You shouldn’t feel guilty when you go into your closet to find something to wear and see a bunch of clothes that don’t feel right. Unfortunately, it happens to all of us! We’ve all stared at that sweater that makes you feel blah or those jeans that can only stay on your body for a few hours before you need to take them off. So how can you avoid buying or sewing clothes that go unworn? The trick is to find your wardrobe gaps.
You might think, that sounds easy, I’ll just make a list of all the clothes I really need. But if you’ve ever walked into a record store and forgotten the names of all the bands you’ve ever listened to, you know it’s hard to make decisions when faced with tons of options.
So if you know there are gaps in your wardrobe, but you don't know exactly what those gaps are, here are two exercises to help you identify them and fill them with clothes you love to wear.
Identify Your Wardrobe Superstars
For this exercise, reach into your closet and find the garments you wear all the time. But wait! Make sure these are garments you truly enjoy wearing, not the garments you reach for because they are convenient, like sweatpants that are really comfortable for working from home. Instead, pick the garments you’re genuinely excited to wear, the clothes that make you feel great.
When you have a garment, explore what you like so much about it. What do you wear with it? How is it practical for you, and how do you feel when you wear it?
These questions help you figure out how to bring more of those qualities into your wardrobe. And if you don't have any standout superstars in your wardrobe, you can still ask yourself these questions, but think about them hypothetically. How do you want to feel when you're wearing a garment, and what would be practical for you?
You might think that to find your wardrobe gaps, you need to identify the holes in your wardrobe, but you actually want to identify the things you will wear repeatedly. And yes, sometimes that can be a hole in itself. If that's the case for you, you'll find our Design Your Wardrobe course a lifesaver. Or at least a wardrobe-saver.
However, if you have some wardrobe superstars in your closet, imagine replicating the success you've already had with things you’ve made or the things you've purchased that really make you feel good.
Identify Your Well-loved, but Unworn Clothes
The next exercise is to identify the things you have in your closet that you really, really like but don't wear. Aspirational garments can make you feel really stylish at a glance, but when you put them on, you might feel a little bit of imposter syndrome. Or you might think you are overdressed. In reality, you probably don’t have the right things to wear with them!
All you have to do is grab the garments you love but never wear and brainstorm some outfits you could create—if only you had something else to wear with them. For example, let’s say you have a me-made blazer that you love. You tailored it perfectly and picked out a fabric in your favorite color, but you never put it on. Do you have the right things to wear with that blazer? Maybe skirts and dresses feel too formal, and you lack some trustworthy dark denim jeans. Or perhaps you mostly wear T-shirts and knit tops, but you'd really feel great layering your blazer over a romantic cream-colored button-up. Repeat this exercise on a few other garments you love but never wear. See if you notice any trends in the kinds of clothes that are missing from your wardrobe.
The best thing about both exercises is that you can do them between sewing projects. If you want to feel productive and creative, but you don’t have much time, or you don’t have a project in mind, these are great motivators. These exercises are also helpful when doing a big closet clean-out or starting a round of Design Your Wardrobe. You will learn something new about your style whenever you can step back and analyze your current wardrobe. The more you learn about your style, the easier it is to thoughtfully bring clothes into your closet that you’ll love to wear.