Wardrobe Building

Readers, I confess: up until this point, I’ve been sewing for fall without a plan. Sewing with intention was one of my reasons for starting this challenge and if I’m not careful I’m going to end up with a very random wardrobe. It’s time to do some planning before this goes any further. I’ve never consciously built a wardrobe so I’m certainly no expert but here are a few things that I’ve been thinking about while planning the pieces.

Where Will the Wardrobe Be Worn?

I work in an ice cream shop and while this may not sound like particularly dirty work, ice cream stains are the least of my worries. Between sweating, cleaning and greasy kitchen air, I come home in a pretty gross state so I wouldn’t dare wear nice cloths to work. Given this, my work clothes will not factor into my 30 pieces.

On the other side of the coin, my calendar is not full of fancy events (actually, it isn’t full of any events). I’m a bit of homebody and my idea of a night out on the town would be dinner and a movie with my husband. So sadly, ball gowns and cocktail dresses would be a waste in my closet.

This means that I’m looking for a casual (primarily daytime) wardrobe. Something that looks nice enough to go to classes in but also comfy enough to lounge in reading.

Pants, Dresses or Skirts?

When getting dressed, what do you grab for first – pants, dresses or skirts? I love a dress in theory but feel as though I have to “dress up” to wear one. I love separates because I can dress them up and down depending on my mood so for me, it’s a toss-up between pants and skirts. I tend to buy a lot of skirts but possibly wear pants more often. Even so, I end up wearing the same pairs of pants over and over yet I don’t feel restricted by this. Which leads me to my next point…

Statement Pieces vs. Neutrals

Statement pieces are louder items – they tend to be the first thing others notice and they should say something about the wearer – whereas neutrals, or basics, tend to blend in with the background. Since I tend to only wear one or two statement pieces in an outfit, it’s important that my wardrobe have balance. In my wardrobe, skirts usually are statement pieces whereas pants are neutrals. I’d feel more comfortable with more skirts in my closet than pants no matter which sees more wear because I tend to buy pants that go with everything. Even though this way of thinking limits the amount of outfits, I still think it’s important to balance statement pieces and neutrals in the closet.

How Often Do You Launder?

I don’t clean every piece of clothing after every wear. Laundering can be harsh, expensive, and unnecessary so I use it sparingly. Items that are worn next to the skin like bras, underwear, camisoles and many blouses are washed with every wear. Unless I stain an item, I’ll take pants through 2 or 3 wears, skirts 3-4, and dresses and blazers 4 -5. Coats and other outerwear are laundered at the end of the season before I put them in storage.

So what does this have to do with wardrobe building? Items that see the laundry bin sooner will need more replacements. Since I do laundry about once a week, I’d like to have enough tops and bottoms to get me through. This means, at minimum, 7 tops, but only 2 to 3 bottoms. Not revolutionary, by any means, but something to keep in mind.

I’d like this to be a resource for others who are trying to build a wardrobe and, obviously, this isn’t everything one needs to know! So tell me, what else should I (you) (one) keep in mind while planning a wardrobe? Any words of wisdom from those of you have undertaken a challenge like this? Leave a comment below!

Don’t forget to vote for your favorite Sorbetto modification idea here! I’ll be making up the winning version next week. Poll closes on July 4th.

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3 Comments to “Wardrobe Building”

  1. Do you layer tops? If you do, will that mean you need more of them?

    • That’s a great point, Liz! You’d have to be strategic if you wanted to keep the numbers down but still layer. It would be interesting to look through 30 for 30 Challenges to see how others dealt with layering.

  2. Been following your blog for a while now and only just came across this post. Really gave me pause for thought as I;m trying to sew more mindfully so I can get maximum wear out of my closet. Really enjoy reading your posts, you have a great writing style as well as very lovely clothes!

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