Monday, 6 January 2014

Creating wardrobe clusters - clusters 1 and 2

This is the post that I promised you yesterday. The best place to start reading about this concept is on Janice's blog: The Vivienne Files. I love her idea of enjoying some wine while you clear out your wardrobe, but if you're a red wine drinker like me it could end up in tears, with red wine spilt on your favourite dress. Better to wait until you've finished and reward yourself with a celebratory drink!

Janice also posted about her helpful Wardrobe Cluster form, which she has kindly offered to email to anyone else who would like to use it. Click on the above link to Janice's blog for details on how to contact her.

Please note that there is a final column for outerwear, however I have hidden it here as the font would have been so small that I - for one - wouldn't have been able to read it! Janice didn't have any problems with her form so make sure you take a look at her example too. In case you are curious, my outerwear consisted of an indigo down jacket, a black and white wool coat and a navy trench-coat, all of which can be worn with every cluster listed below.

I started with one of my favourite items of clothing: dark navy jeans anyone? I then pulled out of my wardrobe some of the tops that I like to wear with these jeans and finally I selected some accessories to complete the outfits. If I was going away for a casual weekend I could begin by packing the garments in Cluster 1, throw in a scarf and couple of pieces of jewellery from the next two columns and then choose a pair of shoes and a bag from the final column.

Cluster 2 is a bit smarter than Cluster 1 and would be ideal for a city break, with the addition of a skirt or a dress for dining out. I have plenty of tops that I can wear with my charcoal trousers, so this Cluster also works well. I don't have a huge wardrobe so you will notice a bit of repetition with the accessories, but I still have lots of options.

Hopefully by now you will have spotted the cunning plan behind this method of sorting out your wardrobe. If you select a skirt or pair of trousers and can't find any other items to form a cluster with it, you will have identified a wardrobe orphan and will know why you never wear that piece of clothing! With luck you will also discover that many of your favourite pieces are ideal as garments to form the basis of different clusters and you may even find several new outfits without the need to hit the January sales.

The Vivienne Files Cluster Collector
garmentssoft accessoriesjewelleryleather goods
Cluster 1
Dark navy jeansBlue fantasy scarf setGold link chokerNavy loafers
Green and navy striped topShades of blue wool scarfTurquoise necklaceGreen laced shoes
Red and navy striped topGreen ring
Navy and white striped topRose River cotton toteGrey and navy satchel
Green cashmere cardiganGreen satchel
garmentssoft accessoriesjewelleryleather goods
Cluster 2
Charcoal straight trousersBlue fantasy scarf setGold necklaceNavy loafers
Purple long sleeved topPink wool scarfSilver link necklaceGrey short boots
Blue long sleeved topBlue bead necklace
Fuchsia short-sleeved topSilver ringGrey and navy satchel
Lobelia long sleeved topGreen satchel
Silver grey cascade cardiganRose River cotton tote
garmentssoft accessoriesjewelleryleather goods
Cluster 3
Black jeansBlue fantasy scarf setGold link collarGreen laced shoes
Green long sleeved topBlack wool scarfSilver flower pendantBlack low heeled shoes
Raspberry short-sleeved topPicasso print scarfBlack and silver choker
Pink long sleeved topGold braceletGrey and navy satchel
Black cardiganRose River cotton toteGreen satchel
garmentssoft accessoriesjewelleryleather goods
Cluster 4
Grey pencil skirtBlue fantasy scarf setSilver tear necklaceBlack shoe boots
Red jumperBlack and white zebra scarfPearl double strand necklaceBlack low heeled shoes
Purple, black and grey topGrey animal print wool scarfRed watch
Navy peplum topGrey and navy satchel
Grey cardiganRose River cotton toteGreen satchel 

These photos show you some of the items in my Cluster 1:

Below you can see some items from my Cluster 2:

The scarf shown has made four appearances as it's so versatile. It's actually two scarves - one in shades of blue and the other in green and purple - and they can be worn together or separately. Talking about versatility, I could easily have swapped some of the tops in cluster 1 with some of the ones in cluster 2. 

Now it's your turn: select four of your favourite items of clothing and create four clusters around them. Keep these in a separate part of your wardrobe so you know you can grab anything from a particular cluster and have an outfit that looks good on you and that you enjoy wearing. I only wish that I'd known about this idea in my many years of working full-time with three growing children: it would have prevented a lot of early morning stress!


  1. Sue
    You turned me on to her website a few months ago and I love how you take her information and she your interpretations. I got her capsule chart a week or so ago and haven't had the chance to start building it. As for wine--as one of her commenters noted, once I've had a glass, I'll think everything goes with everything!

    I see the best use of the clusters for me as travel planning.

  2. Robin, I definitely think the wine should come afterwards as I certainly don't think it would help my judgement!

    I agree that this is a great tool for travel planning, however I also think it might help you see the possibilities within your wardrobe and you might discover some new outfits.

  3. Absolutely! Janice does some lovely color plays on her blog and I've started mixing and matching things I would never have before. I think my goal might be one travel cluster (because I don't like to pack clothes that wrinkle) and everything else would be one cluster because it all goes together.

    As you've mentioned for you, my wardrobe today is also more streamlined than a year ago, thanks to bloggers like you who give me ideas and show how you make things work. Imogen has been very instrumental in my pruning out clothes I loved that weren't at all right for me--and helping me understand why.