Many of today’s approaches to building a wardrobe pander to our craving for speedy results and a fast fix. With the oh-so-popular showcasing of outfits through social media channels, the need for instant outfit variation is greater than ever. 

Shopping fast fashion is one way to keep your outfits varied and new at a relatively affordable price. Companies like Stitch Fix will send you a box of preselected items as frequently as desired. Renting occasion wear and designer bags is gaining momentum. You can rent a range of clothing items like you would a set of Netflix movies. Phone apps that allow you to purchase outfits worn by inspiring fashion bloggers at the push of a button are on the rise.

This emphasis on speed and ease is compelling, and I enjoy a fast fashion fix like most people. But when it comes to building a functional wardrobe with longevity, and that makes you feel fabulous, I encourage a different approach: slow down and take your time. Be thoughtful, thorough, discerning, and enjoy the journey. That way, you’re less likely to end up with a wardrobe full of things and nothing to wear. And you will have the satisfaction of building a functional wardrobe from scratch.

The process begins with analyzing the factors that affect your style: your sartorial preferences, body type, need for outfit variety, lifestyle, climate, environment, and budget. Setting annual style goals keeps you focussed. Regular closet edits and reviews identify wardrobe holes, and keep the right inventory in your closet. Creating wardrobe capsules breaks up your wardrobe into manageable chunks and ensures that your items relate to each other so that you can create fabulous, complete outfits. Shopping regularly, but carefully, throughout the season adds excitement to your wardrobe and keeps your style evolving. 

Don’t take it too seriously, learn from your mistakes, laugh a lot, and pat yourself on the back when you get things right.

Of course, you’ll make mistakes, get impatient and frustrated, and want to give up. This might draw you back to the fast fix. But in my 12 years as a fashion consultant I’ve found that you will reap the rewards of slow style if you keep at it. The more thought and effort you put into your wardrobe, the more it will accurately reflect your needs, create an authentic style that is manageable, and make you happy. 

The process gets so much easier and faster over time. Eventually you’ll get to the point where you spend less time on your style and wardrobe because you’ve covered all your bases. You can forget about your outfits because they’re doing their job. And you can get on with everything else that life has to offer while looking and feeling fab.