I typically set wardrobe-related goals each year, but I came upon an alternate idea last month that I’ve decided to try instead. One of my favorite style-related podcasts is “The Everyday Style School,” hosted by wardrobe stylist Jennifer Mackey-Mary. In one of her recent episodes, Jennifer shared that rather than setting goals or resolutions for her wardrobe this year, she has opted to create a “style bucket list.”
Jennifer presented this concept as “coming up with simple tasks and activities that will move your style forward in 2023, but won’t become a year-long grind.” Her personal style bucket list consists of 12 tasks of varying difficulty (ideally, one task for each month of the year), including getting a bra fitting, solving her shoe storage issue, repainting her closet, and consigning unwanted clothing. To find out the rest of Jennifer’s bucket list tasks, check out Episode 154 of her podcast (and while you’re at it, you might want to listen to more of her excellent advice, including episodes 156 and 147).
It wasn’t difficult for me to come up with my own “style bucket list,” and it wasn’t long before I exceeded 12 tasks. In this post and the next one (I’m trying to honor my intention to publish shorter posts more often…), I share the 20 tasks and activities that I added to my list. While this might be too many bucket list items for just over ten months, I’d love to get them all done and I’m going to do my best to make it happen.
Bucket List Items 1 Through 10
My list is in no particular order (just the order in which I came up with the items), and I don’t plan to complete the tasks in the order listed, either. I’ll just take them on as I’m inspired to do so, and I’ll review my list regularly to make sure I stay on track. I’ll also report here on my progress with my bucket list. In fact, I’ll likely dedicate individual blog posts to many of the items on my list, so stay tuned…
1 – “25 Good Outfit” Lists
In September 2021, I wrote about the concept of creating a list of “25 good outfits” for each season. I created such a list several times and found it to be very helpful. However, as my body, style, and wardrobe have shifted, I feel that I need to create new lists now rather than simply revisiting my previously-created ensemble catalog. My plan is to create the following outfit lists:
- Cool weather “out-and-about” outfits
- Warm weather “out-and-about” outfits
- Cool weather at-home outfits
- Warm weather at-home outfits
Each list doesn’t need to include as many as twenty-five outfits, as I would probably have sufficient variety with only ten or fifteen ensembles. However, twenty-five is a good upper limit in order to avoid overwhelm. The at-home category will also include what I wear for exercising, either in our home gym (also known as our garage) or for walking. The most important criterion for each item on my lists is that I enjoy wearing the outfit and feel good in it. For more information on the “25 good outfits” concept, please see my September 2021 post.
2 – Update My Shopping Priorities List
I wrote about the importance of a shopping priorities list almost nine years ago on Recovering Shopaholic, but I haven’t always taken my own good advice! However, I’ve found that when I do take the time to identify which wardrobe pieces I truly need, I’m a much better shopper and I make fewer mistakes. When we shop without having a list in mind for what to buy, we often make impulse purchases that don’t end up serving us.
We’re always bound to find things that catch our eyes – and we may even love wearing those items, but too much impulse shopping tends to lead to a wardrobe with too many statement pieces and not enough basics. And even if we do buy basics during our shopping excursions, we may miss out on purchasing some of the more difficult-to-find items (I’m looking at you, pants!).
For years, I predominantly bought tops and toppers because it was just too hard for me to find pants that fit and flattered my tall, hourglass frame. Then I wondered why I was fundamentally dissatisfied with so many of my outfits. I needed to “bite the bullet” and take the time and effort to find good pants. I have done so over the past year, and it’s made a big difference in my overall wardrobe satisfaction.
I plan to keep my shopping priorities list short and to the point. In the past, my lists were too extensive, which led to a lack of focus. I’m only going to list the pieces that will fill in true gaps in my wardrobe that will make the biggest difference for me when getting dressed. I’d like to limit my list to ten or fewer items, as I also want to buy less overall.
3 – Wear Scarves More Often
I have a relatively large scarf collection (probably 20-25 scarves, but I need to count them), but I don’t wear them much at all. One problem is that they’re currently stored in a drawer, and out of sight can be out of mind for sure. My first task will be to find an alternate means of storing my scarves where I can see them more often and be more likely to reach for them. I’ve gotten more into the habit of wearing necklaces instead of scarves, but I’d ideally like to alternate between these two types of accessories.
