Despite my conviction that using up what you already have is the cornerstone of a sustainable wardrobe, I know well enough that style visions and desires change. And, luckily, most garments can be styled in a myriad of ways, so your style can evolve even if most of the items stay the same.
Having a clear vision of how you want your wardrobe to feel (at the end it is always more about how it feels and not about how it looks) helps to put together an outfit and to make sure that you are projecting your authentic self into the world. It might be pure vanity, but my mood is highly contingent on what I’m wearing.
Also, if you aim to prune your wardrobe, conceptual clarity is key when deciding which items stay. Unless you approach your wardrobe as an infinite cabinet of curiosities (I did that for a while, “adopting” the weirdest items I could find because it felt cool; then I was faced with a problem of having to move all that stuff internationally and realized that I needed to change my approach), the items that you have should serve to cover your body while you go on with your life. They should help instead of holding you back and cluttering everything from your head to your living space.
So today I propose that you curate your own unique vision for your wardrobe. Then the next stage will be pruning and editing your wardrobe to free up space for that vision.
Step 1: Prep and get into the mood
Wear an outfit that helps you feel really good. I suggest also a choosing a favorite spot: bed, reading chair, coffee shop, park, whatever helps you channel your authentic self… As for tools, my choice for this exercise would be a paper notebook instead of a screen, but that’s up to you.
Inhale deeply, go to your happy place and… Write down how your outfit helps you feel, what you like about it the most. There are so many possible reasons: how the material feels on your skin, the perfect length, the happy memories it holds, the attention you get when wearing it…
Step 2: Revisit the good times
Go wider! Visit your happy outfit memories, be they from many years ago or yesterday. Note down context, details, materials, colors, how it felt… Write down several of those.
Step 3: Come back to present
Remember that even now there are some clothing that you love and enjoy wearing! What are your power outfits? What combinations, silhouettes, materials, colors make you feel most *you* these days?
Step 4: Imagine the future
Visualize how you would like your clothing to feel. Forget the details and get the big picture. I suggest three different strategies for this, you can do all three or the one that resonates the most.
Strategy A: Find words describing that feeling! It can be a chain of adjectives (for example, relaxed – colorful – artsy or put together – sophisticated – natural). It can also be a phrase instead of separate words. Phrases work better for me to make those visions solid. Mine so far have been:
- Winter 2015/2016: The anarchist librarian that once studied anthropology.
- Summer 2016: The resident conceptual artists in Albaicín* in August.
- Winter 2016/2017: A very well selling young artist: sharp and unique.
You might look back to what I wore then and think that my outfits did not look like that at all. That’s OK. They felt like that to *me*. That’s all that matters in this exercise. By the way, I think I’m gravitating back to anarchist librarian feel. It will look different this time, no doubt. It’s the feeling that counts.
Part of my Dressing in Summer board.
Strategy B: Find pictures that capture that feeling! Pinterest is the place to go for me, and for this exercise I suggest you make a vision board for the weather of current season but without thinking about the practicalities. At all. This is the space for all the outrageous fashion editorials, vintage photos, celebrity shots, famous artwork, landscapes, patterns, etc. etc. that transmit you *that* feeling. Most of the times the board ends up having a clear common overall feel of what shapes, colors, textures attract you.
You can download these paper dolls here.
Strategy C: Draw your vision! It might feel intimidating at first (here’s some inspiration that helped me to make the first sketch), but can be beneficial on so many levels. You get to depict how it feels instead of being reality-bound, and artistic expression is always good.
An alternative – and an opportunity go back into childhood for many of us – is making a paper doll (or using my dolls or any of the gazillion silhouettes that you can find online) and a whole selection of outfits for her.
Some of my last summer’s #ootd sketches to encourage you.
If you do at least one of these, it should already help. If you do all three, congrats, you will have a solid vision that then can be used when editing your current wardrobe or obtaining new items. Meanwhile, happy imagining, pinning and coloring!
* Albaicín is a magical neighborhood in Granada, Spain. A must-see and not only because of vistas to Alhambra.