How to build and maintain your own wardrobe
- Anuschka Rees’ The Curated Closet – If you want to refine your personal style and curate a wardrobe that reflects it and is appropriate for your lifestyle, I HIGHLY recommend this book. A lot of the content is available for free on the author’s website in the form of various blog posts as well. The approach I take in my own blog is largely based off of the one in this book.
- Alison Freer’s How to Get Dressed – This is a great practical resource on clothes. It goes over things like how to shop for, maintain, and store different types of clothing as well as various tips on things like dealing with wardrobe malfunctions.
- Article: How to assess quality in clothing – Anuschka Rees of The Curated Closet has a very thorough series on how to determine whether any item of clothing is well-made.
- Marie Kondo’s Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up – This is the handbook form of The Life-changing Magic of Tidying up. The original is heavier on the philosophy and a little lighter on diagrams and tutorials. I’m not sure I’d call it life-changing for myself, but there are lots of handy tips around closet tidying for changing your process of organizing things in order to make it easier in the long term.
From This Blog
- Mega Guide to Wardrobe Tracking – Wardrobe Inventory and Outfit Logging Methods is by-far the most viewed article on my site! I go over
- why you might want to start tracking your closet inventory and item wears
- what sorts of things you should consider when picking a method to do wardrobe tracking
- pros and cons of several methods of tracking (including providing some google spreadsheet templates)
- how I use Airtable to log my own outfits (including a link to my free template)
- Translating Inspiration Styleboards Into a Wearable Wardrobe – The process on how to translate a Pinterest board of inspiration images into an actual collection of clothes you will wear can be pretty daunting. I break down the steps I use in my Translating Inspiration to Outfits posts in this handy pdf guide.
- Resources and Tips for Wardrobe Overhauls – advice I’d like to have given myself back when I started
The female fashion advice subreddit, also referenced as FFA. I specifically recommend
- The guides and resources in their sidebar (may not be viewable on the default view in mobile browsers, check out the desktop site). They generally are not prescriptive when it comes to style or looking conventionally attractive, and focus on general visual design concepts, or explain things like how different pieces of clothing are traditionally intended to fit. If you only read one, check out the guide to dressing your body type (again, non-prescriptive despite the title). Their travel packing guide “How to pack for travel a.k.a., I’m going to [PLACE] in [MONTH], what should I pack!?” is also excellent.
- The recurring thread for Daily Questions is a great place to crowdsource answer for very specific and relatively objective questions like “I’m looking for boots like in this photo, does anyone know any stores that sell something like this in a size 7.5? I’m in Canada and my budget is <$200CAD” or “Here are a few examples of outfits that I wear to work a lot. I’m trying to make them look more generically polished. I don’t have any particular style I’m going for, but I can’t wear jewelry or anything loose/dangly.”
- The inspiration album archive at https://inspo.cc/ (these are hit or miss, but there’s enough fun ones to make it worth a browse, especially via inspo.cc which gives a good visual overview compared to the reddit search feature). These are also great because they aren’t trying to sell you stuff.
I specifically do not recommend hanging around the forum for discussion on trends or general style, Because Reddit. While r/femalefashioandvice is generally much less hostile than the average subreddit, I’ve not found it to be helpful or inspirational on average versus just engaging with people on outfit-diary Instagram (where accounts are attached to faces) or just directly consuming inspiration from Vogue Runway, costume design, people on the street, etc.
When I first got interested in clothes, I asked a LOT of questions there and submitted my outfit photos to the WAYWT (outfit sharing) threads and requested constructive criticism. I definitely would not have improved my outfits as much as I had in the first few years of my ‘style journey’ without the feedback of that community, and for those users who give thoughtful replies to the Daily Questions, I am very thankful.
Style Blogger Index
Want to find other bloggers (anyone who posts OOTDs on Instagram or a blog, not just professional influencers) in your size? Check out the Style Blogger Index, a resource run by @timorous.me and find fabulous outfits on people of all shapes and sizes.
Long Form Blogs
- A Clothes Horse (also on instagram) – Rebecca posts absolutely gorgeous, escapist, fantastical photos of herself in romantic outfits, usually with nature backdrops (she lives in rural Ireland). She’s been blogging since the heyday of the WordPress/Blogspot fashion blog, and her content is very professionally produced. Recently most of her non-sponsored long form writing exploring style and related influence (e.g. fairytales and folklore) has been moved to Patreon, but her lowest tier is $2 a month and gets you access to her archive.
- Blue Collar Red Lipstick (instagram) – Adina is actually a lawyer, not a blue collar worker, but she lives in an area that most people would not generally consider a style mecca (hence the blog name). She almost exclusively thrifts all her clothes, and she has a very distinct, eclectic, yet polished style. This is a more casual, approachable hobbyist blog, but the outfits and insights themselves are still super sharp. She also does a lot of cool DIY and art projects. I’m particularly fond of her style philosophy of having multiple “style avatars”.
