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Crafting the Perfect Wardrobe

We all cycle through trends and changing tastes which make curating a balanced wardrobe one of those never ending fashion battles. I’d love to have the least amount of clothes with maximum style to reflect my personality and my aesthetic.

That being said, I truly desire a closet filled with clothes that are functional, versatile, and long-lasting. In the past, I haven’t been very forthcoming about how I exactly propose to do so. Occasionally, I do a closet post (one, twothree, and four) and here’s another one. But now is the time to reveal my master plan to achieve this long-term goal.

The Plan
  1. Purge and organize the current closet every 3-6 months. Have donate, tailor, and keep piles. Develop a system to determine what clothes haven’t been worn since the last purge and either make a point to wear it or put it in the donate pile.
  2. Create a list of items that are the “holes” in the closet. These are the items you constantly remind yourself to buy. It can be basics, but it’s not a requirement.
  3. Write down items that you want over the course of your life, realistically. These tend to be trendy/more expensive statement pieces like a leather jacket or a Chanel handbag.

Using this list, shop with purpose and within budget. If it’s not on your list, you don’t need it. Thus, it greatly reduces the amount of clothes you feel like you “need” to purchase. I’ve been taking closet cues from Dead Fleurette, Assembled Hazardly, and Out of the Bag. They are proof that we don’t need a lot of clothes to be stylish.

The List
  1. Slouchy white tee (James Perse)
  2. Slim ankle pants
  3. Small colored handbag (Marc Jacobs)
  4. Black pointy pumps (Ivanka Trump)
  5. Summer printed scarf / Silk scarf
  6. Bib necklace
  7. Khaki/Olive Green casual jacket
  8. Waterproof jacket
  9. Casual day dress
  10. Nude flats
  11. Aviator sunglasses
  12. Something with fringe (a bag?)
  13. Everyday boots (not biker boots)
  14. Graphic sweater
  15. Chunky sandals
  16. Something sequins
  17. Leather item
  18. Suede draped jacket (cropped?)
  19. Tweed item (not boxy)
  20. Patterned/Textured/Wool shorts

Looking over my list, I realize how “little” I want because I’m not tied to designer items nor a specific style. My closet works pretty well already, so I don’t need a lot. I’m pushing for more textured, sculpted, and architectural clothing to give my outfits more depth and dimension.

I’m sure there will be changes and additions to this list but I hope this would help to prevent me from buying something just because it’s cheap, trendy, or on sale.

My Perfect Closet Journey

  1. Closet Therapy
  2. The Grizzly, The Princess, and the Wardrobe
  3. Spring Cleaning Part 1
  4. Spring Cleaning Part 2
  5. Crafting the Perfect Wardrobe
  6. Update on the Perfect Closet
  7. The Perfect Closet – Achievement Unlocked…Now What?
{ 36 comments… add one }
  • B May 2, 2011, 8:01 am

    This is a great post! My rule of thumb is, Have I worn it in the last 12 months? Will I wear it again in the next 12 months. If it is No and No, it’s dumped into a Donate pile. I also completely agree with finding items that are truly versatile and long-lasting. That is why I have given up on Forever 21, H&M, etc. for finding those things like a leather jacket. Don’t get me wrong, I will still go to those stores for fun and trendy fashion. But I will never find that suede, leather cropped jacket I want at one of those stores, or a Chanel handbag :) I saved up for a Balenciaga bag, and it was sooo worth it. I think you should also do a post on how you organize your closet (if you haven’t already!)

    • admin May 2, 2011, 4:50 pm

      I’ll try to do a post on organizing your closet. Since my move, everything isn’t as neat and tidy as it used to be. It’s different but it works. =)

  • B May 2, 2011, 8:04 am

    Lol, I just realized you have multiple posts on your closet, which I’m reading right now!

  • Lili @ Relatable Style May 2, 2011, 9:12 am

    That’s what I want to do, too! I just have to find the time to purge my closet again and then work out what I’m still missing… I long to do it, but there are so many more important things that come first 😉

  • Sunshine May 2, 2011, 9:23 am

    What a great post!! I constantly struggle with this problem as I have TOO MUCH clothes. And I still can’t seem to get rid of them :( I clean out my closet about 4 times a year but I constantly buy buy buy more so it’s a never ending cycle. I’m gonna take cues from you and write down some pieces that I really want. Never thought of doing that before. Thank you! :)

  • The Little Dust Princess May 2, 2011, 9:30 am

    Great post! This is what I have been trying to do with my blog sale. In the end, I’ll be donating anything that’s unsold. I’m trying to rework my closet so that I’ll have pieces that I can wear throughout the course of the year AND throughout my life. Quality and neutral pieces are key to this. Before looking at your list, I assumed that every woman would probably have a similar one, but now I realize that isn’t the case. Minus the leather item, I noticed that I find the rest of the items on your list useless for my own lifestyle. Not saying your list is a bad one! Everyone has their own unique list and that’s why everyone’s wardrobes are so different. And speaking of a “fringe item” (#12), if you’re interested, I have a fringe purse up for grabs here on my blog sale. : )

  • couturecoco May 2, 2011, 10:26 am

    Absolutely spot on! Great, relevant post. Now that I’ve moved and have all my clothes and accessories under one roof, I’m truly embarrassed and ashamed to see I have so much stuff! Much too much so am in the process of purging and re-organising too.
    Thanks for your tips.

