(click on a question to see the answer)
+ I’m new here! How do I get started?
That depends on your goals. Do you want to discover or refine your personal style? Then start with the top posts in the Define Your Style category. Do you want to upgrade your closet? Browse the Build Your Dream Wardrobe category. Do you want to shop less, stop overspending and improve your decision making when it comes to buying clothes? The posts in the The Art of Shopping category will show you how.
If you want to give your style and closet an all-around makeover, head straight to the 10 Step Wardrobe Revamp.
And, if you want a complete walk-through of the entire process with detailed instructions, lots of customisable templates, checklists and creative exercises, check out the INTO MIND workbook.
+ My closet doesn’t really need a total makeover, I just want to upgrade it a little. Can I still use your process?
Of course! Feel free to just pick and choose whichever exercise or tip sounds helpful or fun. If you like, you can use the Wardrobe Diagnostics Flow Chart to figure out your closet’s weakest point and get some first suggestions on how to fix it.
+ I wish I could figure out what my personal style is. Do you have a quiz I could take?
Nope, sorry! I’m not a fan of style typologies, quizzes and the like because they make it seem like great style only exists in one of several pre-defined ways, like bohemian, classic, minimalist, sporty and so on.
While some women (or men) may fit those categories perfectly, most people’s personal style is a mix of lots of different influences that can’t be labelled quite so easily.
Don’t worry about choosing a box you could squeeze into, just create your own box! Figure out what types of colours, fabrics and silhouettes you are drawn to, and how your favourites could all fit together. Then, feel free to come up with your very own label for your style. How about “60s housewife meets Debbie Harry”? Anything goes!
+ I want to build a better wardrobe but I don’t know anything about fashion. How do I get started?
If you are starting from zero, the world of fashion can seem like a hugely complex and strange place, with millions of unspoken rules and way too many options. My advice: Don’t jump straight into the deep end and aim for a full-blown wardrobe makeover just yet. At this stage, your goals should be above all to observe, develop a better understanding for the different aspects of an outfit and how they all work together, plus get a feeling for what kinds of things you are personally drawn to. This post has all the info you need to get started.
+ Should I build a capsule wardrobe?
The capsule wardrobe as a concept is having a real moment right now. It's considered a great way to a) build a wardrobe that’s easy to mix-and-match, b) make the most out of the clothes you already have, and c) learn to shop in a more thoughtful way.
And it’s true, building a capsule wardrobe really does help with all that. But: You can achieve the exact same thing without consciously limiting yourself to a certain number of pieces. You can build a better wardrobe, make the most out of the clothes you already have and become a smarter shopper – no matter how many pieces you choose to keep in your closet.
Bottom line: Building a capsule wardrobe is one way to upgrade your style and closet, but it’s not the only one. If you like the idea of wearing only a small number of pieces, go ahead and build your capsule wardrobe. If not, just use the techniques on this blog without worrying about how many clothes you own exactly.
+ I want to upgrade my wardrobe but I’m not sure which pieces to include. Can you give me a list?
Unfortunately, I can’t. The key idea of this blog and the techniques I write about is to escape the one-size-fits-all mentality of fashion magazines and their “10 things every woman needs in her wardrobe” lists, and to start using a more individual approach. Your ideal wardrobe depends on so many factors, most importantly your own personal preferences and unique aesthetic ideals. And those are things that you need to figure out for yourself, if you really want to build a wardrobe that works for your life 100%.
If you are not sure which pieces to include in your wardrobe, chances are, you haven’t spent nearly enough time collecting inspiration, experimenting and defining your style. Which colours do you love, which fabrics, silhouettes, patterns and details and how could they all fit together to form one cohesive style concept? Once you know those things, choosing pieces for your wardrobe will be easy.
Here are some creative prompts to get you started: 50 Ways to break out of a style rut & feel inspired again.
+ Help! I like styles that don’t flatter my body type/ suit my colouring. What should I do?
Ok, so in order to define your personal style you’ve built a mood board and now know what your ideal wardrobe looks like. The problem: a few/some/most of the things you love don’t work with your body shape and/or your colouring. At least that’s what you think.
Here’s the thing: Particularly in recent years we have all been so inundated with typology-based advice, from various fruit-inspired body shape theories to super in-depth colour analysis quizzes, that the idea that only a small set of clothes and colours works for each person has become widely accepted. And that’s pretty sad I think. Sure, there may be a handful of colours that each one of use looks a little more tired in and a few that we look a little better in, but the vast majority of shades will look just fine. The same goes for shapes/silhouettes: Yes, a few extreme cuts may make you look a little more bottom-heavy or perhaps 2 pound lighter, but your body is what it is and clothes won’t magically change that.
