The ABC of wardrobe evaluation


wardrobe evaluation

Good morning!  Just like that, it is Fashion Friday, and today I want to share with you my ABC of wardrobe evaluation.

I believe all of us have times in our lives, often over years, where our wardrobes stay the same and do not change that much.

The last five years of my professional life was that way…little change in style or overall wardrobe.

But, since I left that world, it seems I have found myself in a constant state of wardrobe evaluation.  Today, I will explain why.

Then I will share my ABC format of how I am looking at wardrobe evaluation…yet again.

Just because many of us are “older” does not mean we are stagnant and do not have occasional needs to evaluating what we wear.

So, sit down and spend some time with me……


wardrobe evaluation

wardrobe evaluation

The “A” of wardrobe evaluation is always to look at your current clothing and remember how you got there.  

Many of you know that I drastically changed my wardrobe during pandemic time, by embracing Annie Castano’s advice that I am a Vibrant Autumn Color Palette.

I saw a positive change immediately in my complexion when I sent away the majority of my Winter palette wardrobe, and the black pieces I wore often.

At that time, wardrobe evaluation was all about color, so when I look at my wardrobe, I now see a coordinated group of clothes that all support one another in the same color family

That is a good thing.

wardrobe evaluation

At that time, Annie also recommended that I embrace “bohemian” style, so I tried it.

But, my attempts to wear what I thought was “bohemian” did not feel like me.

It was difficult for me to dress that way every day.

So, I decided to ditch the label and return to my favorite way to dress…with style adjectives.

I ask each day I put on an outfit ….Does this tell the world that I am creative, polished, approachable, joyful and current.

If the outfit speaks all of those messages…then I am good to go…it is Pamela-style.

wardrobe evaluation

However, the great thing about blogging is that I have pictures to look back over which log my outfits.

In looking at them recently, I surmised that my adjective order really is polished, approachable, current, creative and joyful.  

Most days I see that I take a foundation of polish, and build on it with the other adjectives.

When I dress this way, I am at my confident best and that results in joyful fashion.

My creativity is most often expressed through accessories.

This is why it is important to first look at what is in your closet and where you have been before going forward.

Sometimes style adjectives can reveal even more about our style when we look closely at how we interpret them.


wardrobe evaluation

B. Consider why you feel a change needs to happen with your wardrobe now

The reason I began a new wardrobe evaluation is because of this one word….FIT.

I am experiencing some success with weight loss and my body is changing.  I desire my wardrobe to change with it.

That means wearing clothing that fits me well and it also means that I stop hiding under oversized tops.

This does take time, and I know those of you who are curvy like I am understand when I say that I have grown to rely on those toppers and third pieces to help with body confidence.

I so hope that is changing and I want to add shorter more fitted pieces to my casual wardrobe…which is predominately larger, flowy pieces.


wardrobe evaluation


C.  A wardrobe evaluation can happen when new needs arise.

Regular readers here know that I have new needs for 2023…a wedding as Mother -of- the -Groom, and some travel.

My current wardrobe evaluation revealed a huge missing piece….dresses!  I am now more open to wearing them.

Does a wardrobe evaluation mean I am changing who I am and what I want to say with my wardrobe?  A resounding no!

I will continue to wear my best colors….I will continue to use my style adjectives to guide each outfit I wear…and I will continue to go out the door with a confident smile.

But, I understand that I do have needs in this wardrobe evaluation, so I must be prudent with my decisions…I need several new outfits.

I think that is a big reason why I am saving money and going with lower price points for workout wear….I have to save somewhere.

Again, my wedding journey will be discussed here…there may not be updates until February…just to let you know.

At age 69, I am surprised that I am still doing a wardrobe evaluation, but glad it is happening.  It’s fun!  And keeps life interesting as we look for adventure one day at a time.

Is anyone else going through a wardrobe evaluation right now…for any reason…please share your thoughts.  It is never too late to shake things up a bit.