So, I guess this bucket list item has several steps to it:
- Move my scarf collection to a place where I’ll see it more easily, ideally somewhere in my closet.
- As I move the scarves, evaluate which ones I actually see myself wearing, and then purge the rest.
- Aim to wear scarves at least three times per month during the cooler season (usually November through June). I may opt to set aside three scarves at a time and create outfits around them.
4 – Wear More of My Jewelry
This bucket list item and the last one may be more goals than tasks, but I’ll try to transform them into doable, “bite-sized” tasks that I can easily take on. Although I’ve pared my jewelry collection down considerably over the years (check out this post, which also links to earlier essays on the topic), I still have many pieces that I’m not wearing.
I realize that I probably need to purge some unworn items, but for others it’s more a case of figuring out how to wear them. I’ve gotten into the habit of wearing the same relatively small cross-section of pieces over and over again, while neglecting others that I ostensibly love but struggle to wear in a way that works for me. So, I need to take the time to try on various combinations and make a note of which ones resonate with my style aesthetic.
I currently store most of my jewelry in two of my three top dresser drawers, but there is overflow contained in the old stacker system that I previously used. I’d like to pare things down such that I no longer need the overflow container, so the first step in “wear more of my jewelry” is to evaluate what I have and purge anything that I don’t see myself wearing. After that, I plan to use a similar process as what I outlined for my scarves above.
I’ll set aside several jewelry pieces each month (earrings, necklaces, bracelets) and challenge myself to wear them. I actually see the scarf and jewelry projects dovetailing nicely with each other, as one type of jewelry item that I struggle to wear are “statement earrings,” as they don’t tend to pair nicely with my necklaces. I see those types of earrings working better with scarves, so perhaps I’ll pick a scarf and a pair of earrings to use in an outfit on a given day.
5 – Buy Some “Better than Basic” Tops for Summer
Jennifer Mackey-Mary coined the term “better than basic” to refer to tops that are a step above a standard t-shirt. These tops include special details that allow them to stand on their own without needing a lot of additional styling. They’re great for summer weather, when layering isn’t ideal or even doable. With these types of tops, you can just put on a pair of pants or a skirt with them and you’re ready to go.
Sadly, many of my tops are too plain and basic, so I need to prioritize finding more “better than basic” options. It’s not that I haven’t been looking, but I’ve found tops increasingly difficult to buy the past few years. Case in point, I was in Nordstrom yesterday, and I felt there were far more bottoms for sale than tops, and the tops that were available seemed to be either woven blouses or basic t-shirts. As much as I’d like to wear blouses from time to time, they’re incredibly difficult for me to fit, at least in their more recent iterations. They seem to always look too boxy on me, and they’re often too short as well. Sigh…
I don’t need a lot of “better than basic” tops, but I think if I can find five of them, I’ll be in good stead. If you have any suggestions for where I can find tops that aren’t basic tees or woven blouses, please share. I tend to fit knit pieces a lot better than woven ones, but I have plenty of solid crewneck and V-neck tees at this point. I also don’t like puff sleeves or ruffles (on me), and these styles are incredibly prevalent in the current retail landscape.
I think there are just certain years when the trend cycle doesn’t work out for some of us, and the past few years have been that for me with tops. But I’m not going to give up, as I know I would be benefit from having more tops that stand well on their own without the need for layering or heavy accessorizing.
6 – List All of My Items Designated for Resale
Back in 2020 and 2021, I sold quite a few of my wardrobe castoffs on Poshmark and eBay (see my posts on this topic HERE). It was nice to recoup some of my losses on purchasing mistakes that had rarely or never been worn. Since that time, I have accumulated quite a few additional items to list, but I’ve procrastinated a lot in making it happen. Last weekend, I started up the project again, and I plan to get everything listed (about 25 items) by the end of March.
Having this as one of my 2023 style bucket list items will help me to make it happen. I have also given myself an incentive for getting the job done, which is that I can buy a new handbag after everything is listed. All the handbags I own are pretty old, and I haven’t made it a priority to buy a new one for years now. Most of the bags that I like are relatively expensive (but not high-end designer pieces) and it’s been difficult for me to set aside the money to purchase one. This is due to my lack of discipline, but I figured I could combine my desire for a new purse with my desire to do the resale listings so that I can make both things happen.
