We’ve done a lot of hard work the past couple weeks. Now it’s time for some fun: It’s time to make a shopping list! But we want to choose wisely going forward or we will lose all the progress we’ve made to this point. I like how they say it on Cladwell.com: “You are who you are; not what you own.” With that in mind, today I will be giving you 4 guidelines for shopping intentionally.

You are who you are; not what you own. - Cladwell.com Click To Tweet

Wait! How Did We Get Here?

We didn’t get here overnight. Consider these sobering statistics: In 1930, the average woman owned just 36 items of clothing. Today’s woman has an average of 120 pieces in her closet!

In 1930, the average woman owned just 36 items of clothing. Today's woman has an average of 120 pieces in her closet! #womeninmidlife #capsulewardrobe #excess #simplify Click To Tweet

For the large part, we can thank modern advertising and marketing for our cluttered closets. (Not that we don’t carry some responsibility for our own decisions, of course.) In the U.S., we are bombarded by cute new fashion every couple weeks….usually available at ridiculously-affordable prices. This is a new trend; our parents didn’t see this level of saturation in retailers in their day, and actually, neither did we. It’s only in the last few years that new clothes arrive every couple weeks. Who can keep up?! But boy, we sure try, don’t we? :/

While it’s exciting to constantly see new merchandise, rarely do we think any further than how we’ll look in the new clothes. We don’t like to think about the fashion manufacturing being the worst offender of world-wide pollution. And we don’t stop to consider that the money we just spent on that cute top might be more than the woman who made it earns in a week.

We’re not monsters for giving in to the fashion, advertising, and retail industries’ hype…but it does kinda puts things in perspective, doesn’t it? Rather than beat ourselves up for choices we’ve made in the past, let’s thank God for the abundance we are surrounded with…and make better choices going forward. And let’s remember what we’ve learned so far:

  1. We learned what a capsule wardrobe is.
  2. We realized the clutter is standing in the way of our best wardrobe.
  3. We made tough choices to determine what we no longer want/need so we can move forward working off a clean slate.

Congratulate yourself! It is hard to make new habits….but we’ve laid a good foundation for our fashion future. So let’s keep going!




1  Take inventory of what you have.

Before you can know what you need….you must know what you have. Taking a Wardrobe Inventory is a crucial step if you want to be intentional in your shopping.

I began by standing in my closet and handwriting a list of everything in my Spring wardrobe. And because I’m a little more than anal, I input that information into a spreadsheet. (Hey…I’m visual; I need to be able to look at a list of tops, bottoms, skirts, shoes, etc. 😉 )

Here’s what one page (of 4) of my Wardrobe Inventory looks like:

Page 1

2  Look for holes and make a Wish List.

When you look at your inventory, do you see a good number of core pieces that easily coordinate together, or with extra pieces in your wardrobe? A basic guideline would be:

  • 8 tops
  • 2 sweaters/jackets/vests
  • 4 pants (including jeans)
  • 3 skirts/dresses
  • layering pieces (camisoles, solid tees…)
  • 2 coats
  • 4 shoes
  • 2 bags/totes/purses

Take a look at my wardrobe inventory again. Can you see any holes?

  • I don’t own many blouses, but since I work from home, I don’t need many. But.…I only have 1 pair of casual pants (noted by “P”), and they’re cropped pants; not the most versatile of pants. I hate to admit it, but I do own 2 other pairs; they just don’t fit “fluffy Kimberly.” Therefore…I really do need at least one additional pair of pants that aren’t jeans.
  • I have included black ankle pants and/or white jeans on my Wish List.

3  Make Your Shopping List

Once you’ve established what you need, you can make your shopping list…and then shop intentionally to fill those needs.

  • Need a couple pairs of pants and finally find a brand/style you feel like a million bucks in the minute you put them on? Buy them in 2 neutral colors (ie. black, white, navy).
  • Love a good layering tee and it’s on sale? Get 3 or 4! Even if a couple are the same color, that’s a good investment. (I have 2 black tees and 2 white tees; one of each is regular fit for layering under denim shirts and such, the other two are looser-fitting and longer, and have a dressier feel.)
  • Beware of impulse shopping! Impulse shopping is about filling short-term emotional needs. That is not a good use of our money…and it only provides a short-term “fix.” Keep in mind that wardrobe shopping is largely about utility; not personal worth…so try to be aware of those impulses, and find a more relevant way to address that need when it arises.
Keep in mind that wardrobe shopping is largely about utility; not personal worth. Click To Tweet

4  Set A Reasonable Budget

Setting a wardrobe budget will help keep you from indulging in that impulse shopping we talked about. And if you’re like most women, it will make it easier to invest in a few higher-quality core pieces that will be a great addition to your capsule wardrobe for years to come. And that is money well-spent!

HOMEWORK: Begin making your own Wardrobe Inventory…and start thinking about your Wish List.

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Remember to have fun with this part. You should feel good knowing that from this point on, you will be spending your money more wisely…on flattering, well-made clothes you need; not shopping under the spell of retail marketing. 😉 And I think you will quickly realize you will be saving a considerable amount of money by shopping intentionally.




NEXT WEEK: See how I do with the 10 x 10 Challenge!

(Wearing only 10 pieces from my wardrobe for 10 days.)