FALL CLOSET PREP

It’s not here yet, but before we know it, the winds will be blowing, the leaves will be dropping and honestly, I’m pretty excited about it. Fall is easily my favourite season to shop and to dress for. The colours, the textures, the layers, I just love it all! It’s also the season during which I’ve found myself most easily getting carried away when it comes to new additions. It always seems so harmless to just keep adding item after item to my cart, getting distracted as new collections launch, adding more items to more carts, blindly forgetting the closet I’ve already put so much time, money and effort into building. Then suddenly, I’ve blown my budget before the leaves have even started changing. Not a good feeling, no matter how fabulous my new acquisitions might be. But this year, I refuse to let history repeat itself, and here’s how!

Style Bee - Fall Closet Prep

To help keep myself and anyone else who’s inclined to over-indulge I’m taking the following 4-step approach to my Fall Closet Prep:

  1. ASSESS WHAT YOU HAVE
  2. REINVEST IN YOUR FAVOURITES
  3. MAKE A LIST
  4. SET A BUDGET

So let’s take a look at what’s involved in each step and how taking 1 measly hour to plan your Fall closet can positively impact your style, budget and closet contentment for an entire season! PLUS, there’s a quick and easy worksheet to help you do it.


STEP 1  | ASSESS WHAT YOU HAVE

Now is the perfect time to conduct a Closet Clean Out, I’ve been doing them seasonally for a couple years now and it makes such a difference to maintaining a streamlined wardrobe and personal style. It’s a relatively quick task and all you need to do is:

  • Pull out all your Fall/Winter Items so you can see them all at once.
  • ABOUT EACH ITEM ASK:
  • DID I WEAR THIS LAST FALL?
  • DO I WANT TO WEAR IT AGAIN? 
  • If the answer is not a resounding ‘YES!’ then it’s probably a good item to let go of.
  • Sort everything into 3 piles: KEEP / SELL / DONATE.

You can see a more in-depth approach to A Successful Closet Edit in a guest post I wrote for Poppy Barley. I promise if you follow the steps you’ll come away feeling SO much better about your style options with a much less cluttered closet.

Style Bee - Fall Closet Prep


STEP 2 | REINVEST

Now this might actually be my favourite part of the whole prep process, reinvesting in the items I have, love and can’t wait to wear again. This step can really help to curb your shopping cravings too!

  • ASK:
  • WHAT DID I WEAR MOST LAST FALL? 
  • WHAT AM I MOST EXCITED TO WEAR AGAIN? 
  • WHAT ARE 3-5 OUTFITS I’M GOING TO WEAR AGAIN?

Make a mental note or take a picture of a few looks you loved last year and look forward to wearing again. This will be a good indication of what you get the most use out of and highlight some potential looks/silhouettes/uniforms that will help ensure that whatever you add, either serves a unique purpose or works really well within the styles you most often gravitate to.


For Example: I loved wearing tunics and oversized sweaters with both skinnies and flares. My Modern Loafers, Mars boots and Pistol boots stomped many a street and I’m pretty sure I’ll never have enough wide-brim hats and knitted beanies. If it was particularly chilly I wore my black wool cocoon coat and a scarf to stay toasty.


HERE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVOURITE FALL OUTFITS:

Style Bee - Fall Closet Prep

HAT | RINGS | NECKLACE | TUNIC | BOOTS | WATCH | DENIM | BAG


Style Bee - Fall Closet Prep

SUNNIES | DENIM | SWEATER | TANK | WATCH | BOOTS | BAG


Style Bee - Fall Closet Prep

HAT | NECKLACERINGS | SWEATER | BAG | FLARES | BOOTS


Style Bee - Fall Closet Prep

HAT | SUNNIES | LOAFERS | PANTS | SWEATERWATCH | BAG


Style Bee - Fall Closet Prep

SUNNIES | SWEATER | JACKET | PANTS | LOAFERS | BAGRINGS


*Similar products linked when no longer available.


STEP 3 | A | MAKE A LIST

Now that you know what you’re keeping and what you’re excited to wear again, you can begin to reorganize. While doing so look at your various categories like Shoes, Sweaters, Coats, Pants, Accessories etc.

  • ASK:
  • ARE THERE ANY GLARING GAPS? 
  • WHAT ARE A FEW PIECES YOU WISHED YOU HAD LAST YEAR?

