The one must-have item for creating a wardrobe you love

There is one item you absolutely must invest in if you want effortless style.


A notebook.

Not terribly glamorous, I know. But don’t underestimate the power of this tool in transforming the tangle of fabric currently stuffed in your dresser into a high functioning, effortless wardrobe.

I would be lost without this. Or naked. Probably both.

You can’t possibly keep your current inventory of clothes and all your wants and needs in your head at one time. Nor do you set aside 30 minutes a day for meditation on your wardrobe. But rather, like every other aspect of our lives,  thoughts of clothing flit in and out as the day rolls by, inspiration hits, on-line sales pop up, needs materialize.

While buying a notebook is not as exciting as say, a Sherpa jacket, you will ultimately make better choices about what to purchase and what to get rid of with information at your fingertips.

Did you really mean to say notebook? Not Sherpa jacket?

Here are a few things you’ll want to keep in your notebook:

Ensembles that work

Feel great today? Write down exactly what you are wearing, shoes and underwear included. Use this for future analysis of the type of clothing you might want to add to your arsenal.

Ensembles that fail

Does this scenario sound familiar? You wear an ensemble that doesn’t work, and you feel awkward all day. You get rid of the offending pieces, then find yourself buying and wearing almost the exact same thing a few months later? It’s like my early 20s dating history, only in pullovers.

A list of things that don’t work can help you avoid making the same mistakes over and over (Dropped waist dress) no matter how many other women you see rock the same style.

             Not on me, not ever again.

Your measurements

It’s nice to know what they are, and have them handy.


The measurements of some of your favorite pieces of clothing

When on-line shopping, you can find the measurements of the actual garments. Rather than going with the company’s sizing charts, checking the garment measurements can help you find something that fits the way your favorite pieces fit. This is particularly helpful in judging the length of a top, or the rise of a pair of pants.

What you need

So that when you go shopping, you actually buy what you need


What you want

So you can remember to save money for it

A vintage Kelly Bag? It could happen…

In addition to these basic lists, you should jot down all clothing related information: packing lists for trips, a reminder to take something to the dry cleaner, you can keep your receipts stuffed in here, pictures torn out of catalogs, anything. The point is to have everything in one place, your inspiration, your failures, your hopes and dreams of easy mornings and effortless ensembles.

A stylish woman understands her wardrobe is like a car. It has any number of distinct and inter-functioning parts; wheels, doors, trunk, axle, headlights, tail lights, and um… engine stuff. A car manufacturer would never, ever make a car with 6 or 7 trunks and only 1 wheel. A stylish woman would never buy 9 pairs of nearly identical pants and not have any shoes to wear with them. Like a car, your wardrobe works together as a whole. No one builds a car without a plan. You shouldn’t expect to be able to build your wardrobe without one either.

Henry Ford, legendary businessman and car manufacturer always carried around what he called “jot books.” They are full of notes, sketches, even grocery lists. Any pertinent thought that passed through his head, he wrote down. With scribbled bits of inspiration and information, he transformed business manufacturing. Imagine what a jot book can do for you if all you want is to get dressed in the morning?

OK, so I might have more than one notebook. I’m a little obsessed.

Keep your style notebook tucked into your backpack or bag. Make a habit of pulling it out to make notes on what you and others are wearing. Over time the power of information will pull ahead over the emotional process of shopping and getting dressed. Then, if you are so inclined, you can save for that Sherpa jacket.