How I Do A Wardrobe ‘Refresh’ For The New Season

This is the type of post that makes me seem unbelievably Virgo-rising nerdy, I know. But I love the change of seasons not only as a way to renew my love affair with style, but as a way to be disciplined and mindful about wardrobe curation. (Told you I was Virgo-rising!) I know people call this kind of thing an ‘edit’ sometimes, but I think ‘refresh’ captures better the way we feel when we changeover the new season in our wardrobes. Like, whee! Possibilities! Newness! Yay! So fresh!

(Random aside: Isn’t it funny how so many fashion blogs call the shopping opportunity of a new season a ‘refresh’ or an ‘edit’? It’s like those fashion editor terms have suddenly become the parlance du jour.)

I know for some people being this systematic about fashion can seem obsessive and super-anal. But honestly, this kind of approach actually allows me to feel intentional, happy and excited about clothes. It helps me appreciate what I already have, look forward to what I’m getting — and then allows me to forget about clothes to focus on other things in my life. And, bonus emotional points — I don’t feel guilty or wasteful about shopping because I appreciate what I have and know exactly what I need. Guilt is so boring, no?

Anyway, this is my quick and dirty primer on how I do a wardrobe ‘refresh.’ It’s basically how I transition my closet to the next season, both organizing it for existing stuff and surveying it with an eye for future acquisitions.

You can pair it with my little ‘capsule wardrobe’ post and you have a nice little way to get your fashion game organized for the new season. Of course, this is just me and my weird little mind — as a sartorial nerd, I love hearing how other people go about the business of wardrobe organizing and curating, so if you have any tips, please share in the comments or comment on Facebook!

Happy fall, everyone 🙂

Start packing away the passing season

Maybe you’ve Marie Kondo’d the crap out of your closet already, so you don’t need to do this. But usually I start by packing away certain seasonal items. For summer, it’s the dresses and summery tops that I’m frankly sick of — I usually keep all the bottoms, since they’re more basic and there are fewer of them. I also take the passing seasonal items and move them to the back or side of my closet, just to get a sense of how much space I’ll be freeing up eventually.

Store or toss out the things that don’t work for the next season

I also like to inventory my upcoming season and figure out what doesn’t fit, what’s worn beyond reckoning or just kind of played-out — and either decide to repair, save or just get rid of these items. These days, I simply donate them or send them to ThredUp.

Figure out your general style directives for the next season

This, for me, is the fun part! Some people get serious about it and do mood boards and Pinterest like crazy — which I would probably do if I had more time! Instead, I just have a few phrases that serve as my directive. Not quite a full-on ‘fashion concept’ like I used to do in my proper style blog days, but just a general feel: like, “new mom keeping head above water and leaning on striped boatneck shirts and ballet flats” (which was last year) or “a bit more Isabel Marant, a bit less French preppiness,” which is, I suppose, my current seasonal direction. I don’t set this in stone, but it’s a nice guide to have.

Pull your key items for next season

For me, I begin with shoes: what shoes will I likely lean upon for the next few months? (I already pulled all my ankle boots out, for example.) Then I look at my existing bottoms — for me, because I don’t have a lot of bottoms (as compared to tops), it’s mostly a question of bringing forward what I plan to wear most and pushing to the back or packing away what I don’t. Then, with tops, I pull a few key ones I know I want to wear for the new season. (You might be trying things on and off at this point, unless you are in a hurry and have only an hour while the toddler tyrant naps!)

(Also at this point, I might start pulling together a capsule wardrobe for the season, actually: I’ll figure out which 4-6 bottoms I will wear, find around 10 tops, a few jackets, 3-6 dresses, some key accessories, etc. That also helps me nail down what I’m missing or what I’d like to try but don’t have currently…ahem, maybe cropped flares? But seriously, doing even just the beginning of a capsule is a big help.)

Again, I try to arrange my closet, at least temporarily, into “current season/still in action” and “upcoming season/up on deck” sections. The idea is to “merchandise” your closet, in much the same way a boutique will organize its stock.

Make some lists: what to buy, what not to buy

The reason why I like to “merchandise” my admittedly tiny closet is to get a broad-as-possible view of my existing upcoming seasonal wardrobe. From here, I can kind of see what I have — and nerdily get excited. (Cozy sweaters! Jackets! Sleeves!)

But I also see gaps: for instance, I don’t have blazers that fit anymore, and the few cardigans I bought last winter after recovering from birth now seem too big and shapeless when I try them on. I tend to scribble down what seems to be missing, or needs replacing, while simultaneously pulling out what doesn’t fit, can’t be repaired or is headed to the donation pile. Once I figure out my gaps — and pull together a skeleton of a capsule wardrobe — that’s the foundation of my seasonal shopping list.

Lately, I’ve been also noting what I definitely don’t need to buy in the near future. There are certain things that will always catch my eye — ankle boots, oxford shirts, quirky little tops, sweatshirts — but I definitely don’t need more of them in my wardrobe. So I mindfully call a moratorium on shopping for them and therefore divert my rather limited resources towards what I truly need.

Do your research

This is the fun part! Once I know what gaps are in your seasonal wardrobe — or if you’ve started your capsule wardrobe, whatever pieces you’re missing that fit into your general theme — I go online and figure out what’s on sale and where. My personal go-tos are always Everlane, ThredUp for great designer secondhand stuff and Madewell. I’ll also check out random stuff from Old Navy and sometimes Kohl’s, since I get stuff for my little one from there and I might as well look for me, too.

The next step, of course, is to shop…but I highly doubt anyone needs much help with this one! Whatever you do or buy, I hope you fully and sincerely enjoy it 🙂

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