Wardrobe Planning for Your Lifestyle

Last night, I tried to read a style book I picked up at a local store. It's one of those "how to plan your wardrobe" kind of books filled with tips and tricks to stretch your wardrobe and your budget. And you know what? I put it down after the first three pages and added it to my giveaway pile.

The problem that I have with most of these "wardrobe planning" type of style guides is that they are so far removed from anything resembling my current lifestyle that they're basically useless. I remember reading a book like this about 20 years ago and thinking the same thing. This was back in the late 1980s, and the book recommended that every woman has at least one evening dress in her closet. One evening dress? At that time, my life consisted of college, working 30 hours a week at a part time job, tutoring kids in the writing lab at school, and mucking stalls to pay for my horse's board. I guess I could wear a nice frock to clean the stalls; perhaps my horse would have been impressed?

The style book I tried to read last night was almost as bad in terms of fitting my lifestyle. "Every woman," the author advised with the knowing sneer of the fashionable, "Should own a little black dress!"  Why? I don't date; I've been happily married for 16 years. For funerals? My aunt once scolded me for wearing black to a funeral. To church? I'll look like a washed out, pale Italian grandma.

Or how about pumps - high heels? That's another item that "every" woman should own. Okay, but I work from home, on a 17 acre farm. My days consist of working from my home office, cleaning the house, cooking, walking the dog, and working outside in the orchard and gardens. I wear high heels to church and to business meetings (maybe).  So why invest in more pairs?

Someday, I want to write a book for 40-somethings who want to look fashionable without buying for a lifestyle that only 20-year old gals living in a major city live. I want a fashion book that features modest but pretty clothes; one that shows me how to dress my figure; one that shows me how to get more mileage from my wardrobe by planning it better without berating me for not owning an evening gown or a little black dress.

At the start of the New Year, I decided that this year I would revamp my wardrobe, and I gave away almost four bags of clothes to Good Will. I'm slowly developing my own wardrobe plan, books or no books. And I can guarantee you, it does NOT include little black dresses and stiletto heels!