March 29, 2010

How To Plan Your Spring Wardrobe

It's officially Spring! I know, I know ... it doesn't feel like it in New York City right now (48 degrees?!?), but it is. That means it's time to start packing away our shearlings, sweater dresses, and Uggs to make room for lightweight leather jackets, floral shift dresses and sandals. But don't run to Bloomingdale's just yet! In life if we fail to plan,we plan to fail and that goes for fashion too. Having a clear plan of action will save you money and leave you with a well edited closet, which makes it easier to get dressed. 

To prep you for Spring shopping, I've compiled the below process for planning out your wardrobe. The steps come courtesy of one of my favorite style guides - Style 101: What Every Stylish Woman Should Know from the editors of InStyle magazine.

Step 1: Create an Inspiration Board
[Image courtesy of]
Since you're all fashionistas, I'm sure you've poured over the latest issues of InStyle, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and other fashion magazines to learn about the Spring trends, see new items available from your favorite designers or see what your favorite celebrities are wearing. Take it one step further and tear out the looks that you want to imitate or buy - both from fashion spreads and advertising. You can also print out looks from your favorite bloggers (I've been inspired by The Glamourai, Swank Heights and Fashion Bananas.)

Tape/pin/paste the looks to a bulletin board or, if you don't have one, purchase a thick piece of foam/core board from an art store and post it on your closet door. As you populate the board, take notice of what trends you're gravitating to and what items emerge as YOUR must-haves (not what everyone else is telling you to buy.)

Step 2: Edit Your Current Wardrobe
[Image courtesy of]
Now you know the look you're aiming for this Spring, but don't go shopping just yet! You should first take the time to go through your current wardrobe, inspecting and trying on clothes from last Spring and last season to see what's still in style, what fits and what flatters you most. This goes for shoes, bags and accessories as well. 

Go through everything and separate your closet/dresser drawers into four piles - Keep, Repair/Alter, Donate, Trash. The Keep pile should consist of items that fit, flatter and remain stylish. Pieces that still work, but need new buttons or could be taken in a few inches should go into the Repair/Alter pile. Items that are still in good condition, but don't fit or are no longer your style should go in the Donate pile and be given to a local Salvation Army or consignment shop. Anything that is beyond repair should be in the Trash pile. 

This could take up a good portion of your day and emotions might run high since you may have to part with items that hold sentimental value so make this part fun! Pour a glass of wine, play some music that makes you feel great, do whatever keeps you in a positive state of mind.

Be organized when putting your Keep and Repair/Alter items (once they've been repaired/altered) back in your closet - organize clothing by category and then by color from light to dark, neatly place bags on shelves (stuff them with tissue paper and use the dust bags that came with them), shoes stacked in clear boxes. For organized closet inspiration, check out Making It Lovely blog or visit's gallery of celebrity (shoe) closets.

Step 3: Do Some Styling
[Image courtesy of Cupcakes and Cashmere]
Once you've edited your closet, it's time to become your own stylist. Start creating outfits based on your inspiration board. What outfits can you already create? Lay them out and photograph them to create your own Spring Look Book. Purchase a photo album to house the pictures of your looks and store it prominently in your closet for reference whenever you think you have nothing to wear.

Note the items missing from your wardrobe. Is there a Boyfriend Blazer in most of your inspiration looks, but you don't own one? Do you need certain accessories to complete some of your looks? You'll need this information for the next, and final, step.

Step 4: Make a Wish List
You've found your fashion inspiration, edited your closet, and determined what was missing from your wardrobe. There's only one step left before you head to the mall ... creating your Spring Wish List.

Separate a sheet of paper into two columns - Need and Want. In the Need column, write down those items that you won't be able to do without this Spring. Ideally it should be populated with wardrobe staples that will get a lot of wear or pieces needed to complete several of your inspired looks. If it's not absolutely necessary, like a 3rd pair of wooden platform wedge sandals, then it goes into the Want column.

Make sure to keep your Wish List with you when you do your Spring shopping, which prevents impulse purchases. I completely understand how you can be distracted by a statement necklace that you just have to have, but purchase your key items (e.g. your Need list) first before moving on to the fun stuff.

Once you've completed all of these steps, you're ready to go shopping with your Wish List in hand. I tend to add an extra step by researching prices online at some of my favorite stores to make sure I stick to my budget. Why pay full price for a wedge sandal at Saks 5th Avenue if I can get a similar style at Ann Taylor for 30% less? 

You're now armed and ready lovelies. Happy Spring Shopping!


  1. LOVE this piece my dear!! And I always try to follow the tips, so kudos for repeating it on your blog.

  2. I definitely need to find my spring wardrobe and update it!! Need more t-shirts, i feel like with all of this global warming it's going to be a hot one!!

  3. Transitioning from winter to spring is always hard. For me, I am stuck between my sweaters and my bright pink tank tops and never exactly sure what is appropriate when. The Editing step is really good advice.

  4. Thanks everyone! This is honestly the post I'm most proud of.