I know that there are bigger things that cause stress in this world but you also know I’m a big believer in minimising the stress around the things you can control – the below three steps to create a stress-free wardrobe are what I’ve followed for more than a decade now. Once I embraced them, the morning rush and routine became easier and I had more days where I felt “put together” and ready for whatever that day was going to throw at me.
Before you even apply one of the steps below, you know what I’m going to tell you, don’t you? The pre-step to creating a stress-free wardrobe is something that I’m always banging on about. You need to spend time editing and organising what you have so that it suits your lifestyle right now.
Click HERE for my method and tips.
In the below Lunchtime Live video, I’ve addressed the following questions from fellow Stylers. Maybe they resonate with you. Watch and listen for my answers.
- How to work out what will fit
- How to dress for the weather, menopause and chafing
- How to dress appropriately for an event
- I buy nice clothes but lack the confidence to wear them
- I repeat items too regularly
- I don’t sure enough personality through what I wear
- I’m worry that what I wear is not suitable or interesting enough for my work place
- We have four seasons in one day (I don’t live somewhere like that but I’ve travelled to places at times of year where that’s norm – this post may help)
- If it needs an iron, I skip to the next item (me too – that’s why I created our technical fabric range for Styling You The Label)
- I never feel comfortable in anything, yet I buy everything
- I am bored or my wardrobe and in a funk
3 steps to creating a stress-free wardrobe
1. Build your wardrobe on quality basics
Before I grasped this concept, I could never understand why I had a wardrobe filled with clothes but seemingly nothing to wear. Sure, dresses are easy and fun but they don’t extend your wardrobe. Separates will do that because you can wear them in different combinations. The biggest problem my former unreformed wardrobe self had was that I’d be seduced into buying a sparkly or colourful top, only to bring them home and not have anything to wear them back with.
When I talk clothing basics, I’m usually talking about neutral coloured essentials that provide the foundation for you to create an outfit, for example the bottoms to work back with my penchant for “nice tops”.
Your essential clothing basics list may differ from mine because of where you live (climate) and how you spend most of your week (office/at home/a mix of both) but here are the key things that help me have a stress-free wardrobe life:
- Denim jeans
- Denim shorts
- White jeans
- Neutral coloured blazers
- Neutral coloured tees
- Neutral coloured shirts/camis/blouses
- Neutral coloured dresses
- Neutral coloured pants/shorts/skirts
- Neutral coloured knits
- Neutral coloured coats
I’ve always suggested that you invest more in the basics side of your wardrobe than the fun, party side. Do so because these are the pieces you’ll reach for more often and, if you buy quality, they’ll serve you year after year.
I’ve also suggested that, say you find the perfect white tee (I’m biased but I do think we’ve got the perfect one if you like your tees on the less fitted side), that you buy more than one. They will work hard for you and you’ll always have one out of the wash and ready to wear.
I created Styling You The Label to fill the basics gaps in your wardrobe but I’ve listed below some other brands I think do it well too.
Brands that do basics well
Styling You The Label (no-iron easy-care technical pieces, made in Australia)
Bird keepers at birdsnest (8-22)
Bohemian Traders (XXS to 4XXL)
Outland Denim (ethical denim)
Harlow (size 12-26, made in Australia)
Commonry (new label – size 10-22)
Decjuba (from size 4 but up to 18 in jeans)
Philosophy (great cuts in pants)
Bassike (organic jersey made in Australia)
2. Sprinkle it with showpony clothing pieces, shoes and accessories
See, I promised there’d be some fun in this process. I will add a disclaimer though. If you feel comfortable and more confident wearing combinations of neutral colours, then be ok with that. No-one should be making you feel like you need to wear colour. It doesn’t make you dull or boring; it makes you extremely sure of your style, with a definite nod to French women. Your showpony pieces might be in the form of exquisite detailing in a belt or a pair of shoes.
For others, incorporating pieces and accessories in colour, prints and textures like sequins, it’s a way to show that big, beautiful and bold side of you to the world. By all means combine and clash away with those pieces without nary a thought to neutral basics but only do that if you know you do have the separates in colours and prints in your wardrobe to make that work. No-one wants a showpony top or skirt sitting at home without an outing on the horizon because you don’t have a wardrobe “mate” for it.
It might be that a showpony piece comes into your wardrobe for an event or occasion. I always like to think of how I could wear or style it differently for a different occasion before purchasing. Even knowing I can wear it back with both sneakers and heels helps me to know it’s a versatile and not a one-off purchase.
Not sure what your style personality is, so not sure what types of showpony pieces will work for you? This post might help.
3. Plan your outfits
This is the key to making your stress-free wardrobe work for you every day. Spend a bit of time each Sunday planning out what you’re wearing for the week ahead – particularly the days you’re leaving the house – will make the morning rush so much easier.
This is where YOUR lifestyle and where you live impacts your wardrobe. What I plan out to wear for a week will be very different from a corporate officer worker living in Melbourne still working from home two days a week.
Start with a glance at the weather app. I do this for travelling different places but it’s also useful for planning out the week. Yes, it may not end up to be 100% accurate but it will generally give you a good indication as to temperature and conditions for the week ahead.
Think about what each day holds for you. What’s scheduled? Do you have any events/meetings etc that need you to be dressed differently from the every day? Are you heading to supervising swimming lessons after work and need to swap to comfortable shoes?
If you can, as part of the planning process, hang the week’s clothes in a separate section of your wardrobe, ready to go each morning. If you can’t, write down in your phone or use our outfit planner each of the day’s outfits, shoes and accessories. If you’re really organised, I know quite a few women in this community use an app like Stylebook to catalogue their wardrobe and create outfits. Others take outfit photos on their phones and save to albums. Whenever you’re stuck for ideas, referring back to looks you’ve already created can be a big inspiration.
I also like to keep a long-term outfit plan in the notes section of my phone. I’ll pop in any events, occasions or getaways planned so I can think of outfits and add them as I do. This helps me to not necessarily buy something new and often it means that an old favourite gets to come out to play. If I choose to buy something new, I look at the plan and see how I could wear it at least twice during the next few months.
So, tell me, what’s your biggest wardrobe stress point?
Work week outfits, clockwise from top left: