How to Build Your Wardrobe

Emma Does Fashion
by Emma Does Fashion

Don't worry, this isn't a DIY post (I am definitely not the person to write a blog post on that subject! Can't even put up a shelf, I'm scared of drills...)

I'm talking about how to start your wardrobe from scratch. Maybe your body has changed - you've put on or lost weight or you've had a baby and suddenly you have fun new body hang-ups to deal with. Maybe, like me, your lifestyle has changed during the pandemic and the things you loved wearing before no longer work for your daily life.

Before the lockdowns, I spent most of my time in an office and I loved tailored, structural clothes. I've also always been a big fan of heels, but neither of these styles work for my new cosy WFH lifestyle. So, for a while now, I've been wanting to reevaluate my wardrobe. But where do you start?

Firstly, don't panic! If you love tailored clothes, you can still enjoy them - a beautiful wrap coat is the perfect example. It is smart and office-appropriate but versatile enough to wear for other occasions and it feels like wearing a snuggly dressing gown! Brainstorm ways that you can continue to wear elements of the styles you love in a way that works for you now.

When the seasons change, it's a great time to go through your wardrobe and remind yourself of the items you love. In true Marie Kondo style, take hold of each item and note how it makes you feel: do you smile as you stroke that gorgeous camel coat, or do you grimace at that skirt that's too small for you and wish you could be a thinner version of yourself? Get rid of anything that makes you feel bad about yourself - the aim is to have a wardrobe you love!

Once you've decluttered any items that no longer work for you, it's time to make an intentional shopping list. Look at the items you love (for me, it's things like this flowy white maxi dress from Silkfred) and firstly, notice the colour palette.

We often buy ourselves items in lots of colours but we tend to wear just a few on a regular basis. For me, neutrals are a recurring theme of my outfits. Notice which colours you wear a lot and which ones you've thrown out, and when going shopping, resolve to buy the former, not the latter.

Something I'd recommend doing when making a clothes shopping list is opening your diary and looking at a typical month. Write down how many times you:

  • Go into the office
  • Work from home
  • Go on days out with family and/or friends
  • Dress up for evenings out

(You can of course add more occasions that are specific to you, for instance, I might also think of how many times I go out on a muddy dog walk.)

I work from home roughly 16 days out of the month which means comfy, casual outfits should make up the majority of my wardrobe. I'm also going into the office 1 day a week so I figure 4 decent work outfits are enough (more than enough really, but these days, the office is the only chance I get to dress up!). Have a look at your own numbers to see how many outfits you're likely to need for each occasion.

Make a list of outfits that will work for these occasions. These can be outfits you already own or they can be made up of items that you'll need to buy but the important thing is that they should all be outfits you're excited to wear. I absolutely love wearing my camel wrap coat, heeled knee-high boots and Burberry scarf - this has been my dog-walking uniform throughout Autumn/Winter!

You can look to Instagram and Pinterest to help you come up with outfit ideas, or of course, check out my YouTube channel where I have plenty of outfit ideas for different occasions, along with tips and tricks on how to enhance your figure with the clothes you wear.

Once you've come up with your outfits, pick out the items that you need to buy and that becomes your shopping list! Crucially, this is a shopping list of items you have already thought about how to style and that you know will work for your lifestyle.

Prioritise the upcoming season when shopping - you can make do with what you've been wearing for now (otherwise you're just going to spend a load more money when the weather changes).

Make sure you're having fun with your shopping list and not just ticking it off like a boring old to-do list! If 'sunhat' is on your list, don't just grab the first one you see. Find one that sparks joy, like a fun slogan hat or one with a pretty, feminine ribbon to give you all the cottagecore vibes.

Finally, I recommend going physically into the shops if you can rather than buying it all online. Pictures can look so different to the real thing and having to traipse to the post office to return everything (because let's face it, 90% of what you order will turn out to be rubbish) really kills the shopping buzz.

Comment below what's on your intentional shopping list!

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