Fall Wardrobe Updates: The Complete Guide
As promised, this next month will be dedicated to ... fall updates - preparing your wardrobe and beauty routine for the new fashion year, swapping summery dresses for cozy knits and redefining your personal style concept. The summer-fall transition, and the september in particular, is without a doubt the biggest break in the fashion world, and in my opinion the ideal opportunity to reassess your wardrobe and style from the ground up. For many people the back to school months are also tied to a shift in lifestyle, perhaps you are starting a new job, an internship, university etc, and need your wardrobe to fulfil different functional criteria.
Most of us will probably also need or want to interpret their style concept in a slightly different way in the fall/winter season, compared to the spring/summer months, just because the change in weather opens up a whole new range of textures and fabrics to choose from. Seasonal wardrobe updates involve a mix of reinventing and maintenance: Reinventing certain aspects about your style, adding new elements and finding different ways to interpret others, and simply maintaining those parts that you are happy with, dealing with repairs, handing replacements, etc. Some wardrobes need more maintenance at the beginning of a new season, others need primarily reinventing. The ideal ratio of the two depends on how defined and stable your personal style is at the moment.
In this post you’ll find three suggested seasonal update programs with varying ratios of reinventing and maintenance tasks. To figure out which program suits your wardrobe needs best, read the three profiles below and choose whichever one you relate to most.
I will be doing the regular update this year. And you?
You already have a defined style that has remained relatively stable over the last few seasons. Except for a few minor updates (a colour or an accessory that has been on your to-try list for a while), you are looking forward to wearing your old fall favourites again.
25% reinventing ǀ 75% maintenance
You are currently in the process of defining your style and already have concise ideas about some aspects of your wardrobe, but are fuzzy on others. You want to use this seasonal update to further strengthen your wardrobe’s structure and tailor it to your style.
50% reinventing ǀ 50% maintenance
You either only recently started curating your wardrobe OR your style did a complete 180. Either way, your wardrobe currently does not contain too many pieces that you love, and for the fall season you quite literally have nothing to wear that truly fits your style.
75% reinventing ǀ 25% maintenance
25% reinventing ǀ 75% maintenance
As a pro-curator you will probably be able to complete your fall update within one or two hours and a single shopping trip.
STEP 1 ǀ STORE AWAY OFF-SEASON ITEMS
Make it your goal to only keep items that are an active part of your wardrobe in your closet. Go through each wardrobe section and pick out pieces that you know you won’t be wearing during the fall/winter season (dresses, bikinis, summery tops, sandals, etc.) Store clean (!) items folded in plastic boxes or suit cases, or on padded hangers in a separate closet. Put previously stored fall/winter stuff back into your wardrobe.
STEP 2 ǀ DEAL WITH REPAIRS AND REPLACEMENTS
Even if you have been diligent about giving your garments the proper care, small tears, holes and broken zippers are inevitable and no big deal. Assess every item in your wardrobe and make a list of both minor and major faults. Then, examine each case separately and decide whether you can handle the repairs yourself, pay a tailor to do it or whether the item needs to be replaced. Consider the item’s original price, its resale value, its role in your wardrobe and your budget.
STEP 3 ǀ PLAN INVESTMENT PIECES
Since your personal style is already well-defined and stable, the beginning of the fall season is a good opportunity to think about making a larger investment in your wardrobe. Is there an item that you have been circling for months now, that fits your lifestyle and style perfectly, and would make a great versatile key piece? Alternatively, you could also improve your wardrobe’s core structure by replacing one or several of your lower-quality, but frequently worn items with high-quality versions.
STEP 4 ǀ PLAN NEW ADDITIONS
Even if your wardrobe is 100% complete from an aesthetic and functional point of view, you might still want to add a few new pieces to your collection at the beginning of the fall season. Plan any new additions now, taking into account your budget and personal style. Are there any specific items you have been pinning a lot in recent weeks or is there a certain colour combination that you are drawn to but that is not yet represented in your wardrobe? Feel free to extend your style concept both in breadth and in depth, but always keep its essence in mind!
STEP 5 ǀ TRIAL-RUN
Once you have gathered your new additions and investment pieces, take a moment to remind yourself about your uniform and capsule wardrobe for the fall season, consider any minor changes and note down a few ideas for new combinations, using both your old favourites and new pieces.
50% reinventing ǀ 50% maintenance
Expect to spend around one afternoon planning and one to two shopping trips executing your plan.
STEP 1 ǀ MINI DETOX
If you are currently working towards building a refined style and a matching wardrobe, you have probably already completed a big wardrobe detox and successfully rid your wardrobe of any total disasters, i.e. items that don’t fit your style at all and only take up valuable closet space. But since your personal style is still in the making, your aesthetic ideals might have become even more refined in a relatively short amount of time, so it’s a good idea to go through your wardrobe again and sort out anything that doesn’t represent your current style and lifestyle for the upcoming months. Also: Store pieces that you like but that you can only wear during the spring/summer outside of your main closet.
