How to buy a winner for an awesome wardrobe requires to unlock the secrets of successful clothes shopping. Treating your wardrobe like a collection means that you curate it, and only add new pieces that add value to your outfit options. Read how I learned curating my wardrobe, and how you can apply these secrets too to look your best with what’s in your closet.
- Prologue: A Shopping Trip to a Great Mall by Train
- Pre-shop to See What’s Out There
- Have at Least Three Outfits in Mind
- Never Buy Complete Outfits
- Questions to Answer before Buying It
- Example Outfits with a Striped Skirt
- Go for Garments that Work for more than One Season
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Prologue: A Shopping Trip to a Great Mall by Train
One summer, my grandpa Oskar invited me to visit him to go shopping for my fall wardrobe. I was really excited about the invitation. When my bus arrived at the bus stop that was across the railroad station, my grandpa was already waiting there. It struck me quite unusual. He had never picked me up at the bus stop before. After he had greeted me he said that we would go by train to Essen, another town of the Rhein-Ruhr metropolitan area that had a much longer mall than the town where he lived. Until today, I cannot tell whether I was more excited about the words “by train” or “greater mall.”
Pre-shop to See What’s Out There
We did some pre-shopping, ate something, and I decided that I wanted the pair of salmon colored pleated waist leather pants we had seen. My love for dressy leather pants, leather casual pants, and leather dress pants started already as a teenager.
Have at Least Three Outfits in Mind
He asked “What would you wear with these?” “My black turtleneck, the white blouse, the green striped sweater may work, and the blue one for sure.” “O.K., that sounds good enough. Let’s see whether we can find a matching vest for some extra warmth with the white blouse.” Later at the railroad station, he saw some plastic bangles and matching necklaces that he bought to “complete” the look.
In retrospective, it is kind of interesting that my grandfather asked this question whenever he went shopping with me. Why? I only remember him wearing a dark gray suit, white shirt and red tie with a long wool coat, gray scarf, and hat, and black lace-up shoes in winter, and the same outfit, but in light gray with a light khaki coat or without coat and black closed toe sandals in summer.
Interestingly, still today, before buying a new item I challenge myself to come up with three outfits with the new item in mind.
Never Buy Complete OutfitsNever buy a complete outfit that you see in a catalog or on an online site. #agelessstyle #style advice Click To Tweet
You may end up with only one additional outfit when the individual pieces do not go with anything in your wardrobe. It would be pretty expensive to build a wardrobe like that, right. Before buying anything always think about what outfits you can create with the piece and whether the piece works for more than one season. The latter is especially important in cold climate regions as often layering is the only way to create the insulation you need to stay warm.
Another reason why not to buy complete outfits is the risk that your bff or colleague bought the same outfit. You may end up looking like a copycat, when she wears it first. More on how to handle when your bff has the same clothes.
Questions to Answer before Buying It
Let me use the striped skirt as an example to demonstrate what I mean. You will admit that a striped skirt is not a neutral that goes with everything, i.e. an item one has to put some thought into before giving it a place in the closet. Thus, ask yourself these questions.
- Are there – from the top of your head, i.e. without long thinking about it – pieces in your closet that work with the colors and vibe of the item to build at least three outfits?
- When/where can I wear it?
- Will it work later, i.e. in another season?
To buy a winner the following must apply:
- You have to be able to answer the first question with yes. If so take mental notes or notes on you iPhone with which pieces it goes and check immediately at home whether it works so you can return the piece, if needed.
- The answer to the second question should include the part of your life that you need to dress for most of the time unless you are shopping for a special occasion (wedding, opera, vacation, etc.).
- The third answer should be a yes, and you should have at least three ideas! And also take mental notes or notes on your iPhone how. Of course, check at home and return, if needed.
Example Outfits with a Striped Skirt
Here are a couple of outfit ideas how to make multiple outfits with a striped skirt.
Go for Garments that Work for more than One Season
In fall, the same outfits can be worn with black tights and fall booties or sturdier shoes than shown here. While in the above outfits, the jackets are only as outerwear for the commute in the early cool morning hours, in fall they serve as the outfit and a trench coat or light leather coat are the cover-up for the commute.
How to Buy a Winner for an awesome Wardrobe in a Nutshell
The secrets to a great wardrobe are to edit your clothing and curate a collection of pieces that work for your lifestyle and together. Have a plan what you need, and how a new item will support your style goals.
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Photos: G. Kramm
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