7 – Pare Down My Underwear Collection
When many of us downsize our wardrobes, we sometimes forget to work on the items that don’t reside in our closets. My underwear drawer needs a good purge, but it’s not necessarily something I can do in one stint. The reason is that I can’t always tell if there’s a problem with a pair of underwear by simply looking at it. I need to actually wear the underwear in order to determine if it should stay in the drawer or be thrown into the trash bin.
Age-related gravity has not been kind to my back side, so I have the unfortunate problem of underwear riding up because there’s not enough “perkiness” to grab onto it. Additionally, the underwear that I’ve worn for years doesn’t have a very long lifespan, at least for me with my lack of a J. Lo bottom. I haven’t found anything that I like better, though, so I continue to buy this style, which is fairly low-priced and frequently on sale. The problem is that I have often bought new underwear without getting rid of the old sub-standard pairs.
So, I’m committing to pare down my underwear collection before buying any new pairs this year. To do so, I won’t continue to wear only the new pairs while leaving the remainder in dust-gathering piles in the drawer. I will wear and evaluate every single pair, and if I find myself annoyed beyond measure at a pair of ill-fitting panties, I’ll take them off and throw them in the garbage post haste (provided I’m home and can change, of course – no “commando” for me!). I know I’ll end up with far fewer pairs, but how many underwear does a woman need anyway? As long as I do laundry on a regular basis, which I do, I’ll have enough.
8 – Buy Some Flat Shoes for My Athleisure Outfits
I used to divide my wardrobe very distinctly between out-and-about outfits and at-home ensembles. But then the athleisure trend came on the scene, making it acceptable and even stylish to wear clothes for other occasions that used to be reserved only for working out. It took me a little while to embrace this trend, but now I love it. However, when I continue to wear my walking shoes with my athleisure outfits, they still feel “utilitarian.”
I’d like to find two pairs of flat shoes to pair with my athleisure looks to up-level them a bit. First, I want to buy a cute and stylish pair of black sneakers that I can wear when I’m running errands or going to coffee, as my black walking shoes look kind of “clompy” rather than stylish (but they work very well for my long walks).
I’d also like to purchase a pair of sandals or slides to wear with my athleisure outfits in warmer weather. Most of my existing sandals have heels, and the few pairs of flat sandals I own are more “precious” and delicate, such that they don’t work well with my various pairs of joggers. I’ll probably purchase the sandals in black, too, but I’m also open to metallic colors.
9 – Pare Down My At-Home Tee Collection
About a year ago, I wrote about the three different types of tops that I owned, as well as my desire to eliminate one of those categories (the tops that must be worn with a topper). A few months later, I checked in on my progress with streamlining my summer tops, and I was pleased to report that I had mostly eliminated or repurposed the tops that I didn’t feel comfortable wearing on their own.
I now have a different situation to deal with regarding my tops. My at-home t-shirt collection is too large, and I’m not sure which tops pair well with which pants. The reason for this is that some of my tees are very snug-fitting, while others fit in either a streamlined or loose fashion. I’m not comfortable (emotionally) with having both my top and bottom pieces be ultra-fitted, so I pair my garments in order to have only one piece be close to my body. Additionally, I’ve found that I like the tops that I wear with my snugger-fitting pants to be a bit longer.
I realize that my picky nature has led to a larger and less versatile wardrobe, and I’m mostly okay with this. However, I want to make sure that my closet organization makes it relatively easy for me to get dressed, and I’d also like to get rid of anything that I’m not happy wearing. So, my goal is to try on different combinations and purge any tops that don’t work with any of my pants. I also might repurpose some of the looser tees for either sleep or exercise purposes.
10 – Pare Down My Makeup, Skin Care, and Hair Care Collections
Style is not only about the clothes that we wear. It also encompasses our hair, skin care, and makeup. Like with our wardrobes, our collections of cosmetics and hair products can become overloaded and unmanageable. Back in 2016, I wrote about using the KonMari method to pare down my cosmetics and toiletries, and I’ve done a few additional go-throughs since that time (but not necessarily using the full rigor of Marie Kondo’s process).
