Thank you for all the positive feedback on my last Style Lab post. I’m not sure exactly where this is going, but I’m very glad you’re along for the ride. In this post, I’m looking at what I need from my wardrobe in practical terms so as to make it work better for me.

Requirements: Currently around 25% Professional, 25% Social, 50% Casual, with overlaps in between. Seasonal capsules should be proportionate with their duration in the cycle. Small travel capsules are required for away trips.

Professional: Creative technical designer. Formerly business oriented, lately focused on teaching and seminars with steps to move into sustainable fashion. Styling should be definitive and personal as opposed to fashion forward. Typically architectural or tailored, drawing mainly on Timeless/Individual styling. A restrained, accessible look is best for the classroom.

Social: Urban leisure day to evening, meeting friends, eating out, gigs, date nights, shopping, museums &c. Out and about off duty is where I’m most adventurous in Urban/Eclectic styling. Formal functions and nights at the opera up the ante.

Casual: Getting dressed for the sheer joy of it, to work at home/in studio, run errands, or head to yoga class. Often oversized silhouettes for comfort and mobility, dressed up for the feel good factor. Quality and style is important for emotional reasons. Includes a small loungewear capsule, but everything else leaves the house eventually.

Environmental: All should be workable on a bicycle. Some of my biggest mistakes have been failures to account for this. Solid, comfortable footwear required for lots of walking. Rainwear is essential year round, as are hats in winter.

Seasonal: Summers are warm and humid, winters are cold and wet but seldom freezing. Dressing for four distinct seasons keeps style fatigue at bay, with many items rotating in and out.

My wardrobe is full of wonderful things that don’t always match. I’ve worked my way through many different personae over the years and their traces linger on in my closet like skeletons. There are many reasons for this, chief among them being the various professional roles I’ve cycled through and my ongoing efforts to dress authentically for each of them.

I think I need a clearer “if (this) then (that)” strategy, setting conditions for particular roles and crafting a range of looks for various circumstances. I’m already doing this to an extent, but life changes can mean that items acquired to fill a specific need can go unworn if I don’t find new styling options for them. For instance, I’d like to make elements of what used to be my business wardrobe work in new settings, because as Angie points out, I look darn good in a blazer.

All that said, my shopping strategy to date hasn’t exactly supported a coherent presentation. Things are getting better, but I don’t think I’ve ever been systematic, or even honest with myself, in defining exactly what needs to be in my wardrobe. While I love having a closet I can shop, there are undoubtedly things languishing in there which are good enough to find a place in someone else’s life.