  • jenny May 2, 2011, 11:09 am

    this is such an endeavor! i’ve never really put that much thought into my wardrobe; hence, i have spent way too much on things i don’t need.

    i can’t wait to see how you evolve your closet! i’ll definitely take notes. :)


  • Mae Lu May 2, 2011, 11:12 am

    I don’t have a list… but now that I’ve read this, Jess, I am inspired to make one.

    I think it’ll help make my move back out west a lot easier when it’s time (January).

    Mae Lu @ thereafterish.!

  • Quest for Fashion Sense May 2, 2011, 11:15 am

    Great post – haha, I wish I had my perfect wardrobe already. I’m sure my husband would be even happier than I would be if I already had my perfect wardrobe. Currently on my want list: red or black suspenders, a bow tie, a small pair of diamond studs, nude slip (per your suggestion ;D), a pair of CLs (maybe), skinny patent belts in red and yellow (at the influence of Jean [Extra Petite], Kelly [Alterations Needed], and Cher [a fashion deliberation]), a statement necklace, rose gold accessories, and a statement moonstone piece. Heh, I’m going to see if I still want all of these items in four months when I’m able to begin purchasing again. Shopping bans kinda suck.

  • Larie May 2, 2011, 1:39 pm

    This post comes at a perfect time – I need to do the same, completely revamp my closet and just fill it with multi-functional, staple pieces. I have no idea where to start, though. So overwhelming! I think I’ll make a list – yours works so well. :) Thanks for the post!

  • Really Petite May 2, 2011, 1:39 pm

    Oh Jess….great post! When I revamped my main walk-in closet and switched from wooden to kids slim line hangers- I filled up an entire guest bedroom with clothes to sell and donate!

    My closet has def been re-vamped and it feels so good!!!

  • Marie May 2, 2011, 1:45 pm

    I love a good closet clean out session, and mine needs it like nobody’s business.

    Marie @ Lemondrop ViNtAge Spring Necklace giveaway

  • Michelle May 2, 2011, 3:05 pm

    Oh gosh..my closet…I have too many clothes that I do not wear. I have been purging quite a bit lately. Luckily, donating clothes is so easy around my area…there are donation bins in the parking lots of major shopping centers.

    I love your pile ideas!

    Tip on the white shirt. I bought a James Perse white t-shirt years ago. I love the feeling of that brand ! But the white shirt was only usable a few times because it got armpit stains so fast! :( So if you do not have that problem, go for it…but for me, I try to stay away from anything white that touches my pits.

    • admin May 2, 2011, 5:06 pm

      I never really had a problem with pit stains on my white shirts. They usually get dirty from spilling things on it that don’t wash out. But thanks for the heads up about the James Perse tee!

  • kimchi girl May 2, 2011, 3:53 pm

    this is such a great post, jess! :)

    i am also not really into “designer” items…i tend to gravitate towards “looks” rather than labels (j. crew may be an exception, LOL…but the brand has a very specific “look” hehe).

    that being said, # 3, 5, & 6 are also on my list! :)

    • admin May 2, 2011, 5:08 pm

      Me too! I love “looks” of things instead of labels but I do make sure that the quality of what I buy will last me a while and won’t fall apart or fade faster than I can get a good run with it. =)

  • admin May 2, 2011, 4:58 pm

    @Lili: I scheduled time to clean my closet and I had to do it uninterrupted so wouldn’t lose focus. It’s definitely worth the trouble so that you always know what you already own.

    @Sunshine: I have the same habit, once I purge, other things fill up the space. LOL. But having a list really makes it easier for me to shop. I’m trying to move away from impulse shopping.

    @The Little Dust Princess: Everyone has different styles and tastes, so it’s only natural our lists will be different. And I think it’s a good thing since we won’t be “fighting” over the same things. =P

    @couturecoco: When I moved, I noticed the same thing…I had too much stuff, so I was quite ruthless and cut out a lot of clothes that I don’t wear or aren’t my style anymore.

    @Jenny: I used to buy whatever caught my eye but now, I think it’s wiser for my wallet and me to take stock of what I have and what I really want. I don’t want to be swayed by trends to buy something for the season only to have it go out of style in a few months. So with this list, I’ll be able to build a closet of seasonless items to last me a few years.

