I’ve been spending a lot of time lately trying to figure out how to make my wardrobe a happy place – full of things I love wearing that make me feel like the best version of myself.
I’ve been reading up a lot about this (shout out to the epic Wardrobe Architect series by Colette patterns) and have kind of been developing a quick and dirty process for refining my wardrobe.
Basically my aim has been to work out how to get the best possible wardrobe with as little fuss and as few missteps as possible.
In the end it boils down to a few key questions that help me refine my lifestyle and the looks that make me feel great. Nice and easy.
I can’t imagine I’m the only person with limited time to sew who wants to make sure my time is spent making things I’ll wear time and time again. So I thought I’d share my process – so you can see if it works for you too.
And look, this isn’t just for people who want to sew, it’s good for any of us who want to live with less and make smart decisions about what to have in our wardrobes.
crafting a more meaningful wardrobe
1 What do you spend your time doing?
OK, so first I started by thinking about what kind of situations I find myself in most frequently. I found Caroline’s wardrobe planner really useful for this – a helpful way of breaking down how much time I actually spend in different places/doing different activities.
Look, I would love to go back to the time when I was dressing up for cocktails pretty much every Friday, but I mostly work, hang out with friends + bambinos. And I’m cool with that.
My time pretty much breaks down into:
- work (3 days in the office)
- play (working from home, day off with the bambino, casual hang outs with friends)
- upscale play (situations I want to look slightly nicer than usual, like families parties, coffee dates with my lovely husband).
Hardly rockstar stuff, but I’m happy with it 😉
Some things to think about:
How does your time break down? Do you work in a formal office 5 days a week? Yoga at the weekends? Go to fancy cocktail parties often? These all require you to dress differently (well, d’uh).
2. What is your ideal look? How does that change depending on the activities you do?
Once I identified what I was doing, it was all about turning my attention to defining how I wanted to look doing those different activities.
A shifty little look on Pinterest helped me work out that I’m basically a big fan of looks that are feminine, but unfussy and effortless. Looks with an equal balance between structure and slouch (slouchy structure?).
Once I had my ideal look, I tried to map out how that ideal look translated into those activities I do so often.
Which worked out a little something like this –
- Casual office look: shift dresses, structured skirts/trousers with loose shirts, blazers for meetings
- Play: fitted jeans with loose tops, casual dresses, loosely structured cardigans
- Upscale play: casual dresses, jeans with camisoles, loosely structured cardigans
Some things to think about:
Do your clothes need to let you run around comfortably? Do you stand all day? Or maybe you need to look like a boss?
All of these elements are going to influence what kind of clothes let you do what you do and do it well.
Also, what type of looks make you feel most confident? By the way notice that word there, confident? I was going to write comfortable, but, heck, you’d feel most comfortable in some joggers and a tee, but that not might give you the confidence to kick ass in a meeting, right?
3. What kind of colours and patterns do you gravitate towards? What fabrics work best for your lifestyle?
Look I love flamingos. But is novelty flamingos print going to help me feel like an effortless, unfussy lady? Probably not, so I should maybe ration my exposure to flamingo print fabric.
Harsh. But fair.
I also know that I love multi-purpose items that can work across my different activities. So solid colours and stripes are definitely going to work for me in any situation. Plus they’ll be much easier to mix up. Win.
With the bambino I need to steer clear of any fabric that’s overly delicate or high maintenance, so silks, sheers and anything white is pretty much out of the mix.
With this in my head I had a good old stash clear out and it feels really good to be left with fabrics that I just know will work perfectly for me. Here’s what I’m left with:
- jerseys in solid colours, simple prints or stripes
- viscose or rayon with a great drape that make easy care shirts or dresses
- bottom-weight fabrics in solid colours and denim for structured skirts and jeans
- cotton-blend fabrics in simple prints for a few multi-purpose simple tops
Some things to think about:
What colours and patterns do you have in your wardrobe already? What about your Pinterest boards? Do you want things that work together, or are you happier having unique, one-off items? Do you need to think about care instructions (like dry cleaning) or can you pretty much wear anything you want?
And that’s it.
The big clincher for me are questions 1 and 2. Answer these and I think you basically find 95% of the answer to a better, more meaningful wardrobe.
I’d love to know if you’ve been doing any thinking on crafting a more meaningful wardrobe (handmade or not). What kind of things have you been learning about your own style? Do you have your own process to help decide what you make and wear?
p.s. If you’re looking for a more intense process for working out your ideal wardrobe (handmade or otherwise) I would definitely recommend looking through the Wardrobe Architect series and Unfancy blog.