- Extra Petite (instagram) – Preppy, Boston-based, not exclusively fashion-focused (some food and kid content) with professional production value content. Jean Wang is one of the big OG bloggers who has kept going into the 2020s! She has pretty solid reviews and lots of good general tips for all things related to clothes.
- Invincible Summer – If you enjoy my wardrobe round-up posts, Xin posts a similar (and usually much better-written than mine!) thoughtful summary of her clothing and beauty purchases each month. She also writes about personal finance and just anything else going on in her life.
Handy hashtags to check out
- #ootdindepth – I started this hashtag in 2019 to easily find other content from people who regularly write about what choices they made when putting together their Outfit Of The Day and how those affect the final look. It’s a nice medium ground between the usual dump of context-less OOTD pics and long form blogs. Anyone who likes to muse on the art/science of putting together an outfit is welcome, whether you’re serving a LEWK or just figuring things out with your daily wear. There are a few regulars, but feel free to add the hashtag if you have a day where you’re feeling analytical even if you aren’t consistently loquacious.
- #outfitrepeater – I don’t know who started this one, but it has a lot of everyday outfit diary sorts of accounts compared to some other hashtags that tend to have more influencer/blogger-y outfit accounts
- #alwaysplaydressup – maximalist looks, or at least not #mybeigelife bloggers. Started by @bjonesstyle.
- I use #midsizestyle to find more accounts with, well, mid-sized bloggers (the term is nebulous, but from what I can tell it’s bloggers who are anywhere from about a size US 8 – 18). Most of these are on the influencer-y side.
You can check out the accounts I’m following on Instagram for people whose outfits I either find consistently well executed (regardless of whether I’d wear the outfits myself) or are very thoughtful about their approach to improving their own fashion game.
Another way you can find active outfit diary accounts is to follow along with some of the style challenge hashtags on this challenge tracker spreadsheet maintained by Gabbie at themedian.moda. “Style Challenges” are basically timed style prompts, where one or more accounts organize for people to do themed outfits (e.g. “movie inspired” or “pattern mixing” or more conceptual ones like “wear something you’re on the fence about purging”) in certain dates. These tend to be attended by a larger fraction of active personal fashion accounts versus more business-oriented fashion influencer accounts.
Theory and vocab
- Anuschka Rees has a guide to color theory as applied to outfits here.
- This video by makoccino is for painting and not fashion specific, but a well-produced demonstration of color pairing.
- Zoe Hong is a professional fashion illustrator who has a teaching channel on YouTube. She has a lot of videos covering vocabulary for different styles of clothing and clothing features. Learning fashion vocabulary is helpful so that you can search for specific items more easily, e.g. “paper bag midi skirt with patch pockets” or “funnel neck coat”. Her channel is amazingly informative if you’re interested in the fashion design process and industry.
- Searching “fashion vocabulary” on Pinterest also pulls up a lot of neat infographics.
- Zoe Hong also has a series on color theory basics and how it can be applied to fashion
Fashion Industry and History
- Jenny Lantz’ The Trendmakers: Behind the Scenes of the Global Fashion Industry – A 2016 academic book (dry but still plenty readable – it’s not rocket science) exploring the ecosystem that drives fashion trends, from fabric production to WGSN to influencers.
- Costume design: Tyranny of Style – This is a blog by Joe Kucharski, a senior costume designer at Disney, where he interviews other costume designers for productions ranging from movies, television, video games, and broadway. It hasn’t been updated recently, although he is active on Twitter and Instagram (mostly the same content on each of these).
- Dana Thomas’ Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster – “Once luxury was available only to the rarefied and aristocratic world of old money and royalty. It offered a history of tradition, superior quality, and a pampered buying experience. Today, however, luxury is simply a product packaged and sold by multibillion-dollar global corporations focused on growth, visibility, brand awareness, advertising, and, above all, profits. Award-winning journalist Dana Thomas digs deep into the dark side of the luxury industry to uncover all the secrets that Prada, Gucci, and Burberry don?t want us to know. Deluxe is an uncompromising look behind the glossy façade that will enthrall anyone interested in fashion, finance, or culture.”
- WGSN and WWD – These are two trend forecasting sites/services whose target audience is professionals in the fashion industry. A lot of their stuff is paywalled, but you can usually get the gist of things from their Instagram posts or headlines.
- Vox: The Good – Ever since Vox killed Racked I’ve resorted to scrounging around on its successor site The Goods for more general audience reading on trends and style.
- Vogue Runway – Want to stay in the loop on designer fashion)? Whether your interest is in trend-watching or just admiring the creativity of clothing as art, Vogue Runway posts all the major fashion shows on their site for free (although there are a billion rather obtrusive ads). They also offer a weekly email newsletter.