I recently read The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees, and it has completely revitalized my relationship with my wardrobe! I first heard about the book over on A Beautiful Mess, and after Elsie’s ringing endorsement, I ordered the book and did my due diligence (there’s homework!) I was inspired to give this book a try, because my own experience very much mirrored Elsie’s—I was consigning or donating half my wardrobe after each season because the pieces were ill-fitting or impulse buys that truly didn’t suit my style.
The book pairs practical info about textiles, conscious consumerism, and capsule wardrobes with stunning fashion photography that serves as serious #outfitinspo. The clean, modern design of the cover and pages functions like hygge in book form.
The biggest problem I faced was truly not knowing what my style even is. I’ve re-gained 20 pounds in the past year, so my style and body have gone through a major evolution. Since high school, I’ve hovered around my current weight, but a couple of years ago I lost a ton of weight after starting a medication and I felt emboldened to re-buy my entire wardrobe, thinking that of course I would be this thin forever! Wrong! I do intend to commit more time to fitness when the weather gets nicer, but for the time being, I need a wardrobe that does important things like cover my body. Also, as a newly-married lady entering her late 20s, I wanted to make sure my style represented my actual lifestyle and personality. Through this process, I discovered that I love neutrals, being slightly overdressed, and kooky accessories that get my outfits noticed. I hate tight-fitting tops but love tight-fitting bottoms. Pale pink is my spirit color and I just don’t like to wear red, no matter how much people tell me I should wear it.
The book gives a step-by-step overview of how to craft your dream wardrobe, starting with: Insta-stalking! Ms. Rees puts it more eloquently than that of course, but she recommends creating an inspiration board (I did mine on Pinterest). It’s full of pictures of my favorite style bloggers rocking outfits that I love. From there, you refine your picks down to things that you might actually wear.
Some examples from my mood board:
The next part of the homework is to document your outfits every day for a week. Unfortunately, my Instagram Husband is terrible at his job, so I got exactly one picture all week(s).
I settled for writing down the details. Even though I didn’t get a cool lookbook out of the experience, I discovered a lot about my personal style.
Throughout the experience, I had on days and off days. For example:
- pale pink cardigan
- Free People black crop jeans, similar here
- Kate Spade Saturday striped trapeze top (RIP)
- black Toms
- gold Madewell statement necklace
- tortoiseshell Warby Parker glasses
Observations: comfy yet polished, stays within my neutral color palette
I felt very put-together and confident in this outfit. The garments all had excellent fit. The look felt age-appropriate and versatile day-to-night.
- of Montreal band tee, similar here
- Loft bomber jacket
- white ripped jeans
- mint Converse, similar here
- mint glasses
- mint beanie
Observations: too matchy, too youthful
I felt juvenile in this outfit. I love all of the piece individually, but put together I felt like a pop-punk teenager. In the future, I’ll pair band tees with skirts of trousers/ripped jeans with blouses to elevate the looks.
At the end of the 2 weeks, it’s easy to spot your patterns and formulas for creating outfits. For instance, it emerged that I have 2 basic modes of dressing—flowy/boxy tops with leggings or skinny jeans, and short-short dresses with tights (at least in the winter). Knowing ahead of time that I will inevitably choose these pairings makes shopping for practical clothes a breeze!
I absolutely loved The Curated Closet! Much like The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, it has provided me with invaluable guidance for streamlining and beautifying my life. I plan to spread the good word to all of the ladies in my life (and to my husband who *cough cough* needs to throw out all of his clothes and burn them in a funeral pyre).
What other books should I read? I’m thinking of tackling home décor next!