How to Build a Branded Wardrobe – Part 2 by @theWardrobeCode

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by Nicole Longstreath | Featured Contributor

Last month, we talked about how to get your wardrobe ready in How to Build a Branded Wardrobe, Part 1. So, if you’ve had a chance to edit and organize your wardrobe, you’re much closer to being ready to shop than if you didn’t.

Just think of it like Thanksgiving. If you’ve ever cooked a Thanksgiving feast, I’m pretty sure this is not how you prepared for it.

First, you thought, “Gee, I really want to have a delicious Thanksgiving dinner, but I don’t know what I want. Turkey, yes. But what else … potatoes? Stuffing? Ooh, maybe pecan pie?” Then, you wandered into the grocery store a couple nights before the big day and just bought what appealed to you in the moment.

Sounds absurd, right? If you shopped for Thanksgiving this way, you would probably end up with a disaster of a meal.

Do you see where this is going?

In order for you to create a wardrobe that can perform, there needs to be some planning involved. So, now that you’ve got your closet organized and edited, we’ll be able to see what you’ve got and what you’re missing. Remember that Wardrobe Inventory Worksheet I mentioned last time? Get that out and take a quick inventory.

What’s missing here? For most women, it’s tops – but it may be different for you. Ask yourself what you need for your unique lifestyle. Lately, you may be needing a lot less suits and a lot more casual wear to keep you from working in your yoga pants. Now, jot down – on paper – what items you need.

Next, we need to figure out where we’re going to buy these items. Think for a moment about your favorite brands, brands that fit you well and are good quality. For example, I know that I love pencil skirts from J. Crew. So, if I have “skirts” on my shopping list, next to it I’m going to write, “J. Crew.” Also consider larger stores you know will have good selection of something you need. For example, my favorite place to shop for costume jewelry is Bloomingdale’s – so, if I have jewelry on my list, I’m going to write “Bloomingdale’s” next to it.

I’m a big fan of online shopping, but it requires knowing which brands fit you best. If you don’t know sizing (it varies across brands) just look up their sizing charts and check against your own measurements.

By now, you should have a list. On the left, what you need. On the right, where you’re going to get it.

But, not so fast! The last thing you want to do is run out immediately for a shopping marathon. In next month’s post, I’m going to teach you how to actually do the work of building your wardrobe – the smart way!


Nicole LongstreathNicole Longstreath is on a mission to save women from the dysfunctional shopping experience. She is a virtual wardrobe stylist working with women across the globe to build personal brands that command attention and influence.

Nicole began her journey as a stylist with a unusual “guerrilla shopping” experiment in 2010. For 6 months, she vowed to shop only at local thrift stores. Her theory: building a wardrobe on a micro-budget was totally possible – but only if she was clear on what she was looking for.

At the end of the experiment, she had a new wardrobe (for less than $500) and a new vision of what building a wardrobe should be like – whether it was done in a thrift shop or Bloomingdale’s.

Nicole believes that all women are entitled to their own, unique brand of personal style, regardless of age, size, shape or amount of disposable income. You can find her at her home base,, on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

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