Curated Closet Part 5: what do I need?

Autumn is sneaking up on us here in the UK, and the changing of the seasons means the gaping holes in my wardrobe are revealing themselves once again. It must be time to get on with the next part of my Curated Closet journey.

I worked through Chapter 8, which is all about reviewing whether your current wardrobe – what’s left after the cull – matches up to how you spend your time. If you’re that person who owns 17 cocktail dresses but never goes to cocktail parties, this one’s for you! I’ve thought about this a bit before (in my 2016 post about Summer sewing plans) but now seems a good time to update those ideas and follow through them.

How do I really spend my time?

My real-life clothing categories look something like this, from most used to least used:

  1. Casual – childcare, working from home, holidays, weekends and evenings
  2. Walking/gym/hiking/cycling – I do one of these four days a week most weeks, sometimes Pilates or a gym class, sometimes just walking into town – but when you live in a semi-rural area you spend a lot more time in outdoorsy clothing and activewear than you do in a city.
  3. Swimming – earlier this year I had adult lessons to learn front crawl, and I try to swim at least once every week.
  4. Smart casual – for occasional client meetings (I work in marketing, so suits aren’t required), meeting friends who like to dress smartly, and the odd date night with Mr Wardrobe.
  5. Scruffy – old clothes for gardening or DIY.
  6. Glam – celebrations and parties – this category was big in my 20s and 30s; now, not so much… I probably wear things from this category only a handful of times a year.
  7. Funerals – it feels gloomy having a specific category for this, but this is one area where you really don’t want to have to shop for something new. And you really can’t turn up in a sparkly cocktail dress!

And then I remembered another category that isn’t mentioned in Curated Closet – nightwear. And when you think about it, you actually wear this as often as all the others put together!

Reality v my wardrobe

Next, I went through my wardrobe and tried to estimate what proportion of my clothes fall into each category.

Here’s how that all looks in pie charts.

As you can see, I’ve got more of some things than I need and not enough of others.

  • I’ve pretty much sorted out gym/walking kit and swim kit over the last year, so I don’t need any more of those right now.
  • Glam is over-represented in my current wardrobe – not surprising after almost twenty years of going to two weddings and one hen night (aka bachelorette party) each year. I’m not going to prune this down any further just yet, but I need to keep an eye on the space it takes up, and work out what to do with my wedding dress… (Anyone dyed theirs and/or refashioned it?)
  • The pie charts really highlight the problem I face most days – how to dress casually without going all the way over into scruffy?
  • The other major gap is nightwear. I have some, but it wears out quickly because I don’t have enough, and I really need different options for warmer, summer nights and colder, winter nights.

My current priorities

So the two big gap areas in my wardrobe are everyday casual outfits and nightwear. I’m going to get distracted along the way by other shiny new patterns and fabrics, but you can expect to see more of these two categories in my sewing plans over the coming months.

Over to you…

If you’ve gone through a similar process, what did you identify as missing in your wardrobe? Were you surprised at all?

And can you recommend a favourite nightwear pattern I could try?


  1. You could instantly improve these proportions by getting rid of enough of the scruffy. I do understand the glam-denial, but maybe you could put your least favorites away, to prepare for really getting rid of them? Surely some must be getting a bit dated? Or maybe you should just get season tickets to the opera, the theater, some regular but more grown-up occasion to wear them. And then how much smarter are your smart casuals? Can you make them fill in as regular casual by wearing them with sneakers, a wool scarf, a backpack?

    I have to say that my life changed when I finally coughed up the last pair of flannel pjs. Finally I can relax without having what seemed like weekly laundry panics, I am much more in control of my relaxed times. I have been making the same ones for 20 years at least, but the Carolyn pjs seem very nice..


    • I think you have a point about getting rid of some of my scruffier clothes – there are definitely one or two lurkers in that category that I could probably do without. I’m intrigued that resolving your PJ situation was life-changing for you – laundry is a hot topic in our house too! The Carolyn PJs do look lovely, and there are some great versions out there – I think it’s going to depend whether I feel like investing the time involved in doing justice to a notched collar and piping.


      • A post at youlookfab about dual locations got me to take a hard look at my perpetual panic with my work week in town vs weekend in the country. It came down to buying just one more pack of underwear and making one more pj. I have not been transformed into an organized person, but I never find myself completely short any more. I’m lazy though, so to me pjs come down to loose comfy flannel pants (I live in morning fog, flannel works 362 days/year). Then I throw on a baggy t-shirt, matching if you’re lucky. And a nice sweater. I love the look of piping, but if I had to wait for it to get pjs, I would be wearing 10 year old holey sweats. Also my entire take on laundry is: more underwear. Anything less than a 2-week supply is flirting with disaster, 3 weeks gives you a comfortable margin. I like to make it, but having it is better.


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