Whether you despise shopping or love it, having a plan is just the ticket for success. With a plan in place as a guide, you can avoid the overwhelm that may come with shopping, ensure that you stay focused in your hunt for the perfect new garment pieces or accessories, and purchase and bring home only the perfect wardrobe additions.
Creating a fully functional wardrobe, one that you haven’t chanted “I have nothing to wear” in front of, often takes planning and hard work. By following these proven Image PRO tips to wardrobe development and shopping, you’ll not only have a functionally maximized wardrobe, you may even find that you enjoy the process!
FIRST KNOW YOURSELF
This is more than half the battle. Learn and understand in an in-depth manner who you are, what you need to be dressed for, and the successes that you desire. Consider the roles that you get dressed for on a daily, weekly, monthly bases. This will answer what types of garments that you need and the variety of levels of dress (weekend casual, business casual, mom gear, date night, etc.). Next, take time to answer the following questions …
Do you usually feel comfortable and at ease in that what you wear? If not, why?
Do you give a reasonable amount of thought to your look, rather than just letting it happen? If not, why?
When you look great, do you feel you plan it that way or that you just “got lucky?”
Does your appearance make you feel good about yourself most of the time?
And, what impression do you want to create in minds of others?
Learning what demands are made upon your wardrobe, and having an honest view of your personal necessities, will allow you to determine your true needs.
DEFINE & REFINE
In defining what is fitting for YOU, consider and develop these three areas:
- Know/learn your own personal style traits, and how they best work together to compliment you. Look for color, fit and style that flatter your own natural physical characteristics.
- Consider the type of work that you do, and the industry that you work in. Many time’s a silent appearance standard is set by the industry itself.
- Know your goal/desired outcome, for yourself personally, as well as for those that you encounter and wish to influence.
A STRONG FOUNDATION
With the knowledge gained from self-reflection and defining your true wardrobe needs, next begin your wardrobe plan with a strong foundation. First select your base foundational colors and garments. Good foundational wardrobe colors include: Navy, Charcoal to medium Grey, Chocolate Brown, Taupe/Camel, and Black. Selecting 2-3 of these colors for garments such as pant/skirts, jackets/cardigans and a coordinating top will give you a solid foundation ensemble to grow MANY looks from. Start with solid color Classic garments, and you will be ready to grow a wardrobe.
Take time to go through your wardrobe, piece by piece. Move out items you know you aren’t going to wear. Get real with yourself – are their mistakes hanging in your closet or are you an impulsive shopper? Why? Is quantity and change more important to you than consistency and quality? What are favorites and why? Learn what’s missing in your wardrobe, and that you have too many of! Consider your dress needs for the season ahead and plan accordingly by completing a shopping list. If this sounds like too big of a chore to do alone, enlist the help of a friend or an image pro.
First, reduce any frustration by being prepared. You know that you want to be organized and have a plan in place, but also consider the following:
- Study the current marketplace. Develop a good sense of comparative shopping.
- Use web based resources, fashion magazines, private collections, and your local stores for current fashion ideas.
- Become familiar with name brands and quality. Price is not a total indicator of quality, but it can guide us. Poor quality decisions will cost you more in the long run. You should strive to gradually upgrade the quality of your garments.
- Know your resources & what they have to offer. Where you can get the best quality & service for the money that you have to spend.
Lastly, don’t piecemeal your image with a little bit here, a little bit there, as it’s not a good way to develop your core wardrobe base. Don’t shop out of frustration. Don’t lock yourself into a mind-set. And finally, don’t fall prey to these and other hidden destroyers of a successful image!
Kelly Duggan is an Image Consultant specializing in executive and personal image development, etiquette & communication skills. She is a certified member of the Association of Image Consultants International. Contact Kelly at: www.kellyduggan.com.