If something is your style and you love it, I believe you should wear it, regardless of whether it supposedly ‘flatters’ your body or doesn’t. Plus, if we are being honest, ‘to flatter’ almost always means ‘makes you look thinner’, and that definitely shouldn’t be your prime objective when it comes to getting dressed.
If you must, go for minor compromises: For example, if you think very loose-fitting boyfriend jeans make you look big, choose a slightly more fitted version. Instead of a bright orange, pick a softer peach, and so on.
More on this topic: Why I don't believe in dressing for my body shape.
+ I read through all of your posts but now I feel so overwhelmed by everything there is to do! Where should I start?
Start by taking a good look at your current closet. Make two piles: One for your favourites, i.e. pieces you wear most often and another for things you haven’t worn in a long time. Ignore anything that falls in between these two for now. Next, figure out what separates the two piles. Is it the colour, the fit, do they feel more comfortable, do you prefer the fabric, etc. Grab a notepad and write down everything. At the end, you should already have a much better idea of what kinds of things to avoid from now on and what elements (like colours, fabrics and silhouettes) might be a part of your individual personal style.
As a second step you can then start digging a little deeper and look for inspiration on blogs, Pinterest, etc. Save every image of outfits, individual pieces and even non-fashion objects/sceneries that you love and compile everything into a mood board. Keep culling images and adding new ones until you feel your mood board is a good representation of what you want to dress like.
And remember: You absolutely do NOT have to implement every single technique and tip here on the blog or elsewhere to cultivate a great personal style. Simply pick and choose whatever works best for your creative process and what sounds like fun.
Curating Your Closet
+ What makes a wardrobe "minimalist"?
Note: On this blog I often use the term “minimalist” to describe a wardrobe that is perfectly tailored to the life and style of its owner. This answer explains what minimalism has to do with upgrading your wardrobe:
It’s not a smaller size or a neutral colour palette or a lack of patterns or details that makes a wardrobe minimalist, but the fact that it was put together according to the key idea of minimalism. And that is: to get rid of everything that doesn’t make you happy or enrich your life, to make space for stuff that does.
Instead of stuffing your closet with impulse buys, bargains and a ton of stuff that you only half-like, you take the time to really think about what kind of pieces would best work with your style and your lifestyle, regardless of what’s trendy right now, what other people say or fashion magazines prescribe. Instead of buying things because they are cheap or you need a pick-me-up, you carefully select new garments and then take good care of them, so you can wear them for many seasons to come.
And yes, once you’ve cultivated a strong personal style and know exactly what you want to wear, your wardrobe will likely be smaller than it was when you started out. But the sheer size of it isn’t what makes it minimalist. It’s the fact that it now only contains things you love and nothing else.
+ How many pieces should a minimalist wardrobe contain?
The number one biggest misconception about minimalist wardrobes is that they are, above all, supposed to be tiny. Now, like I said above, if you start using minimalist principles to curate your wardrobe, it will probably end up being smaller, because you’ll want to get rid of all the imperfect pieces that you have accumulated over the years. But: I don’t think it’s a good idea to start the process with a specific goal number of pieces in mind, because the ideal wardrobe size differs so much from person to person.
As a bare minimum, you need enough pieces to be able to express your personal style fully and have something to wear for all of the different activities in your life, which may be quite diverse, especially if you work in a setting with a very strict or corporate dress code. Your style itself also plays a role. Someone who loves outfits consisting of several layers and accessories will need more pieces than someone who prefers a sleeker, more simplistic look. And if you like a lot of variety and get bored if you have to wear the same outfit twice in a month, you’ll need more pieces to feel content with your wardrobe than someone who doesn’t mind frequent repeats.
I personally don’t like a lot of layers and can wear the same type of clothes all week because I work from home. I’m also fine with repeating the same item relatively often and so I don’t need a lot of pieces to feel like I have enough options. But if you, for example, work full-time in a corporate work environment and like to wear a much bolder, more colourful style during your off-hours, your ideal minimalist wardrobe will be considerably larger than mine.
In summary: Don’t focus on whittling down your wardrobe to a fixed number of pieces. Spend time defining your style and assessing your lifestyle and eventually you’ll figure out your own perfect wardrobe size.
+ My style is very bohemian and colourful. Can I still build a minimalist wardrobe /curate my wardrobe using your techniques?
Yes. The second most common misconception people have about minimalist wardrobes is that you need a minimalist personal style to create one.
