Most of us keep a seasonal shopping list as we update and replenish our wardrobe, and evolve our style. Perhaps it is a formal shopping list that you write down somewhere, or maybe you keep it in your head and mentally tick things off as you go. Whichever way works for you, you’ll find that each item on your list probably fits into one of these four categories. 

Wardrobe Holes

These are the items that complete outfits and capsules. Or they are stand-alone items like coats, dresses and evening wear. For example, you might be in desperate need of a puffer coat now that you’ve moved to a colder climate. Or, heeled oxfords would complete your Winter frock and skirt outfits, which you don’t wear at the moment because you lack the right footwear to complete the looks. Or, you keep on wearing the same black sheath to dressy functions and it’s uncomfortably cold. What you really need is a versatile le Smoking that you can mix and match with different tops as well as keep you warm.  

New Trends

These are new silhouettes that tickle your fancy. For example, you have plenty of blue skinny jeans which you like to wear with boots or booties, so patterned skinnies have piqued your interest. Or you fancy the new bomber jacket and daytime clutch trend. Or you’re sick of the dark colours in your wardrobe, which makes you like all things pastel. These aren’t necessarily wardrobe holes because your outfits are adequately complete without them. But you can fill a wardrobe hole with a trendy piece. For example, you are short on jeans, so instead of adding another pair of straight legs, you added a “new for you” slouchy boyfriend style instead. 

Replenishment Items

These are wardrobe essentials or basics that often need replacing because they get a LOT of wear. Wardrobe Essentials are the indispensable staples without which your wardrobe would not function. Wardrobe Basics are things like underwear, shape wear, socks, hosiery, sleepwear and loungewear. 

Unexpected Delights

This is the extra fun part of your shopping list that is entirely spontaneous. After all, the element of surprise can be magical. You might have an inkling of what these unplanned purchases will be, but often you don’t know the item is on your list until you see it, fall in love with it, and have to have it.

It might seem strange to have unexpected items as a category on your list, but I believe it helps to  view them this way. First, it is a reality that these will pop up and consume some of your shopping budget. You may even want to set aside a certain portion of your budget for this. And second, it legitimizes some spontaneity. It is impossible to effectively plan every wardrobe purchase because you don’t know what you’ll run into, or how your style preferences will change. Sometimes it’s these unplanned items that end up becoming your favourite pieces and wardrobe work horses of the future. 

On my Spring shopping list are several new trends and some wardrobe essentials that need replenishing. I don’t have any wardrobe holes at the moment, and I’m covered with basics (although I’m often looking for the right socks). Black booties were a wardrobe hole in Winter, but I’ve taken them off my shopping list for now because I know that in six weeks I’m going to be much more interested in white booties. 

Keeping your wardrobe purchases focused and in line with your needs and wants is the reason we take the trouble of keeping a seasonal shopping list in the first place. As fun as it is to make all our purchases “unexpected delights”, that’s often how we end up with a closet full of stuff and nothing to wear. Or too many options to choose from. Or a shortage of items that you wear day to day. Or unnecessary duplications. Or a wardrobe for your imaginary lifestyle. 

Keeping a seasonal shopping list that is flexible, but not vague, will help to create a balance between wardrobe discipline and having fun with fashion.