May 292014

I’m re-running this, one of my very early posts, because I think the concept is basic and it is foundational to my lifestyle analysis project on which I am embarking. Whether you have a mental pie chart or actually use one of the links here to build one, you need to know how much of your life you spend in which kinds of clothes.

Recently the trend in fashion advice books has been to draw yourself a pie chart, based on some form of lifestyle segmentation, in order to visualize the level of need in each category. What I found for you: a web-site that will do your pie chart for free. You can even choose the colors!  I also found a web-site where you can download applets to make pie charts and graphs for use on your site.

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to build your own pie chart, based on your own lifestyle. Decide first whether you need to split any of my suggested categories into two or more; say, if your office has Casual Friday every week and you want to add a business casual segment. For the value of each segment, enter the number of times per week you dress for that lifestyle. I mean, each time you get dressed (every time the baby spits up or … ). That’s really all there is to it!

Need shoes for your lifestyle? Check Amazon!

  12 Responses to “The Pie Chart”

  1. I do this with my clients – it’s a great exercise in working out what you need in your wardrobe today, not 5 years ago – as your lifestyle changes as time moves on.

    For example, many women who used to have office jobs, and have had kids, and won’t be going back to work for 5 years, hang on to their suits and office attire thinking that they’ll need it again one day, when in fact, by the time they go back to work it’ll be out of date probably won’t fit any more anyway and they’ll have to buy new clothes (plus the office might not be so suity anymore as times change). So my advice is to work out your lifestyle, get rid of anything that no longer fits into your lifestyle, as wardrobe space is real estate, and real estate is expensive. A cleared out wardrobe lets you see what you really have, then you can work on the segments of the pie that are lacking in your wardrobe.

    So if you’jre 50% time at work, then you wardrobe needs to be 50% work clothes ….

    Simple, but effective.

  2. Yes. When I was first at home all I had was suits … and “grunge” (it was 1992!). I was afraid if I didn’t get some more appropriate clothes I was going to end up gardening in my suits. lol

    The last one I finally got rid of a few years ago, and I really wish I could find one very similar to replace it, was a beautiful sage green classic suit with a collarless jacket. The problem with it was, while my size hadn’t changed, my “eye” had. Simply put, the jacket was huge! What had looked exactly right in years past, now made me look like a little girl playing dress up! lol

    Oh well!

  3. This concept finally clicked for me this year. I re-did your categories for my own use:

    1. Just Get Dressed. This is the daily life of a SAHM–how I dress at home. 6 x/wk
    2. Smart Casual. This is to go shopping, date nights, appointments, Bible study, etc 2x/wk.
    3. Sundays. This is for church. 1x/wk.
    4. Fitness. Even though I run 3x/wk, I don’t need many pieces of clothing. 3x/wk.
    5. Social. 1x/year at most. Only updated when an event is on the horizon.

    This way I saw where my true needs were (primarily in the Smart Casual area). And, I could let my “Just Get Dressed” clothes go a little longer before buying, because they mostly stay at home.

    I also came up with a template for each one. I’m going to go w/dresses for 2 & 3 because they are one piece. Separates are starting to drive me batty (The Smart Casual skirt only has one top that goes with it this week and I wore it yesterday when I was Just Getting Dressed…)

    I’m liking shortish dresses with leggings for #2 and hope to add a couple this fall. Actually they’re sitting in fabric form on my sewing table and I’m waiting for some little mice to come sew them up in the night.

  4. Moving from going to an office in a warm climate to telecommuting really shifts the slices around. For upcoming move to Minnesota:

    1. Just Get Dressed (telecommuter time!): 7x week, figuring that’s also the weekend fall-back position. I’m under-stocked here, particularly with the change in climate.

    2. Smart Casual (dinner out, church, better shopping): 3x week. I’m overstocked here but not getting rid of things, as telecommuting arrangement could fall through and send me back into the job market. Also, my estimate may be wrong: the Twin Cities are a LOT more formal than Arizona. Men still wear jackets and ties to work.

    3. Business Formal (conferences, high-end dinner, non-telecommute): 0.25x month. Good thing I never got around to restocking here!

    4. Dressy (charity events, corporate parties, opera): 0.25x-0.5x month. Some clothing items overlap with Smart Casual or Business Formal.

