The First Step to Building a Working Wardrobe

building a working wardrobe

Back in my younger years before KINKS was even a blimp on the horizon, I struggled with my style A LOT.

It wasn’t that I had a bad sense of style, but more that I had a dysfunctional wardrobe that was a struggle to work with on a daily basis.

You see, I was constantly buying clothes just for the fun activities in my life – think beach days, birthday parties, and girl’s night out. The thought of buying a basic t-shirt, simple dress, or neutral shoe was completely foreign to me – why waste what little college cash I had on something so boring? I’ll totally wear those gold platform sandals and bedazzled (yes. bedazzled.) blue jeans way more!

It was all in good fun, but once real world adulting came along it suddenly hit how much my wardrobe was seriously lacking.

Turns out gold platform sandals and bedazzled blue jeans are the LAST thing I want to wear on a daily basis. Realizing this was the tipping point in opening my eyes to see there was a huge disconnect between my current wardrobe and my new lifestyle as a respectable mid-20 something.

And I know I’m not alone in this experience.

The fact is, the reason the majority of us (us being fabulous and fierce women/men of the world) struggle with our clothes isn’t because we put on a few extra pounds or because our clothes are a bit past their prime – though both are valid factors that can play a part in wardrobe discontent.

The true underlying reason why the struggle is so REAL is because our current selections don’t match our current lifestyle.

This problem was clearly evident for me fresh out of college. The percentage of clothes for fun activities (girl’s night outs, vacations, and holidays) compared to the percentage of clothes for basic everyday living (work, grocery shopping, lazy Sunday brunch) was severely disproportionate.

My closet was FULL of sassy party dresses, sparkly tops, and barely there tunics. Which are great for vacation and holidays – not so much for grocery shopping.

In all honesty, it wasn’t until about a year ago when I finally started investing in clothing that fit my everyday lifestyle rather than my party girl alter-ego (though I will admit she does still win out from time to time).

I’ve touched on this topic before, but the fact is a truly kick ass wardrobe not only reflects your sense of style, but also your lifestyle.

Related: Does Your Wardrobe Match Your Lifestyle

Your lifestyle changes at different stages in your life – from student to professional, working to at-home mom, re-entering the workforce and eventually retiring – any lifestyle transition can create HUGE changes in your wardrobe needs.

Which is why assessing your current lifestyle is the absolute #1 step in order to build a working wardrobe and personal style that is unmistakably YOU.

The Fail-Proof Method for Assessing Your Lifestyle

If you’re done feeling like you have nothing to wear, even though your closet is packed to the gills – then it’s time to take a moment and analyze how you really spend your day-to-day.

It’s time to take back control in your closet and start building a working wardrobe that fits with the activities of your current lifestyle.

Here’s a step by step process of how to get a clear picture of your lifestyle and wardrobe needs:

Step 1 – Ask yourself what activities you spend your time in AND what’s appropriate dress for those activities

Step 2 – Make a list of all the activities you participate in during a month and how often you do them. (side note: when you’re determining how much time you spend doing certain activities focus on how many days you spend doing the activity rather than hours.)

Step 3 – Group activities together that require similar types of clothing, for example:
-Professional time (work, school, volunteering, etc.)
-Casual day time (shopping, running errands, lunch with friends, travel, etc.)
-Social time (dining out, girl’s night, shows & entertainment, parties, etc.)
-Lounge time (lounging at home, cleaning house, Netflix bingeing etc.)
-Sports & Recreation time (working out, running, beach/pool, outdoor activities)

If you’re a more visual person, like I am, you can create a pie chart by converting the number days spent in each category into a percentage or slice of pie, like the example below.

building a working wardrobe

Step 4 – Now it’s time to asses how much of what you own actually fits your current lifestyle. Take a look in your closet and inventory your clothing keeping your lifestyle chart in mind. Ideally, your current mix of clothing will correspond with how you spend your time according to your lifestyle chart.

Once you have visual representation of your lifestyle and wardrobe it’s quite easy to see any disparity between the two and which area of your wardrobe needs some TLC.

building a working wardrobe

Take Action Towards a Working Wardrobe – Today

Once you’ve figured out how functional (or dysfunctional :/ ) your wardrobe is it’s time to make some decisions.

An ideal, working wardrobe holds items that fit the lifestyle you have right now – anything else is simply taking up valuable space.

First things first – figure out what you can part with. If an item no longer meets your needs it’s time to let it go (let it goooo, let it goooo….. 😀) unless you can restyle or repurpose it in some way – and only if it’s something you can do right away. If an item sits in your closet for another 6 months because you need to think about how to restyle or repurpose it, you might as well let it go now.

After that, to start building a wardrobe that really works for you, begin focusing your future shopping for lifestyle categories that are underrepresented in your closet.

Following this will put you in the right direction for building a working wardrobe and personal style that’s unmistakably YOU!

To help you along the way I created a working wardrobe planner for you to download and fill out according to your closet. Simply enter your name and email below to have it sent straight to your inbox.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts – Have you ever broken your wardrobe down like this? Do you believe your wardrobe matches your lifestyle right now?

Share with me in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

‘Til next time….

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Filed Under: Defining Your Style, Live Happy

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