The Curated Closet: getting started


I’m stuck in a style rut. Somewhere in the last ten years, I stopped paying attention to my wardrobe and began to accumulate clothes that don’t fit; clothes that are worn out; and duplicates of things I already own. I think I know how this happened.

It’s ten years this month since I gave up my supposedly high-flying job in London and retreated out of the City to run my own business. Later, I became a dog-owner and then a parent, so the stretchy, machine-washable, goes-with-trainers section of my wardrobe expanded. And the ten minutes I used to spend thinking about what to wear each day evaporated into a sea of nappies, porridge flinging and school runs.

I’ve decided I need some help to solve this problem. And since my budget won’t stretch to a personal shopper, I bought a copy of Anuschka Rees’ book, The Curated Closet, and settled down with a cup of tea.

I like this book. Yes, it does tell you to spend, like, a whole day on Pinterest. But it’s also methodical and systematic. No sane person is ever going to follow all the ideas in the book to the letter, but there’s enough there to get me thinking. It doesn’t duck out of the difficult conversations like dressing to suit your shape, but neither is it Trinny-and-Susannah prescriptive.


Chapter 2 suggests that people in my position start by recording what they do wear for two weeks. I keep forgetting (!) but the collage above shows the clothes I’ve lived in over the last month or so.

What did I notice?

  • I live in trousers, partly due to problems with my feet which makes finding shoes harder, so I’d like to find more shoes/boots that would go with skirts, and that can cope with a lot of walking, some of it on muddy tracks
  • I don’t wear a lot of prints, unless stripes count as a print?
  • There’s a lot of blue, green and grey in my wardrobe – I’m not wearing my other favourite colours
  • My uniform is a stripey T-shirt, jeans and a jumper. It’s practical, but I’m also bored by it.
  • None of my jeans fit as well as I’d like. Sadly, even my handmade Gingers have stretched out since I finished them, and no longer have the fit I was aiming for. I really, really want to sort this out.
  • The shirt collar looks nice – why don’t I have more shirts?!

Where do I want to get to?

My wardrobe has two personalities but neither of them are really like me.

I have clothes I wear day-to-day, and then more glamorous going-out clothes that I don’t wear often. My day-to-day clothes are boring and scruffy, but my going-out clothes are largely a bit OTT for daily life, and I’d like the two halves to move closer together. I’d like to look more chic and put-together without losing practicality. And for client meetings, I need something that looks professional, but ideally it would mix and match with the rest of my wardrobe for other occasions too.

I really struggle with what to wear on my pear-shaped bottom half and I need to learn to flatter my current shape with modern styles rather than dressing the way I did five or ten years ago.

I’d like my clothes to have more structure, more style and creativity about them, but without losing the relaxed feel I need to be comfortable working at home and scurrying around after a four-year old.

And lastly the colours, prints and patterns in my wardrobe don’t really coordinate. I’d like to organise this and finding things that will link them together.

That’s my challenge for the months ahead. Have you worked through a wardrobe review like this? (Maybe Colette’s Wardrobe Architect series?) Did you find it useful, or does this sort of thing come naturally to you?


  1. I am looking forward to seeing what the result of your wardrobe challenge is. I think the wardrobe you have shown is similar to many hard working mums.


  2. […] For part 1, I looked at what I wear at the moment, which revealed a definite Mum-iform. Part 2 was a huge Pinterest-fest of collecting inspiration, and gathering the images that ‘speak to me’. I took Anuschka’s advice and tried to pin only things I’d actually be able to wear in real life. Here’s what I ended up with: […]


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