Listening to Jennifer Mackey-Mary talk on her style “bucket list” podcast about cleaning out her nail polish collection and finding a lipstick that she really likes inspired me to make sure that I get my overall personal grooming assortment in order, too. Like Jennifer, I’ve purchased a number of lipsticks that I thought I’d love, but they didn’t end up tickling my fancy for one reason or another. It’s time to pare down that stash, as well as my overabundance of other types of makeup, hair products, and hair accessories. Luckily, I found a charity that accepts already-opened products (Rachel Women’s Center for anyone in the San Diego area who’s interested), so my castoffs can still be put to good use.
Conclusion – and Your Thoughts?
That’s it for part one of my 2023 wardrobe and style “bucket list.” I had more to say about each item than I thought, which is why I decided to break my list into two parts. I feel good about taking on this project because I think it will make a big difference in multiple areas related to my personal style. Even if I only end up completing half of my bucket list tasks, I think I’d still be happy with my progress (but I’m going to aim to finish the full list!).
I’ll be back soon with part two, and I’ll also be delving more into some of my list items in the coming weeks and months. But now I’d like to hear from you… Here are a few questions to help spur on your thoughts, but feel free to weigh in however you’d like regarding the topics in this post:
- What do you think about the idea of a style “bucket list” versus style goals/intentions (which would usually be more specific and adhering to the SMART framework)?
- If you were to create your own style bucket list, what types of tasks would be on it – and would you set a cap on how many items to have your list?
- What goals or intentions do you have for your wardrobe and style in 2023?
- Would you be interested in my writing individual blog posts about each of the projects on my style bucket list?
- What other topics would you like to see me write about? I’m always open to suggestions!
I look forward to reading what you decide to share. Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoyed this post!
22 thoughts on “My 2023 Wardrobe and Style “Bucket List” – Part One”
What a great idea! I want to make a warderobe bucket list for myself now 😀
I’m glad you liked this idea, too, Sarah. Good luck with making your own wardrobe bucket list!
Awesome ideas, as always, Debbie. I particularly resonated with the issue of pants that would increase my overall satisfaction with clothes. I’m happy to say that ever since you included The Minimalists last year in this blog, I pared down my wardrobe and needs substantially. I consign quarterly now as well!
Good for you for paring down your wardrobe and needs, Catherine! It’s also great that you’re doing consignments quarterly. Maybe I should do the same… Yes, pants can be a big issue for a lot of people. In other episodes of Jennifer Mackey-Mary’s podcast, she has said that the problem with most of her clients’ wardrobes had to do with their pants – and that most women wear pants that are too large. That’s definitely been true for me (bad pants and pants that are too big), so it’s some food for thought for sure!
My goals for 2023 for my home are to continue decluttering my entire home. Every Thursday my best friend comes over and we unclutter, cleaned and organized one area of my home. Last week we did my make-up boxes. It took us from 3:30 til 7:30 to finish. I own a great deal!! At the end I just wasn’t able to make anymore decisions so we placed the ones left I knew I was keeping but they weren’t categorized in a box on their own This Thursday my girlfriend couldn’t come because she was up all night with a sick dog & a brand new kitty my husband had rescued from a tree much earlier this week. So, I stayed home and pittered around the house and then finished my make-up boxes. On the day we did it together I got rid of two large gallon plastic zip-lock bags full. All for women to use!! Now I’m completely organized and feel really good about it!!! My next area will be my bathroom!! Looks pretty good except for my drawer which needs to be cleaned out and organized. A easy day for a change!! My best friend can turn it into a big day to clean and if she wants to I work right along!! I’m disabled and unable to do what she can but I do whatever she tells me to!! She’s a natural born cleaner where I am unable now because of the progression of my illnesses. I am so thankful for her kindness!!!!! I did KonMari’ed my closet several years ago but I will write about that another time!!
It sounds like you’re doing great with the home decluttering, Natalie. It’s wonderful that you have your friend to help you with what can be a difficult project (especially given your health conditions), but good for you for doing the make-up boxes on your own. Good luck on cleaning our your bathroom soon.
