Planning your Wardrobe

It's wise to plan

Having a plan is important: be it in a small or large area of your life. Without plans we don’t know how we are going and can’t measure how effective we are being. Having a plan is like lights on the pathway – without one you can’t see where you are heading or how far you’ve come. 

Now, I can just about hear you asking what has all of this got to do with fashion – surely the fashion world is one of creativity and disorder, not of plans and goals? That may appear to be the case but designers plan their ranges up to a year in advance, retailers plan their buying for each season and a wise fashionista plans her wardrobe.  

Having a planned wardrobe means you always have something to wear, whatever the event and that your clothing works for you –getting dressed each day is fun and stress free rather than stressful. You get great value out of your garments, you shop with certainty and intention and you wear what you buy, rather than just taking something home because “it’ll do” or you liked it. (Those garments often don’t work because they don’t go with anything else, so hang in the back of your wardrobe making you feel guilty for never wearing it).

 So, how do you plan your wardrobe? 

 The first step is research: Grab yourself some new season fashion magazines – NZ & Australian titles are best. (If the price puts you off, check websites like or borrow from the library.)

Going through the pages mark the clothes or outfits that you really like. Don’t worry about their prices or who designed them, it’s the overall look we are going for. Some women like to tear out the pictures and put them in a separate scrap book.  Whatever works for you is fine, but you do need to treat this a bit like a school project.

Check all the details and finishing touches: shoes, accessories, belts and take note of the way the models are wearing them.

Look at what you’ve marked: can you spot any trends? Are you attracted to feminine stuff or edgy street wear? Are you buttoned-down & corporate or do you love the vintage stuff? Perhaps you’re an eclectic mix of all? This is your style personality.

Create a pie-chart of your lifestyle and how you spend your time – because you need to spend the bulk of your money where you spend most of your time: there’s no point in having loads of glamorous evening wear if you spend all day at home with the kiddies and only go out to special events occasionally. Do the clothes you’ve marked fit the lifestyle you have? Can you incorporate your style personality into your lifestyle?

The next step is the biggest part of your process: it’s where you check out what you already have in your wardrobe. The reason it’s such a big task is because before you can really see what you have, you need to do a bit of a ‘spring clean’. It is important that you make time to do this properly – which can be a bit daunting, so we’ll break it down to a few easy steps.

1. Get rid of anything that’s worn out or no longer fits – be ruthless here, yes people will really notice the shiny bum on your pants or the stain that you can’t shift on that shirt. You also need a realistic view when it comes to clothing sizes, too – will you really fit that in a couple of weeks? If you are on a major “this year I will lose weight” mission, will you want to wear that old skirt you’ve had at the back of your wardrobe for the past six years?

2. Separate items that you’ve traditionally worn as outfits. This plan means you need to let go of some of your “old” habits. Organise your wardrobe a little as you do this - hang all your jackets together, all the skirts and all pants separately.

3. Put aside stuff that needs mending & laundering – and make time to action it.

4. Put the stuff you haven’t worn for the past year or that doesn’t fit your lifestyle in a separate pile. Go through this later and work out if you can “re-work” it into your new wardrobe or sell it.

5. What’s left should be the stuff you actually wear. Using the information from your ‘research’, look for the key pieces you want to create your new wardrobe.  Can the skirt you bought last season be teamed with a cardigan to soften it to create your new look? Can your suit be updated with a new-seasons shirt or shoes? What about your shoes, handbags & accessories? Do you need to buy new or can you re-work existing pieces to fit the looks you’ve identified as your own for this season.

6. Using what you already have and your magazine pictures create a shopping list to fill in the gaps. Take the list with you when shopping – if you take pictures with you or write simple descriptions (like ‘soft, floaty, pretty’) rather than ‘Marcs pink short sleeved shirt’ then you’ll find it easier to keep to your budget: and you’ll also find it far less frustrating if you can’t match the picture in the magazine exactly. Remember, it’s amazing the things that can be found at low-end chain stores or vintage clothing stores. Check these for jewellery and accessories too.

Take that list to the shops and stick to it – you’ll be amazed at how what you have bought will work for you, adding new life and real value to your wardrobe.

If you’d like help planning your wardrobe, check out our wardrobe co-ordination service.

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