Wow. It's been more than two years since I first posted about my trusty outfit list. Much has stayed the same over time. I still spend a big chunk of time - three or four hours - every couple of months going through my closet and assembling outfits. Shoes, tights, bottom, top, and some larger accessories if I can think of them at the time. And I still feel that this practice helps me to utilize, appreciate, and be more creative with the contents of my wardrobe. I've started spending some time with my visual style journal and Pinterest account, adding visually inspired outfits to my list. It's always a rejuvenating and enjoyable exercise.

But a few things have changed. I've upgraded to digital, as you can see from the screenshot above. For ages I refused to transfer my lists to electronic documents because I loved being able to bring my little notepad over to the closet with me and jot down ideas as they were sparked by viewing my clothes in person. But now that I've made the change, I can't imagine ever going back because:

  • I've now got one document for each season. When I see a photo of a great winter outfit in the middle of July, I can commit it to the winter list immediately.
  • I never wore every outfit I dreamed up, and some of those unused outfits were good ones. But since I did my longhand lists seasonally, there was no easy way to transfer summer to fall, or stash a summer idea until next year. With the four seasonal lists, ideas can stick around.
  • I can use the "find" function in Word to search for specific items. If I want to wear an outfit with pants, I can quickly locate all instances of "pants" in the current season's list. (This is the biggie.)
  • Everything is SO MUCH NEATER. No more scratching out worn outfits, no more copying pages over once they'd become illegibly marred with scribbles. I can read everything. Woot!

I imagine that someday I may attempt to digitize my entire closet. (Go Chic or Go Home allows folks to do just that.) But for now, I'm happy with this middle ground. I like that this version of outfit listing forces me to think about what I have, hone my mental inventory. It helps me when I shop. I nearly always know the answer to this all-important clothing shopping question: Do I love this because it’s perfectly “me” or because it’s incredibly familiar? I know what I own and wear, so I know what would constitute a wardrobe duplicate.

Do you have any similar style journaling tools? What are they? How did you start using them? Do you think an outfit list like mine would help you feel more organized and stylish? Or do you prefer to improvise, and just wear what calls to you each day?

Sally McGraw is the author of Already Pretty, a daily blog about the intersection of style and body image. 

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