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 basics? Or have you recently decluttered your wardrobe and were shocked by the piles of unworn and unloved clothes? If so, you probably need a wardrobe wishlist.
A smart wishlist helps us make conscientious buying decisions to build a 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 smart wishlist makes it a lot easier to focus on the essentials and fix the ‘holes’ in our wardrobes. Moreover, it helps us choose our clothes, shoes, and accessories wisely. As a result, what we buy supports our life and style – and fits our budget.
When Is the Best Time to Create a Wardrobe Wishlist?
I recommend creating it in the course of wardrobe planning. Because then you’ve already reflected on your environment and lifestyle and roughly identified what you need (see Draft Your Wardrobe Wishlist). Plus, by this time, you should have a pretty good overview of what you already own. I’ve listed all steps for you below so you can follow them through if you like:
- Step 1: Consider Where You Live (Your Environment)
- Step 2: Review Your Lifestyle
- Step 3: Clarify Your Needs (Haves and Wants)
- Wardrobe Decluttering a la Marie Kondo: Pros and Cons
- Wardrobe Decluttering a la Marie Kondo: Lessons Learned
- The KonMari Method: All You Need to Know + Printable Guide
Need a bit of help? Download my wardrobe planning worksheet collection. I promise they make the entire planning process much more comfortable and faster.
Wardrobe Planning Worksheet Collection
Plan and create a wardrobe full of clothes you love to wear!
If you, for whatever reason, want to skip the detailed wardrobe planning steps, ask yourself at least these questions before you get started:
- Am I aware of what I already own?
- Do I know what I (urgently) need?
- Do I know what I love? (Think about cuts, colors, fabrics, and style)
Take a Closer Look at the Missing Pieces
Once you’ve gone through the planning steps and created an inventory as suggested above, you should be aware of the ‘holes’ in your wardrobe. From my experience, they usually fall into one of these categories:
- Items you need 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 notable changes in your lifestyle (e.g., another dress code in your new job, a new hobby).
- Individual pieces you would love to add because they complement your wardrobe and help express your personal style.
- Trendy clothes, shoes, or accessories you like to keep your wardrobe up-to-date.
Being aware of these categories makes it much easier to prioritize.
Do Your Research
When you aim for a hardworking, curated closet that reflects your personality, this step is particularly important. Otherwise, the risk is high that you make quite a few shopping mistakes on the way. This is especially true when you’re in the process of updating, upgrading, or changing your personal style. The more detailed you know what you love and what’s not working for you, the better.
Set Yourself a Realistic Budget
First, you need to know how much you want to spend in total. And then, decide how much you’re willing to pay for each item on your list. When you’ve done your research, as suggested above, this should be a manageable task.
Most likely, there are items on your wishlist that you can’t afford right away. When 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 go for a less expensive version. For instance, when you need something urgent, e.g., because you changed the job and need to follow a new dress code, you probably have to prioritize this purchase. This can also mean that you have to buy a few things immediately that are within your budget. On the other hand, items you want to add to refine your style can probably wait. You can decide to save up for them longer and eventually buy the perfect pieces.
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 pieces)
- a larger time frame (e.g., more expensive jewelry or designer items)
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 the garment. I recently published a post on how to spot high-quality when shopping for clothes.
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. Have your wardrobe wishlist always at hand to make clever use of sales and discount codes. But be careful not to fall into the ‘just because it’s on sale’ trap.
Value Your Wishlist but Allow Flexibility
So, what to do when you spontaneously fall in love with something that’s not on your wishlist? I don’t think having such a list means that we can’t allow ourselves some flexibility. But we have to be clear about our priorities and preferences. So, look at the item you discovered and cross-check with your wishlist 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 don’t have to stick to it religiously. We should allow our list to evolve – just like we refine our individual 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 what we want. And yes, our list will help us make better choices. But even more important is that we enjoy creating and maintaining it!
More Tips and Inspirations
I’d always recommend creating a wardrobe wishlist in the course of wardrobe planning. Here’s a link that leads you to all related articles:
- All about planning your wardrobe
Following these proven rules for a well-curated wardrobe will surely get you closer to your goal of having solely clothes you love to wear:
Planning your wardrobe more strategically can also help to transition into slow fashion. I’ve listed for you a range of attainable steps for creating a ‘slow wardrobe’:
Moreover, I’m sure you want your carefully selected clothes to last longer. My series of wardrobe maintenance articles provide helpful tips on how to take good care of your clothes to extend their lifespan.
- All about Wardrobe Maintenance
If you like the ‘less, but luxe’ idea, follow me on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for more tips and inspirations. And don’t forget to join my email list to receive weekly updates plus content that’s exclusively available to my readers.
Thanks for sharing this post and your thoughts!
I’m still experimenting with different formats and tools. I tried handwritten notes, various spreadsheets, and apps. I’d love to hear how you organize your wardrobe wishlist!