Friday, April 27, 2012

FBFF: My Outfit Spreadsheet

I was so pumped to write this FBFF* post on outfit planning because I think I have the most incredibly dorky way of tracking and planning looks: A Google Docs spreadsheet!

This started in part because I am a complete ogre in the morning. Ask my roommates and my husband. This doesn’t just mean I hit snooze 20 times and will bark at you if you try to talk to me. It also meant that I was getting frazzled when selecting my outfit for the day, so I just grabbed the first thing I saw. Throughout the day I’d be reading fashion blogs and thinking of all the ways I was inspired to play with my own wardrobe, but come the next morning I’d forget all these awesome ideas.

Let's go play in my closet

So, the spreadsheet was born a few months ago. It has a column for each category of item that could potentially go into an outfit: top, 2nd top/sweater/jacket, dress, skirt/pant, shoes, accessories (ie belt, hat, scarf), and jewelry. For each potential look, I write down which item goes into which category (see the screen shot below). This also helps me see how versatile a piece is and how many ways I can remix it into different outfits.


I take some time in my closet a couple times each week to test out the things I’ve put into my spreadsheet and make sure they look as good in reality as they do in my head. I don’t take pictures like Cher does in Clueless (except for this post), but usually just give the outfit a yay or nay on the spot, or find a way to tweak it to make it look better. I often spend way longer than originally intended on this process, because I think of new combinations, rediscover old pieces, and basically play dress up in my own closet, jotting down notes as I go along. (Are you embarrassed for me yet?) I don’t necessarily plan these outfits out for specific days, but generally take stock each week of what the weather’s going to be like and think of some looks that will work with that. I love getting dressed up for special occasions and planning those outfits down to the last detail, but I like to put similar care into my day-to-day looks, too. (Except when I've wildly overslept.)

OK I do take outfit test pictures. Just this for the purpose of this post, though! Oh, and my photographer husband is thoroughly embarrassed by my cheesy iPhone photos and over zealous use of filters from picfx (which I learned about on Twitter from Blair of Atlantic-Pacific)

The spreadsheet also helps me track how long it’s been since I’ve worn something. At the end of each row, I have a column to input the date I last wore a particular outfit. Right now, most of my spreadsheet is dominated with Spring/Summer outfit ideas. One thing I’m pumped about is that as the season draws to a close, I can take a look to see what rows have blanks in the date last worn column, and make an effort to wear those outfits before the warm weather runs out. (Yes, I just said pumped).

I’ve said before that I love to recreate looks worn by my favorite fashion bloggers using similar items in my own closet. Whenever I come across something I think could work for me, I usually pin them and log my version into my Google Doc on the spot. New purchases inspire me too. I love buying a single new piece and thinking of all the ways it can remix with things in my closet. Because of this, I can’t remember the last time I had to buy an entirely new outfit for an event. #Gofrugality

Trying to recreate this look from Atlantic-Pacific with clothing I already own 

I'm sure you're all thinking I'm either incredibly high maintenance or hopelessly nerdy, but an outfit spreadsheet is actually a lot easier than these seven paragraphs might indicate. You can jot ideas down on the fly and test them out whenever you get the time. And that part is loads of fun. I encourage you to try it! Not only will it help you get more creative and organized with what you wear, but you’ll probably find that you have a lot more going on in your closet than you thought you did!



*FBFF stands for Fashion Beauty Friend Friday. It was started as Katy Rose over at Modly Chic as a way to regularly connect fashion and beauty bloggers around a specific topic. (Read more about it here). I heard about it at a blogger conference I attended last month, and this is my first go! Thanks for reading.

22 comments:

  1. adore your style!!
    i really love outfit plans!great idea!

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  2. OMG. I cannot believe you do this. I used to do this in high school on paper (because I couldn't get over that I wasn't rich enough to have a computer program to do it for me like Cher in Clueless) and I probably should do it again, because I am completely in agreement about the morning thing.

