4 Weeks to a Better Wardrobe: Part I

4 Weeks to a Better Wardrobe - The Well Dressed Life

Finding Inspiration and Getting Clear on What You Like and Need

Our 30 Day Style Challenge was really popular, and a ton of work. I had to figure out a way to simplify it in the New Year so I could keep it going and not be so overwhelmed with the administrative side of things. For those of you not familiar, I started off my entrepreneurial career as a personal stylist and owned Kristel Closets, for over a decade. At our peak, we had three offices on the east coast and a team of stylist covering New York/New Jersey, Philadelphia/Delaware and the DC Metro Area. We’ve worked with thousands of women, helping them navigate the overwhelming world of style and retail to build a wardrobe they loved. I no longer work with clients, but instead, take everything I learned over the years and share it in our style posts.

The Style Challenge was designed to walk you through the process of sorting, organizing and rebuilding your wardrobe, like we used to do with clients. Except this is free, I don’t come to your house, and neither of us needs to put on real pants if we don’t want to.

Over the next four weeks I am sharing each step with you. You can follow along at your own pace and reference the post as needed. You can still do the challenge with friends. We’ll still have conversations and I’ll answer questions, but instead of receiving separate emails and using our Facebook group, we are going to keep the process on this site. If you’ve been part of the challenge before, use this as a refresher, if you’re new, welcome!

The Style Challenge, now called 4 Weeks to A Better Wardrobe, is designed for any woman who wants to get a handle of her closet and fill it with clothes that make her feel confident and pulled together.

This is all of us, right?

Here’s how it works:

Every Tuesday for the next four weeks (starting today) we will share a series of challenges to help you build a better wardrobe. Take your time with each challenge. It’s great if you can get them done in a week’s time, so you keep momentum, but if you can’t don’t worry. Just be sure to finish each challenge, in order, before you move to the next.

Use the comment section below to share your thoughts and insight and to chat back and forth with each other – and ask all the questions. Engagement is key to making this as valuable as possible.

Let’s get started.

Challenge #1

Pull Inspiration Pictures

Before we met with a new client, we sent them pre-work. It was designed to help the process move smoothly and efficiently. I was always aware of the investment our private clients made when they chose to work with us, so this was a way to make sure we got on the same page as quickly as possible. Part of this pre-work was to pull inspiration pictures. I realized early on that we had first to establish the client’s likes before we could dive into an edit.  In the early years of Kristel Closets, I would arrive at an initial appointment, which always took place in our client’s closet, and she would have trouble describing her style. It didn’t take long for me to realize that having a visual helps you to see the common elements in styles you like even if you don’t have a trained eye.

Many of you are looking to streamline and simplify your wardrobe. Without a clear understanding of your style, it will be a challenge to edit your wardrobe. By organizing inspiration pictures, we’re able to create a filter that will help you purge your closet and shop better.

Picture of Laptop showing Wardrobe options on Pinterest Boards

We recommend Pinterest to help organize these images, especially for this challenge. It’s a great place to search and share ideas. Past participants have set up a board just for outfit inspiration. Feel free to share your boards in the comment section below. It’s fun to see everyone’s boards and sharing gives inspiration to others.

If you’re not on Pinterest, no worries.  You can use magazines or catalogs. I like InStyle and Oprah magazine for this exercise. You’ll need them for next week’s challenge. Pour yourself a glass of wine or have a cup of tea and pull as many pictures as you like but have at least 20.  For now, do not think about your body type, budget, or whether it’s appropriate for your life.  You are just getting a sense of what you like. To get you started, take a peek at my personal style board.

Tip!:  If you love books as much as I do, you might enjoy InStyle: The New Secrets of Style.  It’s my favorite reference book that gives real-life examples of an array of styles and clearly explains the nuances to each look.  Keep it in your closet for when you need some inspiration.

