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Evaluating your closet

I’ve been meaning to post this for awhile, but with planning a wedding freaking me out, wardrobe building has taken a back burner.  So without further ado…

After reading article after article I’ve put together a basic wardrobe checklist. Huzzah!

Without a huge long intro, you can download these checklists here:

Women's Wardrobe Checklist
Men's Wardrobe Checklist













Cleaning out one’s closet can be a daunting task, but before we build our wardrobe, we need to see how much of our wardrobe we actually have already. So often we have clothes in our closet that are perfect basics, we just don’t think of them that way. I think it’s really easy to think of everything in your closet as a statement piece that speaks mounds about who you are, where in reality we have all the basics we need hidden in plain sight.

I’ve included a key to neutrals on the bottom of the checklist. I refer a lot to “Dark, Mid-tone, and light neutrals” because if someone looks awful in black, you shouldn’t buy black things because it’s on a checklist. A “little black dress” can just as easily be a dark grey, brown, or navy. If you’re not sure what colors work best on you, drape different colors of fabric near your face and look at yourself int he mirror. Some colors will drain color from your face while others will make you glow.

I also want to mention that a neutral for your wardrobe doesn’t need to be black, grey, brown, or navy. You can have red be a neutral, you just have to be careful that everything else you buy or make will work with red.


How to use your wardrobe checklist:
So with checklist in hand I ripped open my closet doors and started evaluating all the pieces of clothing in my closet. I pulled out each piece and evaluated it on the criteria:

  • Do I like it?
  • Does it fit?
  • Is this on my checklist?

If I like it, I try it on (unless I know it already fits) and evaluate the fit. After you try it on, look long and hard at yourself in the mirror. I like to stand back and squint my eyes. Turn around and evaluate different angles, then ask my lovely soon-to-be husband how it looks if I can’t decide.

A few tips for trying on clothes:

  • If it looks a little strange and you’re not sure if you like it or not, play with the hem. Sometimes taking a hem up or letting it out slightly can make a so-so skirt, dress, or pant look amazing on you.
  • Try on a pair of shoes you would wear with the outfit you’ve tried on. You might find out that those frump slacks look amazing when you throw on a pair of heels with them.

Trying on clothes and evaluating them like this will also give you an idea of what shapes flatter you, helping you pick out clothes in future. Pretty nifty!

Next, I compare it to my checklist. I then place it in 1 of 5 piles: 

I then organized my closet by type of garment and color so I can easily find items to wear. I put all items living in The Land of Ill-Fitting Clothes in a separate box which is labeled. I don’t want any clothes that aren’t wearable in my closet to distract and frustrate me.

Something worth mentioning:
A wardrobe basic that needs altering should not be crossed off your checklist until it is altered. You want your checklist to reflect what items you can actually wear now. This is the same for items living in the Land of Ill-fitting Clothes.

After going through my closet I realized I only had about 5 items on the checklist. I was shocked because I thought I’d have a lot more. But now, I am armed with items I need to make or find!
Stay Geeky


If you have any questions or comments about the checklists, just leave them in my comments. I’ll answer them the best I can.

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Defining your Style

Can you define your style in a sentence or less?

I tried to define my current style in a sentence, and then I realized that I couldn’t. I couldn’t even define what I wanted my personal style to be.  All I could think of was “frumpy” and “t-shirt and jeans.” This may have worked in my early 20s, but now that I’m a grown up in a professional environment, this isn’t exactly a look I wanted to be identified with who I was.

Considering I’m an Art Director by day, I decided to approach my personal style in the same way I approach a problem for a client, with inspiration and brain storming.

How to define your personal style:
First thing to do is to find pictures and colors that move you and put them together in one place.

I used my Pinterest account and set up a board to collect my inspiration. I grabbed colors, styles, and people whose style I admire. I tried to really go with my gut, and grab things that spoke to me. I didn’t want to think, I wanted to just grab. I figured I could just sort it out later, and hope to find some sort of theme.

Things I learned:

So putting this all this knowledge together, what is my style?

I’m tentatively defining it as (drum roll please):

Sassy Femininity

I wanted to define my style as lively, bold, cheeky, spirited and embracing womanly shapes and textures. This definition allows me to easily pair urban and edgy styles that are bold and attention getting, while still having womanly shapes like fashions from the 40’s, 50’s and early 60’s.

You don’t want to limit your style by your definition, but you want it to be an easy mortar you can think of when you decide what styles to wear. And remember, style is about looking and feeling good in the clothes you wear, so if you don’t think you’ll feel comfortable or confident in don’t put it on your style boards. For example, I don’t feel comfortable or confident in shorts, so they don’t take a lot of prominence on my style board.

I suggest printing out or making a collage of images from your Pinterest board for inspiration, sorting the items  according to what drew you to them, and how they reflect your defined style. If you are super anal, you can put it in a notebook you take shopping, put it on your wall as a reminder to the look you want to develop for yourself, or just leave it on the internet for reference.

For my male readers:
For my whole “Wardrobe 101” feature I’ll include a section which target’s a man’s wardrobe. For this post, keep in mind that the process is the same for a man and a woman. Finding inspiration may be a little harder to come by, so I suggest finding characters in media that you are drawn to. What are they wearing? Do you like how they dress? Their attitude?
I started a Pinterest board for my fiance where we’ve started collecting fashion inspiration for him as well. I’m sort of forcing him along this journey with me.

If you have other ideas for defining your style, want to share your style board on Pinterest, or just want to post your style definition, I would love to read it! Just leave it in the comments or let me know on twitter. I really want to make this wardrobe series something that a group of us can go through at the same time, either like a small community or a support group.

Next week: What makes a good wardrobe

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Wardrobe Theory


I never have anything to wear.


And I’m quickly finding out that, as an almost 28 year old, I still dress like I’m 15. Probably even worse, because I use to dressed pretty cute at 15. I attribute this to several factors.

1- I’ve gained weight. I don’t want to admit it, but I realized that slowly over the past few years more and more of my clothes got banished to the land of ill-fitting clothes.
2- I’m lazy. I’m lazier now also for several factors, one I blame on my hair (I’ve been growing it out for my wedding, and it’s so long, i don’t know what to do with it) and the other is my extreme love of cuddles.
3- I Stopped paying attention to fashion trends. I just zoned out on fashion. As soon as skinny jeans hit the scene 3 or 4 years ago, I tuned out. Also, with weight gain, you tend to hate shopping.

So I checked a bunch of books out of the library about “defining your style” and “How to always dress your best.” I learned it all came down to the same thing, defining your basic wardrobe. This got me thinking about my wardrobe, or least what was left in the wearable pile. I knew I had to change it up, and stop sewing fun pieces that don’t go with anything, and start making sure I can make outfits.

I’m sure I’m not the only one with this problem, and I’m at a point where I’m ready to dress like an adult. Considering you can’t nominate yourself for “What Not To Wear,” I’m taking matters into my own hands. I encourage anyone else who feels this way to join me. You don’t sew? That’s ok! Just go out and find items that fall into the basic wardrobe category.

For all of 2012 I’ll be focusing on creating a wardrobe that works.

A few things I’ll cover in this on-going wardrobe series:

  • What makes a good wardrobe
  • Defining your style
  • Organizing you closet
  • Planning a wardrobe
  • Undercover: learning the basics of undergarments
  • Making (or buying) great clothes that fit

It should be a lot of fun! I hope you join me.

Stay Geeky