Do you want to master wardrobe planning? This simple guide has the best tips and tricks for you to easily create a wardrobe plan whenever you need one!
The principles of wardrobe planning are as follows: identify the purpose of your wardrobe, define who wears the wardrobe, consider where your wardrobe is worn, determine wardrobe requirements, prepare your list of wardrobe essentials, and fill any gaps in your closet.
If this seems like a lot, don’t worry!
I break these principles down into an exact method you can easily follow to create your very own wardrobe plan, for an entire closet, or for a specific need.
Ready to get your wardrobe in gear for the entire year?
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Best Wardrobe Planning
1. Identify The Purpose Of Your Wardrobe
The first part of wardrobe planning is to identify the purpose of your wardrobe. If you’re going to create an intentional wardrobe plan, you need to establish the goals of your wardrobe and why you are creating this plan.
You need a solid purpose. Something along the lines of “to get organized” is not strong enough to motivate you. Your wardrobe isn’t going to look the same as someone else’s because we all have different needs.
Identify your wardrobe’s purpose through the following questions:
- What do you like about your current wardrobe?
- What don’t you like about your current wardrobe?
- Pain points when getting dressed, styling outfits, etc.
- Describe your perfect wardrobe (i.e. the wardrobe of your dreams)
Next, rank the following factors in terms of wardrobe style in their order of importance to you:
- Statement (i.e. makes a statement)
- Low maintenance (easy to care for)
If any above factors are of no importance to you (e.g. you don’t care for trendy items), then you can leave them off the list completely.
Now, take the answers to your questions above and summarize them into a paragraph or list of the most important things you’re looking for in your wardrobe. This is your wardrobe purpose. Read it aloud and make sure it resonates with you.
2. Principles Of Wardrobe Planning: Define Who Wears The Wardrobe
Define who wears the wardrobe? Isn’t it obvious?
This may sound silly off the cusp but stay with me on this. This next step is required for a successful wardrobe plan.
Throughout our lives, we each have different personas depending on where we are, who we’re with, and what we’re doing. For example, I’m a millennial, a mother, a fashion blogger, an entrepreneur, a single woman, and an American. Each of these personas is a factor in how I want to dress. In other words, each of these factors into my personal brand.
We all have a personal brand, or how we (want to) portray ourselves to others. My personal brand is going to be different than someone who’s just started working in the corporate world or who is a passionate environmentalist. And that’s the idea. The way we dress should authentically represent who we are to ourselves and who we are to others.
Related Post: Style Types Fashion | What’s Your Style Personality?
By identifying your personas, like the ones I listed above for myself, we can then define our personal brand.
These are examples from my personas:
- As a millennial, I want to be seen as open-minded, youthful, and adaptable
- As a mother, I want to be seen as loving, responsible, and fun
- As a fashion blogger, I want to be seen as stylish, creative, and sincere
- As an entrepreneur, I want to be seen as wise, ethical, and driven
- As a single woman, I want to be seen as elegant, intelligent, and interesting
- As an American, I want to be seen as respectful, grateful, and free-spirited
Take this example and define your personas and the qualities you want to convey to others in each. Add this list to your wardrobe planning purpose from section one.
3. Assess The Setting Of Your Wardrobe
The next step of wardrobe planning is to define where you will wear your wardrobe. Come up with a list of all the places you’re aware of that you will be going to for the year and duration (or how often you’ll be there). This list helps you understand where and when you should be spending in your wardrobe planning. It will also help you with how to buy clothes you’ll actually wear.
Related Post: How To Buy Clothes You’ll Actually Wear, Seriously
This list should include any recurring or scheduled events such as yoga, soccer games, appointments, get-togethers, etc. At the end of the list add an item to indicate how often you’re lounging or spending time at home (e.g. if you’re a homebody this would be rated high, like in the example below).
Example Wardrobe Settings
- Work from home (dress for video calls): 3 days a week (156 days)
- Corporate Office: 2 days a week (104 days)
- Dog walks: Every day (365 days)
- Beach house: 1 month (30 days)
- Dinners out: 2 nights/month (24 days)
- Formal events (e.g. weddings, etc.): 3 days
- Church: Weekly (52 days)
- Book club: Monthly (12 days)
- Casual get-togethers: Random (20 days)
- Spending time at home: High
There’s no need to be exact with days and timing. The point here is to get an idea of the type of clothing, accessories, and outfits you’ll need in your wardrobe and how often you’ll be wearing them. Given the above example, almost 30% of the year is spent in an office, so workwear is a priority in this wardrobe.
If you work full-time at an office, it makes sense to invest more in workwear than loungewear. Attend a lot of formal events? You’ll want to have appropriate formalwear so you’re not always wearing the same dress. Do you run a lot? Budget your money for quality running shoes and athletic wear for all weather.
