Autumn fashion audit

Have you done your autumn clothes audit? No? Surely you’re not just going to stumble into the new season wearing your summer gear plus a sweater? You’re not going to hit the shops with no idea of what you already own?

Well, OK, not everyone’s like me, but I love lists, and I love a bit of analysis. The new season had me reaching for my spreadsheet with glee…

Here’s what I did and below are the results:

  • I listed what I own, in each category of garment (jackets, sweaters, skirts, etc).
  • Then I put them in columns, according to whether they’re great, just OK, disliked, on their last legs, or strictly for casual wear. (That last one is because I’m mainly focused on my work wear; weekends and the occasional evening out pretty much take care of themselves.)
  • In an attempt to steel myself for action, I made a ‘Get Rid Of’ column too.
  • My final, genius step(!) was to color each box roughly according to the main color of the garment. This is only an approximation (patterns are hard) but it was important so I could see the balance of shades.
  • If you’re a real control freak, you can note down the year you bought the clothes. In most cases you won’t be able to remember, but I was able to list this year’s purchases and make a pretty good guess at recent years.

Amongst other things, I found

  • I only have two pairs of pants that I’m really happy with!
  • I’m still trying to wear things (regularly) that I bought before the year 2000.
  • I do not, repeat not, need any more black or blue items.
  • Pink is somewhat under-represented. Yellow is completely absent.
  • Much as I’d love to get some more sweaters, I probably don’t need them. Jackets would be a better plan.

So, effectively I’ve given myself permission to buy some new things, and I can take this list shopping with me to remind myself what’s already at home and where the gaps are. I really encourage you to try this, especially the color-coding. It can be incredibly revealing.

Do you hit the stores with a new-season plan, or are you more random in your approach?

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21 Responses to Autumn fashion audit

  1. Mary says:

    What an excellent way to categorize! I wish I were that organized– maybe someday :)

  2. Shopaholic With Your Coffee says:

    Great post. I may use this idea when going through my wardrobe this weekend. I am in the process of buying what I need for f/w and also moving.

    Thanks for the tip!!!!

  3. Vix says:

    Well, I'm allergic to spreadsheets but I admire your technique. Seems like just yesterday you were musing about needing to do this–then you do it in the World's Most Organized Way, ha ha ha!

    You saw how I did my intake (the Drag-n-Snap method) but it really did clarify my color issues. And my "fix or alter NOW" issues.

    Normally I'm a bit more random, but with funds really REALLY tight this season I knew I had to prioritize vs just buying what looked good and would be a nice addition.

    And I am so ridiculously psyched by my first purchase that I posted about it. LA LA FEEL THE LOVE

    Who knew being so disciplined could feel so good, ha? Hope you'll share your new duds when you find them….

  4. Gwen says:

    You have got it going on! I have a much more relaxed/lazy approach to the whole thing.

  5. Chic Coles (Cole Design) says:

    That is such a great idea! I just found your blog and I am excited to read more! I am going now to try and create a spreadsheet like this, I have been trying to figure out a way to categorize what I own!

  6. Shopaholic says:

    T'is amazing!!! I should do one of those spreadsheets…
    I am jumping into Autumn with, yes, my summer stuff and a jumper!!!

  7. Sher says:

    Ok, how long did this take??? Amazing!

  8. Tracy @ Comfort and Luxury says:

    Wow. On the face of it, this seems a little ocd to me. And just the kind of thing I would gleefully do but hide from everyone!! I'm sure I could benefit from more organization in my wardrobe but first, I need to dump about two thirds of it. Maybe more. Then I'll assess. Thanks for the inspiration, you crazy over-achiever!

  9. The Thrifty Stylist says:

    i love it i love it i love it! have we discussed whether you are also a virgo? will do this TOMORROW. omg. yellow also completely absent from my wardrobe, and frankly i'm fine with that ;) (orange too)

  10. Cristin says:

    Wow, a spreadsheet. Very nice way to determine what you really "need".


  11. Cristin says:

    BTW – adding your blog to my blogroll!


  12. Kari says:

    That's a super smart idea. I love the color-coding, especially since I do that on my own blog anyway to track how frequently I wear certain colors & what I wear them with.

    I think my clothes audit right now says that I am good to go without anything new for a long time. The only thing I can think of adding to my list is duplicating my favorite flats since they are starting to wear out and are only available at one store. Otherwise I should only focus on the few things I need, such as a new sports bra and a white button-down long sleeve top, to get me through winter.

  13. pk says:

    Wow! :-) This actually seems a little like something I would do if I weren't too afraid to find out how bad my clothing situation actually is! Have I mentioned that I love to wear fun, new clothes but actually cannot STAND to shop for them? This is a great idea though.

  14. Susan @ Your home, only better. says:

    Oh, NOW I know why I like you so much…I too love a good spreadsheet! ;)

  15. Struggler says:

    Ahh, the world is divided into those who love a good spreadsheet and those who wouldn't know a circular cell reference if it bopped them on the nose!

    This didn't take me too long because my wardrobe is really pretty small, and I had earlier versions of my list from previous seasons. But for a large collection (that's you, Sher!), yes, it could take quite a while.

    Tracy, indeed, it's totally OCD (not just a bit). Lists make me feel secure and a colored list is the best of all :) :)
    But I do have an iffy memory so something to take out in the store changing room is kinda handy.

    Thrifty Stylist, no, I'm not a Virgo, but I've never felt much like an Aquarius so maybe I'll just adopt Virgo-ism.

  16. Anoninoz says:

    Wonderful idea – just wish I could be as organised but I'm sadly NOT… (and definitely not a Virgo either) – did make me laugh to – "are you going to stumble into Autumn just wearing your summer gear plus a sweater" !!! Great post…

  17. Alea says:

    Oh, I love spread sheets. I have done an audit of our family's wardrobe. But perhaps I could do this for my husband's wardrobe to give him a visual demonstration of why I refer to his clothing as the "bruise wardrobe".

  18. PrettyBallerina says:

    I used polyvore with the same purpose, it's more visual than excel. Maybe worth trying.

  19. Struggler says:

    Agreed – Polyvore would be very cool, especially for folk with lots of clothes who might not easily recall each item.

  20. My Domicile Style says:

    Wow, I don't think I could do a spreadsheet. Oh, I would start with good intentions and then not finish. I am a much more haphazard shopper, but have not bought anything in forever as I am "struggling" with some size issues!

  21. Paula says:

    Vix recommended your posting in her today’s posting.
    I see the joy in making such a list! Looking forward for the next rainy weekend to come :-)

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