Castle Revival Challenge
Creating Your Essential Wardrobe – Part II
Welcome back, sweet friend! Have you enjoyed all of the extra room in your closet after your Power Purge? Are you ready to create outfits that are tailored to your lifestyle? Then let’s crush some goals today and make it a reality!
To create your essential wardrobe – surprise! – you aren’t going to start in your closet.
Nope…You’ll start by grabbing your coffee, your calendar, a pen, some paper and find somewhere to put your feet up.
Sounds odd, but you’re going to need rested feet in a few minutes… 😉
Before we get started, I just want to be “real”. I had to learn the hard way with closet organization. Let’s just say I had a bulging closet for decades before I figured out a method that still works for me. Since my wardrobe purge two years ago, I haven’t missed an item and have purchased very few pieces since.
Please don’t feel you have to follow all of my advice or agree with me. I am definitely not a professional organizer. This just worked well for me, so I’ll let you to sift through and use what appeals to you. Happy organizing! 🙂
The Brain Dump
Have you ever unpacked your suitcase and been shocked by how little you actually wore while you were away?
We clearly don’t need as many clothes as we think we do. Keep this in mind as you proceed.
Life has a rhythm. It is a series of repeated activities throughout the weeks, months, and years with special events thrown in here and there.
Let’s Get It In Writing
In true “brain dump” style, list ALL of your repeated and special event ACTIVITIES in a column on the left side of your page something like this…
Yes, sleeping is an activity so you will want to include that, too.
Fun fact – While you sleep your mind files all of the wonderful memories from your day, you dream sweet dreams, and your body repairs itself. If these aren’t activities, nothing is. 😉
Now, create a center column and beside each activity, write the type of outfit required for that activity, like this…
The third and last column is going to be the total number of outfits you need clean and ready for each activity in a typical week (or between laundry days).
Weddings and similar events are discussed below.
For dry-cleaned items, count between dry-cleaning visits.
It should look something like this…
Some Necessary Tweaks and Tips
Tweaks For Events Repeated Less Than Three Times Per Week
My personal example pictured above would leave me wearing the same outfit week after week for the events that happen once a week – like church. Not good. Especially if I see the same people each week at that ACTIVITY. Yikes!!!
Thankfully, I can borrow from my semi-casual work outfit pieces for church ACTIVITIES because they fall within the same TYPE OF OUTFIT – “semi-casual”.
However, if I wore only “formal” clothes to church, I would not have another activity to borrow outfits from. I would need to add three more “formal” outfits for church so I could mix and match for variety within the “formal” outfit category.
In contrast, I felt that six work outfits a week, one for each day, was enough since I can mix and match the pieces and add accessories to create variety.
So, check out your rough list for ACTIVITIES that you attend one to three times a week, month or even year, that are in a TYPE by themselves, and add a few more outfits as needed.
Just a Reminder
Of course, you can always borrow pieces from other outfits in your wardrobe to switch things up, however this method of lifestyle analysis just ensures that you have enough clothes left after you finish Part II.
About Formal Special Events
If you attend a lot of weddings or special events where you see the same people you will definitely need more than one suitable outfit.
It is also great to be proactive and shop ahead of time for special events.
Shopping the off-season sales when you aren’t feeling the pressure of an upcoming event is wiser than settling for a less than perfect outfit at a less than perfect price a week before you need it.
The 85/15 Trick
I wear 85 percent solid neutrals for my basic pieces, with only 15 percent of my wardrobe being colours and prints – usually accessories. Neutrals are not memorable – colours and prints are. Since neutrals can be worn more frequently, you need fewer pieces. The take-away? You can reduce your wardrobe and spending big-time if you use the 85/15 trick.
You Only Need a Few Classic Pieces
The reason the little black dress is a legend? When a quality classic piece is properly chosen, it’s style is so timeless, and the fabric so versatile, that it takes on a completely different look when the accessories change. One LBD purchase can take you anywhere you want to go!
The Power of a Well Chosen Accessory
Accessories are great for changing an outfit’s look, too. Be discriminating in this department though. Quality over quantity!
“Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory.” Coco Chanel
Your Defining Moment!
Let’s chart your needs and define your wardrobe.
We are going to transfer your outfit information you just wrote down onto an outfit building chart.
You can use a separate sheet of paper and follow along or download my FREE wardrobe printable in the box below and I’ll walk you through it.
Trust me, it will help make this process soooo much easier. 😉
Setting Up Your Pages
You will need to print multiple worksheets:
- 1 set for each season (winter/summer)
- Each seasonal set will include at least one page for each TYPE OF OUTFIT category, as shown below. Hint: You can fit three complete outfits per printable copy.
Filling in the Blanks
The “Type of Outfit” Blank
Start by filling in all of your TYPES OF OUTFITS (like sleepwear, casual, semi-formal…) in the blank at the top of each page – one TYPE OF OUTFIT per page.
The “Season” Blank
Fill in either “Summer” or “Winter” in this blank on each page. Spring and Autumn borrow from both as the weather changes.
