If you’ve been following along with me from the beginning, you may remember that one of my earliest projects was a weird little thing that I eventually titled Spreadsheet Wardrobe. Basically, I chose a certain number of clothes to wear in a month, and then, in one sitting, I planned out every single day of outfits for the next 30 days. It sounds crazy, but it was actually really easy, and I loved it. I loved being able to just wake up every morning and not have to think about what to wear. It was a great end-of-winter project that kept me distracted until warmer days arrived.
When the season changed, I abandoned my spreadsheet project in favor of play. I swapped in more new clothes this summer (and swapped out more old fast-fashion) than I have in a long time, and I just wanted to play dress-up all season. That was fine for a while, but now I’m starting to feel that itch again. A shopping itch. An itch that says I’m ready for this season to be over.
It feels like the right time for a little wardrobe science.
I decided that it would be a good use of the last month of my slow fashion summer to map out my outfits in advance and experiment with some fun new combinations. So, I dusted off the old wardrobe spreadsheet, made a few tweaks to my method, and in 30 minutes (seriously people, I did this on my lunch break) I mapped out every single outfit that I plan to wear between today and September 21. I recommend doing this with a glass of wine and/or a cat to pet, ideally with some nice music and candles. As opposed to hunched over your phone at your desk while scarfing down a burrito.
Planning your outfits 30 days in advance is actually much easier than it sounds, and if you’d like to try it out yourself, there’s a template you can download at the end of this post, along with a copy of my very own spreadsheet wardrobe that you can use as an example.
Here’s how it works:
- Take inventory
Decide what clothes you want to wear for the next 30 days. It can be your entire wardrobe, or just a small portion of it. There is no correct number of items. I chose about 80% of my exiting wardrobe, which comes out to 23 items total, separated into categories of tops, bottoms, dresses, outer layers, and shoes. I left out most of my t-shirts, a few dresses, and my jeans (I don’t know why I ever think I’ll be able to wear jeans in the summer in this swamp town…). I kept my inventory strictly to items that I’m loving right now, even if some of the pieces I left out are more versatile.
- Map out your activities each day for the next 30 days
Mine are easy because my life is very boring. I only have two items in my activities category: work and home. If I learn as the days go on that I have an event coming up, I’ll put that activity in the column and change the outfit if necessary. If you have a more exciting life than me, it might take you a little longer than a lunch break to map out your outfits based on your activities, but I think that for most of us, our next 30 days are going to be predictable.
- Make some outfits
Now for the fun part! Take stock of the day and the activity, and enter some outfits. I go day by day, but you could start with entering just the tops for each day, just the shoes, or weekends first – whatever! Maybe you want to make 30 different outfits. Maybe you want to repeat some. Could this project be a way for you to get more wear out of some items than they’re currently getting? Shape your outfit schedule to reflect your goals, however you want to. I tried to pepper some old favorites with new combinations that I haven’t tried before.
This time around, I decided to include a Notes column for some post-outfit reflection. After you’ve worn an outfit on your spreadsheet, take a minute to jot down how you felt about it. If you didn’t wear it at all, write that down, and why. If you unexpectedly loved it, now you have a neat little record of some go-to favorites!
Some important things to keep in mind:
- This should be a living document. The reason it’s in a digital spreadsheet and not a cute little printable is because you should make edits to it when you need to. Life will happen, and you should not feel like a prisoner to a spreadsheet when it does.
- Speaking of things that happen: weather. You may notice that I did not include a column for the forecast. I left that column out intentionally because it’s too difficult to predict, and because I don’t know about your neck of the woods, but DC will be probably be pretty consistently hot & swampy over the next 30 days. My outfits don’t change that dramatically when it rains, so I should be alright.
- There are no rules. This isn’t meant to be a challenge or an exercise in self-discipline, it’s just supposed to be fun and interesting. If something isn’t working for you, change it, and if this whole thing is stressing you out, toss it. I’m not going to tell anyone.
If I somehow convinced you that this will be fun, click here to download a copy of the spreadsheet wardrobe template, and use the hashtag #spreadsheetwardrobe if you want to document and follow along on Instagram.
Need some inspiration? Click here to download a copy of my 30-day outfit plan.
What do you think about this project? Weird or fun? Maybe both? Let me know in the comments below!