I also want to mention that you are so right that if you’ll get your scarves out of the drawer and where you cans see them you’ll wear them more often!!! This is what I have done!! Your idea of wearing your scarves with outfit you make earlier is a good idea but how about using them with outfits you love wearing now?! Find what you would enjoy wearing it with. I challenge you to tie a scarf on your handbag in the warmer months!! Great look!! If you do what you said you will succeed!!! All your ideas on your bucket list sound great!!! Would love to her more!! Would love hearing more ways to declutter my Master bedroom clothing closet besides MariCondo!!! I need help!! I did it her way several years ago and ended up spending litterally thousands replacing my closet!!! I need to clean my closet out again!! My closet is very organized but I have too much close together!! Plus, I have plastic tubs of new!! This is one hurdle I know I need help in!!! Need ideas!!!
Thanks for sharing your scarf ideas, Natalie. The other day, I reorganized my scarf drawer and moved a small stack of scarves into my closet so I could see them better. Since then, I wore two scarves, so it’s working 🙂 I’ve seen women tying scarves on their handbags, but I’ve never done so. However, I’ll give it a whirl this summer.
The are definitely other closet decluttering methods besides Marie Kondo’s process. I’ve written about this quite a bit before (you can see some of the posts on this page if you scroll down to “Wardrobe Size & Closet Downsizing”), and I’m sure I will do more of these types of posts again soon. Your closet sounds much like mine – very well organized but with too much stuff in there. It’s hard to keep it more minimal when we love clothes and shopping, but we can get there!
Good plan Debbie and nice post.
Again, we’re pretty much on the same page as much of what you listed are things I did last year when we moved. I downsized a great deal, and added more things that I hoped would be more appropriate for my new lifestyle. Now my goal is to just wear what I have and see how it goes. If I wear something and it’s not working, I will let it go. Also, my plan is to not buy much this year. I can always shop and buy later after I have more time to evaluate my current wardrobe.
Taos has good sneakers and flat sandals, and I know you like this brand. Just saw a pair of cute black Taos sneakers the other day that caught my eye.
I like your simple but practical wardrobe goals for this year, Terra. Wearing what we have and letting go of things that don’t work for us is a good plan for all of us, as is buying LESS! I think that if we buy less and allow for some time between purchases, we can better identify what we actually need. Thanks for the tip about the Taos sneakers and flat sandals. Yes, I like that brand and have a few pairs of heeled sandals, but since the brand fits my feet well, it’s a good place to look.
Great bucket list, Debbie!
My own list is shorter, but definitely includes cleaning out my collection of panties – some of them definitely need to go. I like having a good selection though because one of my quirks is that I like having panties that match or coordinate with my bras.
I’m always on the lookout for tops that are nicer than plain cotton tees. A couple brands that I found last summer are Liverpool of Los Angeles and Habitat. I never tuck my tops and their tops have interesting hems.
Please check out SOMA bra’s and panties before buying any others!! Put yourself on their mailing list and buy when on-sale!!! Anyway, so comfortable & no panty lines!!!
I think a lot of people forget just how important our undergarments are, Murphy, and how we need to focus our decluttering and shopping efforts there, too. I know that when I’m wearing a pair of underwear that is stretched out and riding up, I’m NOT happy with my overall outfit. I like my panties to either match or coordinate with my bras, too 🙂 Thank you to Natalie for the suggestion to check out SOMA. I’ve heard that’s a good brand, but there are no stores close to where I am, so I haven’t tried them as of yet.
I appreciate the recommendation for Liverpool and Habitat tops. I’ve heard of the former, but not the latter. Like you, I don’t tuck my tops, so I like the idea of interesting hems.
I love this bucket list idea – I will have to put some thought into what would go on my list, but one thing does come to mind right away. I need to (1) complete photographing for my digital wardrobe and (2) do outfit creation sessions with my new items. I bought some things at the end of the year after not purchasing anything for about 18 months…including four stand-alone woven linen shirts for summer that I’m very excited about. But after not shopping for so long, I’m a bit out of the habit with the post-purchase preparation, and I’d like to be ready to wear my new spring/summer items when winter is (FINALLY) over in Minnesota (I still have some time!).
