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How (and why) to Create a Wardrobe Wish List

Moving Toward Slow Fashion
July 11, 2020
Moving Toward Slow Fashion

As I was doing a little personal prep work for the upcoming Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, I thought back to my 2020 style series, Moving Toward Slow Fashion. While I started that series strong in January, I’ve kinda let it fall to the wayside in recent months. I’ll blame #thecovid for that. Ha!

Truly, things have been quite irregular this spring and summer, so it’s not been the easiest time to plan (or wear!) a wardrobe. But as the “sale of all fall sales” fast approaches, I’d like to get back on board with moving toward a more thoughtful, thought-out and intentional wardrobe plan. So I thought it would be a good time to talk about how (and why) to create a wardrobe wish list. Join me?

How (and why) to Create a Wardrobe Wish List

For more information on how to prepare specifically for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, check out this recent post. But today’s post is broader than that. Over the past few years of blogging, I’ve tried to become more conscientious about building a wardrobe that really works for me. Thus, the three style series we’ve had here so far:

  • 2018 – Dressed for My Day My Way – learn your body shape, body proportions, personal style essence, the color that work best for you, and more
  • 2019 – Building a Wardrobe that Works for You – the steps for creating a wardrobe that works for your lifestyle, personal style, budget and color choices.
  • 2020 – Moving Toward Slow Fashion – becoming more mindful fashion consumers so that we can get out of the fast fashion cycle and enjoy the clothes we have longer.

One of the key steps I identified in my first slow fashion post, What is Slow Fashion?, is to “strategize” so that we intentionally and thoughtfully build a wardrobe rather than just “end up with” one from shopping on whims. One of the best ways to strategize your wardrobe is to work with a Wardrobe Wish List. Let me explain.

What is a Wardrobe Wish List?

Having a Wardrobe Wish List does not make you greedy or silly. This list is not a pie in the sky kind of want list.

Instead, a Wardrobe Wish List is a strategically devised list of the pieces that you think might would work well in your existing wardrobe to help create outfits that line up with your personal style essence, lifestyle, color palette and body shape and proportions.

It’s all about strategy. And remember, the purpose for the strategy is to, eventually, create a more minimal wardrobe, a more streamlined and efficient one.

Here’s How I Created My List

With the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale approaching, I felt like I needed to go ahead and start thinking strategically about how I would shop it. I don’t mean to over emphasize this sale or treat it like a life-changing event. Then again, it is a sale that could drain a good chunk of my wardrobe budget if I’m not careful. And I don’t want to make senseless, expensive purchases that I later regret.

So here’s what I’ve done…gradually…over the past week or two:

  1. Revisit my Fall & Winter Fashion Pinterest boards and identify again what I want my fall & winter outfits to look like. It’s not about what clothes I like, what colors I love or even what the trends are. I want to remind myself about the outfits I see that resonate most with my personal style and lifestyle.
  1. Note the articles of clothing & accessories needed to create those outfits. I made lists of the specific types of jeans, pants, sweaters, outer garments, shoes and accessories that comprised these looks.
  1. Decide on my wardrobe neutrals. I’ve decided that my wardrobe neutrals will once again be black, grey, creamy white and denim blue. I’ll have some brown accessories probably and I’ll wear a little bit of camel. But I’ll say no (for the most part) to navy, olive, and burgundy. (There will be exceptions, like my sage green utility pants!)
  1. Determine my signature colors {in broad strokes}. I’ll be steering toward shades of red, pink, blue and green again. These are the colors that make my eyes pop. (Want to know the colors that make your eyes pop? Find out here.)
  1. List all of the items I already have in my wardrobe that will effectively create those looks. I listed out everything I already do have and love. These are the pieces that will easily contribute to the outfits I really want to wear.

Here’s my list of things I already have and love that will contribute to the looks I want to wear this fall and winter:

By the way, I have no idea why I made one box pink and the others blue. Ha! There is no significance to that!

I can’t emphasize enough the need to actually write this list out. I thought through the list several times in my mind, recalling the items I enjoyed wearing last year. But it wasn’t until I actually put pen to paper that I recognized I have plenty of the essentials needed to create the outfits I love this fall and winter. But I also was able to quickly pinpoint the real holes in my wardrobe.

  1. I listed out the items I think I might need to add in order to create on-trend, interesting outfits that flatter me and fit my lifestyle. This is the beginning of your Wish List. At this point in the process, I realized I don’t actually need anything. I could live just fine without making a single purchase. And that’s true for most of us! So this Wish List really is an “icing on the cake” kind of list. But these are also the items I’d like to have in order to bring some color, modern touches and interest to my looks. And I do have a few items in my wardrobe that truly just need to be replaced because of wear and tear, such as my black riding boots.

