SPRING CLOSET PREP

Has anyone else been enduring some haywire temperatures lately? Last week started with sneakers and a light jacket and ended with snow boots and a parka! Even though this neurotic forecast can be a drag, luckily it means that Spring is on it’s way, AT LAST! Now sure, I might be getting a little bit ahead of myself here but after a few brief tastes of double digit days I can’t help but start craving all my favourite springy things.

But before I slip back into my old overzealous, over spending ways I’m taking a deep breath. With all the pretty pieces and fresh palettes hitting shops right now it’s so easy to get carried away and trust me, I’ve done made my fair share of impulse shopping in season’s past. Before last Fall began, I decided to try out a few ideas for a Fall Closet Prep that really helped me temper my shopping and stick to my budget and closet needs. It was really refreshing to head into a season armed with a thorough sense of my existing closet, a lean and well thought out wishlist and a proper budget to stick to.

Since it worked so well for Fall I knew I wanted to take the same approach this Spring, which brings me to today’s post all about Spring Closet Prep. We’ll be covering some similar topics from last Fall but I’m also adding in a few updates to the process along with things I need to keep in mind going into a new season.

On the docket today we have: 

  1. WHERE I WENT WRONG LAST SPRING
  2. STEP 1 | ASSESS WHAT YOU HAVE + EDIT
  3. STEP 2 | REINVEST
  4. STEP 3 | MAKE A WISH LIST
  5. STEP 4 | SET A BUDGET
  6. FREE ALL-SEASON PREP WORKSHEET

Style Bee - Spring Closet Prep


WHERE I WENT WRONG LAST SPRING


Spring in Ontario is sort of a cruel joke most of the time. It’s usually pretty sunny and the snow is long gone but for most of March, April and into May it’s usually not actually all that warm. Too many times I’ve tricked myself into thinking open toes, bare legs and short sleeves are weather appropriate only to find myself frozen and disgruntled. In particular my 10 x 10 Challenge last Spring was highly optimistic and most looks were not nearly warm enough to be enjoyable until a few weeks later. I loved the outfits, I just couldn’t wear them IRL. Wearing a sweater when it’s not cold in Fall is one thing, but a short silk dress when it’s too cold in the Spring is much less tolerable. Lesson learned!

So keeping in mind that I’m far better off in long pants and light layers I’ll be planning and organizing my Spring closet to serve the true weather instead of my dream forecast. This means keeping some sweaters handy, lots of jackets at the ready and not getting too overzealous with shorter inseams until it makes sense. I’ll just have to do my best to seize the odd warm day and not lose all sense of practicality when it isn’t.

Maybe this acceptance of reality is brought on by age (I’ll be 30 this Spring) because I often find myself remarking about underdressed young women I see out and about. “How can she go without tights?” and “Is she nuts? Where is her coat?” are some of the annoyingly sensible, grown-up things I find myself wondering aloud. Hilariously (and tragically) it feels like only yesterday I was the silly girl willing to brave a sinus infection for a great but poorly timed outfit! Ah life. 


Style Bee - Spring Closet Prep


STEP 1 – ASSESS WHAT YOU HAVE + EDIT


By now it’s no secret that I love a good CLOSET EDIT (see my 5 Step approach). It’s one of my favourite seasonal activities and after conducting them quarterly for a couple of years now I can promise you it gets easier and easier. To the point where now it takes all of 30 minutes to complete.


If you’re in need of a more thorough refresh, to conduct a proper Closet Edit you’ll want to:

A) Pull out all your Spring items so you can see them. If you’re short on space start with whole sections like pants and skirts or tops and jackets but it’s really helpful to be able to see everything together.


B) Hold each item up and ask:

  • DID I WEAR THIS LAST FALL?
  • DO I WANT TO WEAR IT AGAIN? 
  • DOES IT FIT WELL AND FEEL GREAT? (If no, can it be tailored?)

If the answer is not a resounding ‘YES!’ then it’s probably a good item to consider letting go of.


C) Sort all your items into 3 piles: KEEP / SELL / DONATE


New In-Season Editing Tactic: One new trick I’ve been trying over the Winter is to designate a small section of my closet for items I’m not loving or not using as the season goes. Then I’m not forced to decide what to give up all at once, which can feel wasteful and impulsive. It’s been so helpful to have this little grace period so I’m confident that what I’m letting go of is really not right for me. Then when I do a thorough edit I add anything else I feel ready to part with.

If you’re someone who has a hard time parting with old clothes or items you want to love but don’t, this could be a good trick to try!


D) REORGANIZE

Now you’re ready to return your Spring ‘KEEP’ pile to your wardrobe. I’m a big believer that you wear what you can see more than what you can’t (or have to look for) so if space allows, try to keep your items as visible as possible. I have a standing clothes rack where I keep my more reached for favourites during the season and that has been a huge help.


E) MAINTAIN

Now you’re all set for the season ahead. The key thing at this point is to keep your space organized and be methodical about what you add going forward. It’s all too easy to slide back into the habit of adding needlessly and ignoring the existing closet you’ve spent time, effort and money on already!


For a more in-depth approach to closet editing, organizing and maintaining see my 5 Step Closet Edit post. I promise if you follow all the steps you’ll come away feeling SO much better about your style options with a much less cluttered closet.


STEP 2 – REINVEST


Reinvesting in my favourite pieces is by far my favourite part of the closet prep process. I think it might also be the most important step in keeping a lean closet and reinforcing style contentment from one season to the next. It can really help you refresh your style definition and curb your shopping cravings too.

Now that you’ve sorted your closet out and know what is staying you can ask yourself:

  • What did I wear most last Spring?
  • What pieces am I most excited to wear again?
  • What are 3-5 outfits I can’t wait to repeat?

Maybe jot those down or try them on and take a quick photo so you can remember when the time comes. This will be a good indication of what you get the most use out of. It will also 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: Last Spring I loved wearing my Kamm Pants or Florence Pants with cropped shirts, topped with a light coat and Mars boots. This Spring I’ll be getting lots of use out of my duster vests, light sweaters and vintage jeans. I also plan to wear my Veja sneakers more and have fun layering my Georgia Midi under loose crops and light coats and my Georgia Raw Silk over slim black pants. I’ll be slipping into my favourite Classic Loafers and taking advantage of the new pieces I added from my Eileen Fisher collab.


  HERE ARE A FEW OF THE OUTFITS I’M EXCITED TO WEAR SOON


Style Bee - Spring Closet Prep


KAMM PANTS  (similar for less) | CLUTCH | OXFORDS | DENIM CROP TOP* | LINEN BLAZER* | CUFF | *Linked to similar


Style Bee - Spring Closet Prep


ELOISE BAG | STRIPED TEE* | VINTAGE DENIM | WHITE SNEAKERS | SUNGLASSES | LEATHER JACKET | *Linked to similar


Style Bee - Spring Closet Prep


CARAMEL TOTE | LINN TEE | GEORGIA DRESS | STRAW HAT | STATEMENT NECKLACE | MARS BOOTS 


Style Bee - Spring Closet Prep


DENIM DUSTER* | WHITE CROP TOP* | LINEN FLORENCE PANT | WATCH | VINTAGE BAG* | SLIDES (similar more sizes)


HERE ARE A FEW PREVIOUS LOOKS I’LL BE REPEATING TOO

Style Bee - Spring Closet Prep


OUTFITS: #1 | #2 | #3 | #4 | #5 | #6 | #7 | #8 | #9 |


Now that you know what you’re keeping and what you’re excited to wear again, you can begin to reorganize. While you’re putting winter clothes into storage and/or Spring pieces into their places for the season ahead, look at your various categories like Shoes, Sweaters, Coats, Pants, Accessories etc.

CONSIDER IF:

  • THERE ARE ANY GLARING GAPS WITHIN THE SECTION? 
  • THERE ARE STILL A FEW PIECES YOU NEED OR WISH YOU HAD?
  • DO ANY ITEMS NEED TAILORING OR REPAIRS?

Maybe you only have one pair of flats or your favourite jeans are wearing dangerously thin or you have only 1 good tee left after the edit. These are all important things to note so you only add things you can 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: My Spring wardrobe is in great shape right now but I took a few things to my tailor and I jotted down a few pieces I was pining for last Spring which were:

1 | The perfect cognac suede flats that would look great with my wide leg pants and shift dresses but comfortable enough to walk a lot in.

