It’s still bitter cold here in Ohio, but I know spring will come out to play soon! And I want you and me to be ready. Last week I previewed lots of spring fashion and beauty trends for the 40+ woman. This week we’re going to develop a strategy for building a beautiful spring wardrobe that will work for you. I’m sharing how to plan and shop for your spring wardrobe.
We’ll look at:
- How to Plan and Shop for Your Spring Wardrobe
- Spring Wardrobe Essentials
- Spring Completer Pieces for Layering on Style
- Spring Under Garment Essentials
- a Spring Try-On Session…with some of your favorite stores
Let’s get started today with How to Plan & Shop for Your Spring Wardrobe. I have a step-by-step plan to help you:
- prevent wasteful purchases
- build a cohesive wardrobe that mixes and matches perfectly
- minimize your purchases
- maximize your selections in multiple outfits
- look the way you want to look this spring
- buy from multiple stores to create unique looks
- utilize what’s already in your closet
Step #1 – Build a Pinterest board for Spring Style Inspiration.
I prefer a Pinterest board because, with the app on my phone, I can take the entire board with me when I shop. But you could also build a style inspiration board on a real bulletin board or poster board using magazine clippings. Of course, I’m finding it harder and harder to find as much inspiration in paper magazines as I can on the Internet these days.
But the bottom line is we really need to start with concrete, visual inspiration. We tend to thumb through magazines or skim the Internet and notice things we love, but neglect to collect those images where we can refer back to them.
With a Pinterest app on your mobile device (here’s one for androids) or a Pinterest browser button on your computer, you can pin images from all over the Internet to your Spring Style Inspiration board. You can pin from blogs like mine, retail stores and fashion websites. You can even pin from YouTube!
And of course, Pinterest will feed you pins they think you may like, too. And you can put terms in the Pinterest search engine such as spring style inspiration or spring styles with black or spring styles in navy or spring styles for petites.
So first, if you don’t already have one, create a Pinterest account. It’s safe and easy. Then create a board for Spring Style Inspiration. When I first start a board like this, I usually make it private. Later, when I’m comfortable with what I’ve collected I may make it public.
Here’s my Spring Style Inspiration Board on Pinterest. Feel free to check it out and pin from it if my styles resonate with you.
Let me know if you have any questions about Pinterest and I’ll try to answer them. Oh, and be sure to follow me on Pinterest!
Now, onto the next step!
Step #2 – Examine Your Pins
Examine your collected pins to identify the looks you desire to create. Here are some questions to answer as you look over your pins. I suggest you write out your answers so you can really nail down what you discover.
- How would you describe the vibe or feel of the outfits you love the best? (Perhaps…chic, modern, edgy, happy, feminine, sophisticated, relaxed, bold, flirty, simple, retro, elegant, natural, outdoorsy, romantic, classic, etc. Be as specific as possible)
- What style hacks do you see repeatedly in these looks? (For example…shirt tucked in, partial tuck, blousy tuck, untucked, belted, scarf around neck, flipped collar, rolled sleeves, rolled pants cuffs, etc.) A style hack is simply a unique way of wearing a piece or combination of clothing that makes it look a little unique.
- How would you describe the proportions in the outfits? (Maybe…balanced, full on top and fitted below, fitted on top and fuller below, column of color, reverse column of color, tonal, etc.)
- What colors and color combinations do you see in your selected outfits?
Step #3 – Create Style Uniforms
Write a one to two sentence description of three different general outfits you’d like to create based on your research. These should be modeled on the pins you’ve collected.
These become your Spring Style Uniforms, so make sure they work for your lifestyle.
You can, of course, do more than three of these. But three is a good start. And I would try to keep it down to maybe half a dozen or so. You want to make this simple.
Remember, to make these general, too. You want to be able to switch in and out different tops especially, but also pants and shoes.
Step #4 – Test Your Current Wardrobe
Pull out your current wardrobe and attempt to put together outfits that fit the descriptions you’ve made of your desired Spring Style Uniforms. Aim for at least 3 renditions of each of your Spring Style Uniforms. Remember, you want to create a versatile wardrobe. So you want to be able to use every piece of your wardrobe at least three different ways.
Step #5 – Take Photos on Your Phone
Using your phone, take photos of the outfits you’ve put together. Preferably take mirror selfies of you wearing the uniforms. But you could also take flat-lays of the pieces. Just lay them out on your bed in groupings and snap the photos.
Put these photos in a folder in your phone if possible for easy referral.
By the way, don’t forget to go ahead and add shoes, handbags and accessories to each look as much as possible. Utilize the styling hacks you discovered, too.
Step #6 – Purge what doesn’t contribute.
Okay, it’s time to get ruthless. I suggest you purge anything from your current spring wardrobe that doesn’t contribute to the looks you’ve decided upon for your Spring Style Uniforms. You should also get rid of things that don’t fit properly, things you don’t love and things that are in ill repair.
Of course, you can hold onto a special occasion dress or maybe another piece or two that you just enjoy wearing on a lark. But really, I encourage you to think hard and honestly about why you’re keeping extra pieces.
If you have quality, current pieces that are still wearable, you might want to take them to a consignment store and try to sell them. Most of the shops I’ve worked with will assess your pile of clothing and tell you what they’ll take and what they won’t. Don’t be offended if they don’t want your stuff. Someone at Goodwill or another charitable organization will be so happy to have it. And they’ll wear it frequently.
In fact, Talbots is hosting their Dress for Success clothing drive this Thursday, February 20 through Monday, February 24. You can take in nearly new work clothing to your local Talbots so that a woman who is trying to get back on her feet can benefit from your wardrobe purge. (Talbots is also taking monetary donations at the stores and online.)
