How to: Seasonal Wardrobe Update

95349717080258380_hp41vxwx_c1Summer is slowly coming to an end and with it the opportunity to wear all those little flowy tops, sandals and short shorts that served you well these last couple of months. I don't know about you, but for me this is usually the time when I realise that I don't actually have that much to wear once the weather gets colder, mainly because I spent most of my fashion attention and budget on summery clothes.

It is definitely time for me to sort out my fall wardrobe! I'm a planner so of course I have a little established method for all sorts of wardrobe updates. In this post I will show you how I usually update my wardrobe for a new season.

I recommend doing a quick overhaul like this about four times a year: at the beginning of fall and spring; and two smaller updates just before summer and winter to stock up on a few warm or cold-weather essentials like flip flops and heavy knits.

The steps below work if your wardrobe is already relatively well-edited, i.e. it served you well the season before and does not contain a whole amount of stuff you don't wear.

Step 1: Do a mini clean-out

Even if you did a big detox within the last year, it is a good idea to do a quick mini edit at the end of every season because there will always be some items that you have grown tired of, that don't fit, are broken or simply worn out. Believe me, it is a lot less painful and time consuming to throw out a handful of items every three months than to say goodbye to a third of your entire closet in one go. Sort through all your clothes and decide what you want to do with them: Keep (anything you love), throw out (always throw out underwear, socks, very worn out or broken items), donate or give to a friend (anything that is still in good condition) or sell. Also note down everything that you need to replace or repair.

Step 2: Prepare your summer clothes for storage

Your goal is a wardrobe full of clothes you love and wear all the time, so unless you have a huge walk-in closet, you need to put your summer clothes away to make space for your fall wardrobe. Obvious candidates are bikinis, dresses, sandals, flip flops and shorts, but be creative: a lot of summery items can easily be incorporated into your fall wardrobe, for example little dresses can be worn over tights and underneath a cardigan. Make sure everything is clean and washed before you put it away for storage. Don't hang clothes on wire hangers and don't store them in cardboard boxes (cardboard contains a form of acid that can stain fabric). Good storage places are plastic boxes or suitcases that can be put underneath your bed or on a hard-to-reach shelf.

Step 3: Create a concept

During seasonal overhauls I also like to do a quick reevaluation of my capsule wardrobe and create a fresh concept that is tailored to the climate of the new season. The process I use is the same as outlined in "Capsule Wardrobe Building 101": Gather a ton of inspiration, identify themes, pick a colour scheme and a few proportions (=specific combinations of items). Read the original post for a detailed step-by-step guide.

Step 4: Write a shopping list

Compare the concept you just created to the things you already own and pick out items that could play a major role in your fall wardrobe. Next, it's time to identify which items you have to shop for in order to complete your wardrobe. Below are a couple of pointers to consider; don't worry if your list ends up longer than you expected, you can always narrow it down later.

  • Start with any must-haves that you found in lookbooks or have been craving for a long time.
  • Think about investment pieces. Consider your budget and find items that would really make a difference to your wardrobe and that you can see yourself wearing for many seasons to come. Good investment candidates are jackets, shoes, bags, but also high-quality knits and trousers.
  • Sort out your collection of outerwear and shoes. The amount you need will of course depend on your preferences but also on your local climate. Here in London it does not ever get super cold so one really thick winter coat is enough, but I definitely need a couple of water-resistant jackets to wear on rainy days.
  • Consider buying a few versions of each item of the proportions you chose in step 3, for example find three different blazers and three pairs of skinny jeans if you see yourself wearing that combination a lot this fall.
  • Check your stock of basics. Basics can mean everything from simple tank tops to tailored shirts; make sure that you own a good amount of simple, wear-with-everything tops and bottoms in a range of neutral colours.

Step 5: Putting everything together

The main share of the work is done, now all you have to do is go shopping :) If you wrote down a really long list of items in the previous step, categorise them into 'must-haves' and 'would be nice' and spend your budget on must-haves first. Take your time to find the right pieces, and aim to buy the highest quality and best fit you can afford. Once you have everything you need, quickly reorganise your closet. This shouldn't take too long, just move around item categories until your key items and most-used basics are easily accessible. Optional, but fun: Test-drive a few sample outfits :)

Are you planning a wardrobe update? What will be your go-to outfit this fall?

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