History in the Making

How to Identify and Fill Wardrobe Holes, Style File Friday

I am a big supporter of having a smaller, quality wardrobe full of things you love to wear rather than a closet full of things a bunch of things you wear occasionally and four items that you wear non-stop. Keeping a concise and loved wardrobe can also help limit excessive purchasing, good for both your wallet and the environment! This is my tried and tested method of keeping my wardrobe balanced, and full of pieces that I love to wear that can be used for any price point or style type!
How to Identify & Fill Wardrobe Holes

I know that a lot of people are champions of the minimalist and capsule wardrobes- I don’t go quite that far because I do like to have a good amount of choice, and I think that a capsule wardrobe would be very hard on the pieces that make up your collection, and you would possibly be done with them at the end of the season/year. Other than a capsule wardrobe, these tips can be applied to any wardrobe, any price point, or any style!

1) One In, One Out 

This is a great philosophy for life in general, but is particularly useful in a closet- if you want to buy an item, you have to donate, recycle, or upcycle an item. Realistically, you only have so many hours in a day and days in a week to wear clothing. Hoarding piles and piles of it, or wearing something once a year isn’t doing anyone any good- maintain a rough number of how many pieces you need to have a functional wardrobe that gives you a good number of options, and stick to it. I personally prefer to know ahead of time what piece I am shifting out of my wardrobe, but it helps when I see a piece that I want to think “what will have to go to make room for this?”. It keeps your wardrobe in check and also forces you to evaluate how much you love the clothing you do have!
Kate Spade Navy glitter Keds

2) Keep a List of Wardrobe Holes 

Do a full inventory of your wardrobe, and figure out exactly which pieces are missing. Not “pieces that I would like to try out” or “pieces that are for my dream life” but “pieces that I wish I had on a daily/weekly basis”. For example, if you wear two or three blouses on a weekly and every time you put it one of them on, you think “I wish I had a navy cardigan to go with this”, I would consider that a wardrobe hole. I would not consider random thoughts of “maybe I would look good in a blue leather jacket” a wardrobe hole…
Keep a detailed list of those pieces, and what exactly it is that you want them to be. “A red dress” is very vague; “a red dress with full length sleeves that doesn’t need to be dry-cleaned” will give you more direction when you are looking and will help you narrow down what you actually want. (Settling will only lead to more so-so pieces in your wardrobe that you don’t actually wear!)
Lilly Pulitzer Windward Dress

3) Have a Separate “Dream List” 

I am all for having those dream pieces that you are striving to buy and reward yourself with- by 35, I would I like to have my own Mulberry Bayswater in Black Leather with Silver hardware, not like I’ve thought about it or anything… I think that having something to reach towards is great motivation, and goals are never a bad thing. However, they shouldn’t be on your regular list of wardrobe holes, because they aren’t really holes.
**Also, a note on your dream list- ensure that they are items that you actually will actually wear and use on a regular basis. A lot of people will save thousands and thousands of dollars to buy a handbag that they are scared to use, or a dress that gets worn maybe once a year. ”
Lilly for Target Upstream Shift

4) Do Your Research

When you are looking to fill holes in your wardrobe, I would put the time in and do the research on what you are buying. Pay attention to sizing and fit, pay attention to colour and how it works with what you already have in your wardrobe, pay attention to the fabric and hang. Don’t buy the first option you see because it is simply the first option, because I can guarantee you will have more. As I mentioned above, settling isn’t going to help you with much of anything when it comes to building a wardrobe that you love, and if you just grab the first thing that you see, you will probably find yourself needing to buy another item when you don’t like the one you bought in the first place. Try things on, read fabric breakdown and care tags, and keep your whole wardrobe in mind when you are buying things!
Green shirt sweater vest layers
What do you find the most challenging about maintaining your wardrobe and buying new pieces? 
Until tomorrow,
The Historian!
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19 thoughts on “How to Identify and Fill Wardrobe Holes, Style File Friday”

    • I am right there with you- your closet series is my favourite blogging series that I’ve ever read! I’m not a fan of Konmari, I already know what clothes I love and don’t love, and I prefer to hang rather than fold clothing. But what is the best way to organise?! I’m still torn and trying different methods, and have settled on exactly nothing.
      There is a red dress at Zara that I absolutely love, but I don’t want to support fast fashion- I’m really trying to get away from settling on pieces I don’t love, but sometimes I can’t find anything that isn’t from a fast fashion store.

