How to make the right shopping list {behind-the-scenes of what my list & list-making process looks likes}


You can’t have everything that's great, but you can make everything you have the greatest. {Click to tweet}

That’s my approach when it comes to personal styling—I want to help you make the greatest choices for you. The ones that are ultra insync with the lifestyle you live, the budget you have, and the story you want to tell.

So how do you figure out what pieces are the greatest choices for you?

Short of working with a personal stylist, there is a favourite free tool of mine you can harness for some style clarity. A tool that you're probably already using.

The tool is Pinterest. And the strategy I call Practical Pinteresting.

Last year I shared my guide to Practical Pinteresting for style clarity. And in this part two, I’m walking you through exactly how I’ve used it to create my shopping list for Spring.

How to make the right shopping list for spring



The set-up

I have 4 boards I pin looks and pieces to as I come across them: one for winter outerwear, one for winter “inner” wear, one for summer, and one for the transitional seasons.

You can separate your boards by season like I do, or by lifestyle activity like “office wear” and “weekend wear”—whatever makes sense to you.

Be mindful about what you pin to these boards. I recommend editing them frequently by deleting the pins that don’t totally gel with our style and our life.

We only want to pin looks that we can really see ourselves wearing, or can picture exactly how it could inspire an outfit in our closet.

So, I won’t be pinning an outfit that involves denim overalls, when I have no plans of buying a pair. And I won’t pin a striped t-shirt and jeans if I already pair my striped t-shirt with jeans all the time.

But I will pin a look that features a denim style I really love that I don’t yet own, but could really see fitting into my current wardrobe.

Not sure where to find style inspiration?



From pinspiration to practical

When we’re ready to make our shopping list, we'll go through the style inspirations boards and start to re-pin pins to a second board: pieces to buy.

I like to start by scrolling through the board to pick up on the overall feeling and themes. Then, I’ll dissect more carefully—looking at what pieces I got here and keeping my current closet and the story I want to share through my personal style at the front of my mind.

These are the kind of questions I’ll be asking to figure out which pins move from my inspiration board to my buying list:

  • what colours, patterns, or silhouettes are reoccuring here on my inspiration board?
  • what one piece do I see that I’ve pinned in a bunch of different outfits, or on a bunch of different people?
  • what pins am I most obsessed with every time I scroll through?

For me,
On the large scale, I noticed a lot of bright whites—a colour I already love wearing (my two bright white tops in the hamper may be the only reason I do laundry…)

Secondarily, I noticed a lot of blush as well as both pastel and brighter blues, purples, and pinks.

I also noticed a lot of patterns (especially black and white), romantic + drapey silhouettes, and more structured pieces.

On the small scale, I noticed a pair of wide leg patterned trousers was one of the looks I was totally obsessed with, as well as some statement romantic dresses.

I’ll start to repin the items that are reoccuring, that I really love, and can really see myself wearing to my “pieces to buy” board and write in the pin description what piece of the outfit I want to buy.



Making a list

Once we’re done going through the inspiration boards and repinning to the “pieces to buy” board, it’s now time to edit and analyze the new board.

I ended up with about 30 pins, a lot of which were duplicates descriptions (like multiple “bright white high-neck top” and multiple “pleated midi skirt”.) You may have a lot of duplicates too—and duplication is a good sign.

Now, it's time to think. I’ll think hard about which pieces will go the farthest in my closet, in my every day, or in whatever part of my lifestyle I’m having the most trouble dressing for right now.

Some questions to ask at this point:

  • will this piece fit in well with my lifestyle?
  • can I think of 5 ways I would style this right now in my current wardrobe?
  • is this really inline with my personal style and the story I want to share?

Once you think an item is a good fit for you, add it to a shopping list you’ll bring with you to the stores. (I use Evernote for this.)

I’ll end up with some items that are really specific like “blush sleeveless high-neck blouse”. Others will reflect more general themes and needs, like “white blouse #1” and “white blouse #2”.

Here’s a peek at what my spring/summer buying list looks like this:

Seem like a lot of items? That’s because it is.

There’s about 20 items on here, but for many of us on a budget and wanting to build a lasting wardrobe of quantity over quality—we’re not looking to buy 20 new items all in one month.

So why include so many? Because I know I’m not going to find the perfect white shirt, perfect white dress, and perfect and the perfect blazer and shorts coord. And you’re probably not going to find the right version of everything you want either.

So, make a list of all the options you know you would love and that would make a difference in your closet and how you show up every day.

Think of it less like a checklist, and more like a delicious menu from which you can pick.

Now do yourself a favour, and don't leave home without your list!

I suppose my future style posts won’t surprise you now that you’ve seen my shopping list ;)

I hope you enjoyed this little walk through and I sincerely hope you give it a try.

You deserve to love getting dressed in the morning. You deserve to have a closet that brings you joy by making you feel like your most confidence and authentic self.

And don't worry, I've made it my personal mission to not stop until you get there ;)

Stay stylish m’dear,


P.S. Interested in breaking down the elements of your own closet and outfits, for more style clarity? Book a session—whether you're here in Toronto or we do it via Skype—together we'll help you find more confidence, more clarity, and more joy in your closet!