One more option: If you’re not sure about whether to get rid of something but don’t see how it fits into the wardrobe you’re trying to build, you can just put it aside. I put items like this in a rubber tub with a lid in the bottom of my closet. That way if I realize I do need it after all, it’s close by and easy to get to. But if it’s still in that tub at the end of the season, out it goes!
Step #7 – Make two shopping lists.
I suggest you make two shopping lists on your phone. Use a “notes” app so you’ll know where to find it when you need it.
- Make one list of essentials you must have in order for your wardrobe to work. I’ll be posting my Spring Wardrobe Essentials list tomorrow here on Dressed for My Day. But your list may vary from mine depending on your lifestyle, location and personal preferences. Ultimately these are the basics you must have in order to create interesting outfits – think t-shirts, jeans, denim skirt, shorts, etc.
- Make a wish list of items you’d like to have, but which are not necessary ultimately. Or these could be specific high end items that you’d love to have but may not be able to afford this year. For instance, I’ve got a navy blazer on my wish list. But I already have several other blazers, so if I can’t afford to fit a navy one into my budget this year, no big deal. Also if I don’t find the “perfect” navy blazer I’m not going to waste my money on a sub par one, so I’ll do without in that case, too.
Step #8 – Prepare a budget for your spring wardrobe.
I think setting a shopping budget for clothing is a very personal matter between you and your spouse, if you have one. But ultimately you want to create a budget that allows you to dress appropriately and beautifully within your means. And most of us can do that without any trouble if we’re honest.
I really think that if you follow these steps, you’ll find that you’re more apt to stay within your budget and buy things that help you create a wardrobe you thoroughly enjoy. When we don’t have a plan we tend to buy on impulse and we buy things that are pretty and stylish, but they don’t really fit our personal style aesthetic or our lifestyle. I honestly think you’re going to have no trouble staying within a reasonable budget if you work this plan. Let me know if it works for you!
Step #9 – Prepare to shop for the items on your list.
I prefer shopping online because I can scour style blogs and retail websites compiling a list of items that best fit into the wardrobe I’m trying to create. Remember to use your Pinterest button on your toolbar or in your app and pin items from stores as you find things that are on your list. That way you can compare the black cropped straight leg pants at Talbots with those at Target, for instance.
I’ll be posting several Fitting Room Try-On Session posts starting Friday. I’m beginning with Talbots on Friday, but I’ll continue into next week with other favorite retailers, including Ann Taylor, Target, Loft, Gap, Christopher & Banks and J.Jill. So be sure to check in here for the opportunity to preview the spring lines from these and other stores.
I’ll also be updating and adding to my Shop My Favorites Pages, found under the Shop tab in the top menu of this website. I love it when you begin your shopping with me! Thank so much for supporting the work I do here by shopping through my affiliate links. I earn a commission on your purchases, but at no additional cost to you.
Keep these tips in mind as you shop:
- Stay within your selected neutrals and signature colors. Learn more about selecting your colors in this post.
- Only select pieces that contribute to the Spring Style Uniforms you’ve decided on. Otherwise, learn to say, “That’s really pretty, but it’s not for me.”
- Only select pieces that contribute to the vibe or style aesthetic you have decided you want to achieve. If you’ve decided on edgy, modern and fun, don’t choose something that is feminine and flirty, etc.
- Plot out all of your purchases online before shopping for anything…whether you’re shopping in the stores or online. That way you’ll know you can stay within your budget.
- Watch for sales and discounts. Most everything goes on sale eventually. And many stores discount their new lines when they introduce them. I’ll do my best to keep you up-to-date on sales at your favorite stores.
Step #10 – Keep the tags on until you…
Incorporate your new items into your wardrobe by making sure they work beautifully to create at least three different outfits. If you discover you’ve purchased something that doesn’t help you create multiple looks, return it. If it doesn’t help you create outfits you absolutely love, return it. If it doesn’t fit beautifully, return it. And if it doesn’t feel comfortable enough to wear frequently and long, return it.
Again, practice putting the new pieces to work by grouping them with items in your closet. Truly, if you’ll do the work up front by creating outfits and snapping those pictures, you’ll never lack for something to wear this spring.
Preparing to plan and shop for your spring wardrobe is truly a first world problem. We are so blessed to be able to pick and choose what we’ll wear, to be able to creatively put together outfits that flatter us and that we enjoy wearing.
Let’s be thankful, and let’s enjoy the process. And let’s be good stewards of what we already own – by either wearing it multiple ways or passing it on to someone else who will – and of whatever we buy this spring.
Let’s stay within our budgets, but let’s also make sure we have clothing in our wardrobe that will make us look and feel our very best. You are a beautiful, influential woman. Get dressed for your day and be a blessing to someone each and every day.
If You’re Visiting from Pinterest…
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Blessed for My Day
Are you discouraged or downcast today? My heart feels for you. I’ve been there, deal gal. I know how it feels to weep almost non-stop. I’ve had seasons of life when I couldn’t shake my sadness. And I wondered if I’d ever feel truly happy again.
I’d like to share with you that I do indeed feel very happy and blessed today. The heaviness of heart did indeed lift. My weary soul again rejoices and I barely even remember the ache of those heavy days.
I want you to know that if you are hurting today, there is One who is near and who loves you dearly. Ask Him to help you feel His presence and hear His voice. He is the God of all compassion and comfort. And He can and will comfort you like no other.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort. ~ 2 Corinthians 1:3