Fall is here people!
And if you’re anything like me you may feel like you’re a little late to the party when is comes to your fall wardrobe – but fear not!
Before you give into the temptation to scour the internet and go running through stores buying anything and everything you think you need, let’s set you up with a game plan to help build your best fall wardrobe yet!
A few weeks ago I shared a free download for a fall wardrobe planner (click here to grab it!). And today I want to walk you through the six main points of the planner as it applies to my wardrobe to help give you some direction on your fall style AND to keep me from doing what I said above – BUYING ALL THE THINGS! (Cause it is a serious struggle right now to not go H.A.M. on my credit card).
Let’s dive in!
Step 1 Assess Your Lifestyle
I know I’ve been beating this over your head lately, but it’s only because I really like you and I want you to look and feel your best, and this is essential to building the perfect wardrobe for y-o-u.
Always remember – it’s not just about matching your personal style to your wardrobe but also your lifestyle.
So what’s the quickest way to do this?
Take a moment and think of an average weekday – say a Tuesday – and make note of what your day usually looks like.
Are you a student going to class? Working a 9-5? Running your online empire from your couch? Corralling little children? Each of those lifestyles will have different needs and wants when it comes to your wardrobe.
Also take a look at your calendar for the next 3-6 months. What trips are you taking? Any big events you have planned?
Knowing all this will help determine the best clothes to incorporate in your fall wardrobe.
Step 2 Take Stock of What You Already Have
This step is crucial for me as I am prone to buying new items then realizing I already have similar (and every once in awhile identical – eek!) pieces at home.
So in effort to stop wasting money, I’m starting a practice of keeping a running tab on what’s in my closet each season. This helps me build upon what I have rather than add to the clutter.
Take time and do some reflection, ask yourself what pieces you enjoyed wearing the most last year and why. What are some goals or things you want to try this year?
Take changes in your life into account as well – did you move to a new city? Change a job? Meet a new beau?
Go through your closet with all this in mind and pick out items you think you’ll want to incorporate this fall.
Here’s an example from my closet:
What I wore last year: chunky knits, lots of color, leggings, turtlenecks, flat boots, beanies
Major life/style changes: I’ve gained more clarity on what I want for my style, last year I felt I was a bit lost and insecure. But this time I feel more confident in my style direction and want to play more in my wardrobe.
I’ll keep wearing: oversize/chunky sweaters, leggings, skinny denim, ankle boots
Changes for fall 2015: More neutrals, easy tailored pieces & simple silhouettes, more fall/winter dresses, tall boots, and pencil skirts
Step 3 Create an inspiration board
Now time for one of my favorite parts – gathering inspiration!
Grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and take a couple of hours to determine what you want your overall look to be this fall.
Classic & feminine? Eclectic & edgy? Colorful & bohemian? The choice is entirely up to you!
Search the web for images that speak to you either on Pinterest, your favorite blogs, or online stores. Save everything that gives you even the slightest pull of inspiration, don’t hold yourself back here.
Once you’ve gathered a good chunk of images (at least 30-50), then go back and start editing. Take out anything that you feel doesn’t really fit or that you lost interest in.
Then look at your board from a bird’s eye view – do you like the overall aesthetic? Can you picture yourself wearing the majority of looks in real life? If not, do some more tweaking.
If yes, start breaking it down to individual elements – colors, clothing combinations, single pieces, actual tangible items you can incorporate into your wardrobe.
Take a look at my Pinterest board for example – you’ll notice in the description of each pin I noted what tangible items I like and want to incorporate into my style.
Step 4 Create 2-3 outfit recipes
Outfit recipes help create a foundation for your wardrobe that keeps it mixable and versatile. To learn more about outfit recipes and see examples check this post!
Essentially outfit recipes are a basic formula for looks you want to create within your wardrobe, such as sweater + skinny jeans + ballet flats, that you can create different versions of.
The idea is to select a few recipes that fit your lifestyle and personal style, then build off it by creating a few different versions to mix and match.
So if we take the sweater + skinny jeans + ballet flats recipe and we say you have 3 different types of sweaters, skinny jeans, and ballet flats, then you essentially have 27 different outfits you can create just within this one recipe – amazing, right?!
Now you definitely don’t have to limit yourself to only wearing those 2-3 recipes, it’s more to help ensure you have a solid foundation of mixable pieces.
Here’s an example of my recipes for fall:
mini dress + tights + boots
oversize knit + slim-fit bottoms + boots
sweater + pencil skirt + boots
Step 5 Write a shopping list
You’re almost to the point where you can actually start shopping, but first let’s take the time to really figure out what pieces would make the biggest difference to your existing wardrobe.
Look at the recipes you made to help pinpoint what you still need and try aiming for 2-3 versions per category.
Using my recipes as an example:
I have one that includes a mini dress + tights + boots and another that includes a sweater + pencil skirt + boots. I already own a ton of boots and sweaters (thanks Chicago winters!), so I’ve decided to focus on getting 3 mini dresses, 2 pencil skirts, and since tights can be relatively inexpensive and I know I’ll wear them a ton I’m going to aim for 5.
Once you know the types of items you need you can in fill in details such as color, print, texture, etc. Refer back to your inspiration board to help.
And before you ask – yes, of course you can add other items that aren’t a part of your recipe. Just be sure that they’re something you believe will complement and enhance your style.
The point here is to take the time and think BEFORE hitting the shops to help prevent impulse buying and ensure anything you do buy really expresses your style and works with the rest of your wardrobe.
Step 6 Get to know your new wardrobe
Last, but certainly not least, take some time to play with your new wardrobe.
Look back at your activities and try creating various looks for each major area (work, weekend, nightlife, etc.). Know that great styling isn’t just about throwing main pieces together, but about all the characteristic details you add to make it your own.
How you cuff a sleeve, tie a scarf, or tuck a shirt are all details that make your style unique to you. So experiment and continue tweaking.
There is no finish line when it comes to defining your style – only more and more evolution.
If you’re ever out of ideas or feeling in a creative rut, try some of my styling challenges in my 50 Ways to Break a Style Rut. Simply enter your email below if you haven’t already and get the free download!
I hope this walkthrough helps you in building your best fall wardrobe yet! It most definitely helped for mine.
Thanks for reading!
All the best,