2 | Slim fit, crew neck tees that were easy to tuck into pants and wear under coats and blazers.

3 | A relaxed white tunic/top that would look great over slim black pants.

4 | Contemporary Trench Coat that’s relaxed in fit with minimal to no hardware.


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 NOT GET WORN LAST SPRING?
  • WHAT SHOULD I DEFINITELY NOT BUY?

FOR EXAMPLE: Every Spring I want to wear cute dresses but it’s rarely warm enough and I always end up feeling self-conscious of my pale legs.

I keep buying vintage jeans and tees that I liked in store but then find are not quite right after the fact. Not going to do that anymore!

As usual a few sample sale purchases haven’t worked out either.


STEP 3 – MAKE A WISH LIST


Now that you have an idea of what you didn’t get much use of and, alternatively, what you 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 really help to keep me on track with both my spending and personal style and deter me from any impulse shopping. I’ll be going into more detail about my 2017 Spring Wish List on Wednesday but check out my Fall Wish List and a great little printable you can use (also included in today’s worksheet)!

Most collections have started launching but 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 adding any more until I see what Elizabeth Suzann is cooking up!


Style Bee - Spring Closet Prep


STEP 4 – SET A BUDGET


As I’ve mentioned before, 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: It’s income tax season plus our property taxes are due in April, oh and we’re getting married, so yeah, I’ve got a few big ticket items to look out for this year. We’ve also invested in a few custom furniture pieces for our home. Plus, I’m really quite happy with my closet right now! With all that in mind I’m going to set my budget lower than last year and say $1000 – $1200 should be my maximum spend over the next few months. Maybe that seems high but this gal’s been working hard and expensive taste adds up! Skipping a warm weather vacay this winter has also helped with saving.


DOWNLOAD YOUR CLOSET PREP WORKSHEET


Style Bee - Spring Closet Prep


WANT MORE CLOSET PREP INSPO? Check out my friend Caroline’s post on UnFancy where she talks about her preparation process which includes tailoring, laundry, off-season storage and trying out the hanger challenge (where you switch your hangers around and only return them the right way once you’ve worn something). Lots of good ideas as always!


SO WHAT DO YOU THINK, ARE YOU UP FOR A LITTLE SPRING CLOSET PREP?

WHAT STEPS DO YOU TAKE BEFORE A NEW SEASON?

DID YOU LEARN ANYTHING FROM LAST SPRING?

DO YOU HAVE ANY TRICKS FOR MAKING SURE YOU STICK TO YOUR BUDGET AND STYLE?


See something you liked? You can shop and support Style Bee by using the affiliate links provided. This post is not sponsored but when you shop via the links above I may make a small commission from a sale. Thanks for your support!


 

20 thoughts on “SPRING CLOSET PREP

  1. Hi Lee,

    Yes, I think we are certainly on the same wavelength when it comes to style:) Its so much more fun in that way!

    As for the JK Chambray pants- to be honest, I wasn’t sure because I love the thickness of the classic pants but these fit like a dream and the softness is incredible. They are easy to wear and I would have to say they are the most comfortable pants Ive purchased to date. Im ashamed to say that I got similar First Rite blue high waisted pants last year but the waistline isn’t as comfortable. I’m going to try to sell the First Rite’s unfortunately.. but I tend to love everything else they offer:) So as for the chambray’s, I think they might be your new favorite purchase. They go with everything – stripes, tanks, cropped sweaters. Perfect with sandals, white sneakers, etc:) Let me know if you have any other questions. PS – JK’s shorts are kind of adorable too:)

    Curious to know what you think of the camel suede Marais! I love everything they offer.. and those will be perfect for weddings:) Nice choice! I just cant decide what color to go with. If you are looking for classic, leather sandals made to last, I also suggest take a look at Permanent Collection’s two options. They are kind of perfect summer sandals:) Tempting! Haha

    Oh just a thought – a post on jewelry could be fun:)

    Thanks again, Lee. Fun following along!

