The 3-Step Wardrobe Workout: Shape Up Your Shopping Habits

The 3-Step Wardrobe Workout: Shape Up Your Shopping Habits

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Anuschka Rees
Sep 30, 2016
(Image credit: Anuschka Rees)

We're back with the final portion of style blogger and author Anuschka Rees' 3-Step Wardrobe Workout (don't miss step one or two!). And now for the fun part...shopping! Anuschka shares her smart strategies for adding clothes to your closet that you'll love and actually want to wear. The stage's all yours, Anuschka:

Quick: On a scale of one to 10, how successful are your purchasing decisions? Do you usually love what you buy and wear it for years to come? Or do many of your purchases end up at the back of your closet with the tag still on? If you are in the second camp, it may be time to rethink your shopping strategy!

Here are three things to think about to help you do just that:

Become more selective

Training yourself to become more selective when it comes to shopping for clothes is the single most important thing you can do to keep your wardrobe in tip-top shape. If you need something specific, like a new dress for an event at work, don't head out in your lunch break and buy the first dress that "will do". Instead, invest the time to find a dress that ticks all of your boxes and that you can see yourself wearing regularly. Don't buy a pair of heels if you can already tell they are going to give you blisters—even if you love how they look. Don't buy the first pair of jeans that fits okay—even if you hate shopping for jeans and just want to get it over with. And don't buy that top that doesn't work with any of your pants or skirts—even if it's on sale and seems like too good of a bargain to pass up.

Buy less but choose better. Over time, that is how you end up with a closet full of pieces that you love and that work for your life.

Prioritize high-impact pieces

If your closet needs a bigger overhaul, you likely won't be able to buy everything you need straight away (at least not without sacrificing quality). To help you allocate your funds in the smartest way, try organizing your wishlist by priority, based on how big of an impact each piece will have on your wardrobe:

  • High-priority: Versatile key pieces that reflect an important part of your personal style that's not yet represented in your closet, and that you plan on wearing multiple times a week. Think jackets, a great suit for work, a daytime handbag, etc.
  • Medium-priority: Key pieces and basics that play a central role in your wardrobe but that aren't quite as crucial as high-priority pieces. For example: another pencil skirt for work or a belt to wear with your favorite pair of pants.
  • Low-priority: Statement pieces that you would not get to wear very often, like evening dresses or bold accessories. Also include upgrades/replacements in this section, i.e. high-quality versions of pieces you already own.

By reserving the bulk of your clothing budget for high-priority pieces, you'll ensure that every dollar you spend has the biggest positive effect on your wardrobe.

(Image credit: Anuschka Rees)

Write detailed, truly helpful shopping lists

A well thought-out shopping list is your best defense against clever marketing campaigns, discounts and pushy sales people, because the act of writing it forces you to be ultra clear about what you want to buy before you hit the shops (both online and brick-and-mortar). That way, when you enter the store, you can quickly scan everything that's available to check if it fits your criteria. That way, you're much less likely to get sidetracked by all the other pieces on display. Here are the categories I typically include on my shopping lists:

  • Type of item
  • Must-have criteria (color, material, etc.)
  • Nice-to-have criteria (zipper pockets, wide-set straps, etc.)
  • Possible shops/brands (helpful when shopping in-person)
  • Budget

You can also add more info, like how you plan on wearing the piece, what other items in your wardrobe should work with it and anything else you consider important.

That's it! Those are my top three tips for improving the way you shop and in turn for curating a better, more useful and inspiring wardrobe. Give them a try if you've got some shopping to do after your closet clean out and let me know how they worked for you!

Got any other smart shopping strategies? Share them in the comments!

Order your copy of Anuschka Rees' new book "The Curated Closet" ($24.99 US/ $33.99 CAN by Ten Speed Press), a 270-page guide to building your best wardrobe yet. Available September 20, 2016.

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