Maybe you only have one pair of boots or your favourite jeans are wearing dangerously thin or you have only 1 sweater after the edit. These are all good things to note so you buy things you’ll really make use of. So often we add variations of things we already have enough of and end up wearing things even less.


For Example: I don’t have any glaring gaps but I did make note of a few items I would have loved to have last Fall (and Winter):

1 |  A pair of black skinny jeans. My go-to pair last year never felt quite right, they were too tight in the leg and I felt like I was always pulling them up but they were key to my daily uniform!

2 | A mid-weight black peacoat. I love my cocoon coat but it’s quite oversize and has no closure. A menswear inspired, buttoned, structured and slightly fitted peacoat would be a great addition.

3 | Fitted cotton turtlenecks. These are the perfect layering piece that I always wished for last year.


Look at what you’re planning to donate or sell. What are the things you didn’t love enough to wear much (if at all)? This way you can avoid repeating old habits.

  • ASK:
  • WHAT ITEMS DID I NOT WEAR LAST FALL?
  • WHAT SHOULD I DEFINITELY NOT BUY?

For Example: I barely wore any dresses last fall. Bare legs become a non-option as soon as the temps dip below 16° C for me and that doesn’t take long. As much as I love them, I should probably stick to separates.

I also noticed, I’ve gone off mid-wash denim so I’ll be sticking to black and super dark washes.

Staying warm is key for me and any tops that didn’t layer easily or keep me cozy never left the hanger. Mental note made.


Style Bee - Fall Closet Prep


STEP 3 | B | MAKE A LIST

Now that you have an idea of what you didn’t get much use of and, alternatively, would have liked to have it’s time to make a shopping list or a wish list. I swear by short and thoughtful wish lists and always have one going for each season. They totally help to keep me on track with both my spending and style and deter me from any impulse shopping. I’ll be going into more detail about my Fall 2016 Wish List on Wednesday but check out my Spring Wish List and a great little printable you can use (also included in today’s worksheet)!

Since it’s still quite early in the season your list will probably be short or more general as most collections haven’t launched yet. This is a good opportunity to note the designers you love so you can save your budget before getting distracted and buying things you might later wish you’d passed on.


For Example: I’m not buying anything else until I see a few of the following collections:

  • Elizabeth Suzann
  • Only Child
  • Coclico
  • Rachel Comey
  • First Rite
  • Everlane
  • Eileen Fisher

Even if they don’t inspire me to buy anything, I’ll feel better knowing I haven’t missed out!


Style Bee - Fall Closet Prep

STEP 4 | SET A BUDGET

Even if it’s a buzzkill it’s important to set a ballpark figure or at least a price range you want to stick to. You’re much less likely to impulse shop or overspend if you’ve got a figure in mind to stay under.


For Example: If I look back at my spending from earlier this year (Check-In 1 and Check-In 2) I can see that I’ve been pretty good about shopping and spending less so something along the lines of $1500 is probably a good figure to aim for over the next few months. That said, F/W pieces are often pricier than S/S as the fabrics are more involved to make and the pieces themselves are usually more substantial. I always make a point to start saving up earlier for Fall as it holds more investment opportunities like boots, coats and knitwear and pieces that generally last longer.


SO THAT’S IT! I’LL BE TESTING IF THESE 4 SIMPLE STEPS REALLY HELP KEEP MY STYLE AND BUDGET ON TRACK OVER THE SEASON. I’LL LET YOU KNOW HOW IT GOES AND I HOPE YOU’LL JOIN ME TOO!

 DOWNLOAD THE CLOSET PREP WORKSHEET HERE


Style Bee - Fall Closet Prep

SO WHAT DO YOU THINK, ARE YOU UP FOR A LITTLE CLOSET PREP? WHAT STEPS DO YOU TAKE BEFORE A NEW SEASON? DO YOU HAVE ANY TRICKS FOR MAKING SURE YOU STICK TO YOUR BUDGET AND STYLE?

34 thoughts on “FALL CLOSET PREP

  1. I can’t tell you what a relief it is to find someone in Canada who understands the challenges with dressing for colder weather , and is also focused on keeping the wardrobe simple and versatile! I”m excited to give your worksheet a try. I know my fall wardrobe is lacking, and I fear I have many “gaps” to fill in. I’m so tired of purchasing pieces that don’t fit properly, or are cheaply made, that I admit to just limping through the seasons without really filling in the gaps at all, or settling with pieces I was unsatisfied with last year. Oh, how I’d love to have a closet that contained only clothes that fit perfectly, are well made, and that I totally love wearing!

