5 steps to planning a seasonal wardrobe

Image source: here.

The temperatures have cooled down a great deal in the past two weeks in Amsterdam. Inevitably, I am planning my wardrobe for the dark, rainy, windy, and cold months ahead. This is the first time that I am laying the groundwork for a seasonal wardrobe and that is because I want to plan and structure a variety of my outfits in advance to avoid finding myself in a style rut at 7AM in the morning or impulse buying online during the lunch hour or late into the night.

This post is not about what I am buying or what you should buy. Instead, it is about evaluating the different aspects of your life and style to curate a seasonal wardrobe that will not bore you or let you down. For that, it is important that you be realistic about your daily routine and personal style.

1 – Start with the basics

Check what the weather will be like in the next few months and what you will be doing everyday. Do you live somewhere it rains a lot [raises hand]? May be you be you walk to work everyday. Or do you work from home full-time or part-time? Are you a student? If you work in a corporate environment, think about what the meetings and events will look like for you in the near future.

So my bottom line for the autumn season is: rainy, cold and windy + full-time job in a business formal setting + occasional work trips + may be a holiday [not yet finalized]. Based on this, I have an idea that I would need a solid umbrella, rain jacket, weatherproof boots, and generally warm clothes that work in the office, as well as a possible holiday.

2 – Discover your style
Screen Shot 2018-09-09 at 2.38.46 PM
A sneak peek of my Autumn Wardrobe Pinterest board

This one can be tricky to nail down, but it is also a ton of fun. Take the pressure off because it is not necessary to box yourself in a strict category. The idea is to identify themes in the silhouettes, colors, textures, and patterns you gravitate towards.

You can start by taking a simple style quiz. This one from Visual Therapy is pretty comprehensive, but feel free to take a variety of personal style quizzes to compare results–Google is your oyster. The results of most of my quizzes reveal that I have a classic-chic style, which is actually pretty accurate. I am attracted towards timeless pieces in neutral colors and classic silhouettes.

You can take the quiz results one step further by exploring Pinterest and Instagram for style inspiration. Start with simple search terms like “autumn fashion,” “workwear” or “casual style” and save up to 50 photos that pique your interest. Identify themes in the photos you have saved. You can find the pins I saved here for inspiration.

In this step, keep in mind to remember your bottom line from step one. That will help you stay on track. For instance I saved quite a few earthy-toned slouchy sweaters, but as a matter of fact they will not fit into my office dress code, hence it is better that I do not include too many of them in my autumn wardrobe.

3 – Select a color palette

For most of my life, my wardrobe lacked a color scheme. I used to buy whichever color looked appealing on any given magazine model, disregarding my own likes and dislikes. When I started working, this became a huge problem. I needed pieces that complemented each other to maximize the number of outfits I could create. Working in a strictly corporate setting also made me conscious of my personal brand, and what colors I want to represent my brand.

Three years later, my wardrobe has a solid color theme. Having a cohesive color palette makes dressing in the morning a breeze and makes me feel ten times more confident too. I have not been to fashion school, so I cannot tell you the technical details of building a color palette. For me it works to start with 3-5 neutral colors and then add on a couple of complementary colors to keep everything light and interesting.

Color Palette Autumn Wardrobe 2018

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So for this autumn’s wardrobe, I have selected black, navy, cream, and grey as my base colors and camel and maroon as my complementary colors. I choose these colors because it’s easier to pair them together, they suit my personal brand at work, and I already have year-round classic pieces in these colors.

4 – Assess your wardrobe

Now that you have the basics, personal style, and color palette figured out, let us take a look inside your wardrobe. Does it reflect the results of the first three steps?

This would be a good time to try everything on and donate or sell the items you have never worn, items that no longer fit you, and pieces that are worn out. If you are too afraid to let them go immediately, place them in a box and put away for six months, and then try to repeat the same exercise with those items.

With the items you have decided to keep, identify any gaps you need to fill. For instance, I will be facing a lot of rain in the coming months but I do not have rain boots. I have also realized that my sturdy long, leather boots need replacement and I would need a large black scarf / shawl to keep myself warm in the office. I terribly missed having this piece last autumn / winter. The last item that I must hunt for is a down jacket because my current one fits too snug, the length is short, and its material gives off a shine that does not look appropriate for the office.

5 – Make a shopping list and budget

Now that you have taken inventory of your current wardrobe and the items it needs, write down a shopping list and hold yourself accountable to it. This will help you stay focused and avoid spending on items that fall outside of your current wardrobe dynamic.

Additionally, take a look at your finances and determine a budget for your purchases. This step is crucial because you do not want to over spend and regret your choices later. I would recommend spending 20% less than your overall budget. This way, you will have room to buy later, if you spot something nice. Do not feel pressured to buy every item on your list all at once. It is better to go slow and steady, as this also allows you to let your ideas and creativity with individual pieces come through. You will know what I mean once you are there!

Those were my five simple steps to create a seasonal wardrobe. I hope these tips help you in curating a wardrobe that makes you feel great. Best of luck! x

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