Building A Dream Wardrobe

So, I'm not sure I entirely have my "dream wardrobe" but I do feel every day I get closer to a perfect closet. To me a dream wardrobe is a wearable (whatever that means for you) wardrobe of pieces that you feel good putting on and want to wear again and again for years without growing bored. The goal is to always have fun getting dressed and easily achieve a desired look with the pieces in your closet. When I think about the people's style I admire I think about how very specific their clothes are; there aren't a lot of random deviations into trendy pieces or even a broad color palette. I follow girls who wear exclusively vintage except for a few necessary "modern" pieces that still give that vintage look and I find it very inspiring. My closet has felt like a bit of a hodgepodge for years, but lately I feel my style starting to narrow down and this year I'm very determined to stick to a style plan. In addition to getting closer to that dream wardrobe, I also want to be smarter with my purchases and to stop wasting my money on things that won't last or be worn often. If you have similar goals, here's a few tips to get you started.
Collect your inspiration into one spot. Whether that is a folder of pictures on your desktop, clippings from a magazine, or an inspiration board on Pinterest, start gathering your inspiration into one spot. I always find that when I started collecting seemingly random inspiration in one spot certain themes start to shake out. I start to notice a preoccupation with white dresses, romantic details, etc. The inspiration will help you figure out exactly what your dream wardrobe looks like. It's also useful to look at the pieces in your closet that you wear the most and seem what they have in common. Right now I feel that my inspiration could be described as "pastoral" or clothes that wouldn't look wrong on a shepherdess in a classic painting!
Make a list. Once you have an idea of what your dream wardrobe looks like, write down a list of pieces you need to acquire "the look." Going with my pastoral theme I see this as a lot of flowy, romantic dresses in soft shades with minimal patterns, simple flats like ballet flats or espadrilles, and other "natural" details like straw baskets and hats. From here you can build a list of exactly what you need--think of dress types and shapes and colors. Don't forget the detail, so make sure you have the right shoes and accessories in mind to complete "the look." I find it best to be as specific as possible without focusing on a certain piece or brand. For example right now I'm on the hunt for a nice white maxi dress with lace details. I've seen a few in shops I like, but instead of writing down "Reformation white maxi dress" when that dress could sell out before I'm ready to commit. Specific helps keep you on track with finding the right piece to add to your closet, whereas a branded or exact piece can limit you if that piece stops being available. It also helps to know what you are looking for, to learn the proper terms for silhouettes or items to make your searches more precise.
whitedress-2-sideAvoid browsing sites or popping into stores to see "what's new." The new arrivals area is all about pushing impulse purchases or convincing you that you need something that you didn't know you needed! So I would avoid these as much as possible and only go shopping or look at sites when you have your list handy and a specific item in mind. Impulse purchases are not very likely to be forever pieces or work well with the wardrobe you're wearing. Another thing to keep in mind when buying something new is to assess how well it suits everything else you own or the style you're going for. I see cute heels all the time I like, but I always stop myself because I think "where would I wear them" when half the time I seem to be walking around on gravel or actual dirt! Flats (and wellies) are much more practical for my lifestyle and will actually get worn.
Buy less, invest more. Investment is often used to justify spending more money per item, but I see investment as more than just money, but time and energy. It's very easy to make an on-the-spot purchase of a dress that looks good and feels good, but it takes more investment of your time to trawl through multiple sites and stores and searches to find the perfect dress that will add to your ultimate dream wardrobe. So one of my goals is to cut back on my impulse spending and the ways I spend my "mad money" and save towards very specific items. The saving could be financially for more expensive pieces, but it's also about channeling energy to the hunt for the perfect piece. Ultimately too it's not about having a enormous closet, but rather one filled with the right pieces. So I don't need more, I need accurate.
Take your time. As the old saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Likewise most of us aren’t going to have a sudden windfall that allows us to invest in a whole new wardrobe in one season. Instead work towards your goal; choose 1-2 items from your list and focus on acquiring those pieces for a few months. When your budget allows, invest in another piece from your list, but understand that there’s no rush. The goal is to have pieces you want to wear again and again for years to come, so it’s ok if it takes years to get there as well. My own wardrobe has definitely built over so many years! I'm often wearing a mix of new pieces with clothes I acquired years ago. A red dress I wore recently on Instagram was one I got back in 2011, so 8 years ago! A piece you love should stand outside of trends and with a bit of care to keep it from getting too worn out, should last you for years so it's worth investing in good pieces.


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