I will not buy all of these items this year. But these are simply the items I’ll be looking for.

The Beauty of the Wardrobe Wish List

Notice this list is NOT called a Shopping List. I will not be shopping for all of these items, either in the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale or any other sale. But these are simply the items I can buy if I happen to find them. So I’ll have “an eye out for them,” as they say.

The real beauty, however, of the Wardrobe Wish List is that it steers me clear of everything else that is not on the list. I will not be looking at anything else this fall or winter. And if I see something that strikes my fancy but is not on this list, then I’ll remind myself that keeping to the list will help me create the outfits I love while diverging from it will only eventually frustrate me and lead to waste.

I could (and probably will – let’s be honest!) buy a few things that are not on my Wish List. But having this Wish List and focusing on it will help me stay in my lane, so to speak.

Finally, having a wish list helps me to look for the very best item at the very best price. If I’m looking out for one black dress and only one black dress, then you better believe I’ll be looking for the very prettiest one I can find and at the best price. And by “best price” I don’t necessarily mean cheapest. I just want the best dress at the most reasonable price for the quality. Remember, these are items I want to have in my wardrobe for years.

Will you create a Wardrobe Wish List?

What about you? Would you like to create a wardrobe wish list? I’ve got everything you need to do so in my Freebies for Subscribers page. So if you subscribe to my daily or weekly emails you can print out my blank lists and use those. (You’ll need your secret code, which is always in the emails, to gain access to the goodies!)But if you’re not a subscriber (of course you can become one!) you could just do like I did and write out your own lists on notebook paper.

Let me know if you have any questions. This exercise really helped me. And I think it’s key to developing more of a slow fashion mindset towards our wardrobes.

Thanks so much for stopping in today. I hope you enjoyed the post!

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Blessed for My Day

Philippians 1:6 is one of those verses that just settles me like a soothing damp wash cloth laid on a feverish forehead. I can get in such a tizzy about my own lack of growth or change that I whip myself into a feverish frenzy. But I also get that sick feeling when worry and stress out over my grown kids at times. Can you relate?

We just want progress, don’t we? I mean we want to know that we’re growing, that the people we love are becoming wiser and that God is still at work. Oh my, but by the grace of God… So that’s why we must cling to the confidence of Paul when he wrote to the Philippians that he was assured of God’s work in their lives. We, too, can know that God is working the good in us and in our loved ones to grow us up in Christ likeness. Praise the Lord!

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 1:6

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xoxo, Kay
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24 thoughts on “How (and why) to Create a Wardrobe Wish List

  1. Excellent Kay!!!! I cannot imagine the amount of time and detail that you put into your posts and videos. It is greatly appreciated. The verse that you have for BFMD is a verse I have had in my bathroom for years to remind me everyday that God is not finished with me yet. Have a great weekend.

    1. Wonderful. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your comments. Have a wonderful weekend!

  2. Needed that verse reminder today, thank you! As for lists, I keep a list of wardrobe gaps that keeps me focused. I recently transitioned from office to retirement, and lived with my office attire in my closet for one year until I mentally broke up with work. Big purge, many boxes to consignment and donation. I made a list and invested in quality basics in my selected signature colors. Then added my accent colors and went to the closet and listed “gaps.” Right now I have seasonal clothes that suit my lifestyle and will work for years to come. Lists do work. Mine calms me down when I’m shopping! I do splurge, but no longer make impulse purchases. It’s a good way to stay current and on track!

    1. Yes! I love that. “Mine calms me down when I’m shopping!” Exactly. Thanks so much for sharing your experience. At our ages I think a lot of my readers are in that same place as far as transitioning a wardrobe from work to retirement or through other life changes. I’ve been changing my wardrobe from living in Arizona to living in Ohio and the journey has been similar.

  3. This is a home run! Thank you for sharing such wise and realistic ideas. I have too many clothes due to a recent weight loss from a major stress event in my life. I went from a size medium down to small-x-small and now I’m not sure what to do with the medium sizes. Most are good quality items, things I have loved wearing. I basically have 2 wardrobes now and I feel like I’m drowning in clothes. I haven’t a problem donating but I also know if my life settles down I may gradually return to my normal medium size. It’s hard to store 2 full wardrobes for all 4 seasons. This is really a ridiculous western culture problem but I’m convicted to be a good steward of my resources. Do you have a past post that addresses an issue such as this? And I love the verse in Philippians. Be blessed!

