I hadn’t intended to write a post detailing my 2016 Signature Summer Wardrobe update, but you asked, so here it is.
2016 Signature Summer Wardrobe Plan
- A new dress ($125).
- One or two tops ($100).
- Some overdue alterations ($25).
The new clothes would be made from linen or cotton for summer, and come in fiery colours because I wanted to get away from black, white and blue.
Sadly for me, since I developed the plan, I had another couple of catastrophic wardrobe failures, so I had to add two more tops to the mix. Still all good in the shoe and undies departments so no additional purchases there.
- The yellow linen dress looks a bit crap in the photo because I took it in the shade. If you look at the bottom picture of my wardrobe, you get a more accurate idea of the vividness of the colour. It’s based on the empire line with lots of lovely pleats. Including postage, it cost $150.30 (20% over budget). I think that its longer length means I can easily get nine months of use from it. It might be cheerful in winter with long johns too.
- With the loss of four tops in the last few months, I bought four replacement tops. The white and blue are for existing outfits and the pink and orange for new. Sadly for me, the exchange rate went nuts, and the total cost was $396.98. If you take the budget as $100 per top, then it’s all good. But my intention was $100 for however many tops I bought, which is not so good.
- No alterations made yet.
My initial budget for the summer was $250, and the total expenditure has been $547.28, or 219% of the budget. I do find that shocking (and I know many of you will be thinking very badly of me for this).
I did look for less costly items, and while I found some that met my style needs, they weren’t appropriate and vice versa. After a point, your urgent/important matrix tips one way or the other and you have to choose which is the critical consideration. And with a long hot summer forecast, I came down on the side of appropriate.
However, your wardrobe plan should have a 3 – 5-year cycle that includes regular replacement and renewal of your clothes – ideally, before you do a Janet Jackson! Some years you will spend more and some less. I underspent in 2015, and this may have contributed to the sudden expiration of the four tops I ended up replacing.
Additionally, as these clothes were made to measure, I have saved at least $180 in alterations.
And, despite this overspend, I am under my overall 2016 budget.
I have purchased loose, long-sleeved linen clothing for the summer. I don’t work in an air-conditioned office, so the natural fibres wick the sweat away, and its evaporation keeps my body cooler in a Coolgardie Safe kind of way.
The colours are in line with my plan.
You may not have noticed that the tops have a similar proportion and semi-fitted shape; I asked for this based on my experience with my beloved 30-month-old red tunic. And the red tunic was partly based on the proportions of a long deceased Kathmandu top. You can see this as my signature style coming through – the same basic style, updated a little for the current times. I bought the white top because of the cute Peter Pan collar, but having worn it, I’m not over fond of the shape. Luckily I can use the red tunic as a template to get a shape I am happier with, and this is an alteration that I can make myself.
The dress is a little looser than I would prefer, but its looseness makes it very comfortable on hot Summer days (and dog walks). I’ll need to wear it a bit more before I decide whether to alter it for a closer fit – this might be a situation where appropriateness trumps my style preference.
The original plan drew against outfit needs at the time. I think the unexpected replacements were necessary given my tiny wardrobe. And my distaste for feeling underdressed.
Every clothing purchase is an experiment that must be worn and assessed.
Will I like the Peter Pan collar as much as I did as a child or will I find it moves too much and stop wearing it? Will I embrace the fiery pink and orange or will I fall back into the darks? Will the red tunic continue to reign supreme as my favourite or will I like something else more? How will these new clothes change my thinking about what I wear?
I guess I’ll let you know how I get on.
I put this wardrobe together using the techniques I discuss in my book Build Your Signature Wardrobe. It describes how to set a reasonable budget, decide what clothes are appropriate for your current life, how to present your authentic self confidently and consistently, and which clothes and accessories (and how many) you need.
Click here to see some example outfits.