Curated Closet part 2: inspiration


This part has taken a while, but it’s been truly worth it. Whenever I try to decide what to sew next, my head is always full of competing ideas, each trying to shout louder than the others. It goes something like this:

Pattern 1: “It’s nearly Christmas – time to make a party dress. There’s some lovely velvet in the shops now…”

Pattern 2: “The only parties you’ll be going to are children’s parties, what you really need is more jeans.”

Pattern 3: “Maybe. But jeans can be too casual for lots of things, you should make basics, like a knit dress. You can wear those anywhere”

Pattern 4: “A knit dress? Too boring. Take on a real challenge, like a coat.”

And so I end up scurrying around frantically trying to make all the patterns in all the fabrics. After going round in circles much of this year, and the list of gaps in my wardrobe mounting up, I decided to try Anuschka Rees’ book – The Curated Closet – to pin down what I actually want/need to wear and how to put it together.

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:

There are some clear themes – most of the images I’ve chosen are:

  • simple with lots of solid colours and few prints
  • neutral colours with some deeper jewel colours for variety
  • simple shapes – there’s not a ruffle in sight, but there is structured clothing, tailoring and wrap-front tops
  • casual, weekend clothing with some pieces that would also work for work
  • not too done-up – there’s a relaxed, off-duty feel to the styling
  • fairly slim-fitting, waisted, with longer, clean silhouettes and sometimes asymmetry

From this, I’m trying to piece together how I’d like my own wardrobe to look. It feels something like this:

Overall vibe: classic, tailored, minimal, relaxed, grown-up

Colours: lots of neutrals like white, charcoal, dove grey, taupe and navy, (although not black) sprinkled with a few pastels like pink and pale blue, low-contrast colour blocking, and a side order of jewel colours like ruby, emerald, sapphire and purple

Individual items: plenty of trousers – wide-leg and slim-fitting, wrap jersey tops and blouses, leather jackets, tailored jackets and shirts, shirtdresses, wrap dresses, cosy roll neck and v-neck knitwear, simple shoes and boots

Silhouettes: wide-leg trousers with slim-fitting tops, snuggly knitwear over narrow trousers with boots, wrap tops with pencil skirts, fit-and-flare dresses

Materials: wool, leather, well-worn denim, tactile materials like silk, smooth, slinky and crisp textures

Styling: long, choppy layered, natural-looking hair (phew – I don’t have to get a pixie crop!), earthy/subtle make-up, big sunglasses, fedora hats, silver necklaces, rings and earrings.

So far, that sounds perfect to me, and it might just silence the pattern chatter in my head. Roll on part 3…

Have you tried working through The Curated Closet, or Colette’s Wardrobe Architect series? How far did you get, and how did it help you?


  1. I’m tempted to buy the book and work through it as I’ve so many orphans in my wardrobe. And I really get how you come to end up wanting to make a coat, that’s funny🙄😆


    • I know! I love making coats (luxe wool, loads of pattern pieces, right up my street!…), but they really do take an age to finish. So far – and I’m only up to Chapter 2 – I like the book. It’s pretty logical and systematic so far. I need that kind of hand-holding to suss these things out, and writing about it on the blog is forcing me to follow through on it!

      Liked by 1 person

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