    5. Exercise: 3x week, but I only need one outfit.

  5. Oops — and the fractions on #3 and #4 are per WEEK, not per month. Changed my mind about my approach halfway through…

  6. Nicely done, ladies! You are an analytical inspiration. 😉

    Jennifer – I know what you mean about dresses vs separates. Dresses really simplify things and being able to sew them yourself removes most of the reasons not to go that way.

    Wende – I think I may be a little understocked in Just Get Dressed clothes too, but my problem occurs during the transitional seasons. In summer and winter, I generally get stocked up on what I need, but somehow fall and especially spring are more challenging for me (probably because the clearance seasons are less intense).

    And how nice for you that you have some opportunities to dress up!

  7. […] a quick pie chart of the occasions for which you dress. (The link has detailed instructions from […]

  8. As I was fooling around with this, I realized that it is most natural to me to think about who is going to see me. That’s really what it’s all about. We have visiting nurses every other day for home infusions for hemophilia prophylaxis for son. They do notice what I wear. I was hemming an outfit and a male nurse asked me if I was going to church – it was a Sunday. I had on more professional clothes one morning and a female nurse asked if I was going someplace special. Answered her that I had to make a phone call that made me uncomfortable so in case the other unseen person was in business clothes, I would be, too. 😀
    I don’t actually wear different clothing for the nurses’ visits but I might just get dressed earlier in the morning.

    I’m not a person who thinks jeans are a dress up item. I wear them sometimes when out on foot on an errand. Neighborhood is improved as to thuggishness but I like to look like I live here and am a little tough/savvy and not some suburbanite wandering around looking to buy drugs. I also wouldn’t wear anything that could possibly be mistaken for valuable jewelry. I also might pull on jeans for nurse visits if I’m pressed for time already. They’re part of my I’m Just Like You capsule and all the nurses wear jeans.

    I used to have a going-to-the-ER capsule when kid was younger. It was I Might Be a Lawyer or Medical So Better LIsten When I’m Talking to You capsule. (probably should have worn glasses, the better to peer intently 😀 )

    Otherwise, I like to cultivate a Fresh From Somewhere and Somewhere to Go Next capsule. This lets me dress very attractively to go to the convenience store or the supermarket. Otherwise, where would I get to wear the blazers I like? I wouldn’t really want a life that required occasions where I had to wear one!

    • That is a good way to think about it. 🙂

      I have been thinking recently that I have several nice blazers and I just don’t get around to wearing them much. Two possible challenges: due to the limitations of my storage space, I don’t have always see them, and my winter coat fits really precisely. I am working on changing my storage around in order to get all my clothes I am wearing together. And I need a more colorful coat, so I should get one that fits over a blazer and then keep the one I have now. 🙂

      I also really like suits (I know they aren’t really “cool” now) and have a really hard time finding opportunity to wear them!

      • Skirt suits? They got really tough to wear some years back when the sweet young things started wearing them shrunken and ironically. I did end up getting rid of all of mine but have since then acquired two, one easier to wear, one not so much. I picked up an alpaca knit skirt suit with pencil skirt for two bucks at the thrift store. Quite a body conscious fit and in a bronzey dark khaki color. Peruvian Connection, I think it is. Not a label I would ordinarily think to wear. But it’s very sexy. The other I have yet to wear and is a ballet pink flat knit pencil skirted suit and I think of it as what a ballet dancer would wear if she had to go do business. 😀 I guess I like about these suits that they don’t need to take a shirt. I suppose I think of wearing both of these with mid calf boots and as though they were knit sheath dresses.

      • What do you think about Amal Alamuddin bringing back the skirt suit as a “soft suit?”
        Is this a suit? Is this the future of the suit then?

  9. Now there is a celebrity style icon with a style I could really embrace! And she could influence people into the stylish “middle ground”: professional and well-dressed, without being utterly unstylish. It seems like people – STILL, for some unfathomable reason – think they have to choose between the 80s power suit and black slacks and a blouse, or skirt and flip-flops. Lol. And I love to see the pink! Pink gets such a bad rap 😉

    I love the sound of both your suits. And the one I just bought this past week for $4 at thrift: it is Ann Taylor, half sleeve jacket and slim skirt, aubergine with a round collar. Really, very girly. For now, it is in the freezer, but I will absolutely work it into my fall wardrobe. As a dress, like you said, not taken apart and worn as separates. 🙂

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