Cultivating Your Personal Style Step 2: Organize and Budget!

Last week, I discussed the process of finding inspiration on a personal style journey. And now that we’ve gathered pictures, quotes, movie stills, journal entries of our style icons and heroes, it’s time to start organizing and putting together a budget.

I know that once you start accruing information, it can be hard to figure out exactly where you plan on going with it all of it. I have books upon books with post-it notes, file folders full of clippings from magazines, and a pretty crazy Pinterest board. So what do we do to make sure that our inspiration doesn’t go to waste and we don’t end up with clothes that we never wear?

Here are a few of my favorite ways to keep organized:

  • Keep a list. I am an obsessive list maker, and I have lists everywhere. I suggest keeping one in a place you will see it often.
  • Keep a small notebook in your purse with this list, or at least before you go on a shopping trip, make a list of a few of the things you’re looking for so that you don’t get distracted.
  • Keep a spiral notebook with photos pasted in it so you can have a visual of what it is exactly you’re looking for.

Or you could be a total geek like me. I personally love making spreadsheets, for everything. Yes, it’s a bit obsessive, but I feel like it keeps all my details in one place. Here’s a peak at my current work in progress spreadsheet.

I keep various sections for what I’m looking for, wardrobe, accessories, beatuy, etc., and I leave spaces for possible brands, details I’m looking for, maximum cost I’d like to spend on the item, and a date I’d like to have the item for.

Which brings me to my next point. Budgeting. There is nothing more important than budgeting when it comes to building your ideal wardrobe. It can be so easy to pick up those $200 polka dot jeans, only to wear them a few times and never see them again. And while most of us know that we should spend a majority of our wardrobe budget on classic pieces and keep the trendy pieces at a lower price point, there is definitely some alternative advice that we don’t hear as often.

I’m a big fan of the cost per wear concept. Summarized here, by Nubby Twiglet, the cost per wear concept is pretty simple. You take the total price of an item and divide it by the number of times you’ll wear it to break down how much it truly costs you (and to make you feel better).

So, say that you absolutely LOVE those Brian Atwood colorful pumps. They may not be classics, but if they become a pair of shoes that you end up wearing two or three times a week for a few years, it ends up being absolutely worth it.

I also think it’s important to be true to yourself when it comes to budgeting. A bright pink handbag may not be a classic, and I could never justify spending money on one, but if you’re the type of girl that rocks pink proudly and knows that $300 handbag will get carried until it’s falling apart, I say buy it!

These gingham pumps may not be a classic piece, but the happiness factor almost justifies the price tag for me!

So now comes the fun part, the shopping! After gathering inspiration, organizing it, and building a budget, you’re ready to get out there and start perfecting your wardrobe. Just remember, building the ideal wardrobe takes time, as it should, making sure you find items you really love is absolutely worth the time.

Happy wardrobe building!

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