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I’ve never been too great at putting an outfit together.
(Cue: pics of my fashion disasters through the years. Oh wait – they’re too embarrassing to share.)
I love clothes and accessories – that is not the issue. The issue is that I’m always drawn to clothing with interesting or quirky details: a pattern, shape, cut, button arrangement, or something which makes it stand out. The trouble is that these pieces need to be matched with something more plain, and it’s the plain clothes which I struggle to buy.
Subsequently, my wardrobe used to be full of pieces I rarely wore because there was nothing to go with them, or they were entirely impractical.
I carried on happily for a few years, wearing about 20% of my wardrobe, like most of us do. And then I purchased the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle back in April, and my eye was drawn to an ebook called ‘Full Year Wardrobe Plan for Moms’.
Now in case you’ve not been on the blog this last week, the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is a fabulous library of online resources, sold for a short time for a very low price. I bought it in the Spring, and am over the moon that the exact same bundle is on flash sale AGAIN this coming Monday and Tuesday.
I’ve blogged about the amazing decluttering guide I’m using (which, in itself, would cost three times as much as the entire bundle!), the cooking camp for kids which my son is enjoying, and an excellent online course about prioritising rest as Biblical self-care, and now I’d love to share with you what I’ve gleaned from the ‘Full Year Wardrobe‘.
It was one of the first resources I used; I was intrigued to know whether this could be the answer to my wardrobe disasters forever. I started by laying every single item of clothing out on my bed, and used the Full Year Wardrobe to work out my most-used ‘neutral’ colours, and my favoured ‘accent’ colours.
Using this, I was then able to tick off the pieces which author Corina Holden suggests you need in your wardrobe, putting each piece aside as I did so. From this, it was pretty easy to see what I wasn’t able to wear easily, and a few things ended up in the charity shop bag.
What I love about this guide is that you don’t end up with a huge shopping list of items you need to buy (which is good, because – Hello! Stay-at-home mum here). Instead, Corina invites you to go ‘shopping in your closet’ to work out what you do already have, and learn to make the most of it.
There were a few gaps, of course, but nothing urgent, and this guide encourages you to add them to a list and wait for the sales. So now, when a sale comes along, instead of going for the latest ‘statement’ piece, I have a pretty well-curated list of what my wardrobe needs. If I buy the items on my list, I know they will fit with lots of other pieces I own, and give me more options for mixing things up.
Then comes the fun part. Corina has included photos of Every.Single.Piece she recommends your wardrobe contains (62, including clothes, shoes and accessories), and then 239 photos of these pieces working in different combinations for the different seasons, and for casual and dressy occasions.
I used some of these photos to put together ‘new’ outfits from things I already owned. I put them together on hangers (even adding accessories to some), ready to wear next time I dragged my half-asleep body out of bed.
For about a fortnight, I was beautifully dressed!
(I mean, not like Kate Middleton’s super-glam mum-chic, or anything. More like someone whose clothes were hanging where they were meant to. Less like two ill-fitting jigsaw pieces forced together. If you see me regularly, I guarantee you won’t have noticed.)
And then, of course, as the outfits ran out, I slipped into old habits of jeans and a jumper. (And then we had a heatwave, so I switched jeans-and-jumper for shorts-and-vest-top. Different season, same frump.)
So did anything actually change?
Firstly, I now have a better grasp of how to put an outfit together. Even if it doesn’t happen every day, the guide has given me the confidence to wear more of my wardrobe more often.
Secondly, I have the guide for life, so I can return to it anytime to mix up the outfits in my wardrobe. I’m needing to do this at the moment, as the recent drop in temperature has put me in jeans and jumpers again, when I know I could stay warm in a more interesting way.
Thirdly, I have a more confident understanding of the colours I wear, and what goes together. Corina’s tips on colour palettes were really helpful.
Style and taste are subjective things, of course, so you may be wondering whether this guide is going to pigeon-hole you into a style you don’t like.
Nope, it doesn’t do that. Amazingly, while the outfits themselves offer clear and focused guidance on how to put pieces together, the colours/patterns/styles of each piece are really down to you. I can see this guide being helpful to indie rocker girls, brightly-coloured Boden girls and straight-down-the-line Next girls.
Perhaps the thing I loved most about this guide was that Corina herself is NOT a professional stylist. In fact, by her own admission (and there are photos on her website to prove it), she used to dress badly. So she’s learnt this stuff the hard way, and is in a great position to pass on her new-found knowledge to people like me.
The guide prioritises both comfort AND style, and while a few suggestions are perhaps more American in their style (not sure I could get away with a long-sleeved top and denim shorts in the Autumn, for example), the vast majority are generically easy to carry off.
I got this resource as part of the Ultimate Homemaking bundle. Sadly, this bundle sale has now ended, but look out for next year’s bundle in the spring as it represents great value!
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