  • For me the big thing is being realistic about how I’m going to care for clothes. The truth is I will almost never take something to be dry cleaned, its just not an expense I can justify to myself. I also don’t like having clothes that have specific care instructions, I don’t like to have clothes that feel like chores. I love certain dresses and looks but I will research how I can get a look in fabrics I like and things like that. I have a pretty set personal style so knowing aesthetically what works for me is easy so its all about the required maintenance 🙂

    • I always recommend that everyone look at the fabric breakdown and garment care tags before ever even trying on/considering putting an item in your cart. I will only dry clean special occasion dresses and my winter coat- that’s it. So if something is dry clean, it isn’t even considered for me! However, I am a big advocate of hanging rather than drying clothes in a dryer. Yes, throwing them in a dryer is faster at the outset, but your clothing will breakdown and wear at an expedited rate, it will probably need to be ironed anyways, and it’s a lot of electricity being used. (I don’t consider cold wash/hang to dry special instructions for myself, though!)

        • I will admit to using a dryer for my gym socks and towels/sheets! Heat rails aren’t a thing here in Canada 🙁 I either use a regular drying rack, or if it’s quite windy, I will drape it over Agnes’ kennel with the window open haha (obviously not when she is sleeping)!

    • I am a BIG FAN of having separate wardrobes- the idea that our clothes have to fill every single function in our life is a little ridiculous, and is expecting far too much of them! I have 3 main wardrobes with 2 smaller mini wardrobes- I did each of my analyses over a month for each wardrobe, and tackled making the list one by one. Now that I’m just maintaining the list, it’s fair easier to maintain multiple wardrobes!

  • Loved this post. It reminds me I need to focus more on my clothes and the holes in my wardrobe. Funny thing is, the day I stopped caring about fashion so much is the day I began to actually have money. LOL! Who knew!

      • You know what else prevents me from buying more clothes? Children. Yet, my son has become this sneaker savant who thinks a pair of $250 kicks are perfectly reasonable. Hence him babysitting b/c I don’t buy $250 shoes. That’s not how I roll.

        • The only shoes that I have paid more than $200 for are my winter boots (because I live somewhere you could actually lose limbs to frostbite for 5-7 months of the year). All of my other shoes hit between $100-200- it’s enough to buy good quality but not go over the top. I might be uncool to say this but I DON’T GET THE EXPENSIVE SNEAKER TREND.

  • color matching is my downfall. I must not have a good eye for it.
    I will have my little list in my head, I need a medium blue half sleeve casual top for that skirt. And then I buy one and the blues don’t gel just right. AHHHHHH. sigh.

    • Colour matching is not the easiest part of a wardrobe- I specifically have a colour palette for my wardrobe to help with that, as well as taking clothing with me when I shop. Because I am often looking for a specific piece, if I know that I will often wear a certain sweater or skirt with it, I will bring it with me for matching!

  • I love this post. As I read it, I’m sitting at my desk in the same shorts I’ve worn four other times this week, a shirt in a shade of orange that can be seen from space, and a sports bra. My job is not conducive to dressing up because I write and the most important thing is comfort. I don’t want to be thinking about pleats and fabric strength when I’m cross-legged in my chair. But I do love clothes, and I do get to dress up every so often (tonight’s dinner being one of them). I agree that fewer good-quality items are better in the long run than cheaper trendy stuff, but sometimes it’s fun to wear those things, too.

    • I think that everyone is different in how they experience clothing! I can be comfortable lounging in most of my clothing, and I find that there is a HUGE change in my mindset and attitude when I’m in “lounge wear” specifically, vs in comfortable business casual clothing. I find that if I put the thought into my clothing about pleats and fabric care and draping and everything when I am purchasing it, I tend to have more clothing that is comfortable without being incredibly casual/relaxed 🙂

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