Saturday, June 2, 2012

My Version Of Sewing Plum's Personal Wardrobe Plan

Vildy's comments on my last post inspired me to post my versions of Sewing Plums' Personal Minimum Wardrobe Plan - i planned to 'get to it' anyhow, plus it seemed the easiest way to get the point across. The first picture is her original .pdf file printed out with no edits.

Version two.

This last one looks pretty useful (i have only filled in a few items to give you a feel for where i'm going). As you can see it is heavily based on Sewing Plum's original idea, but tailored to meet my own specific lifestyle, sartorial style and climate. What i appreciate most about this draft is that it accommodates season-specific clothing categories (like my cami-tops which i only wear in spring and summer) as well as pieces and categories that float between the seasons such as hoodies and lighter colored jeans.

I was also inspired by a blogger who i haven't bookmarked (@#&*!#$&#%$!). She had a piece of paper with all her clothing pieces written across the four edges and arrows going between the ones which worked together. It was kind of like a flow chart, but not? I loved it and will research to do my best to find her, credit her here and let you all know about her (please please comment if you have an idea of who it is!).

I hope you find this interesting and/or helpful. I'm always curious to see other people's wardrobe plans and lists, and surprisingly (considering all the style bloggers out there) you don't run across a lot. I'll post the list again one i've filled in the various clothing items.

Let us know in the comments if you do these kind of lists, if you have them posted somewhere link away! Or send me a picture pygmyowl at sbcglobal dot com and i'll post them here.

We're off to soak in the glory that is the Walnut Creek Art & Wine Festival. Have a wonderful day!


  1. Have fun at the A&W fest! I'm looking forward to a post showing what you wore :).

    I do a written version of polyvore sets: in a steno pad I brainstorm about different outfits. I noticed that this helped me to identify specific gaps (for winter, I identified brown tights, for example), and it's a fun way for me to doodle and daydream and plan.

  2. I first want to say how much I love your blog. I don’t comment much, but you have a way of addressing my current interests and going waaaaay down the road with them. In particular, I loved the series on color.

    I am a woman of many lists, but only recently have I started using lists for wardrobe planning. I borrowed many ideas from other bloggers. Perhaps one or two will be useful to you. And I can’t wait until I have time to digest what Sewing Plum has to say on the topic.

    I have a master wardrobe list much like your June 2012 page. I need to see it all on one page. I have 4 columns: cold, cool, warm, and hot. In my climate, I have about 5 months of cold, 5 months of hot, and a month in the spring and a month in the fall that are cool/warm. As brief as the cool/warm time is, I still need to plan for it. I have 3 rows: work, casual, and funeral.

    My master wardrobe list is rather simple, because my wardrobe consists of dresses, knit tops to wear under cold-weather dresses, and cardigans to wear over warm/hot-weather dresses. Not a lot of moving parts.

    I also have a master jewelry list sorted by color. I’m presently on an aggressive ‘use it or lose it’ program with the contents of my jewelry box, and this is a big help.

    Every day, I write down what I wear on a calendar. This helps cut down on unintentional repeats - I have relatively few casual Friday outfits, and this helps me mix them up. I also have an index card for each outfit, and I glance at that. This is mostly for things like readers and jewelry. I wear readers to match my outfit – I buy them at the dollar store and have about 20 pairs. The index card system keeps me from wasting time figuring out which blue glasses go with this particular outfit. It also keeps me from going halfway through the summer forgetting that a favorite pair of earrings goes with a particular dress. The entire calendar-and-index-card process takes about 15 seconds each morning.

    You mentioned a blogger’s list with arrows going between pieces that work together on the master list. I think that for folks who wear separates (most people), the index card system tries to address that need. I can see the wisdom of indicating that on your master list.

    Once in a while, I review the notes on the calendar to determine how much use I got out of particular items. It is HUGELY informative. Those boots that were an impulse purchase that I’ve been beating myself up about ever since? It turns out that I wore them 40 times last winter, more than any other pair. My brain tells me I prefer black sandals, but the calendar tells me that I wore my tan sandals a lot more. The purpose of this analysis is to buy smarter in the future. I just started using a phone app that should do the counting for me. We’ll see.

    And then there’s planning for future garments. I don’t sew, but I buy fabric and patterns and have someone sew dresses for me. I use a phone app for fabric. I might be able to keep yardage in my head, but I have a hard time keeping width and fiber content in my head. I also use a phone app for patterns, and that is enormously useful. Both apps include photos, and I enter the yardage needed in the pattern app.

    In addition, I keep a list of dresses I presently have by season and dominant color. It can help me resist, when being seduced by an attractive piece of fabric, to remember that I have a host of other things in that same color. I’ve started keeping a ‘things I wish I wore more’ list, so I can plan dresses to go with them. That gorgeous sapphire necklace that my in-laws gave me that really only goes with one dress? Well, it deserves another dress! I keep a list of random things when they come to me, like . . . polka dots, and cotton sateen. You never know when you might want to use an idea.

    Yes, that’s a whole lot of list geekiness. All I can say is – it works for me.

