Style and Styling

How a Wish List Can Improve Your Style

AND Your Bank Balance!

Dearest reader,

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just wish a stylish and flattering wardrobe into being? Wishing may not make it happen, but it can help! I suggest to friends and clients that they keep a Wardrobe Wish List (WWL). It can help you improve your style and make the wardrobe of your dreams a reality. Read on to see what keeping a Wish List has taught me, why, and how you can start one of your own…

My Wardrobe Wish List

Low-tech and messy mine is! It all started on a shopping fast. I have done different shopping fasts over the years, some for a season, and two for a year each. When I wasn’t shopping, I would see things and think, “Oooh! I will want to buy that when I can! Better write it down so I don’t forget…” It was that selfish and simple. I marked a page in my calendar Wish List, and just started writing. At first, it was just a note like “Cropped Jean,” but over time I realized that a date, and where I saw it would be useful, so the notes became more like “High Heeled Clogs 2/15, Sven’s.” I also add to the list when I am putting together an outfit and find a wardrobe hole. (A wardrobe hole is something you don’t have that would make a variety of outfits work better, or complete a look.)

Lessons Learned

As I kept my list, I discovered how many items I would cross out when I found a new gotta-have-it. That helped me get a better perspective on those gotta-have-its and the FOMO to which it is so easy to fall prey! The list also helped me to see patterns in the styles and colors I liked, and who stocked them regularly, which made shopping easier and more focused when it was time to break out my wallet. Listing my items gives me what Jill Chivers calls a Power Pause, time off to really think about what I was going to purchase. This helps minimize novelty buys, decreasing the number, but increasing the quality of my purchases, helping me find a look that is really mine, and build a more integrated wardrobe.

Bonus: During my fast, listing my wants rather than just buying them right away gave me time to shop my own closet (and off-season storage box) to find similar items, or pieces that could be altered or dyed to suit a new whim. This money-saving and environmentally friendly habit has continued even after my shopping fasts. I have refashioned trousers into shorts, narrowed trousers to better suit, cropped pants, took the sleeves off a dress to make it sleeveless, swapped out buttons, dyed LOTS of tops and bottoms, and painted shoes for a new look. I saved hundreds of dollars by making old things new again!


Call me old school, but I like a written list in my calendar. Call it what you want! Paper works best for me, but you could do the same thing in a Wardrobe Wishes album on your phone, or on a Pinterest board. If you have lots of catalogs and magazines that are your shopping source, a binder to keep your wishes works, too. The trick is it needs to work for you, not for anyone else! I know a woman who keeps a pile of catalogs with dog-eared pages as a Wish List. That would make me crazy, but it works for her. (And she has all the information at hand when she needs to place an order!)


You know what they say about going to the grocery store without a list. It’s a great way to end up with a kitchen full of food, and nothing for dinner! Wardrobes work much the same way. When you go clothes shopping and buy whatever you see that suits your fancy, you are likely to wind up with a closet overflowing with clothes, and no outfits that work for your life and make you look and feel great. That’s unwise shopping, and time and money wasted! Yes, there will be serendipity finds that are perfect for you, but planned shopping with a list (like with groceries) saves both time and money. I use my Wardrobe Wish List as the foundation of my seasonal shopping list. When I see an item that stands the test of time on my list (hasn’t been crossed off) I know that it’s not just a whim! A chambray sundress (or sleeveless dress) has been on my list for a few years now, but there hasn’t been one to suit my style and figure until this year. Woo hoo! Score! I think it was worth waiting for, and cannot wait to add it to my spring capsule! Read more about my wardrobe limits and shopping process here.

How about you? Do you have a physical or virtual Wardrobe Wish List? How do you track yours? Please share in the comments below! I love to hear from you…

Stylishly yours,

And many thanks to Catherine at Not Dressed as Lamb for the Link-Up!


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