Improving My Closet: Part One

I've been following Audrey at Putting Me Together for quite a while now, and I love her blog.  She always puts together stylish outfits, and she is full of great advice about how to create a workable wardrobe.  Currently, she's putting together a series called Wardrobe From Scratch, that has been a valuable tool for me as someone who's still trying to define her style and is constantly trying to improve the contents of her closet.  I currently have a closet full of clothing, so I'm not building my wardrobe from scratch, but the style advice Audrey is providing is proving to be helpful for me in deciding how to better make use of the pieces that I have, and providing me guidance for what to look for as I shop.  In the next several weeks, I'll blog about my journey in improving my closet.

Part One of this series is all about defining your style and lifestyle needs.

1. Identifying your lifestyle needs.  Currently, I am a full-time graduate student.  While most of my classmates come to class in jeans and t-shirts or sweatshirts, I like to wear slightly nicer and more professional clothes.  Most of our classrooms are pretty chilly, so layers are necessary.  Classes range from 3-9 hours long, so I prefer to be comfortable.

I also work at my university as a graduate assistant, 20+ hours each week.  I work in our New Student and Family Programs office, specifically with new student orientation.  While I am not bound to a strict dress code (jeans are fine), I do like to dress up a little bit more.  Before coming to graduate school, I worked professionally in college admissions, so I do have quite a bit of business casual clothing in my closet, and enjoy dressing nicer.  I also do a lot of walking around on campus, so comfortable shoes are key (hence all the flats I wear!).

This summer, I will be wearing my university polo with khaki or black bottoms most week days, as I will have orientation sessions for 9 weeks straight.  I will also need comfortable shoes, as I'll be on my feet for 15+ hours each day.  I also will begin my school counseling internship in August, so I'll need to be dressing professionally for that new position.

On weekends, I generally like to spend time with my husband, family, and friends.  I enjoy taking my dog to the dog park, reading, painting, and finding fun things to do around town (we like bowling, playing laser tag, exploring coffee shops, etc.).  I also volunteer at our local animal shelter, so I like to look nice for the guests who come to the shelter on adoption days.  This summer, I know we have three weddings to attend, and potentially one weekend trip away with family.

2. Defining your style preferences.  As I look at my Pinterest boards, I definitely see themes in what I like.  Things I like: simple articles of clothing, less-is-more philosophy with accessories, mix-and-match options, neutral outfits with pops of color, simple patterns like stripes and leopard print, some floral is okay, neutral colors, deeper hues, coral, dresses (usually solid color, a mix of structured and flowy), scarves (chunky knit, printed, solid), blazers (both neutral and colored), skirts (full skirts and pencil skirts), cardigans, white button downs, flats, boots, and jeans (skinny, straight, bootcut, and trouser).

I also find a lot of inspiration in other bloggers.  Check out my Blogs I Love page for a list of some of my current favorites.  I also find a lot of inspiration from Tania at What Would a Nerd Wear - although she no longer updates, her archives are fantastic.

Here are some outfits that really resonate with me:

These are all linked from my Pinterest boards, so feel free to take a peek if you want to see more!

Some time in the next week or so, I'll outline Part Two of the Wardrobe From Scratch series, which is all about choosing colors!

PS. Franziska of Franish fame is also following along with the Wardrobe From Scratch series - if you want to see other bloggers putting these tips to practice, I encourage you to check out her blog, too!!

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