The Dream closet Part II


Coucou all and welcome back to SammyFaces!

Previously in this post I wrote about my journey toward a streamlined and happier closet. Whilst I still haven't reached the destination, I see this as an opportunity to make progress on my goals for 2017, whilst sharing more on this little blog corner of mine.

Last time, I shared some of the books I read which helped me define 4 simple principles to achieve a dream closet starting with "Know Your Style".

Today's post is about how important it is to  "Know Your Lifestyle" and also "Know your Budget" so you can draw boundaries and happily build your ideal closet over time without emptying your pocket ;-).

To articulate or illustrate this, let's pause for a few seconds and try to picture someone who works for a fashion magazine, an elementary school teacher, a lawyer, a free lancer writer working from home. Let's also try to imagine how the wardrobe of a banker in large investment bank, an art gallerist, a "digital influencer",  an admin for a small family business, or an IT consultant in the Silicon Valley would look like. Quite different right? I guess so...

Now add to that the dimension of where you may live - LA vs NYC,  Milan vs Lagos, Hong Kong vs London, Paris vs Dubai or Cape Town vs Geneva. OK I stop here. You get the gist.

Therefore in my view, building a functional wardrobe  that you love and cherish will require that you first assess the type of activities that you do frequently, accounting for your environment  and  possibly the cultural sensitivities in which you live in - and somehow split these into categories such as "Regular" vs. "Extra". This also means this is an ongoing conscious effort as your lifestyle evolves.

For Regular activities, you can start by listing the usual events triggered by your work -e.g. weekly travels, regular art openings, daily vs. rare client facing/meetings. Next to that, add your hobbies - e.g. weekly ballet/theater attendance, weekend clubbing with your friends; Do you go to the gym everyday or monthly? do you like hiking over the weekend? In a nutshell identify those activities that are likely to be recurring vs  once or twice in a lifetime (ski or beach vacation anyone?), with the latter moving into "the extra" category.

The Extra activities should therefore encompass all occasional events from the wedding invites to that last minute Halloween party, well that is...unless you are a regular weekend wedding crasher or  you never fail to celebrate Halloween in grand style each year.

Once you have established the frequency of your activities, then you can  align the space you allow for those activities in your closet  (and in your life) as well as your spending accordingly. This means defining a budget, obviously taking into account your other expenses or life savings /goals, so you are clear about what it means or costs you to invest in something durable for recurring use (and thereby lowering cost per wear) vs. having something relatively less expensive for a one time event.

Sounds simple? Well trust me when I say that writing down the above was an eye opener which  allowed me to compartmentalize better my closet and outfits by function and also helped with the following key lessons learned:

1. When to save vs when to invest?
Through this exercise I realized how much money I was willing to "throw" away on beautiful occasion dresses that I'd wear only once, yet I was ok to buy cheap work clothing that would not last more than 2 laundry washes, leaving me always looking for more. I knew I had to stop and think through my purchases differently. 
So instead I started investing in durable work outfits that I'd use more frequently, also encouraged by  reading on benefits of having a work uniform as shared by Michelle on Barack Obama or Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg  and this lovely art gallerist.

2. Identify your closet winners, losers and the gaps 
Once I reaffirmed my classic style and fully acknowledged recent changes to my lifestyle including a move from London to Geneva (and slightly colder climate during winter), followed by a recent move into a new place with longer walking commute, it became clear that a) I could use a few tweaks to my work travel packing, b) I needed warmer and more functional clothes and shoes and c) there were many items that no longer served me or fit my changing body (story for another day) and hence I needed to get rid of.
I then researched, reviewed  and compared price points for some of those items online and drew a target hit list. Next to each item I put a potential timing to reflect the urgency  (or lack thereof)  and allow to make it work with my budget through either saving for them or stay alert for potential seasonal sales alternatives if appropriate.  
Writing down this list of my key closet gap items also allowed me to have clear focus and priorities when going out shopping just like when you look for items on your groceries list and buy what you actually need. Similarly it helped me streamline and think hard about the items that made me feel happy (and why?) or to identify, among the ones I no longer used, what I could potentially monetize.

3. Plan a 12-month or 6-month budget
A budget? Oh my goodness! 100% YES!!!
If you are truly looking to cut spending on things you don't need, I can only encourage you to start budgeting! Wait you are not a number person? Well you can still start with some form of entry journal where you put down what you actually buy on an annual / rolling 6 to 12 months and see how that compares with your target spending.

Scarily enough it's only when I did this that I found out -with horror-  how much of my budget I had spent on the cheaper "extra", and needed to refocus on the above priorities first. So this way it would  force me save to afford that one jacket or bag in my list that I would wear and would  instantly feel or look good instead of a one time wear and tear.

4. Keep it fun!
And finally,  just like these few days in a month when the hormonal peak requires a double dose of chocolate to uplift your mood, I also learned that sometimes it's ok to continue exploring my evolving style and body (!). Therefore in spite of all the above, or maybe thanks to the above I can still have fun with my "extra" buys but at least I now know where to draw the line and can refrain from spending a ridiculous amount of my budget vs investing into my core style.

And because a few pics are worth a thousands words, here are a few of my recent Instagram pics that reflect my lifestyle from sunny vacation destination to every day corporate fashion.

Hope you enjoyed it! Now your turn, would love to hear any tips you may have in the comment below!

til next time



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