I would be happy to read posts on any or all of these topics. I am particularly interested in how your 25 good outfits, wearing scarves, and wearing jewelry works out, as shop-your-closet is always fascinating to me, but really, these are all interesting areas that will no doubt be educational for all of us.
I feel like you just gave me a NEW item for my bucket list, Sally. I used to do regular outfit creation sessions, but I’ve been remiss in doing so lately. I guess that could go hand-in-hand with my “25 Good Outfits” lists, but I like the specificity of making sure NEW items can easily be incorporated into outfits. That’s amazing that you didn’t purchase anything new for 18 months, but it’s great that you’re excited about your recently acquired items. Good idea to be ready to wear the summer tops when the warmer weather finally arrives!
Thanks for giving your input on post topics. I definitely see myself writing about the subjects you mentioned – and probably fairly soon.
Hi Debbie, Great ideas! I shall have to think about my list. I have switched to Breezies Seamless Cotton Long Leg Panties. I would guess that there is something similar in the stores. They almost feel like light bicycle shorts/workout wear and they don’t ride up. I keep a bag in my closet for things that have holes or other clean fabric items that cannot be resold marked “fabric recycling” and drop it off when I go to the thrift store.
Tops with details are hard right now but maybe graphic tees could be an option for you if you wanted to mix things up?
I used to have all of my scarves on a display but I ended up just picking out three in my current color palette and putting them with my light jackets. This way, I could just throw on a scarf on my way out the door.
I forgot to add that if I want maximum variety of styles all in one store, I look at Anthropologie. You might find some special tops there.
My mother does something similar. She will put a scarf with a jacket & a few brooches on the shoulder then pair a shirt or blouse with and then pick bottoms to go. My mom and I can do this because we have established our colors scheme’s when putting together our wardrobes so all our clothing (mostly in mine!) mixes & matches. My mom raised me this way!!! When she was single it was needful because of lack of money. So you buy the best you can afford and buy less!!!
Thanks for the underwear suggestion, Maggie. You always seem to come through with recommendations, and that is appreciated. I hadn’t thought to try longer panties, but I love the idea of anything that doesn’t ride up. Doing fabric recycling is another great idea. I’ve read about that, but haven’t ever pursued it, as a lot of what I get rid of still has life in it for someone else (which is a mark of a person who has too many clothes and fickle tastes!).
I like the idea of graphic tees, but I haven’t seen too many good ones around lately. I think I will have to shop for tops more online, as the brick-and-mortar stores seem not to have much variety. But online shopping generally incurs A LOT of returns for me, so I need to brace myself for that – and rejoice when I find something good. I will check out Anthropologie before resorting to online shopping for tops (fingers crossed).
Good idea to hang scarves with your light jackets. I did put a few scarves in my closet to try to wear soon, but I could see how hanging them with particular toppers could facilitate their wearing even better. Natalie’s mom’s idea of adding the brooches is a fun addition, too!
I have had the same experience that online shopping ends up with a lot of returns. I have been making time to dress up a little and browse in the nicer stores. I see a sweater jacket at Banana Republic (Solara Sweater Jacket) that I may have to go into the store and actually touch. (It is a bit pricey but would fit many of my needs at this moment in time.)
I also want to go into Nordstrom and take a good look as well since I would like to get some sort of shacket that is not too stiff or large.
Also, I watched Emily Wheatley’s latest video (Edgey Style on YouTube) where she goes through all of her jeans and she is wearing a striped cropped shirt that I really like. She and I have similar builds so it is helpful to see things on her.
Update – sweater at BR is online only. I also forgot to mention White House Black Market for special tops.
I checked out the sweater you mentioned, Maggie, and it looks good! I hope it will work out for you if you decide to order it. Also, good luck with finding a shacket that you like. Thanks for the tip of WHBM for special tops. I will go in there the next time I’m at the mall.
I love Emily Wheatley’s YouTube channel! I haven’t watched her jeans video yet, but I have enjoyed many more of her videos over the past year or so. It’s great to find a blogger or YouTuber who has a similar build as we do so we can get some good recommendations. I’m still looking for my personal body “doppelganger” out there…
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