Minimalism as an aesthetic style (in art, architecture, design and fashion) and minimalism as a way of living are two very different things. The first describes any visual concept that, like many other distinct styles in fashion and design, is characterised by a very defined set of elements, like clean silhouettes, muted colours and few embellishments. The other is a lifestyle choice and never the final goal but always a means to an end, usually to feel less stressed, happier and more content.
The two can definitely overlap but they don’t have to. Someone with a very minimalist (aesthetic) style can have an overflowing closet and a shopping problem, just like someone with a bright, eccentric personal style can build a minimalist wardrobe that is optimally tailored to her or his lifestyle.
+ I work in a corporate office setting and have to stick to a strict dress code for work. Can I still build a minimalist wardrobe?
Definitely, but, all other things being equal, your ideal wardrobe will probably have to be a little bigger than that of someone who works from home or at a firm with a smart-casual dress code. And that’s ok, because remember your goal is not to build a wardrobe that is as small as possible, but as functional as possible.
If your job’s dress code really is super corporate and you have to wear clothes that are completely different from what you wear at home and on the weekends, I recommend you build a completely separate wardrobe just for work. It’s so much easier to plan that way and it also means you’ll get to express your unique personal style during your off-hours without having to compromise.
If your work’s dress code is smart-casual, my advice is that you first identify which pieces in your current wardrobe could be worn for work (plain pants, simple sweaters, etc.) and then curate a smaller set of more formal add-on pieces that you can pair with them.
For more tips, read Building the perfect wardrobe for work.
+ I find it so difficult to part with clothes, I get so sentimental. Any tips?
If you are having a hard time tossing clothes because they remind you of a certain era in your life or happy times, remember that your memories and feelings are not tied to objects. That being said, there is nothing wrong with creating a little box of maybe a handful of pieces that signify big milestones in your life, just make sure you draw a line somewhere. Holding onto your wedding gown or the dress you wore for graduation is fine, but avoid keeping every random t-shirt and sock as memorabilia.
One trick that has always helped me a lot in this aspect was to stick pieces I hadn’t worn for years but still couldn’t part with into a separate box for a couple of weeks. If I really wanted to wear an item from the box, I could, but usually I would just forget about most of the stuff in there and then had a much easier time getting rid of it after a while.
+ My wardrobe needs a major revamp, but I don’t have the budget to buy everything I need at once. How do I prioritise?
If you are aiming for a bigger wardrobe overhaul but can’t afford everything at once, put together a little starter kit of 3-6 perfect pieces that you can pair with the rest of your clothes in the mean time. The key here is to choose pieces that really signify the overall look you are going for, so you will already be able to create outfits that are a lot more in tune with your personal style. Also, to make sure your starter kit fits into the overall plan you are working towards, try to map out your ideal wardrobe structure beforehand.
Read Rebuilding your wardrobe on a budget: What to buy first for a complete step-by-step guide to choosing pieces for your starter kit.
+ Minimalist wardrobes and laundry: How does it work?
Part of building a functional wardrobe is making sure that you have enough to wear for all of your activities and that you are never caught in a situation where all of your office-appropriate shirts are in the wash and you have nothing to wear for your 9am meeting. One way to do that is to look at all of your bigger item groups/categories individually (shirts, skirts/pants for work, sweaters, tops, bras, etc.) and then estimate: How many times a week do I need an item from this group? How many times can I wear an item from this group until it needs a wash? Based on your typical laundry routine you can then figure out how many pieces you need as a minimum for each group.
Apart from tweaking your wardrobe to avoid laundry bottlenecks, simply doing laundry less often is not only good for the environment but will also help to prolong the lifespan of your garments. Most people nowadays are probably guilty of over-washing their clothes. I definitely have been in the past and it’s actually one of my new year’s resolutions to only wash things when they really need it.
+ Where are you from?
I was born in Hamburg, Germany and currently live in Berlin. I don’t have a “home town” because we moved around a lot when I was younger and I’ve lived in lots of different places, including the UK for about seven years in total.
+ Are you on Instagram?
Yes! I didn’t have an account for ages, but I just joined. My handle is @anuschkarees.
+ When is your book coming out?
September 20th 2016. You can pre-order it here.
+ How do you create the graphics for your blog posts?
I either used Photoshop, Illustrator or the Sketch app.
+ What template do you use for your website?
For about three years this website ran on Wordpress, but I just recently switched to Squarespace. The basic template I’m using is called Fulton, but I customised it quite heavily.
+ Can I book you for a personal shopping consultation?
No sorry, I don't see myself doing one-on-one consultations anytime soon. I'll let you know if that changes :)