Back in the summertime when I cleaned out my closet, I was inspired by Sally at Already Pretty who’s become one of my daily check-ins and has given me a lot of food for thought as far as style and beauty. While our taste may often differ, the way she thinks about her wardrobe and her positive, empowering attitude have been really inspiring for me in becoming more polished in my personal image.
One of the entries that left me thinking for days was her outfit list,where she keeps a numbered list of all the possible outfits that can be made with her existing wardrobe. I decided to take this idea and modify it for myself, so here’s what I’ve done almost every day since the beginning of the school year:
- First, I bought myself a marbled composition book, which stays on my nightstand.
- During my great closet reorganization, I made categories of the clothes I own and wrote down each item of clothing in the front pages of the notebook. This helped me see what I owned a lot of already (cardigans) and what I needed to stock up on (work-appropriate pants, layering shirts in neutral tones).
- Every morning once I’ve settled on my outfit for the day, I write it down in my notebook, on one line per day, grouped by week.
- I only keep track of my work outfits, because it’s that image that I’m most concerned with, but I have found that paying this attention has also helped me think more about my casual clothes.
- The next morning, when I’m writing down that day’s outfit, I look at the previous entry and put an asterisk next to it if it was an outfit that made me feel particularly good that day.
There are a number of benefits to this system for me, so far. First, it helps me keep track of what pieces I wear frequently (hello, trouser jeans) and what combinations (like tights/boots/cardigan in the same color). It also helps me notice what outfits are my favorites, and what outfits don’t work as well to make me feel good when wearing them. When I bought some new things, like some colored tights, it helped me think about how to wear them, and when I semi-splurged on a button-up sweater/jacket from Anthropologie, (it was on clearance!) it was comforting to see how smoothly it slipped in with the rest of my wardrobe, and how often I utilized it in different combinations. Reviewing the list, even just in passing, has also helped me notice when I have pieces I haven’t worn yet, and think about how and when I will. Finally, I don’t know if this is true for every teacher, but one of my own dreaded scenarios is becoming that teacher who wore the same dress twice a week and then again the next week. Since my students are all girls, and all in uniforms, I’m very self-conscious about what they see me in, and whether it’s varied enough. Tracking my outfits like this helps me avoid wearing the same outfit too close together, and even wearing the same pieces too often. One unintended (but welcome) benefit is that I haven’t felt like I have nothing to wear as often as I have in previous school years. Yes, I have gotten a little bored and find myself surfing my favorite online shopping sites, but the urge to pull the trigger has definitely lessened. At the end of the year, I’m going to use my notebook to help me pare down my wardrobe once again, and think again about what I need to add.
Truth be told, I feel a little…silly? admitting that I put this thought into my clothes, though I’m not sure why. Does it make me look superficial, overly organized, or both? I’ve never thought of myself as the kind of person who thinks this much about her clothes, but then again, what does that even mean? Or do I feel like this probably comes naturally to a lot of people, but I need to set up these systems to make sure I can do it? Would my students laugh if they knew getting dressed was this complicated for me?
However, no matter what weird hang-ups I have about it, I love my outfit list, and it’s a habit I’ll definitely be keeping.