improve your personal style.
- Pull out everything which needs a new button, a hem taken up etc.
Put them somewhere conspicuous and get them repaired. They will not become wearable hiding in the back of your wardrobe. Just do it. And if you’re not going to do it … get rid of them.
- Once you have removed everything you don’t wear, have a look at what is left
Consider why you use or like those items. Are they comfortable? Are they perfect for work? Do they coordinate easily with other items? Are they easy to clean? Make a mental note – it will come in handy during the rebuilding phase.
Planning your wardrobe rebuild
Once you have audited your wardrobe, planning the rebuild commences. Avoid the temptation to hit the shops straight away. Think about what you need and write a list first.
It is helpful to consider these things:
- Your lifestyle. What do you actually wear during the day? Do you go out at night a lot? Do you go to many formal functions? Your lifestyle will heavily inform your personal style. There is no point having several floor-length dresses if you only go to one ball a year. There is no point having 20 pairs of jeans if you have a fulltime professional career. It just isn’t an efficient use of your fashion budget. Think about what you use the most, and focus your attention there.
- Your figure and colouring. Consider which styles suit your figure and are comfortable to wear. If a style is fashionable but will not flatter your figure… don’t buy it. Don’t buy something just because it is in all the shops. Garments are not designed to look good on everyone.
I am short with an hourglass figure, olive skin and dark hair. Usually, I gravitate towards bright colours and styles which accentuate my waist. Similarly, I steer clear of pastels (they wash me out) and shapeless draping styles (they make me look short and wide). These are not hard and fast rules, but they are helpful guidelines.
- What you feel confident wearing. This is a much more subjective consideration. And we are all different. If it is a style or a fabric you don’t feel comfortable wearing … don’t buy it. And if it doesn’t fit … don’t buy it. Certainly, don’t buy anything you need to lose a couple of kilos to fit comfortably in.
If it doesn’t fit, you’ll never feel confident in it. Simple.
- What does your budget allow for? Be rational. Spend more of your budget on things you will use more often. Try to avoid blowing 80% of your budget on an item you will only wear twice a wear. And try to stretch your budget where you can. Buy wool instead of cashmere, buy good condition preloved instead of new, and buy on sale where you can.
- Make a note of the things missing from your wardrobe after your audit.
So you got rid of all your tank tops in acid yellow and digital prints? No problem! Make a note that you need to buy tank tops in quality fabrics and block colours. Remind yourself not to replace the ones you’ve thrown out with peplum or bat wings. Stick to simple, classic, good quality tank tops.
Same rules apply for other items.
And this doesn’t mean everything has to be black and boring. It just means you should pick which pieces are going to be the statement pieces and which are going to be the supporting staple pieces. And most importantly, make sure those statements and staple pieces are versatile and coordinate easily within your wardrobe.
- Write a list. It’s just like grocery shopping. You are less likely to impulse shop if you have direction. Make a list and try to stick reasonably close to it.
At the beginning of each year, I write a list of the items I want to add to my collection. I slowly make my way through my list over the course of the year as I come across those items. I still buy other things, but the list does keep me on track.
Remember, the daily luxe can always help you audit your personal wardrobe and plan your rebuild. Please email or contact us for details.