3 Things I Learned from The Curated Closet

On our podcast, I’ve mentioned The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees a number of times. It’s a fantastic book, and there is also a workbook available.

I first worked through Anuschka’s methodology in late 2019, and I can honestly say it completely changed my style and the way I shop and think about clothes. I loved it! I’m still benefiting from many things I learned from this book years later.

Since I am such a fan girl, I thought I would share three things I learned from The Curated Closet. If you have been struggling with your personal style or are in a season of life where you need to change things up, I highly recommend the book and/or workbook.

I love Anuschka’s approach to talking about personal style. It’s not about finding what’s “right” for your body type or looking attractive, but rather about feeling good in whatever you choose to wear.

I also had been hesitant, as I sometimes feel intimidated by the world of fashion. My budget and taste mean I likely won’t be wearing all designer everything anytime soon.

I have always loved thrifting and putting things together in unique ways. And if I’m being honest, I don’t really like to follow rules unless I choose them. Ha.

Lesson 1: Fantasy Life vs. Real Life

One exercise you can choose to do is take a self-portrait of your outfit every day. The goal is to note the patterns in what you grab, the fit, colors, etc. Honestly, I learned a lot from this exercise.

I did this in December 2019 and the early part of January 2020. You can see some of the photos below (I honestly never planned to shared these, so the lighting/quality is pretty LOL).

From this exercise, I realized I had a huge part of my closet that was clothes for this fantasy life I envisioned.

But then, I mostly wore the same things over and over for my real life, which is working from home (mostly alone, and many days I don’t see anyone outside of my husband). My work is a mix of computer things and making (cooking, crafting, taking photos, cleaning up).

I realized I needed to be more honest with myself about what I really wanted out of my everyday clothes. Sure, I wanted things that were interesting and fun, but they HAD to be comfortable and things I could move easily in and potentially get grease or paint on.

If my clothes didn’t fit these criteria, I just wouldn’t wear them and they’d sit in my closet waiting to be in my fantasy life. 🙂

I still think about this lesson when I buy clothes now. My current everyday life often involves these same things PLUS crawling around on the floor with my 1-year-old son.

This is why I like jumpsuits so much; I don’t have to worry about pulling my pants up or tucking my shirt back in after playing on the floor or picking up my son when I have a jumpsuit on. Plus, I think they are cute.

Lesson 2: Finding My Outfit Formula (AKA My Uniform)

I also learned about finding an outfit formula that works for me. As I mentioned, I don’t really like to follow rules. This is different. An outfit formula is shorthand; it makes getting ready in the morning super quick, and when I am shopping for something new, if it doesn’t fit my outfit formula, I think really hard on if I will actually wear it.

Some things don’t fit the formula, like a fancy dress for NYE or a friend’s wedding. My outfit formula slightly changes with the seasons, too, as I live in the Midwest and we have very different temperatures throughout the year.

Warm Weather Outfit Formulas:
Jeans + Plain T-Shirt + Sandals
Overalls + T-Shirt or Tank + Sandals
Jumpsuit + Sandals
Dress (midi or maxi) + Sandals

Cold Weather Outfit Formulas:
Jeans + Plain T-Shirt + Cardigan or Jacket + Flats
Jeans + Sweater + Flats
Overalls + Sweater + Flats
Jumpsuit + Cardigan or Jacket + Flats
Dress + Cardigan or Jacket + Flats

I do own clothing that doesn’t fit into these formulas, but not much. And if this sounds boring to you, I get it. Honestly, my clothes are somewhat boring. BUT it all fits and I wear everything I own. Plus, it’s so easy to get ready in the morning now, and feel put together.

And I have a lot of cute headbands, hats, scarves, and glasses. Not a crazy amount, but enough that these accessories spice it up for me when I’m feeling like I want something extra.

Lesson 3: How to Shop Better

The Curated Closet really encouraged me to think more about the fit of my clothes, as well as quality. Growing up and into my early to mid-20s I mostly shopped at thrift stores or inexpensive fast fashion, since that’s what fit my budget. (I still love thrifting!)

And while you can find things that fit well, and high quality vintage items from time to time, I realized that I was in the habit of shopping based solely on price and I didn’t give as much consideration to fit and quality as I could.

I also realized I would often make impulse buys based on price (it’s so cheap! why not?!), but this lead to a closet full of things that didn’t fit me well, colors I didn’t actually like wearing, and clothes I just didn’t need because they fit my fantasy life and not my real life outfit formula.

Since reading The Curated Closet, I shop a lot less, I’m way more picky, and I feel like everything in my closet is something I will wear and wear often or I have an occasion for it (like, I have a dress that I wear to most weddings I’m invited to … it’s my fancy dress).

I still thrift for fun, but I’m picky. I also will go to the expense of getting things altered to fit me if I really love something, which makes me feel better in the item when I wear it so I wear it more often.

Do I have the perfect closet? No. But it has completely transformed in the last few years for the better. xo. Emma

P.S. Random fact, but this author, Anuschka Rees, took our How to Write & Pitch a Book Proposal e-course before she landed her book deal. I’m so glad she did, as I LOVE her book so much. And if you have a great book idea, check out our course!

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