NOTES: 1. The jacket and sweater I am wearing today are navy blue (not black) 2. Yesterday’s discussion was amazing…learned so much from the readers!

Remember, tomorrow is Would You Wear It with me and Jennifer…..and for Friday make sure you……………..


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wardrobe evaluation


  1. Interesting, and I think that anyone using the Foundational Five method of using adjectives will be able to relate. My adjectives have changed to more closely reflect my current lifestyle. This is not a drastic change and some remained the same because I know who I am and what I enjoy wearing. But some things have changed. Like you mentioned, flowy has been replaced in my wardrobe with more fitted, dropped sleeves for set-in, and more dresses and skirts (because I love the femininity of them!) I steer clear of the current oversized trend. I am not a trend follower. I pay attention to them, and might try something in very understated and small ways, but as we move through life, I think we get a better sense of who we are. I like to be stylish and current, yet still be me. It’s not at all difficult and saves a lot of money. Feeling we need to try a lot of trends can be pricey and feel like we’re trying to fit into a box that isn’t comfortable personally. It’s interesting that lighter gray isn’t appearing on those “season” charts, unless it’s the lighting on my phone. I love wearing lighter gray and get lots of compliments when I do. I can tell when I try something on if it’s flattering with my hair, skin and eyes, color-wise, and makes shopping easier. I don’t think in terms of seasons, but went through that process a different way. I think it all boils down to what works for us individually, and by now we should have a pretty good idea of what that is. It can be current and fluid and still be “my style.”

  2. I agree completely that trending can be pricey. When I say I want to live ok current it is another way for me to express that I want to look youthful…appropriately youthful. If I look in the dressing room mirror and see something that ages me, then it stays at the store. Thanks for starting today’s conversation, Karen!

  3. I too realize that I tend to wear a third piece, usually a long cardigan, because I’m self-conscious of the additional weight I now carry around my middle. For 50+ years I weighed 100 pounds, but now I have slowly gained up to 130. I am no longer comfortable in my petite small tops, and cannot wear my size 6 and 8 petite pants. However, being short at 5’barely 2”, I am now overwhelmed by longer tops so I wear the long sweaters to attempt to cover much. I track my daily calories at less than 1300 but my weight remains the same, so my wardrobe does too. I realize this text has gone far afield from your post today, but I’m thinking how consist my daily outfit has become, based on my body image. You make me think…which is good!

  4. Pam, you and Karen have nailed it! Yes, our basic style preferences do not change, but the way we interpret it through our dress can change (and should). I am a classic dresser and probably always will be, but I like to add fun pieces to keep current and fun. We sometimes box ourselves in to a particular style and say “I can’t ” wear that. Not true. You look fabulous in dresses, by the way. Happy Friday!

  5. Thanks Marcia. One reason I have loved working with my style adjectives is flexibility. It works much better for me than a one word label.

  6. Wardrobe evaluation or playing with my clothes as my husband calls it! When my lifestyle changed so did my wardrobe but I am still traditional, classic and tailored. I walk right past puffed sleeves, ruffles and cutesy prints. I like to add jewelry and scarves to add interest to an outfit. Since I have started to play golf, I have fun with colors but stick to a basic formula of skirt/pants, sleeveless top, lightweight top which adds some warmth and sun protection and if it’s chilly I add a vest. At 71, retired and pretty much the same size for the last 20 years what has changed is my hair color which is somewhere between blonde and gray. Nowadays with more acceptable casual wear plus the added economic conditions I find I am wearing my closet and only purchase if I absolutely need it.

  7. Re-evaluation is such a rewarding aspect in life, and clothing is a big piece of that. I also think when we change some outward element, it puts a little spring in our step. My very modest personal transformation this past year has been sparked by having stopped coloring my hair. Mostly I still have to point out the silver strands to my friends, since they are probably only five percent or so of my head. Still, I feel different. More Sparkly. 😄 I look forward to seeing the rest of the transformation as I age. Before, I was clinging to my color, my youth. Now I am embracing what is before me. That said, this one little change has made me reconsider my wardrobe, along with last year following along your journey with discovering my very best colors. I am now dressing in more solids, but they are a happy spring palette which is my best. I feel I am letting go of quite a bit of patterned blouses, and happy to do so, because for me I want my new hair to really shine, be the focus (even if it takes awhile!).