4. Steps In Wardrobe Planning: Determine Wardrobe Requirements
Now that you’ve identified your purpose, personas, characteristics, and settings for your wardrobe, it’s time to put together the requirements for the wardrobe essentials you’ll need.
Based on the personas and settings where your wardrobe will be in effect, list the wardrobe categories you need to plan outfits for, in order of priority (e.g. most worn to least worn).
Here’s an example (building off the wardrobe planning list of places and events in section 3):
- Home workwear smart casual (it’s helpful to list any dress codes because this will determine the versatility of your clothing)
- Office workwear business casual
- Dog walks
- Summer vacation
- Church smart casual
- Casual events
- Evening events
- Formal wear
See if there are any categories you can combine. Use your best judgment to determine your categories. This exercise should be practical, not difficult. Once finished, highlight the high-priority categories, based on days identified in the wardrobe setting exercise.
In the example above, I can combine home workwear and church because they use the same dress code and thus the same clothing is worn. I also wear loungewear on dog walks, but need specific outerwear to go outside, so I’ll keep those categories separate. Lastly, I typically opt to wear nicer clothing to casual events, so I can leverage this through both smart casual and loungewear/athleisure, and remove the casual events category.
Final Wardrobe Categories And Rationale
- Home workwear/church/casual events smart casual
- Office workwear business casual
- Dog walk outerwear
- Summer vacation
- Evening events
- Formal wear
Based on these categories and the days of wear, the top priorities to focus on and spend on for my wardrobe are smart casual, business casual, loungewear/athleisure, and dog walk outerwear. While the other three categories are necessary, they are less of a priority and are secondary in my wardrobe planning budget. I also know that the summer vacation category overlaps with some of the clothing in loungewear, evening events, and smart casual, so I’ll plan for versatile summer pieces in those categories.
5. Prepare A List Of Required Wardrobe Essentials
At this point, you have what is needed to create a list of wardrobe essentials for the entire year. Use your categories to come up with needed clothing and accessories that also includes basics.
The point of this list is to identify every REQUIRED item in your wardrobe. For now, don’t focus on what you already own. The number of required items may surprise you and may be different from mainstream lists floating around the internet. That’s okay. Your needs will be different than someone else’s.
Keep in mind the best wardrobe planning focuses on versatility–items you wear across multiple occasions and seasons. This is key for any budget wardrobe or capsule wardrobe (and simplifies getting dressed in general).
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Write this list down or in a spreadsheet, so you have it as a reference, as it’s needed for the next step. Include important details such as the season(s) each item can be worn. For example, wool trousers are perfect for winter workwear, but will most likely stay in your closet all summer, meaning you’ll need a lightweight pair of similar trousers.
6. Use The Wardrobe Planning Worksheet To Shop Your Closet
Now, it’s time to tackle your required wardrobe essentials list by shopping your closet. Hopefully, you’ve written your list down, so you can continue to document this work.
Take your time and intentionally go through each item you own to determine whether it fits the bill as a wardrobe essential. Try your clothing and accessories on to make sure they fit. Review them for any defects and to ensure they’re still wearable. Also, if you don’t feel good about the item, it’s time to consider discarding it.
Related Post: How To Shop Your Closet The Right Way.
Check off each wardrobe essential you own and even document which item this is in your spreadsheet. Always keep this list handy and updated for future reference when you need to replace items. Changes in life may dictate different needs, so your list of required wardrobe essentials and priorities can also change.
This wardrobe planning step is complete after you’ve reviewed every item in your closet.
Items that didn’t make the list are extra. There’s nothing wrong with extra items–they’re fun and exciting and a great way to further show off your personal style. You may see that you own a lot of extra items, but are lacking in the essentials department. If you’ve identified this issue, that’s great! Now you can adjust your priorities in terms of purchasing for your wardrobe.
7. Plan To Purchase Missing Wardrobe Essentials
Plan your shopping budget for any missing wardrobe essentials on your list that you don’t already own.
Using the priorities you’ve identified in your wardrobe categories and based on the current season, you can begin to tackle the rest of this list. Don’t purchase ‘extra items’ until you’ve filled in all the gaps in your wardrobe essentials list.
Reference your wardrobe purpose and the personas and defining factors when you shop for clothes, so you only purchase items that resonate with these truths.
For smart tips and tricks on how to shop for clothes, check out these posts:
- How to Shop for Clothes Online – A Beginner’s Guide
- How To Shop For Clothes Like A Professional Buyer
Wardrobe essentials should always be the priority of your spending, so continue to keep up with them. As mentioned earlier, keep your wardrobe essentials list handy and updated whenever something in your closet changes. For example, if your schedule changes and you no longer work from home this might require a new assessment.
Stick to this wardrobe planning method and you’ll always have a closet that works for you!
Take your wardrobe planning to the next level with the Ultimate Wardrobe Essentials List, completely free to download and use on your mobile device or print out.
This post was all about wardrobe planning
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