The “Activity” Blanks
The ACTIVITIES from your original rough sheet (sleeping, working,…) will be added to each TYPE OF OUTFIT page.
For example, “Fitness” (ACTIVITY) would be listed on the “Sportswear” (TYPE OF OUTFIT) page…and so on.
The “Outfit” Blanks
Next, you will see an OUTFIT blank under each ACTIVITY with a list of outfit pieces below it.
Remember when I asked you to list how many outfits you would need to have available between laundry days?
Now, fill in the dots beside the NUMBER OF OUTFITS you need on each sheet. Leave the rest of them blank. This filled-in-dot will help you avoid creating too many outfits. In other words, just fill in outfits if the dot is coloured in.
It should look something like this for a winter example…
…and it should look something like this for a summer example.
Label Your Outfits
On the blank beside the word OUTFIT, either number the outfit, give it a day-of-the-week label (like I did), or get creative and give it an outfit name.
Roll Up Your Sleeves – We’re Goin’ In!
Armed with your trusty outfit printables, proceed to your lovely closet of possibilities!
This is when you’ll really see the results of all your labour! 😉
Step 1 – Build Your Essential Outfits – The Fun Part!
Lay your nicely filled out Essential Wardrobe printables in a neat stack on a table or bed near your closet.
Work on one sheet at a time.
Start with the first outfit on your first page and choose your outfit pieces from your collection of clothes according to the TYPE OF OUTFIT and the ACTIVITY you will be wearing it for.
Remember to build your outfits around your favourite pieces that you actually wear.
When you have listed all of the necessary pieces in your first outfit, set your chosen pieces in neat stacks and piles out of your way, but not back in your closet – you will put them back into your closet at the end of the game.
Congrats! You have your first outfit. YAY!!!
Continue creating outfits and recording them on the printables until you have completed the last outfit on the last page.
You’ve just made it through the most grueling, tedious, and unbelievably fun part. Well done, my friend!
Step 2 – Essentials You Might Want to Salvage Before the “Tsunami Step”
These are some items that you might consider adding. Some situations make them necessary.
If your climate requires that you own rubber boots and an umbrella for wet seasons…or an especially warm wool sweater, coat, snow boots, scarf, and winter hat, bring them out of your closet and add them to your “KEEP” pile.
The same is true of warm weather pieces that you haven’t already added. A swimsuit, hat, sunglasses, and a cover-up might be another combo that you didn’t add in the sports wear section.
A bath robe, slippers, and even cruise wear if you are so inclined.
You get the idea.
Here’s the question to ask yourself – Do I actually use/wear these items??? If not, they stay in the closet.
Now, take a short break. You deserve it.
Step 3 – The “Tsumami Step”
So, how much is left in your closet? Augh!! I feel your pain.
What to do…what to do?
Brace yourself for impact, because this is the BIG wave that is going to purge your closet Tsunami-style…Ready?
Remove everything that remains in your closet. #hellosimplelife
Remember, these are the pieces that made it through the Part I wardrobe purge, so we know they are in decent condition. Check!
You have a few options for these items:
- Sell them – consignment shop or online
- Donate them to your favourite charity
- Pack them up in a cardboard box with next years date on it (one year from today). If you haven’t opened it in a year you can probably live without it.
- Turn the hangers all backwards and write a note to yourself on your calendar, a year from today, that will remind you to purge the pieces that are still on backward-facing hangers.
Select the option that you can live with. However, I highly recommend you get tough on yourself and choose from the top two or three options. Otherwise, your closet will be bulging in no time…meaning more purging. Augh!
Be kind to yourself and just do the right thing.
The Wrap Up
Just look at you with all those neatly piled items that make up Your Essential Wardrobe. 😉
Pat yourself on the back and then put them all away neatly in your closet.
Slide your outfit sheets into plastic sheet protectors and hang them inside wall of your closet or the back of your closet door for easy reference when you are dressing.
If you noticed any missing pieces in your outfits, take a white-board marker and circle the items you would like to add.
Take a cell phone photo of all of your outfit sheets so they are handy while shopping. You never know when you will run across an amazing deal on one of your missing pieces.
Congratulations for completing one more beautifully organized area of your castle that creates “calm”…
You did an amazing job!! 🙂
Digital Closet Organization
Are you tech-y and obsessed with organization? Perhaps you’ve met one of my good friends – STYLEBOOK. It is a great way to inventory your wardrobe and create outfits in seconds!
Here’s the feature I find most useful…the “Closet”. It is a photographed inventory of every piece in my wardrobe with file info on the size, brand, etc. of my clothes and accessories so I don’t forget what I have in my closet and buy too much.
Plus, if I know, from my previous purchases, that I’m a certain size in a particular brand, I don’t even need to try it on! #savingtimeandmoney
Check it out in the app store. I’m not an affiliate – it’s just a great app. 😉
For those who are in the market for closet shelving, you should check out Kim’s great two-part post on closet systems.
I would love to hear some of your tips,
tricks or struggles with your wardrobe.
Please leave them in the comments below. 🙂
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