  8. You are sparkly, Connie…and I have never seen your hair. But feel certain it matches your vibrant personality.

  9. Pamela, I love love love the way you look in that embroidered blouse with the medallion necklace! Did you purchase it at one of the lovely little boutiques there in San Antonio? (I’ve actually been on the look-out for a top like that forever.) I am constantly tweaking my wardrobe, partly because I just love to shop. I’m having trouble determining my palette, though, as there are good and bad colors for me in every one of them. I just know what looks good on me and stick with those colors, but someday I may have to have my colors “done.”

  10. Hi Niki…well, I did find it in a local resale shop, but that is originally a Johnny Was design. I love their designs, but most often the only way I have own them is through a clearance sale or a consignment shop, such as with this one. That top is a lovely silk.
    You might check out their website.

  11. Celia is right about this making us think. My biggest evaluation came when I retired: I love tailored business clothes but have no need for them now. I’m also going to be a MOG in May, and I can say that evaluating formal dresses is new and challenging. I think style preferences can and do change with age and circumstance. Years ago, I was ‘nudged’ by a Talbot’s associate to try a (conservative) floral patterned suit blouse. It was like your experience with the Nordstrom person, Now I’m more open but also more tailored if that makes sense. I also have more exercise clothes b/c I do more and am evaluating my footwear needs. Your adjectives (and color) have been invaluable.

  12. It does make sense, Maeve. And I am so thankful that I have been of help to you as well.

  13. I would say I’m in a very comfortable place with my wardrobe, having done a huge evaluation about a year into retirement. I realized that in addition to changing my colors to blue autumn, my wardrobe needed to be more casual, and I added “active” to my adjectives. This includes travel and various activities through a busy day, then lounging at home but still being dressed. My wardrobe is looking less and less like that of a teacher with sweaters in various colors, black trousers and big scarves. My direction is more minimalist these days, but with distinctive accessories (my jewelry and slightly funky casual shoes/sneakers) added. Even in my jewelry making, I’m drawn to more sleek styles. I also find I don’t mind a more Scandi or androgynous look. I’m in Southern California traveling now, and feel very at home with the relaxed, active styles I’m seeing out here. They look so effortlessly casual, but almost never sloppy. I’ve spent a ton of time people watching, to catch on to the “secret sauce,” and have some new thoughts and ideas. I don’t think we should ever be “done” with learning and enjoying how we put ourselves together.

  14. Thanks for sharing all of this, Linda…I know it helps everyone to hear from others.

  15. Oh, absolutely! Again, your post is spot on for me. I have lost over fifty pounds in the past six years. I would not recommend my routine: loss of my soul mate, enduring hurricane Harvey minus my best friend and hero and then faced with cancer surgery. Just simply lost my appetite.
    So I have gone from size 18/extra large back to my “old” normal size of 10s and 12s. So I have been living in oversized clothing and slowly, very slowly, purchasing a size that not only fits, but makes m feel so much better about myself.
    I agree that my personal style and color palette haven’t really changed and my casual yet stylish form of dress is about the same. Just thoroughly enjoying seeing my reflection in my mirror and the comfortable feeling of becoming me again. Plus the added bonus of being able to pass on my too large clothing to resale to help someone else.

  16. I am so sorry about all you have been through, Rhoda…but I can read in your words joyful expectation for today and the future. I join you in experiencing that joy in this stage of life. Keep having fun with your new looks!