  2. I really wait for your posts, you have such an amazing way of writing detailed steps that makes me want to get up and start organizing my closest 😊 wish to see more of 1 item different way styling posts
    Love from Cairo Egypt

  3. Very excited to see your wish list! Here in Northern California my wardrobe is pretty much the same Fall-Spring, but I just remove the bulky sweaters as needed (like the vintage fisherman’s cardi I’m currently bundled in). However, I made a resolution to buy NO BLACK ITEMS this year, because I have so much, and would really like to lighten my pallate which is mostly black, blue, gray and white. So I’m thinking sages, oatmeals and peaches are good neutral additions. I’m currently thinking of an oatmeal sweater for spring and either Re/Done jeans or a pair of ES pants in Natural or Khaki (fingers crossed so tightly for khaki Clydes this year). I too am on the hunt for a pair of comfortable cognac flats and am anxious to see what sustainable options you come up with. Otherwise, I mostly need new summer clothes, so I’m planning on saving my clothing budget for that (and our wedding/trip to Paris in June!)

  4. This is exactly what I needed to get myself into the spring wardrobe mindset! I usually organize my closet by color, but I love the idea of designating an area in the closet for less-worn items. Thank you, Lee!

    1. That’s great to hear Anna! I used to organize by colour but now that I mostly wear neutrals, organizing by style works better for me. Let me know if you try the less-worn section and how it goes! xo

  5. I bought the Georgia Midi in the raw silk broadcloth but didn’t love it on me. I’m returning it, but I’m definitely wanting to wait to see if she releases anything new for Spring before I exchange it. Otherwise, I’m torn between the Clyde Billow Skirt in the raw silk broadcloth or the Marlena Midi in silk crepe.

    1. Hey Alexandra, I LOVE the Clyde skirts too! I wasn’t sure about them until I saw the recent feature she did with all the staff. That piece stood out and looked so good on everyone who wore it. It’s going on my potential Summer wish list for sure! xo

  6. Always love these posts lee!
    I was down with a ear infection and strep for almost a week and a half so it’s good to be back catching up.
    I did my spring cleaning last night and there is nothing in my spring/ summer closet that I want to get die of!!!!
    That is the first time it’s ever happened for me and it felt really great. 🙂

    Things to add:

    Nisolo mules in nude
    Dresses! I only have one spring/ summer dress and always have a super hard time in this department!
    Everlane (they always have stuff I want)

    Due to upcoming events and life changes I am entering a season of buying which actually gives me a lot of anxiety as someone who’s spent the last 3-4 years focusing on minimalism and having a very lean closet.

    Have a great day.

    1. That’s great to hear Jodie! So sorry to hear you’ve been down for the count with sickness. Glad to have you back!

      That’s awesome that you’re loving all your spring items! My goodbye pile is definitely the smallest it’s ever been too and it does feel wonderful! Your list sounds great! I hear you on the dresses and the Everlane lust for sure!

      I still get shopping anxiety. I get so focused on making sure it’s the most ideal, forever item that’s going to be perfect, that I forget to just chill and enjoy the process. Just remember, it’s only clothing and if it doesn’t feel really right, then something better will come along. xo

  7. Hi Lee, thanks to you.. I know longer spontaneously buy clothes. I dont think I save money per se (bc i have expensive taste and love high quality things), but it feels good to not throw around money and there’s a lot to be said when you truly love your closet. So thank you again! Your blog is truly life changing. A few key things that i just added into my wardrobe? Jesse K’s new chambray pants. They are amazing by the way:) And, the grey blazer by Permanent Collection… its perfect. I love your beige one as well.. nice choice! Calder Blake has perfect tees if you are on the look out for that sort of thing and Marais’s suede sandals seem like they would be up your alley as well. I am torn.. I love all of the colors but can’t decide. And, I don’t know if I will really wear them because they look so delicate and I do a lot of walking. Ok, thanks again for your inspiring blog posts. I have used your tactic and also create a wish list every season.. its so helpful. Pinterest has also been a great way to keep track of my top favorites and then re-access what I really can’t live without:)

    -Annie

    1. Annie! Thank you so much! I honestly couldn’t ask for a better feedback and it makes me so happy to know that this blog is helping people in one way or another.

      I dare say you and I are on the same wavelength with our style and I love it! You must tell me about the Chambray Kamm Pants! How do they fit compared to the cotton canvas ones? They’re literally #1 on my wish list right now!

      Permanent Collection looks incredible and I’m keeping them in mind for next Fall for sure.

      I was checking out Calder Blake’s tees just the other day actually and they are perfect. Great weight, slim fit and not too long.

