Are you prone to impulse purchases when it comes to clothes? Is it always the shiny, fancy stuff you’re drawn to, but you never get around to buy some quality basics? Or have you recently decluttered your closet and were shocked by the piles of unworn and unloved items? If so, you probably need a wardrobe wishlist.
A considered wishlist (shopping list) helps us make conscientious buying decisions to build a well-curated wardrobe full of clothes we love to wear.
Preparing such a list sounds like an easy task. We write down what we need and then get it, right? The thing is, when it comes to clothing, we rarely urgently need something new. We just became accustomed to ‘consuming’ clothes – even though they can have a significantly longer lifespan than many other goods. Hence, when we want to make better buying decisions and stop mindlessly consuming clothes, we need to give our wardrobe wishlist a second thought.
A considered wishlist makes it a lot easier to focus on the essentials and fill the gaps in your wardrobe. Moreover, it helps you choose clothes, shoes, and accessories more strategically. As a result, what you buy perfectly fits your life and style – and your budget.
When Is the Best Time to Create a Wardrobe Wishlist?
I recommend creating a first draft of your wardrobe wishlist in the discovery and planning phase of your wardrobe curation project. Because then you’ve already reflected on your environment and lifestyle and roughly identified what you need. Plus, by this time, you should have a pretty good overview of your existing wardrobe.
Please refer to my Ultimate Guide to a Well-Curated Wardrobe for a complete overview. I wrote this guide for all of you who want to be more strategic about their choices and build a wardrobe that perfectly suits their life and style. So, if this is you, check it out!
I also created a printable workbook to support your journey. Sign up below to get it instantly delivered to your inbox.
A template for your wardrobe wishlist is also included.
The Well-Curated Wardrobe Workbook
Enjoy a well-curated wardrobe that perfectly fits your life and style.
But if you want to dive right in, ask yourself at least these questions before getting started:
- Am I aware of what I already own?
- Do I know what I (urgently) need?
- Do I know what I love? (Think cuts, colors, fabrics, and style!)
Take a Closer Look at the Gaps in Your Wardrobe
I know, evaluating something that isn’t there can be a challenge. So let me help you.
From my experience, the missing pieces in our wardrobes usually fall into one of these categories:
- Items to replace a piece of clothing you love and often wear (e.g., because it’s stained or damaged beyond repair).
- Clothes, shoes, or accessories you need to complete a specific outfit.
- Anything you need because of lifestyle changes (e.g., different dress code in your new job, a new hobby).
- Selected clothes, shoes, or accessories to express your personal style.
- Trend pieces to keep your wardrobe current.
Being aware of these categories makes it much easier to prioritize.
Get Specific About the Items on Your Wishlist
When you aim for a well-curated wardrobe that reflects your needs, lifestyle, and personal preferences, getting specific about the items on your wishlist is key. The more research you do, the more examples you find, and the more detailed you can describe what you love, the better. Otherwise, the risk of making a few shopping mistakes along the way is high. In other words, it’s good to be aware of what does and doesn’t work for you BEFORE hunting for new clothes.
Set Yourself a Realistic Budget
The first thing to know is how much you want to spend on clothing in total. And then, decide how much you’re willing to pay for each item on your wishlist. When you’ve done your research, as suggested above, this should be a manageable task.
Most likely, there will be items on your shopping list you can’t afford right away. If you have to save up for a piece of clothing, be honest. Ask yourself how long you’re willing to wait or if you instead settle for a less expensive version.
If you need something urgent, e.g., because you changed job and need to follow a new dress code, you’ll have to prioritize this purchase. Which could also mean settling with something more affordable.
On the other hand, adding the key pieces to express your style allows for more flexibility. You get to decide if you’re going to wait and save up for the perfect items or not.
To reflect these thoughts, you may want to split your wardrobe wishlist into three sections:
Purchases you plan to make within …
- the next couple of months (urgently needed or trend pieces)
- the year (basics and other quality items)
- a larger time frame (e.g., more expensive jewelry or designer pieces)
How much you want to spend on which item is absolutely up to you. There’s no universal rule to follow. Personally, I sometimes save up for a specific piece because I really love it. Sometimes I settle with a more affordable alternative. The only thing that I always take into consideration is the quality of my purchases.
Make the Most of Your Budget
Thoughtful planning is one thing. The other is to make use of all possibilities we have today to get the best possible deal. So, have your wardrobe wishlist always at hand to make clever use of sales and discount codes. And I’m sure, after all your thoughtful planning, you’re not going to fall into the ‘just because it’s on sale’ trap.
Allow for Some Flexibility
What to do if you spontaneously fall in love with a piece of clothing?
I don’t think having a considered wishlist means that we can’t allow ourselves some flexibility. However, we have to be clear about our priorities and preferences. Hence, look at the item you newly discovered and compare it against all the other things on your list. Then you’ll know if it is a good purchase or not.
Let Your Wishlist Evolve
Having a wardrobe wishlist can be extremely helpful. But it doesn’t mean we have to stick to it religiously. We should allow our list to evolve – just like we refine our style with every purchase we make. In other words, our wardrobe wishlist is never set in stone. We can add or remove items or change the specifications of everything on the list. And yes, our wishlist will help us make better choices. But even more important is that we enjoy creating and maintaining it!
And there you have it. These are my tips on how to create and maintain a wardrobe wishlist.
I’ve been experimenting with different formats and tools. I tried handwritten notes, various spreadsheets, and apps. Finally, I came up with the template that’s also included in my workbook. But, of course, I’d love to hear how you organize your wardrobe wishlist! I’m always looking for new inspirations to improve. So, leave a comment below!
Like the idea of less, but luxe! …? Follow me on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for more tips and inspiration. Plus, join my email list to receive regular updates and content exclusively available to my readers!