STEP 2 ǀ ASSESS LAST YEAR’S FALL WARDROBE
The exact ratio will depend on when you started your curating journey, but in all likelihood your fall wardrobe from last year contained some aspects that you were happy with and can incorporate into your wardrobe this fall, but also some that weren’t ideal. Remind yourself of what kinds of outfits you wore on a day-to-day basis, what colour scheme you used, and how you created your outfits. Note down what you liked, hated and what you could improve upon using the wardrobe building skills and aesthetic preferences you have acquired since then.
STEP 3 ǀ REDEFINE YOUR COLOUR SCHEME AND STYLE CONCEPT
Put your creative hat back on and translate your current conception of your ideal personal style into a season-specific concept, complete with a colour scheme and a list of elements you want it to include, from certain items, patterns, or materials to an overarching mood. Start by creating a digital or physical mood board and then pinpoint individual elements.
STEP 4 ǀ CREATE AN UPDATED CAPSULE WARDROBE
With your new, or improved, style concept and colour scheme in mind, create a capsule wardrobe structure for the fall and winter season. For an unbiased, more creative perspective ignore what you currently have in your wardrobe for now, just image what your fall wardrobe would ideally look like. Then fill in that structure with items you own, and note down any gaps.
STEP 5 ǀ CHECK YOUR STOCK OF OUTERWEAR, BAGS AND FOOTWEAR
Outerwear, shoes and bags are items that you have to wear every day and that are very season-dependent, so it pays to give them a bit of extra attention during a seasonal update. For each group, decide how many items you need to have in stock in order to be well-prepared for all of your main activities and every weather situation. Try to avoid having only one winter coat for the entire season: Get at least two different ones, so you can rotate them and preserve them for longer.
STEP 6 ǀ WRITE A WORKING WARDROBE LIST
Write a list of every single item that you want to include in your fall capsule wardrobe, and then get out your highlighters: Colour code items according to whether they need to be replaced, repaired, bought ASAP or bought at some point in the future. Prioritize new additions according to the role they would play in your wardrobe, i.e. buy key pieces and basics first, then statement items and special occasion stuff.
75% reinventing ǀ 25% maintenance
Reserve at least two full afternoons for major overhauls and also pencil in about two to three shopping trips afterwards.
STEP 1 ǀ BIG DETOX
If you are unhappy/bored with the majority of your clothes, your first and most important task is to do a thorough closet clean-out, to get rid of every single item that is tainting your vision of style and allow you to add new things onto a pure canvas. Expect to spend at least two to three hours going through all of your clothes and organising them into groups (keep, throw away, give away, sell, etc.). Read this post for a detailed step-by-step guide.
STEP 2 ǀ FOCUSED INSPIRATION
After detoxing your closet, you can start thinking about what things you want to refill it with, by collecting inspiration and creating a concept. Instead of trying to build an overall personal style concept first, focus your attention on inspiration that is season-specific and that you can actively use to build your own fall capsule wardrobe. In other words: ignore abstract elements and summer/spring-related stuff for now and browse pinterest, magazines and blogs with the clear intention of finding specific items and combinations of items that you would want to wear right now. Create a mini mood board summarising your favourites.
STEP 3 ǀ BUILD A TENTATIVE CAPSULE WARDROBE
Use the style concept you just created to build a tentative capsule wardrobe list. Although I usually recommend a set of 20 to 30 pieces, when you have just started your curating journey (and don’t have an unlimited budget), finding that many pieces that fit your style perfectly might be a tad unrealistic. So, just for now... set your bar lower: aim for 10 to 15 pieces and fill in the rest with less-than-perfect items. Or, concentrate on building a tiny, but well-curated wardrobe that is 100% tailored to your favourite outfit-building method: e.g. pick a uniform and have several different versions of each ‘component’ or build a strong foundation of basics if you prefer the basics/statement pieces approach.
STEP 4 ǀ REORGANIZE YOUR WARDROBE
Your wardrobe organization should support the internal structure of your wardrobe, so after you have implemented the main share of the changes you had in mind, take a few minutes to reorganize your closet.
STEP 5 ǀ GET TO KNOW YOUR WARDROBE INSIDE-OUT
After a major overhaul it may feel like you first need to find your way around your new wardrobe again. And you do! Your work is not done once you have bought your new additions, you now need to figure out how to best use your new and improved set of clothes to create outfits that represent your style concept and fit your lifestyle. So go and play dress up: Try on different combinations and note down favourites. If that seems strange to you, consider that styling/building outfits is a skill like any other: you first have to study, experiment and practice in order to become good and do things intuitively without thinking too much about them.