  • admin May 2, 2011, 5:04 pm

    @Mae Lu: I used to make mini-lists but I’d always misplace or forget about them and re-write them all over again. This way, I’ll have a “master” list to refer to so I don’t have to keep cycling my wishlists.

    @Quest for Fashion Sense: I think it’s good to have shopping bans to better appreciate the freedom we have when we shop. It makes more wary of quality, construction, and price points. Plus when you look over the list over time, perhaps things will change and you won’t want them anymore. =)

    @Larie: I’m glad you found it helpful. I prefer to tackle things in a structured step by step way…it’s my way of organizing and it makes it easier to deal with when you break it down.

    @Really Petite: I remember your post about the hangers. I’d love to see what your closet looks like now!

    @Marie: Agreed. It’s spring cleaning at its finest. Not only do I clean out the clothes closets, but all the other ones that I use for storage.

  • Amanda May 2, 2011, 7:32 pm

    Thank you for the acknowledgment, Jess. I am really far from the perfect wardrobe which is part of the reason I’m still wanting more things I guess. I don’t think a person can ever achieve the perfect wardrobe though, because tastes and needs are constantly changing – but when you’ve reached the point where you feel like you’re 95% satisfied, that’s good enough for me =)

  • Amanda May 2, 2011, 7:37 pm

    BTW, have you tried the Gap slim cropped pants? I find them to be the best thing Gap every put out, so that might take #2 off the list.

    • admin May 2, 2011, 10:16 pm

      I have tried Gaps cropped pants. Unfortunately, they’re too tight in the legs and too loose in the waist. So, I’ll have to find another alternative for my “thicker” legs. =P

  • Recovering Shopaholic May 3, 2011, 4:53 am

    Oh goodness – I have a ways to go on this one! I spent last year trying not to re-wear anything to see how long I could go, and I went 8 months! A lot of purging came from that, but I still have 2 closets full of clothes! Keep it up, Jess, and keep encouraging us to do the same!!

    • admin May 9, 2011, 3:45 pm

      I’m definitely trying to pare things down and I know I have plenty of outfits that have yet to be worn. Ultimately, I want to be more minimalist and I’m making gradual lifestyle choices to get there. =)

  • Chris May 3, 2011, 9:02 am

    Sticking with “a list” is incredibly hard to do. I find myself draft said list all the time, then when I actually get to the battle ground, I see things that I didn’t think so and I’m all like “oh ya.. that needs to go on my wish list!”.

    I don’t think my wardrobe is perfect, but I’m beginning to like it more than I used to… a big step towards civilization!

    • admin May 9, 2011, 3:47 pm

      This list helps rein in my impulses, but it’s not set in stone by any means. I know that these are items I’ve really been pushing for but I get sidetracked by a lot of new trends. So it really helps me to be more thoughtful and purposeful while shopping and not buying every new shiny thing that comes my way.

  • Janelle May 3, 2011, 10:50 am

    great post… I really need to clean out the closet :{

  • Sahara May 3, 2011, 9:26 pm

    The list is a good idea! I constantly find I buy stuffs repeatly but always forget the items I miss in my wardrob. Thanks for sharing. This is great post!

  • Rinny May 4, 2011, 9:40 pm

    Great post! I’m still a long way from completing my “perfect” wardrobe. I have a tendency to impulse buy a lot too so that doesn’t help either. Creating a list is a great idea though. Hopefully I won’t buy so many things I don’t need anymore!

  • Slayerbabe May 5, 2011, 5:28 am

    I’ve never really planned my wardrobe and I even have clothes when I was in high school (which is a VERY long time ago) since my size has never changed since I was a teen. I think it’s great to actually plan and efficiently run outfits through an organized wardrobe. Just don’t be a fashion hoarder like me, lol!

  • MG May 5, 2011, 1:33 pm

    I love your list! I made one, too, and I’ve found that it’s been a major help. I shop better when I’m “on a mission,” so I’m doing well with a list.
    Also, have you read “The One Hundred” by Nina Garcia? It’s an interesting read but also extremely helpful in list-building. I borrowed it from my library but got so much out of it that I’m thinking about buying a copy!

    • admin May 9, 2011, 3:50 pm

      I have read Nina Garcia’s books. They are quite helpful but I find that I have to tailor her suggestions for my lifestyle to get the most mileage out of it. =)

  • Cara-Mia May 21, 2011, 7:19 pm

    I love this post! I actually just did a bit of purging myself. I was holding onto things I haven’t worn in 2+ years just because they were a certain designer or something. I need more space so I really can’t do stuff like that right now. So away it goes.

    My key pieces tend to be black skirts, basic cardigans, wedges, and ballet flats.

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