How to Build a Sustainable Closet #2: Create a Style Guide

Build a Sustainable Closet #2: Create a Style Guide

Have you impulse-shopped before? I am sure most of us have. And 9 out of 10 times we regret what we bought when we impulse shopped. One simple way to help yourself buy better is to create a style guide. In a style guide, we write down our style and what we need in the closet. So when we go shopping, we know the right style to look for and the type of clothes to prioritize. Today, I will talk more about this and teach you how to create a style guide.

How to Build a Sustainable Closet: Create a Style Guide
These sneakers are from GREATS. I love them for traveling. Currently wearing them in Paris as we speak!
How to Build a Sustainable Closet: Create a Style Guide
You probably noticed that my favorite color is blue! 


“How to Build a Sustainable Fashion” Episode 1 Recap:

This is Episode 2 of “how to build a sustainable closet”. In the 1st episode, we talked about creating a user journey to discover your style. A user journey is an exercise where we examine past outfits we wore in real life and look for patterns to discover our style. Now that you have completed the exercise, you should have a pretty good grip of your style. In today’s episode, we will talk about how to document the results from our user journey and create a style guide.

Build a Sustainable Closet #2: Create a Style Guide

When we go shopping, we often buy clothes that look good on other people but don’t necessarily fit our style. After the novelty wears off, we put aside those clothes and never wear them again. Overtime, we collect a bunch of clothes that we don’t like, and we end up donating them and throwing them away. According to the True Cost, we throw away 11 metric tons of clothes each year in America. This is extremely wasteful, and it also leaves behind many negative impact on the environment!

One way to improve this situation is to shop with a style guide. When we create a style guide, we write down our style and remind ourselves of the clothes our closet needs. This style guide will then help us prioritize shopping and help us buy better.

What is a Style Guide?

In the tech world, UX designers use a style guide to detail specifications such as font styles, font sizes and colors, etc. As a company grows and creates more products, UX designers use this style guide as their point of reference to ensure a consistent look-and-feel across all products. A style guide governs a company’s brand aesthetic, and it’s key to achieving an integrated and memorable brand image. Just think about some of Google products you use in your daily life – Google Plus and Google Map both share a consistent aesthetic.

Similarly, the purpose of a style guide is to remind yourself of your style and fashion preferences as you continue to build your closet. When you go shopping, you will refer back to this style guide and shop for things that you lack in the closet and buy things that make your closet look coherent.

In my personal style guide, I included these elements:

  1. The types of clothes my closet needs:
  2. Within each type of clothes, list out
    1. The overall style I want to project
    2. Categories of clothes I gravitate toward
    3. Primary colors I gravitate toward
    4. Neutral colors I gravitate toward
    5. Textures (fabrics) I gravitate toward
    6. Patterns I gravitate toward
    7. Things that have never worked for me in the past
    8. Clothes that my closet needs.

How to use a Style Guide?

A style guide is informal, and you don’t have to stick to a specific format. But a useful style guide should always include these elements:

  1. The type of clothes your closet needs
  2. The overall style you want to stick to
  3. The look and feel of your wardrobe (governed by your favorite colors, textures, and patterns, etc.)
  4. The styles that never work for you from your past experience
  5. The clothes your closet is lacking (aka the gaps in your closet that you want to fill first)

A great style guide summarizes what you like and what you dislike, and it also points out the gaps in your closet and helps you prioritize your shopping. Here is a style guide template you can download:

Style Guide Template

(This style guide template is free to download. All you need is to subscribe to Styles For Thought :D)

One other fashion blogger I follow is Caroline from Unfancy. She created a wardrobe planner in the past, and I found this worksheet helpful as well!

Once you create a style guide, you want to keep it close to you so you can easily take it out when you go shopping! I suggest making a digital copy of your style guide so you can pull it out on your mobile phone.  You can either upload it to Google Drive or simply take a picture of it with your phone!

How to build a sustainable closet #2: Create A Style Guide. Style Guide by Styles For Thought

Talk to me! Do you already have a style guide? What other information do you include in your style guide that I haven’t mentioned here? I would love to hear your thoughts! Feel free to drop me a message below.

I hope you find this post helpful! See you next time.

Smile and Style on~


Outfit Info:

Jacket: American Eagle (SUPER OLD! I got this since high school!)

Dress: Reformation Beliz Dress (Sold out this pattern)


(I love this! Super comfy, and they are ethically made in Italy)


  1. Love your style guide template – one-page format makes it super easy to reference when shopping!

  2. You have an amazing blog with stunning & inspirational styles. We have recently launched Vogueista, a social fashion platform that brings together lovers of glamour, beauty & fashion to discover and share styles, follow fashionistas like you, shop for trendsetting styles & much more. We invite you to grow with us, and expand your style network by showcasing your styles to our community of beauty & fashion lovers on . Come join us. Be a Vogueista!

    Best, Selina

  3. I love this! So much useful information! I never formalized this, but I’ve basically been doing this with a note on my phone I call my wish list. I write down pieces I think I want to add and notes about particular styles I’m drawn to and why. It’s been really helpful in nailing down my style!

    Karin |

    1. So happy that you found this useful! <3

    2. Thank you, Karin! So glad that you found it helpful <3

  4. Lovely share on Style guide.The content in the guide are pretty clear.Thanks for the wonderful article!I will make a note on it.

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