How To Build a Killer Wardrobe
My girlfriend texted me a few days ago while I was at work with a 911 boy/fashion hybrid emergency. She had a full weekend of events planned with her new significant other that her former flame would also be attending with his new significant other. Yikes.
I was more than qualified to tackle this crisis. My friends know I have a love for all things fashion and as a chronically single girl I have had my fair share of encounters of the ex-boyfriend kind and, on more than one occasion, those run-ins have involved new significant others. These situations suck big time – they can make you feel small and insecure and send you into a spiral of self-doubt and unhealthy comparisons. But, I know one thing for sure, wearing an outfit that makes you feel comfortable and beautiful can really help you own who you are, where you’re at in your life and what you bring to the table. So, of course, I was happy to help my girlfriend find the perfect outfit to make her feel as beautiful and bomb as I know she is.
Tackling a weekend of outfits for someone else made me think about how I tackle the task of compiling my own wardrobe. I spend a lot of time working on this because clothes are a passion of mine, however, I think it’s an important skill for anyone who wants to have a wardrobe that not only keeps all their bases covered but, also, helps them express who they are. Here are a few tips, tricks and techniques I came up with while working on this project with my girlfriend …
1. Finding Inspiration
Finding inspiration is the starting point for me. Fashion is supposed to be fun. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but I think, no matter how reluctant of a shopper you are, there are probably at least a handful of pieces of clothing that you love and feel great in. The idea is to transform your wardrobe into an entire collection of these items that you’re excited to wear. So where do I get my inspiration?
Pinterest. I am a massive Pinterest addict. It’s my favourite way to compile looks that I want to try and put together each season. One thing I love about Pinterest is that you can spend hours clicking around and pinning and when you check out your board, I think you’ll be surprised at how cohesive your fashion sense is. This really helps you narrow down aesthetics and key items that you’re drawn to. Pinterest will even show you key tags for each of your boards which will help give you some clues about the types of items that float your boat. For example, my ‘Everyday Looks’ board on Pinterest gives me suggestions like ‘Minimal Classic’, ‘Casual Chic’ and ‘Cozy’. The images and tags you compile using this tool are a great launching point for your shopping adventures.
Bloggers. Check out some Instagram bloggers – find a few whose style you admire. These people have made it their job to scour the globe for great new brands and products to share with you and they’re probably pretty good at pulling together a sharp outfit.
Family and Friends. I’m lucky to be surrounded by family and friends who are beautiful on the inside and out. Each one of them has a very specific look that reflects their unique personalities, lifestyles and passions. When I see my friends, aunts, cousins, mom or grandmother in an outfit that makes her glow I always take note.
2. That ‘I don’t have anything to wear!’ moment
Think carefully about the scenarios you have to dress for. Do you have a corporate job with a strict dress code or a physical job where you need to be comfortable? How do you spend your weekends; are you camping and hiking, are you going out to dinner with your friends, are you happy to relax with your dog and Netflix, are you dancing at a new club with a strict dress code or your favourite casual dive bar?
Also, think carefully about those ‘I don’t have anything to wear!’ moments. If you pay attention to the times you feel this way you might find that it’s often when you’re dressing for a specific scenario. For example, I always tell my mom that she spends too much time and money on her work wardrobe and not enough time on her weekend wardrobe so when she is going out with her girlfriends she ends up having to revamp a work piece that won’t give her that ‘night out’ feel. Versatile pieces are great but make sure you have your bases covered for all of the wonderful places you have to be!
Once I’ve found my inspiration and thought about the gaps in my wardrobe I start to think logistics. How much money do I have to spend, how much time do I have to devote to my shopping trip, what are the key statement pieces I want to purchase, what basics in my wardrobe need refreshing? Once you’ve thought about these questions you can take a look at your favourite stores online and do some ground work that will save you time later. This is an especially great idea for people who hate shopping and get easily overwhelmed in stores.
1. The In-Store Experience
The In-Store Experience is so important to me. I’m not a huge online shopper. I need to touch the fabrics and try on the clothing I am investing in because no matter how beautiful a piece is it won’t look good unless it fits you properly. I do my best to avoid many of the big chain stores because I love finding unique items and because I find that, generally speaking, smaller boutiques provide better customer service and personal shopping, they also tend to have smaller selections of high quality clothing that I find less daunting to navigate. Here are a few of my favourites:
Voc. I shop at the Liberty Village location, they have wonderful sales associates who really know their stuff and are eager to help. Voc is my go-to boutique for weekend wear.
Thursdays. This new Rosedale boutique is a lifesaver for any special event you have coming up. They have sourced unique brands at reasonable prices. Head here for your next LBD.
2. Oh did you think we were done?
We’re just getting started. Don’t get lazy now because this is the stage where your wardrobe can become a clusterfuck of a nightmare to navigate. There’s a rule called ‘The One In, One Out Policy’ and it is brilliant. I learned this trick from my Mom who is not a fan of clutter. So, you’ve come home with a nice bag of fresh clothing wrapped in tissue and sealed with a shiny sticker. Before you unpack your finds, jump into your closet and cleanse, cleanse, cleanse! Did you buy a new T-shirt that is super white and fresh and fits you like a dream? Great! Get rid of the ratty one that is piling and has sweat stains because that’s not cute. Once you get rid of a few items drop them off to a consignment store or a Goodwill location. Now you can add your new items into your closet. The few minutes you take here will save you hours of rummaging through a closet full of items you don’t need anymore.