    Also I love the idea of the FBFF thing! I hadn't heard about this before! I'm not a fashion blogger but I do love clothes. I will have to look more into this!

    ~L

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    1. Haha I love that you did this in high school! I was totally jealous of Cher's rotating closet contraption.

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  3. Love the outfit you recreated! And I think this is a great idea! I would love to try it... but I'm hopeless with a planner so I have a feeling it would start out great and then diminish into me forgetting to do it! But kudos to you! It looks fantastically organized and your clearly have an amazing sense of style!

    xoxo,
    Rachel
    www.rachelslookbook.com

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    1. Rachel , I hear you! I am usually a bit more on the visually disorganized side, but my closet is one area I have been able to keep it together. My living room or kitchen will start out disorganized and go downhill quick, but I've always been able to color code my closet. And there's this spreadsheet thing. Honestly, updating it feels like a fun creative release more than it does a chore! Give it a try.

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  4. very organised - lovely outifts xxxx

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  5. i'm giggling to myself right now. i would never say you're high maintenance, but hopelessly nerdy, maybe a little - in a great way :-)
    liz

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    1. Hahah, yeah you've experienced my nerdiness first hand! I was laughing to myself as I was writing this...

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  6. I love it, I've never thought about doing it that way before, but it sounds like a great idea! Fantastic!

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    1. Try it and let me know what you think!

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  7. lovely :)

    http://glamourgirl-bg.blogspot.com/

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  8. Haha! I love that you alluded to Cher in Clueless. The bokeh effects are the photos too cute!

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    1. Thanks! They helped brighten up my otherwise dark iPhone photos.

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  9. That's awesome that you use a spreadsheet! I use for almost everything else in my life haha I should probably use it for my outfits but I'm not a daily outfit blogger :/ I try to push clothes I haven't worn recently towards the front of my closet so as to force myself to wear them but most times I end up grabbing the same 5 t-shirts #fail

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    1. I'm totally guilty of almost wearing the same thing all the time! It's tough when you find favorites :). Oh, and I use a spreadsheet for almost NOTHING in my life except this, so overall you seem way more organized than me!

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  10. This is the most organised thing I have ever seen in my life!! MY WHOLE LIFE!

    I am useless at things like this- I'd probably spend ages making the chart look really nice then never use it. I really could do with making out outfits though so it's easier to pick things.

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    1. Setting up the chart is easy. Just get your categories, type in descriptions of clothing items in a way that you'll understand what you're talking about, and have fun matching outfits! It definitely makes getting dressed in the morning way easier.

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  11. Hi Erin,
    My sister (Harshi - from BU) showed me this post today thinking I'd like it because I honestly love both fashion and excel :P. She was so right!
    Over the years I've tried to catalogue my outfits in so many ways that didn't work (scrapbooks, binders, lists, image banks)and I even had an excel file at one point with a list of all my clothes but couldn't get the mechanics of it right so I gave up. I've finally come close with a little notebook that I carry around to jot down outfit ideas and drawings. That, however, is a little bit difficult to navigate through after-the-fact. I also hate the idea of printing images out to stick into it - so I never do.
    All this to say, I love your idea and started my own spreadsheet as soon as I read the post! It's fantastic and extremely convenient. Thanks for the inspiration! I'm excited to put it all to use.
    Best,
    Shanika
    P.S. How on earth do you keep your closet so organized? It's incredible.

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    1. Hi Shanika! Thanks for stopping by. Harshi is awesome!

      I'm glad this was helpful for you! I started it because I found that I was thinking about outfit ideas and then forgetting them when it got down to it, or jotting them down in all these different places. It helps to have everything laid out in one place. I figured if you can describe each component enough that you know what you're talking about when you go back to look at it later, you don't really need to take pictures!

      Honestly, my closet is THE most organized thing in my life. I think because I'm obsessed with ordering it by the ROYGBIV color scheme haha. Seriously, ask anyone, I'm really not organized with anything else.

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