  2. Hi Lee! I’m en route to Paris and was just thinking of you. If you have a list of favorite spots to visit, please share. I love your taste so I’m sure any tips regarding favorite shops, cafe, etc. would be appreciated. If you don’t have on hand, no worries. I know you are a busy lady! Bringing my EZ linen pants and striped shirts.. inspired by your blog:) Thanks for doing what you do:) -Annie

  3. Love the idea of reassessing and reinvesting in certain pieces. Also, I totally hear you on not loving mid-wash denim any longer. Have you considered trying to dye well-fitting mid-wash jeans? I’ve done this with a couple of pairs that I never wore (because they were the wrong wash) and ended up with new favorites, plus I didn’t have to buy a thing. So far there’s no fading, but it’s also nice to know that I can just re-dye them if they start looking pale.

  4. For some reason I’ve been finding it harder to nail down exactly what I want/need for the upcoming season. Most of the items on my wishlist are shoes, jewelry, and a new bag. I have no less than three pairs from Coclico that I’ve been coveting. Oops. I hope to get my list together and on the blog this week too! Looking forward to seeing your picks 🙂

    So far I’ve only picked up a new painter dress in cream from Black Crane and I’ve thought of a million ways to wear it once the temperatures cool down. I can’t wait!

    1. I think that’s probably a good sign Gabi! You have such impeccable taste I have no doubt whatever you add will be perfect for you 😉 Oh man, the Coclico collection is SO GOOD and I definitely don’t blame you. Can’t wait to see what makes your list! xoxo

  5. This article is exactly what I needed. As I have a blog where I share my minimalism journey would you mind if I refer to your article and share my experience following your 4 steps to asses my closet for fall? Thanks a million in advance and thanks for all the inspiration you send out there on the web :-*

    1. Hi Emm, Thanks so much and please feel free to refer to this post and any other post you find useful! Good luck with your blog and minimalism adventure 🙂 xo

  6. Thanks for sharing Lee! I too am holding out for the new ES fall releases and keeping my fingers crossed for a fabulous cocoon coat. I’m wondering if you include things like jewelry, shoes, and bags in your seasonal budgets. Also any chance of a post about the admittedly less glamorous side of living through late fall and deep winter with all its frozen sidewalks and the awkward pairing of ankle-length trousers with snow boots?

    1. Thanks Emma! Yes, I include jewelry, shoes and bags in my budget. This year I was able to partner with a couple designers (jewelry + accessory brands) to add a few of these items so I left them off the list.

      I LOVE that idea for a post and I’m planning to focus on ‘real’ cold weather looks later this year for sure! xo

  7. This is so relevant to me right now! Since I’ve started following you, I have had a much easier time of passing things by, and thinking harder what I really want “to collect” as opposed to simply “acquire” – about having fewer quality pieces, and less junk and jumble. The point about multiples rings especially true, I can’t tell you how many black tee shirts I have, and I really only reach for one or two out of the lot. I can’t wait to put some of these ideas into practice! And I LOVE a good closet purge, it can be like shopping in your own room (I guess that’s me confessing to finding things I forgot I had – more purging necessary!)
    Thanks Lee!

    1. Julie, you have no idea how happy I was to read this! Thanks lady! I totally hear you on the t-shirt hoarding haha. Love the concept of shopping your own closet and it’s so true. It’s great to find something you forgot about and still love! xo

  8. I love this post and comes at the right time for me.
    I was also pre-looking already and did a closet clean out during the last couple of weeks.
    Slowly I got ready to let some items go which have been very expensive but were never worn……
    This hurts but I know I can sell them and with the money I get I want to make the right investments this time.
    And with this post I can avoid spending it all at once and regret it later.
    I already started to make a list of the clothes that I love to wear and by doing that I’ll see what’s missing.
    I will put that on my list and I will only buy what’s on it.
    You really help me being more aware of my habits and also of my style….thnx!
    Looking forward to your next post 🙂

    1. Thanks so much Martine! I’m so happy to hear that 🙂 I think we’re all familiar with the feeling of wanting to keep something you paid good money for but never wore. It’s hard to let go but I promise you won’t miss it when it’s gone! And like you said, you can invest in the right pieces once you sell the ones that aren’t working. Best of luck! xo

  9. Excellent post, Lee, and now I’m even more excited for fall! I’m definitely overdue for a mini closet clean-out, which will also lead seamlessly into the “reinvesting” that you detailed. Great idea to come up with some can’t-wait-to-wear-it-again outfits in advance! I adore turtlenecks, so envisioning those in outfits again always gets me jazzed for the season. (I see you have fitted t-necks on your wishlist — they’re so useful and fun to wear. Look forward to seeing how you style them!) I think the main thing on my wishlist right now is a new pair of slim black pants, a la the Jolenes or Cecilias (great post on those too, by the way!).

