I plan around what I have and try for columns of neutral color. Then it is easy to add interesting pieces to the column. I stick to mostly warm colors. This site has helped me define what I like and what I don’t, especially helpful in types of prints and silhouettes.

For nearly a decade - up until the pandemic - I spent a huge amount of time assessing, planning, maintaining an inventory spreadsheet, tracking and rating outfits, and agonizing over having "the right" personal style.

I don't think it was time wasted, exactly. I do feel I could have put at least some of that time to better use.

2020 really turned around a lot of my thinking. The main thing being, I'm keeping things simple. I don't want to think too hard about what I'm wearing.

Now I plan my wardrobe as a whole. When I do that, the outfits seem to sort themselves. My favorite tools are my Pinterest boards, Alyssa Beltempo for outfit planning ideas and Christie Ressel for wardrobe capsule/planning ideas.

MB, when I started at YLF and heard about those kind of systems, I was stunned. Way more energy than I want to put into it.

“Buy and hold” works for me:
With the exception of a few years in the 201xs, my size has been pretty much constant since my age hit double digits. Emotionally, I like what I like, and that hasn’t changed a ton either.
I buy things with a use in mind, and don’t get gorgeous things just because I really like them. I’ve stepped away from buying whole outfits like Barbie and Skipper, but I generally have in mind what i want to wear a new item with when I get it. I’ve learned the old “wear it with jeans” copout for tops doesn’t work for me—i rarely wear jeans!
As I’ve learned new strategies and outfit formulae, I’ve applied them to the wardrobe I already own. If I think an x would be just perfect, I go look through what I have, and often find a thing that works.
I enjoy posting on YLF because I hope people will tell me not just what works, but also what looks like I’ve just stepped out of a time machine without pausing to even comb my hair.

Interesting thread. Just reinforces my thinking that wardrobe systems are as diverse as the women who wear the clothes!

After being on YLF site for decade (and succumbing to all the traps which can envelope an enthusiastic newcomer to the site!), I finally realized that I’m happiest with a small wardrobe. That insight came after I discovered three “tricks” which I learned from Angie and other YLFers which really worked for sorting out my attitude towards my wardrobe vs.fashion:

(1) Making a list of a) what elements/styles/shapes I like to wear, b) what I don’t like, and c) what intrigues me. That tattered list is still in my closet because it helps me sort through cyclical fashion trends and enthusiasms. The list has become MY personal style guide since “what intrigues me” gets regularly tweaked, but my likes and dislikes have remained fairly constant over the years. I think the specifics of the list work better for me than a fashion moniker. The “likes” part of the list also pretty much defines my “essentials” since it’s easy to distill what I need to have in my closet to put these looks together.

(2) Thinking along the “French 5 (or 6 or 10 or whatever number works for a person)” when I add to my wardrobe. Forcing myself to assess if I’m willing to “sacrifice” a number for an item has really helped me become a more careful shopper. I spend less because I ignore sales, bargains, and “deals”. Instead, I look for how well an item fits into my wardrobe based on what intrigues me at this moment—but always with my personal style likes and dislikes in the back of my mind.

(3) Maintaining a “one in, one out” philosophy. I have a limited amount of closet space so I’m constantly thinking of what will need to be eliminated if something new is added. Ideally the eliminated piece will be worn out, but, if it’s not, I’m forcing myself these days to consider how the item can be re-purposed without adding to the mountains of clothing deposited at our local thrift shop. I’ve had good success with consignment and handing down my pricier items to younger family members, but sometimes I’ve been left with having to re-assess my thinking about an item. That’s how I ended up with an almost new, buttery yellow, $$$ cashmere hoodie as loungewear last year. The color was a bad lapse in judgement (I adore the shade but it doesn’t return my love when placed next to my face). Demoted to loungewear, the sweater has become my favourite item to wear around the house. And who knew how useful cashmere could be when forced to wait around a chilly ER at midnight—it kept my poor friend warm and cosy while waiting for the orthopedic surgeon and the paramedics entranced by its softness whenever they came by to check on her!

Those three “tricks” work as my planning tools because they help me control what goes into my closet. I still make mistakes (cashmere hoodie!) but overall I’m pretty happy with the current size and functionality of my wardrobe.

As always, it's so interesting to read about everyone's thoughts and processes!

I think I do what Mary Beth says:

Now I plan my wardrobe as a whole. When I do that, the outfits seem to sort themselves.
Meaning that I think about colors and shapes and add things that "go" with other things I own. Over time this evolves as fashion silhouettes evolve, though I don't think I go too far out on any style limbs.

What Synne said, and not having more at any one time than can fit comfortably in my closet with a bit of space between the hangers