      Confession: I ordered the camel suede sandals from the Marais Pre-Order 🙂 They’re going to be my fancy summer sandal since I have a few weddings and lots of events coming up this summer. Can’t wait!

      Pinterest really is ideal for wish list building. I do the same thing. xoxo

  8. Great post – I love being able to walk through your thought process with you! I have definitely had my spring wardrobe on the brain lately. Last year I did a big purge when I finally accepted that I needed to let things go that I felt that I ‘should’ own, but that I never loved wearing (think button-down shirts and blouses). While this felt awesome, it also left a huge long-sleeve top gap in my closet. My wishlist includes a J+J T Top to fill that hole, plus a pair of jeans I can’t wait to put on. The plan is that if I splurge on what I really want, I won’t find myself making impulse purchases trying to fill the gaps throughout the season. I look forward to seeing your wish list!

    1. Thanks Paige! I went through the same sort of mindset a few seasons ago and it was great to finally part with all that excess closet baggage. Good for you! I think your approach to buying a couple pieces you really want vs compromising to add more is 100% sound, at least that’s my approach! The J+J T Top is a personal favourite of mine and I’m actually eyeing up another one in Natural right now 🙂 xo

  9. Hi Lee! I love this post; super helpful! I just started taking a look at my spring clothes that have been tucked away, but I’m curious how you come up with your wishlist items? I have a tendency to window-shop online (more often than I’d like to!) and end up pinning items to Pinterest that I like, but then end up having too many things to look at in order to narrow it down to what I really NEED. Do you have a method or secret weapon for figuring out what your closet is missing/in need of? I’m trying to stay away from those impulse buys/buying too much. Thanks!

  10. My wish list is a raw silk dress (shorted version and f Georgia), linen maxi skirt and silk culottes (plan to make all these). Plain white sneakers (mono converse I think) and upgrade my a much lived floral shirt to a silk version.

  11. Winter is always too short around here so I find myself feeling a bit panicky about facing the sweltering heat of summer soon. Not looking forward to those 110* F weeks. I have to curb my impulses to buy more cozy sweaters because although I know I need a couple more, it’ll only make me sad that I can’t wear them for months (summer in Chico basically equals May-mid October).
    That said, I’m severely lacking in the flats department for spring. I’m not a ballet flats girl but I’m hoping to get a pair of Sevilla Smiths (probably a birthday gift for myself) and a pair of Everlane’s modern oxfords.
    The rest of my list is a pair of olive Clydes and black Maxine crop from ES, and maaaayyyybe the tan cropped crew sweater from Brass.

  12. Love this! I’ve been mentally preparing for Spring by bringing together new color combinations from existing items in my wardrobe (like a blush pink Everlane sweater and a spring-green COS skirt that I’m wearing today). They still keep me cosy in the weird weather but give off a Spring aesthetic.

    Shopping-wise, I’m trying not to spend much over these next two months for travel-planning reasons, but I couldn’t help buying the “perfect summer jean” from Madewell over the weekend (special discount) and I know I’ll be buying a chambray from Tradlands in a few weeks when their Spring collection launches (paid largely through a return/gift-card).

    I’m also hoping to stumble across some wishlist items while traveling in the UK in April/May. I feel like the odds of coming across a woman’s blazer with a long shawl collar are higher there than where I am now.

  13. I have 2 small closets at my disposal for clothes. One is dedicated to this season’s 39 items. The other is storage–but about 3 weeks before a season shift, I take all of next season’s items out of the bin and put them on hangers (so I know what I have). That helps remind me of what I already own and I shop less!

    I also have started keeping track of cost per use on each item. My goal is to get the majority of my wardrobe to cost less than 1$ per wear. That’s easy with a thrifted item and hard/long on an investment piece! So-the $5 thrifted sweater I’m wearing will need 5 wears, while my second hand Frye boots that were 100$ will “pay for themselves” after 100 wears. It doesn’t mean I retire them–but it gives me a sense of real use from my closet. It encourages me to wear what I have!!! (This is actually how I decided on my annual car budget too…)

    1. Thanks for sharing Holly! Sounds like you have a great system in place that works really well for you. The cost per wear concept is really smart too! I used to do that more but I lost track so I might try and start making note of that again. All the best for the Spring season! xo

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