Elizabeth Street

Wardrobe Building 101

Wardrobe BuildingLiz TubmanComment

2015 has been a year of coming into my own in all sorts of ways.  One of the biggest ways has been an exponential growth in my confidence & experience as a maker.  I started sewing & knitting a lot of my own clothes this year and I'm now proud to wear the things I make.  A long term project of mine for this year was to build a handmade capsule wardrobe.  I first wrote about this project here, if you're curious.  My plan for building a wardrobe has changed since then, but I'll share about those plans in another post soon.  

Building a handmade/capsule/whatever kind of wardrobe you want has been a trending topic for a while, and it's a topic that I find myself becoming more and more passionate about.   Thoughtfully building a wardrobe of items that reflects your unique style is incredibly empowering and inspiring - every woman should experience that!  I've been wanting to write a series about this very topic for a long time to share my own experience and bits of wisdom.  Today's post follows the process I took when I started this whole wardrobe building process.  I hope you'll find some inspiration or encouragement here for your own closet!

Clean out !

After a few years out of grad school, I realized that my entire closet was stuffed full of things that were college leftovers that either didn't fit well or I just plain didn't like.  I really only wore about 10% of what I actually owned, and even that 10% didn't seem to fit my changing tastes anymore.  If this sounds familiar at all, it might be time to purge that closet.  It might be hard at first, but once it's done it feels so much better!  

I made a pile to donate, a pile of throwaway , and a pile of undecideds.  Anything I knew I wanted to keep I put back in my closet right away.  The undecideds I stored out of sight; if I forgot about them and didn't miss those pieces, I would donate them.  If I still found myself looking for one of those pieces, then I'd reconsider getting rid of it.  

Once I'd purged my closet, I bought some nice wooden hangers.  Somehow putting my clothes on those hangers took it up a notch, as if whatever I decided to keep or add to my closet had to meet that wooden hanger standard.  

 

Take stock & make a list.

After purging your closet, it's time to take stock.  What are the holes in your wardrobe?  What pieces do you have too many of?  Make a mental (or paper) list of those wardrobe holes.  When you make plans to add to your wardrobe, you won't be aimlessly shopping or making.  

 

Figure out what you like.

This step was huge for me.  My tastes changed dramatically after leaving college but my wardrobe didn't change with my taste.  It took awhile for me figure out what I actually liked, since I just tended to wore whatever fit or looked good on me, even if I didn't truly like it.  

I'm a very visual person, so making a Pinterest board was a no brainer for me. If you don't have a style board, start one!  If you have one, go analyze the heck out of it.  What do you find yourself pinning over and over? What colors are on your board?  What type of shapes do you see in the clothes - floaty & oversized or fitted and slim?  You don't need to copy piece for piece the outfits you pin, but deconstruct them into pieces to figure out what it is about it that you really like.  Once you figure that out, it's pretty simple to add those elements into your own wardrobe.  

Here's a screenshot of my own style board. I love classic, unfussy shapes and lines but with an artistic or vintage-inspired twist and neutrals that pair well together with a small pop of color.

Here's a screenshot of my own style board. I love classic, unfussy shapes and lines but with an artistic or vintage-inspired twist and neutrals that pair well together with a small pop of color.

The list you make of items to fill in your wardrobe gaps & your visual inspiration board will be the tools that you use in the rest of your wardrobe building project!