    1. Hi Nancy. Not sure if this is what you’re looking for but you might enjoy this post. I suggest you take the items that are too large out of your closet and pack them away at least. Or really just pack away the most versatile and timeless. If you do gain weight, many of them will be out of style anyhow. Plus keeping a pared down closet will help you stay on your current weight (if you want to).

  4. Thank you Kay, this is exactly what I need to do! I must admit that I tend to loose my focus sometimes when shopping! One day I took my 3 year old granddaughter shopping with me and she found some bright pink shoes with Lots of sparkles and glitter. When I told her that we weren’t going to buy them, ( didn’t have her size) she hugged them and exclaimed “ But they’re so pretty!!!”
    I’m afraid the apple doesn’t fall far from the Nana tree!

    1. Hahaha! I totally get it. I get sucked in by pretty things so easily! But I’m determined to think more and feel less when shopping. ?

  5. Excellent post Kay! I love that you help us make wiser shopping decisions. The plan you have laid out makes so much sense and I plan to implement it for fall.

  6. Ive had three items on my wish list for some time. Pink sandals, olive pants and a new jeans jacket. I purchased them finally & I know I will keep them around a long time but until I made the list I didn’t think of them as gaps. They just fit right in so well. Lists are my salvation.

  7. This is a great post! Thank you so much for the time you put into it to share with us. I am at this exact place and have been scouring the internet looking for ideas. I purge my closet annually and I am in a rebuilding stage right now.
    On a completely different note, I loved that you said “might would work” in your post. My best friend used to say that all the time! I live in Canada and had never heard that before I met her. She moved here from Texas when she was a child and had a few expressions that were new to me. She passed away 6 years ago and I miss her terribly. It made my heart sing to read your statement as it brought her immediately to my mind:)

    1. Hahaha! yeah, I guess that’s not really the right wording, huh? Maybe it’s a southern thing? Maybe it’s just silly me! But I’m glad it at least brought your dear friend to mind this morning. Sweet.

  8. Kay
    What season are you ? Do you have a cool undertone.
    I am really enjoying all tips to build my wardrobe. Thank you !

    1. Funny thing. I just talked about that in a video I recorded today. I have neutral undertones. I’m so pleased that you are enjoying the blog posts. ?

  9. Dear Kay,

    A resounding yes to your encouragement to steward our closets well! I love that you say, Kay, that many of us don’t need anything per se, unless an item wears out. But, we desire to engage confidently in our worlds and that takes a bit of planning and effort, and we want to look current. The more thought we invest in advance, the better the outcome and enjoyment of our purchases.

    Since we moved from the midwest to the south, I thought I would dress super casually all the time (except for church). But, that didn’t suit me. I tried several approaches, and have since settled on a classic, polished, yet fun and fresh, style.

    As organized as I am, I haven’t really made a wish list though, and I should, because this will help me steer clear of mistakes! Thank you for the excellent reminder and helpful counsel about planning ahead for our wardrobes.

    1. Great! I’m so glad you’re enjoying the post. Yes, this is my first time to really create a written physical list. I’m counting on it to keep me out of trouble! ?

  10. Thanks again for a super helpful and still fun to read post! I am planning to shop the Nordstrom sale for some better quality basics, and a list will help tremendously. Keeping in our lanes – perfect summary!

  11. Over the past few months I’ve reorganized my wardrobe, made a list of basics that I need, and filled a few gaps in my wardrobe. By making a list it has taught me to be more disciplined when shopping, and also not to buy things that I dont really love. Thanks Kay, look forward to your videos.

  12. Hi Kay, this is such a great idea. About two years ago I put wardrobe lists on GoogleKeep on my phone, because I have it with me whenever I shop (only online because of COVID-19 now of course). I also have a “Don’t Buy” list to remind me if I have enough of favorite items; too many white tops is a big one for me-I never met a white blouse I didn’t like, they are like cats!), or for items that haven’t worked well in the past for me. An example of the latter is buying dark colors or prints in summer-only weight fabrics, no matter how pretty, I just never seem to wear those black-based prints, etc., in the warmer months. Or, bottoms without stretchy waists, my weight changes too much. You are so generous with your content, and such a terrific stylist, I love these wardrobe basics articles.

    1. Thanks so much Kimberly. I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog. I’ll have a winter wardrobe essentials post coming out next week. ?