    Thanks for always creating such thoughtful posts!

  10. Ps – I love that your sheet is one page, that in itself seems to make to process easier and less daunting.

  11. Thanks for this reminder to be thoughtful!! I can feel the new season craziness starting to kick in and have been looking on line already. No purchases yet! I have all my clothes on Stylebook so know what I have but I think to actually physically view and consider them will be really helpful. I know already that sandals are a gap for me (I’m heading into Spring now) and a summer dress is on the list. No doubt more will be revealed after my Closet Clean Out this weekend.

    1. Thanks for the great feedback Tania! I’m glad you’re up for taking a step back and a deep breath before digging into some shopping. I’m super impatient so I definitely know how hard it can be!! Hope the Closet Clean Out goes well! xo

  12. May I ask what brand the tortoise sunglasses are in the image with the cream sweater, light jeans and madewell transport tote? Thank you!

  13. I love these posts so much! Your advice has been helping me kick an anxiety-shopping habit to the curb. Still a process, but the advice about keeping short wish lists and taking shopping fasts has helped so much. I keep a couple of wish lists for a few seasons ahead so I don’t get distracted from saving for those pricier things I want (looking at you, Elizabeth Suzann). It also helps me know what I really truly want. Sometimes after a few months on the wish list something might get bumped off because I realize it’s not really my style.
    Anyway, your blog is so refreshing in that it truly encourages thoughtful shopping habits. I think you’re making a difference in a lot of lives, as I know how much control shopping can have over a person’s life. So thanks! 🙂

    1. Aw Emily, your comment made me so happy to read 🙂 Thanks so much for the kind words lovely! You’re so smart to have lists for upcoming seasons. Great way to make sure you’re not tempted to impulse shop. Good luck with your Fall shopping girl! xo

  14. Great summary! In past years, I’ve waited to do fall/winter shopping until it’s actually cold. But doing it advance will help me be more careful with my purchases I think.

    The release of the Only Child fall collection spurred me to do this last night! A big gap for me are fall and winter color tops that aren’t super warm. In my head, I always think of Sept/Oct as chilly, that’s very rarely the case here in NYC. It really won’t be cold enough for heavy sweaters until Nov/Dec. So tops that are lightweight but still in luscious fall tones like olive and merlot are on the wishlist.

    1. Thanks Lia! Such a good point about how finicky the weather can be in those transitional months. I have to remember that too, layering options are key rather than big heavy pieces that look super cozy but end up being overkill. Love me some luscious fall tones too ! xo

  15. Another awesome closet post Lee!
    I can tell Ive been following you for a long time since last week I did a closet clean out (only getting rid of 2 items, which is a record!) and am super impressed by how easy it was since my closet is so stream lined, lean and filled with pieces I love now!
    My gaps are:
    -layering tees (thinking Everlane long sleeved Pima ones)
    -layering turtleneck
    -Gloves
    -black winter coat
    -cognac winter boots
    -accessories. (I’ve been throwing away my cheap stuff that’s worn out and saving up to replace it with ethically made options)
    Looking forward to Wednesday’s post. I missed you last week!

    1. You have no idea how happy I am to hear that Jodie! So reaffiriming that someone else has has the same experience as me. It’s amazing to see how much easier it gets after a few seasons of consistency. Such a great, thoughtful list too!! xo

  16. Good idea! I’ve never thought about pre-looking before the season starts…I’ve seen a few eco-clothing/minimalist sites talk about doing it, but your way makes it seems more appealing and easier! Instead of just guessing what is my closet from last F/W 🙂

    1. Ah that’s great to hear! I used to totally just guess what I had from what I could remember, but I’d always forget key things and end up repeating items. Hope this approach works for you! Thanks for reading. xo

Comments are closed.