How To Create a Wardrobe You Love

It’s about finding a more sustainable way to shop

Photo by Alyssa Strohmann on Unsplash

Not going to lie — over the past few years, my clothing style has been all over the place. Every year the same story, I have no intention of wearing anything I bought even just a season prior. What was I thinking when I bought ?

It can be hard to build a wardrobe that doesn’t leave us feeling like we have nothing to wear, even when every drawer is filled to the brim. Even more so when we don’t have an established taste. However, once we manage to build a cohesive wardrobe — capsule-based or not — crafting outfits becomes effortless. I’ve found a few strategies that helped me create a wardrobe that I like and keep wearing, year in, year out.

Pick a primary and a secondary style, and shop accordingly

I used to buy any piece of clothing that I liked and could afford to buy. More clothes, more outfits, right? Wrong! I owned some pieces that were cute and girly, some that were very grown-up and lady-like, in a host of colors that I never seemed to be able to match. I had styles that would just not go together. On the other hand, I struggle with picking one style only to stick to. This is a common cause of incohesive wardrobes.

After giving it some honest though, I decided to go for a classic style as my primary and edgy as my secondary. What does this actually mean in my case? I’d go for clothes with feminine and timeless cuts, and high quality, for the base of my wardrobe. But I’d often make sure to match them with an item with an edgier look to offset the “mature” look from the classic clothing.

The split between the two styles informed my budgeting choices as well. I would spend more on the classic items, because I was more likely to want to keep them later on as well, instead of replacing them fairly soon. I ended up with a split of about 80/20 classic/edgy items in my wardrobe. My number is completely arbitrary, and if it were to continue with my specific example, what specific split I choose would depend on — do I want to dress classic with a pinch of edgy, or edgy with a touch of classic?

In general, a classic style can match pretty much any other style. Need a refresher on what other styles exist out there? Some examples include casual, elegant, chic, athleisure, trendy, vintage, but there is a whole bunch of other options. Have a look at any fashion blog that inspires you, and try to nail down exactly what about each outfit speaks to you. How do these bloggers define their own style? Now you have, at the very least, a lead about what your main style is.

Make at least half of your wardrobe neutral pieces

If the majority of your wardrobe consists of colorful pieces from the entire spectrum of the rainbow, you will have a hard time mixing and matching — unless the mismatched look is specifically your thing, in which case, please carry on. Even if most of your clothes are the same color, they’ll rarely match in shade.

My personal rule is never to buy a piece of clothing that is not neutral-colored unless I already have at least one corresponding neutral piece in my wardrobe. After all, realistically speaking, what am I going to use most often — a bright pink pair of denim or a plain black pair? I try to keep the ratio of neutrals to colors around 50/50 and that works pretty well. You can pick only one neutral, or several. Some neutrals to consider are black, white, off-white, gray, some shades of brown, and navy blue. Go for whichever ones you think are flattering on you and you like to wear.

As for items matching your primary style, it might be wise to set aside a larger budget for your neutrals. You’ll probably end up wearing those items far more often because they’ll simply go with everything. If you’re going to build a foundation for your wardrobe, it’s worth spending a little more on it to make sure you don’t have to worry about replacing the garments too often.

Sort your clothing by color

I like to store my clothing in a way that makes it easier to get a bird’s eye view of what I have. It’s just so much easier to build outfits when you can see everything you have at once.

One way to do this is by sorting everything you own by color (and weight, if you store clothing for every season in the same place). Try placing a couple of clothing racks next to each other, hanging neutrals on one side and colors on the other in any sorting order you prefer — I like a rainbow. Not only is it practical, but it also looks pretty darn neat.

Another option is storing your clothing in drawers, but storing items folded side by side so you are able to see each of them, instead of piling them on top of each other — in that case, who knows what’s underneath?

No matter which method you choose, if you’re able to see all your options at once, building an outfit will feel much smoother. Also, you’ll be able to anticipate how many outfits you might have left for the next few days, so you don’t accidentally find yourself out of viable pairings before laundry day.

If you’re able to follow these tips, you should be able to start building a cohesive wardrobe in no time. What’s cool about this approach is that it doesn’t matter how many clothes you actually buy, or what budget you have. It’s all about consciously deciding to allocate wardrobe space and money to certain items, instead of impulse buying everything that catches your eye — guilty! — and ending up with a heap of unused clothing that does nothing but cause stress.

Shop wisely starting now, and soon the dreaded “I have nothing to wear” will be a thing of the past. Promise.

Writer of sorts.

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