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Spring/summer capsule wardrobe part 1: The basics - Define the status quo and set goals

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Today, I'm launching the first post of a simple series I'm putting together to guide you through the process of building and maintaining a capsule wardrobe. If you're eager to get this process done on your end, you can read up on it and learn it from beginning to end here and here. These blogs are my favourite resources for figuring out your personal style and building a capsule wardrobe.

I'm in the capsule planning mood right now not only because it's spring, but also because I just hosted a workshop on this topic and I was thrilled by the participants' reactions and enthusiasm. Also, doing more with less is one of the pillars of Either/Or.

For the first time, I'm planning out my wardrobe refresh to a T, and really taking the time to establish my personal style. For too many years now, I've excelled at purging and organizing my closet, but not actually thinking strategically about what kind of clothes I need to suit my lifestyle.

Time and time again, I found myself purging and sorting, buying without a clear direction, and then purging and sorting again and again. It's quite counterproductive, a waste of money and a great way to never have a wardrobe that I'm fully satisfied with.

Then I read this fabulously detailed book by blogger Anuschka Rees, The Curated Closet, and I've been inspired to adopt her method to my life, make some tweaks, and share with you my journey to a fulfilling wardrobe.

Over the next few weeks, I'll share with you one post a week for each of the sections within Rees' four parts of building a capsule wardrobe outlined in the book:

Part 1: The basics
Part 2: Discover your personal style
Part 3: Build your dream wardrobe
Part 4: The art of shopping

Step 1: The basics
- Getting started: Define the status quo and set style goals

Rees says that the first step to building a capsule wardrobe is to assess how you dress right now. Define the status quo and then set goals to define the personal style you want to achieve.

I've learned through years of cleaning out my closet that it's no good doing a closet detox if you have no idea what your personal style is. You wouldn't go out and buy decor to redo your bedroom without looking at pictures of rooms that you like, would you? Take the time to define your personal style and you'll have an easier time shopping for items you really love and will wear over and over again.

What is personal style?
A note about what I mean when I say personal style. Personal style is personal. Rees reminds us that we don't have to worry about trends or what style experts say looks best on our body types. Go for what you like. If you like it, you'll wear it. It doesn't matter how trendy something is, if it doesn't float your boat, why bother buying it?

The great thing about fashion is that you can customize it to you. I love the boxy silhouettes and clean lines of today's minimalist style, but I don't always want to hide my curves so I'll often wear a boxy top with fitted, high-waisted pants, for example.

How do you begin to define your personal style?
Get a good snapshot of what you normally wear. Rees' first assignment for me is to capture two weeks worth of outfits.

I'll take a selfie for every outfit that I wear, and write down what I did that day. This is supposed to give me a good idea of the pieces I wear the most often, and the activities that take up the majority of my time.

You'll see in part 3: Build your dream wardrobe, that one of the most important steps is defining your lifestyle to clearly see what your style needs are and make sure they're met in your new capsule wardrobe. There's no point in putting in all this work to design a wardrobe that fits your fantasy life rather than your real life (I took this piece of wit from Rees).

Will you join me in my outfit documentation? Come on, it'll be fun!