Challenge #2
Define your Lifestyle

Our lives are constantly evolving, but our wardrobes tend to stay the same.  If you have changed jobs, got married or divorced, had a baby, had another baby, left the workforce or are just getting back into it, this exercise will help you get clear on your needs. To get a visual of how and where you spend your time, create a Lifestyle Diagram. It’s easy; just draw a circle on a piece of paper to use as a pie chart. Now, break down your life according to percentages totaling 100%. Include work, activities, travel, date nights, anything you spend time doing. It’s important to see how you are spending your time. What you might find is that you’re buying a lot for work, but have nothing to wear to your kid’s soccer game. When I first did this exercise, it was evident I didn’t have enough options for social outings and date nights.

Tip!: We have had some participants take this very seriously! They went so far as to create an Excel spreadsheet and pie chart to capture their percentages. Do what works for you!

Complete both of these challenges before next Tuesday’s post.

I’m looking forward to connecting with all of you and walking through this process together! Remember, every post for the next three Tuesdays will feature a new challenge(s). Keeping the conversation going on this site will be a little easier for me to manage, and give us all a fewer emails in our inbox.


P.S. As we go through the process we’ll be updating our Wear to Work, Shoe, and Denim Closets with recommendations based off of your questions and needs, and are working on setting up a Basics and Weekend Closet, so be sure to check them out periodically.

Megan Kristel

Megan Kristel is an entrepreneur, working mom, and former personal stylist. Tired of the one-dimensional portrayal of women online, she founded The Well Dressed Life as a resource for other professional women.

  1. At 69 3/4, in May I’ll be 70….I still dress young/appropriately, have been retired for a very long time, have grandchildren, 12, 11 and 10….very active…..volunteer…..and I still from time to time get in a quandary as to what to keep and what to purge. I just went through my closet again, as I do quarterly, and purged a ton of things……I’m finding getting dressed to be so much easier…..I’m going to go through my jewelry next….I find myself wearing the same pieces…..I’m looking forward to following your exploration on the wardrobe. I can always learn something new…..I enjoy your blog….

    1. Hey Jill! I’m always so happy to hear from readers and learning that our content appeals to women of all ages in all chapters of life. Since you seem to be already organized and comfortable with letting items go, pay close attention to this first challenge. The process of collecting inspiration pictures can be really eye opening. 🙂

  2. I have done your Style Challenge twice and loved it (and both times felt inadequate that I couldn’t do the weekly activities and would get a little overwhelmed with a busy travel life and schedule, I LOVE the 4 weeks to a better wardrobe context and takes the pressure off those of us crazies who like to meet deadlines for accountability. I am rarely on Pinterest anymore but do love my boards, my style is still ridiculous shoes with everything 🙂 – a great outcome of this challenge was donating so many of my unused, barely worn clothes to others who can enjoy them. Thanks for all you do and this new look and feel of the site and blog is awesome! Mint green suits you.

  3. Thanks for doing what you do!! Happy to try this 4 weeks challenge! (Who doesn’t like a good challenge to start the year?) Once we have a nice big board of styles we like, are we supposed to know how to edit and shop? I am good at pinning but not at then determining how that should inform my decisions!

    1. Hey Christie, We’ll get to that in the next few challenges. The first thing to do is pin all the things you love and complete the lifestyle diagram without thinking about how to edit or shop just yet;)

  4. OK I am playing catch-up a bit. Here is my board: https://www.pinterest.com/lmcpluschke/style/
    No surprise here, but a lot of my pins are from this site!

    In lieu of a pie chart, here’s my breakdown:

    20% of my week working in a creative office
    10% of my week working from home
    14% of my week lounging at home, playing with my daughter at home
    40% sleeping (I love my sleep)
    4% dates/going out with friends
    9% Running errands or casual weekend activities with my family
    3% gym

  5. I work at home half the time in old, stained sweatpants and an REI pullover from 2002, and in an office half the time, trying to fit in with consultants who dress pretty formally, in expensive, fashion-forward clothes. Most of them do not have children and shop or get manicures for fun. When I’m not working, I like to exercise and spend time on the floor with my 3 young kids. So breakdown: 50% casual, 30% professional, 20% athletic. I enjoy expressing my creativity through my clothes, but right now, I don’t have time for it. Maybe a more edited wardrobe would help me dress faster and feel more pride in what I’m wearing. Here’s my board. I dutifully deleted items that didn’t feel special to my style, so now, everything here I really like. https://www.pinterest.com/horsemask/my-style/

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