What are the patterns in your wardrobe? What do you have lots of? What do you have little of? Spending some time looking inside your wardrobe and noticing the patterns can really help you define your style, what you do and don’t love, what does and doesn’t work for your body shape. Discover my 3 step process to discovering the patterns in your wardrobe.
Firstly you will need to organise your wardrobe if you haven’t already. I’ve got some great tips in my free ebook Your 5 Step Formula for a Fabulous Wardrobe on a Budget (which you can download from here).
Without an organised wardrobe you won’t see your patterns. You need to organise your clothing and accessories into groups – tops, bottoms, dresses etc and by colour going through the rainbow, it really does make it so much easier to see what you do have and to create outfits and mix and match.
Secondly, you may want to start photographing your outfits or noting down what you wear – particularly those favourite outfits. You can download my new Weekly Wardrobe Outfit Planner which is printable and helps you track these outfits.
Having photos of your outfits or knowing what you put together will start giving you an idea of what you do wear, what you like and what you are comfortable wearing. You will start to see patterns emerge as you look for commonalities in your outfits. Hate taking pics? Here are my tips on how to pose for photographs to help!
An example of this on the blog would be all the blog posts I write about My Style. It’s only when I am going through the photos I take of my outfits that I really notice some of my own patterns such as:
- Staying Warm
- White is my New Black
- Knee High Boots
- Signature Print
- Mixing Patterns
- Blue and White
Notice if you wear similar kinds of garments, just in different colours – maybe it’s jackets, or jeans, or a particular pattern or style of clothing that repeats in your wardrobe. Look for and note down all the elements that you reach for over and over, those ones you love (not because of laziness or any other reason!).
Take note of the shapes of clothes that seem to suit you best – that you feel flatter you the most too. You may want to read up on body shapes, proportions and variations as well. Consider the scale of accessories and details as this too will influence what does and doesn’t work.
Thirdly it’s time to go window shopping either in the stores or on Pinterest or through a retailers online shop. This is not the time to buy, but to just notice what you are attracted to, and what you are repulsed by. I want to to start a list and note down the elements of garments that you love, and those things that you would just “never wear”. Here is an example – and of course your list should be much longer than this one!
Try and note down every little thing you notice that you are attracted to and what the opposite of that is, what you dislike.
For example, if I just looked at this one photo and outfit and noted down what I like about it, it will give me lots of information about my personal style and patterns will emerge when I then compare to other outfits:
Knee high boots – flat – comfortable
Navy skirt – stretch fabric, slimming and comfortable
Navy opaque tights – warm and comfortable
Long sleeve merino knit – comfortable and warm, love the colour
Kimono top – blue and white (style crush), drapey fabric hides the back fat plus the pattern and scale make it a hero
Lace necklace – love the colour, love how it looks a little like a tattoo but is in fact very feminine. Unique and unusual
Colour blue is dominant – one of my signatures!
Now if you compare what I’ve written here about what I love in clothes and outfits, to the list of items that have ended up in a My Style blog post, you will see lots of cross overs!
So what are the patterns in your wardrobe? It’s time to go find out and share here!
Really good advice! Your ‘5 step formula for a fabulous wardrobe’ is a great resource. Knowing what is in your wardrobe – I have built a spread sheet and most of my clothes are listed in it. Then I have sorted the clothes by function (singlet, T-shirt, jacket, long skirt or short skirt etc.) and ‘virtually’ arranged them in a rainbow of colours. So my wardrobe might seem like a mess but it is actually super duper organised. So thanks for the eBook – it is wonderful. And I learnt a lot about my style. Thanks
A pattern that continues to repeat itself in my closet is houndstooth, colours: black and white.
However I force myself to add variety.
Maybe houndstooth is your signature print
A pattern in my closet is blazers, blazers, blazers. I started buying them so I could wear an extra layer in the lab that wasn’t a yucky lab coat. It morphed into an obessesion. I feel naked without one now.
Another pattern is shoes. I love shoes of all shapes/sizes/colors. No outfit of mine is complete until I coordinate my shoes. I am very unhappy if my shoes do not coordinate with my outfit. I drive my husband crazy b/c I will change shoes multiple times until I find the pair that works.
I understand your pain!
my wardrobe is about 40% each white and blue with some black, gray, brown, burgundy and green thrown in. button-up shirts, slim fitting pants, rarely skirts or dresses.
very structured pieces, no flares, pleats or bootcuts. nothing stiff or uncomfortable, all natural fabrics. and coloured shoes – brown, cognac, blue and red. love lace-up oxfords.
silver dangle earrings. no necklaces, coloured scarves. tan/brown leather belts.
Wow! I’ve been needing, like NEEDING to clean out my closet in such a desperate way, so this post is being read at exactly the right moment! I am determined to begin the mammoth task today after work.
I live in Hong Kong where closet space is nil. It’s very frustrating to say the least, but I think if I make a list with my likes and dislikes I might be on my way.
Oh, by the way, I ended up reading a ton more of goodies from this post. Excellent links to be found!!
Thanks for linking up to my Style Stories!
So glad you have found this useful for clearing out your closet
Thank you for such useful tips – I literally need to go and organize my closet right now. It’s a disaster after Thanksgiving travels
Anna // Happy Medley
Thank you for this and all your other great advice, Imogen. You have really made a difference in my life. For several years I’ve not put a lot of effort into style, but that changed in the summer. I found your website right when I was ready to shop (which I usually hate). With your tips I’m re-learning what I love. For years, the patterns in my wardrobe have been trousers / nice jeans, short-sleeve tops in either a soft material or pure linen and low heel ankle boots. In the last months I’ve added back in animal prints and exotic patterns. I’m also adding in skirts/dresses, knee-high boots and ballerina flats. I’m loving the looks and it makes dressing much easier and more interesting. I would not have done this without your guidance. Thanks so much for your help.
Thanks for letting me know Veronica! What a lovely comment to read for me first thing this morning. So glad that you find my blog useful and practical and applicable for your life and body.xx
Cardigans, pencil skirts, solid color but patterned tights, diamond, herringbone, paisley, paisley and diamond. My printed tops contain black and white plus one or more colors in either an analogous or monochromatic color scheme on the cool side of the color wheel, scarves the same. Want more pencil skirts but in forest green, plum, burgundy and teal. Need abstract or geometric prints up near the face with solid on the bottom, florals look better below the waist with a solid color on top, but saw a cool creation by Miscanthus on polyvore that paired a striped top with a ornate pencil skirt in the same colors. I like both smooth and ornate shapes in my jewelry. Two tone shoes, shoes with some sort of unique detail, if plain than with some cutouts or something. Sheath dresses or wrap for sure, fit and flares make me look dumpy, love inset waist or waist detail but it has to be a petite size. V necks, one color jacquard print but they have to be in something like silk except my coat is a tapestry print with faux fur collar that’s removable with princess seaming single breasted, slash pockets, looks great with dresses or jeans. Haven’t worn trousers in years since weight gain but love a shadow pinstripe, pinstripes, wide waistband wide leg, I’ve got a short rise so they hit at my normal waist line. I need more casual wear but I’m not sporty, finally bought a pair of sneakers after 40 years. We haven’t been having Christmas parties at work for the last 20 yrs so haven’t had a need for dressier stuff but loved it when we did. Love beading embroidery, crystal pleats, silk two tone fabric with a sheen not so much shine. Usually was all one color head to toe but with unique earrings or necklace.