Last time, I gave myself a budget of $500 ($334 for Cinderella [house] clothes and $166 for Princess [good] clothes) to build a signature summer wardrobe consisting of:
- 2 house outfits
- 1 street outfit
- summer coat
- pretty street shoes
My preference is for nice clothes that are fitted, yet loose enough to permit air flow, and in natural fibres that help wick the sweat away. They should be scarlet, blue, cerise, black or white to match my existing wardrobe.
Before I can buy anything, I need to have a better idea of exactly what I want, and how much I am prepared to pay for it. The first thing I’m going to do is a quick wardrobe review to see what I need.
Last summer Cinderella wore track pants and t-shirts. She is effectively naked!
The Princess wore:
- black jeans or linen pants
- red linen tunic
- a Breton (stripy) t-shirt
- floral cotton top
- floral cotton button down
- white patterned cotton kurti
- fine striped linen overshirt
The Princess bought:
- a navy and white polka dot top which I love but which is very badly made and ill-fitting and doesn’t get worn (and should be discarded)
- a black silk blouse which I love, but after a few wears find I need to have it shaped to fit the curve of my body
- a white cotton dress which I didn’t get around to altering
- a navy skirt with a single enormous white flower
Cinderella is currently well-regarded by the Princess (for a wonder) who is prepared to give her the kurti, the white dress and the overshirt. By which I mean these items are being downgraded to everyday. I think Cinderella also deserves a brand new dress because I’m not sure that any of those items are really very durable for the long term (especially with the dogs). I don’t anticipate that this will leave the house much, but I’m going to start with a red or blue knee-length fit and flare linen dress. This will look pretty and provide plenty of freedom of movement for things like vacuuming and cleaning. I’m going to provisionally allocate $100 for this.
The Princess has been wearing the jeans, linen pants and red tunic almost to the exclusion of the other items in her wardrobe. They will probably get her through to the end of 2015, but replacements should go on the list for 2016. The linen pants are exactly perfect, and as a “petite” I know the full worth value of a pant that fits properly in the leg and rise, so next year I am going to pay a dressmaker to use them to make up a pattern and sew a new pair from fabric I have on hand. The pattern will cost as much as the pants, but it means I can get the perfect pair made up in any kind of fabric whenever I need them. I did get some replacement jeans this year, but they aren’t quite right. I recently heard about a jeans place that manufactures jeans to fit you exactly, so I am going to go and check them out.
The white cotton dress was originally purchased as a party dress, and as I am going to be wearing it for everyday I still don’t have one. In any case, it’s quite plain and feels more stroll around the Farmer’s Market than dinner and drinks to me. I quite like the idea of a white party dress, but I think it needs some sort of bold pattern. And I still want fit and flare in a natural fibre. And that being the case, my summer coat should probably also be white linen, and I’d like it to be in a loose duster or trench coat style.
And I mentioned I want a new pair of pretty street shoes. Ideally, they will be wearable year round, for a variety of purposes (i.e., shopping, lunch, gallery visits etc.). To get the best value, they should be black or navy. I do as a matter of fact have a pair in mind…
And a plain white shirt would increase the usefulness of the navy skirt, and potentially allow the floral button down to become a summer coat.
Having continued to develop my plan according to the steps in Build Your Signature Wardrobe, my revised summer wardrobe plan/shopping list looks like this:
- red or blue knee-length fit and flare linen house dress $100
- alterations for the white cotton dress $50
- alterations for the black silk blouse $50
- tailored jeans $50
- boldly patterned white linen fit and flare party dress $150
- loose white linen duster or trench coat $200
- pretty black street shoes $250
- plain white shirt $50
You can see that my list has got longer and at $900 isn’t really close to $500, so needs some further thought. What would you do?
Next time, we’ll look at my pre-shopping and further list revision.
Photo of American Army and Navy nurses stationed in Australia during World War II, in their summer uniforms c1942 Argus Newspaper Collection of Photographs, State Library of Victoria
For more, see my wardrobe planning page.
Signature Wardrobe Planning
Buying clothes seems easy, but getting matching ones that fit you and your lifestyle and share washing instructions is more difficult.
Signature Wardrobe Planning shares a plan for buying the right clothes at the right price for the right life. So you always have something to wear that makes you look and feel confident.
Discover the four-step system for developing your wardrobe plan. Buy now: