What do you have on your fall social calendar?
A pig roast?Â An apple festival?Â A drive through New
As the days grow shorter, the calendar becomes crazy,
and the catalogs start filling your mailbox, now’s the
time to put together your non-business fall wardrobe.
Not only will you find the best deals and greatest
inventories if you shop early, you’ll also have things
ready to go when you need to look great in a flash.
Now if you’ve never given your “down time” wardrobe
much thought, chances are you’ve been caught
unprepared.Â Either you found yourself with a last-
minute invitation that sent you running to the stores
in a panic, or you were out and about, looking like a
ragamuffin, when you ran into someone you knew.
Probably neither did much for your self esteem.
Want some words of advice?
Don’t manage your leisure time wardrobe like this!
Instead, make a plan, make a budget, and get your
closet in order.Â It will be one less thing to think
about when the days – and your free time – grow shorter.
1. Make a List of Your Non-Business Activities
If your nights and weekends consist mostly of cleaning
the house, buying groceries, walking the dog, and
taking in an occasional movie, your leisure-time
clothing won’t require much scrutiny.Â But if you’re
active with charities, run constantly with your kids,
are working hard on climbing the social ladder, or
whatever, you’ll need a recreational wardrobe that can
go the distance.
Start by making a list of the types of activities you
normally engage in this time of year.Â Pull out your
calendar to see what’s already on the schedule.Â If it
will help, take a look at last year’s calendar, if you
still have it, to see what kinds of things you did
last fall.Â That should give you a good idea of what
to expect this year as well.
2. See What You Already Have
Once you’ve identified what you’ll be doing, check to
see how your current wardrobe stacks up.Â If you have
a solid assortment of staples (classic styles in
neutral colors) in good condition, you may find that
you won’t need much at all.
If you have two pairs of sweats with holes in them
and a pair of jeans that only fit three weeks out of
the month, however, it’s time to add to your weekend
wardrobe.Â You won’t need to spend a lot–IF you
purchase wisely.Â I’ll show you how to do this in just
3. Put Together Some Wardrobe Capsules
If you’re like most women, your wardrobe probably
consists of just a handful of colors.Â They may be
black, white, navy, and red, for example, or brown,
beige, ivory, and rust.Â Since we’re normally drawn to
the colors that look best on us, we tend to stock our
Use this to your advantage.
First, go through your closet and put all like items
together:Â all jackets, all pants, all skirts, all
dresses, all sweaters, etc.Â Break up those
tried-and-true sets to look at the individual pieces.
Next, experiment with different combinations.Â Take
the jacket from your good wool suit, for example, and
put it together with those off-white cords.Â Or take
the vest from your brown dress and pair it with your
denim skirt.Â Unbutton your button-down jumper and use
it as a vest over a turtleneck and jeans.
Coordinate your colors to come up with new and
exciting variations.Â Write down these combinations
for quick reference in the future.
4. See What’s Lacking
You may be astounded at what you came up with.Â Often,
we get so used to wearing the same tops with the same
bottoms or the same jackets with the same skirts that
we forget that the individual pieces have much more
utility than we’ve given them.Â With a little
imagination and some experimentation, you may be
surprised by what you actually have.
But then again, you may find that you’re lacking
certain key pieces, like a sweater, a pair of pants,
or whatever.Â If adding a denim skirt would give you
five more outfits, for example, or adding a few
turtlenecks would give you endless combinations, then
this is where you need to spend your money.
Buy the pieces that offer the most versatility; avoid
those that can only be worn one way.Â In fact, every
time you’re considering buying something, the question
you need to ask is:Â “Does this go with at least three
other things in my existing wardrobe?”Â If not, put it
back on the rack and buy something that does.
5.Â Add Pieces that Will Have the Largest Impact First
If you find that you need more items than your budget
can handle at this point, identify the pieces that
will offer the most flexibility and buy them first.
It may be a pair of slacks or a skirt.Â It could be a
turtleneck or a jacket.Â Whatever it is, it should
have a solid impact on your wardrobe.Â Buy the best
quality you can afford, and wear it for years to come.
6.Â Stick to Your Budget
The easiest way to stick to your budget is to take
cash to the store and leave your credit cards at home.
When you know you only have a certain amount to
spend, you weigh your purchases very carefully.
Impulse buying goes by the wayside.
If you keep your fall leisure-time wardrobe simple and
no-fuss, you’ll not only look good and stay warm,
you’ll ACTUALLY wear these clothes when the lure of
sloppy sweats calls.
Don’t be put into a panic by a last minute invitation
or be mortified by an unexpected encounter while
running errands.Â Instead, spend a little time getting
your fall wardrobe in order and look great for months
Need some other tips on how to assess your wardrobe
needs and organize your closet?Â Download a copy of
Need some guidelines for what to wear to different
activities this season?Â Grab a copy of OCCASION MAGIC:
(c) 2006 Diana Pemberton-Sikes
Diana Pemberton-Sikes is a wardrobe and image consultant
and author of â€œWardrobe Magic,â€ an ebook that shows women
how to transform their unruly closets into workable, wearable
wardrobes. Visit her online at www.fashionforrealwomen.com .