  17. I love this post and have read it twice, this time with the insightfully thought out comments. So enlightening and relatable. I love my analyzed dark autumn colors and the 5 adjectives you came up with for me. Clothes are about pleasure, and I am always looking for a small addition, whether it be focusing on fun shoes, textured bracelets, or the elusive third pieces. I feel badly when clothes add stress to our lives, usually when we are unprepared for a special occasion. It could be as simple as meeting HS or college friends for lunch or as complicated as being prepared for a weekend of wedding events. Plus, there are so many occasions in between where we want to look our best and perhaps be noticed for all the right reasons. Clothes aren’t optional, they are necessary. I spend travel time studying what makes other women stand out (just for the pleasure of it) as well as contemplating small changes I could make within my wardrobe for variety. What I want to now contemplate is how you CHANGED your adjective list around, almost as building blocks. Brilliant, Pam! I just picked up a copy of The Thoughtful Dresser by Linda Grant. I had it on my kindle, but I am now ordering another copy of it for a friend. My hope is that we are going to read it together, mark it up, and continue our discussion. We have been shopping and sewing together since 7th grade and we are 70. We had our colors re-analyzed together pre-covid, and our walks discussing style and color kept us sane. Cheers to all those who evolve and show continued interest. Thanks, Pam, for providing food for thought and a safe place for discussion.

  18. When I retired almost 13 years ago, it took me a while to find the new me. I went from a job in the banking industry to being mostly a stay-at-home housewife in the beginning stages of caregiving. My first inclination was to wear whatever I had on hand. I disregarded fit & whether I felt good about it. It was “good enough.” While I still dressed well when I went out, even if it was just to run errands, at home, I felt & looked old & frumpy. I finally realized I deserved to look nice for myself. My caregiving journey has ended, & I am beginning a new season of my life, so I will again be looking at my wardrobe. I hope to begin exercising & socializing more. I may even be doing some volunteering in the future, so I need to keep those activities in mind as I reevaluate my life & my clothes.

  19. Think you’ve hit on a great looking style for you with your tweaks. Very attractive & seems to meet all your adjectives. Have you ever thought of a hairstyle tweak too? I know you love your long hair.

  20. Great wardrobe insights, comments and discussion! What I would like to add is that very few discussions also touch on hairstyle. Questions to ask: as I create a wardrobe update, am I also updating my hairstyle? Have I worn my hair in the same style for decades? Would a tweak on a style or cut be long overdue? As my natural color changes, should a haircut change as well? Am I hiding behind long bangs or glasses for safety, just like the long flowy tops? Does my hairstyle reflect who I am now or just the same old “me”? A good hairstylist may be able to make great suggestions, or a gradual change – they may be waiting for the client to start the discussion! I am experiencing this myself as I transition from brunette colored hair. I have not colored my hair since December of 2021, and now after a year long journey, I need more interesting and flattering colors and the hair salon discussions have been great – how to also stay looking youthful and not dated with white hair?!

  21. Niki, I fell in love with Johnny Was embroidered tops a few years before retirement, but can’t afford them at retail or even sale prices. I’ve had great luck finding pieces I love on eBay, so you might try that. Their different styles do tend to fit differently, but once you figure out your sizing it’s a very affordable way to add to your collection. I always think of San Antonio when I find one I like!

  22. Pamela, once again you’ve highlighted an exact wardrobe issue I’m dealing with. I LOVE the idea of just re-prioritizing our style words to more accurately reflect the lives we are living in this season. I have been slow to revise my style words since retiring from a very “business formal” job of almost 25 years last June, as I wasn’t sure what this new chapter would bring. Another reader mentioned “active” above, and I’m very grateful to her, as I needed something to replace “elegant” in my list. I’m currently providing daily care for my 97 year old mother with Alzheimer’s and also babysitting my young grandkids at least once a week, so I think “active” may be the missing piece of the puzzle. I have definitely started focusing on footwear with an eye to what is most functional, after unsuccessful foot surgeries in 2020. (A lifetime of coordinating special events on my feet for hours and for years, in heels, did long-lasting damage to my feet. I love the footwear styles you show, as they always look like possibilities for me. Thank you for once again giving me a new way to think about my old wardrobe! I’m looking forward to doing a very focused closet update soon, and your posts will continue to be a great source of inspiration.

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