  3. This is so cool - thanks so much for showing us how you are working it.
    I tried a little bit and also ended up crossing out loads of items. I think I can make out that your signature item is blouses/shirts? Should be, anyway. :) I keep acquiring them and I'm not sure they even rate a one for me! I think I should make myself start wearing them and find out all about them.

    Not only are you a wonderful blogger to read but you attract such terrific readers. I loved reading Stashworth's explanation of how she thinks about and uses her clothing. Love, love, love the multiple pairs of readers! Love how her wardrobe has few moveable pieces. And it caught my attention that she ended up wearing those boots to pieces. Whereas I am a nut case and I often, unless I stop myself, want to Save my favorite objets and wear lesser liked items instead!

  4. Funny to read your wardrobe plan; I just created a wardrobe spreadsheet last night! It is only for my summer clothing, which primarily consists of skirts, tops and sweaters/jackets. Typing that sentence makes me realize that I didn't include any of my stash of shorts, or my jeans. Hm.

    Anyway, I listed all the skirts across the top and all the various types of tops along the left column, then assigned each intersection a value of 0 (don't or won't wear together), 1 (looks good together), or 0.5 (might look good/haven't tried/sometimes looks odd to my eye.)

    Then I totalled up all the rows and columns to determine the "wearability" value of each item. This forced me to admit that certain clothing items that really don't "go" with very much still have great appeal and are keepers. Others with high values still aren't appealing because I'm tired of them or they seem too trite (denim skirts with everything! White tees with everything! Bleah.)

    An interesting exercise, and it revealed that I have plenty of clothes and lots of those "0.5" values to explore. Throw in my large collection of scarves and there are more outfits than I have summer days ahead...

  5. Many thanks for mentioning my personal wardrobe plan - it's fun to see it in action :D

  6. Hi P! we didn't make it to A & W ... too much pollen yesterday, sketchy stomach today. ah well.

    Sal of Already Pretty is very big on the outfit list - she did a podcast on it recently:

    i'ver personally never got much out of the outfit list - but that's why i love to get so many different ideas out there. different ones work for different people, and at different times. Thank you for mentioning it!!

    STASHworth, i am agog with amazement. Thank you so much for presenting your system in such detail. a person could steal it wholesale or just pick the calendar or the 3" x 5" - however it works for them. That stash list is brilliant! Wow!

    "I need to see it all on one page." you know, i hadn't thought of this before but i think this is a big part of it for me - if i don't see it it doesn't exist. My lists help me 'see' things in drawers or hidden in the closet. This will help me make better tools for myself, knowing that this is a big part of the purpose. Thank you!!!

    Your welcome, Vildy! it seems kind of vain and kooky, but i love seeing this kind of stuff when other people show it and it helps me understand how to organize things for myself. I figured i could 'take one for the team' :)

    "I think I can make out that your signature item is blouses/shirts? Should be, anyway. :) " yes it's true! It started out as jackets, when i moved to hotter climes i (eventually) figured out that blouses can play the same role in an outfit. Plus, they put the focus on the face and are fun to make!

    "...but you attract such terrific readers." i so wholeheartedly agree!!! it blows my mind the people i find out about because they read this, and the comments consistently blow away my posts! i NEVER get bored of what people have to say on here....i don't know why it is, but it's just - words cannot say. I love it and am very very lucky.

    Hi Louise!! Thank you! a completely new approach for me, weighting the variables. This sounds like a Really Helpful exercise, oooh, especially for people who're bored or stuck or 'i have all these clothes why do i have nothing to wear?' Wow, that could tell a person a LOT!!!

    "Throw in my large collection of scarves and there are more outfits than I have summer days ahead..." Perfect! and goes to show that a simple structure ("skirts, tops and sweaters/jackets") and smaller space does not have to mean boring or no variety.

    somewhat OT, Mr. E and i went to visit this showroom a couple of weeks ago:
    We were able to talk to Steve for about twenty minutes, working in the area as he has for decades he has lots of experience and knowledge about the regulations but especially the culture regarding tiny/small houses. No regs favor them, but in 4 years he's built 30 with no complaints. All builders approached their neighbors before starting. Sounds like the people are just moving forward with what they want to do, creating 'facts on the ground' as it were. Fascinating!

    Welcome SP!!!! i am so glad you found this post! i wanted to let you know about it, but you beat me to it :) I'm really enjoying it, and it's helping me make my ideas concrete more easily. Thank you so much for your great ideas and all the seriously intense material on your blog - i still working thru and digesting it all!

    Happy Day! steph

  7. ha~! Louise, i just was browsing your website, as i have many times before, and wondered "hmm, what's that CLF Delegate thing about....?"

    This time i clicked on it. Guess who was raised UUA? heehee, i'm a bit lapsed, if a UUA ever can be.....steph

  8. Steph, I always forget that Little House on the Trailer is in Petaluma. We pass through there every couple of years on our way north from the Bay Area. I love seeing tiny living spaces; I find them so inspiring!

    We're just about to re-start the CLF Delegate blog, now that GA is upon us. Unfortunately, we won't be able to attend in person this year and will be "virtual" delegates by watching and voting on the proceedings as they are live-streamed. What an amazing world we live in!

    I'm not surprised you're UU-raised. A live-and-let-live attitude shines through even in blogs about clothing :-)

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