July 12, 2018

There was a book I read last year that I completely adored but forgot to include in my best books of the year summary. But then I realized I was really okay with that because what I learned from this book and how it is applying to my routine is worth at least a whole post. It’s a little different than most books I read, but it was SO GOOD I need to let people know about it. Becoming a homemaker was a very different pace and lifestyle from my previous life phases.

Once I saw I needed to build my wardrobe differently, I was much less frustrated. I’m generally interested in organizing and style stuff, so I feel pretty aware of what is out there for strategies with clothes or purging possessions and still, The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees was BY FAR the best advice and system I have read.

What I love about refining this stuff is that it fits with an attitude that is the home is a place that’s worth looking nice. The home is worth doing a lot of things for. Also, side note, my husband didn’t read the book, but I explained the concepts to him and he has really liked them for himself too.

How to Dress as a Homemaker Everyday

(I took a mirror “self portrait” because I didn’t want to bother David so please don’t troll me on that.)

In college, I was out and about every day, constantly at places in public and going to social events, so it was normal to get dressed nicely everyday. Then when I became self employed and worked from home everyday, I found it kind of weird and conflicting to get dressed.

Previously if I was going to have a whole day at home that was more rare, so I’d stay in something lounge-ish. But that didn’t work with being at home everyday. I wanted to feel better than wearing sweats, but wearing the types of outfits I used to wear to class or my internship or parties felt silly and not right for the types of tasks I’d be doing to take care of the home and babies.

This book talks about “outfit formulas.” To make your formulas, you first think of all the different settings you go to in a given week. I have:

  1. days at home,
  2. casual social events (like a bible study or party in our home), and
  3. church or dressier events (like a date night).

I thought about what my ideal outfits to wear for those occasions would be. This was a very helpful and important part. What do I actually reach for during each of these times because it is comfortable and how I want to look. Outfit formulas are a version of the same “uniform” you can wear over and over by mixing and matching the different pieces of the formula.

Next you add up an average two weeks of your life. How many times are you in [each of the above settings] every two weeks? I could see how many of each piece I need for a two week cycle. (When our family was smaller I did laundry every two weeks. Now I still like operating on a two week cycle for the frequency I like to re-wear.) Then I count up how many I have in my closet and compare the number. This showed me my wardrobe holes and has completely guided my clothes shopping in a much more focused way.

If you’re like me, I found I had way more nice dresses than I need and not enough at home cute basics. It was kind of just leftover from my previous go somewhere everyday lifestyle. So when shopping now, I know to prioritize buying well fitting comfortable t-shirts with feminine details because that is the current biggest hole in my wardrobe! I buy versions of everything that all fit into my overall style feel (that the book helps you form for yourself), which for me some words for my vibe are: classic vintage, easy, comfortable, feminine, retro.

This is a summary version of mine. I have a separate version for maternity too. (I don’t like high waisted bottoms then, which you will see are normally a staple!)


summer: 1) t-shirt dress or 2) high waist shorts with cute t-shirts
winter: leggings and cute t-shirts


summer: 1) t-shirt dress, 2) high waist shorts with cute t-shirts, or 3) high waist skirts with cute t-shirts
winter: 1) joggers or jeans with t-shirts or 2) skirts/shorts with layered leggings or tights and cute t-shirts


summer: a-line dresses with short or 3/4 length sleeves
winter: add tights

In this list I specified the t-shirts “cute” every time. I’ve found I much prefer finding shirts that have feminine details or a cool vintage graphic or design. So by cute t-shirts, I mean some kind of element that makes it special. They feel a lot better than solid color, almost unisex stuff!

Another concept is creating a color palette for your wardrobe. At first that feels restricting, but really you’ll like it. Because realizing the colors that look good on me has simplified things. It’s so old school, but enough older women have stopped me in department stores to tell me I’m a textbook “winter” that I looked up what that means online and it was actually very helpful. I wear jewel tones and cool pastels. I love blush pink, but it just does not look good on me! So I can stop trying. Shopping decisions are much faster because of this.

Curated Closet Book

One more thing I have to mention the book does really well is help you go through your clothes (to get rid of some) in a way that is the best, most realistic method I have ever heard. You will end up with all perfect clothing, but it’s not rash, where you get rid of a ton of clothes that you need to function each day before you can find and buy your ideal things.

There is really so much more I could say about what is covered in the book; it is just so good. I felt like so many strategy things clicked in to place while reading it.

Implementing this has been slower for me because I am in the pregnancy years where I need two sizes for everything (maternity and normal) and then also summer and winter versions of both. So I am working toward building kind of four wardrobes! But I have much more clarity about my strategy and getting dressed well makes me more productive and happier.

And this is unrelated, but I also realized recently that mascara just is not really going to be part of my life anymore and I am all about eyeliner (which I used to never do). Adapting my hair and make up choices for what works best now too!

My New Cookbook


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  • Christine

    I reserved this book at my library after reading your post! I’ve struggled a lot with figuring out how to dress myself since becoming a stay at home mom. Could you share some places where you like to find “cute” t-shirts? Thanks for the book recommendation!

    • Rachel Schultz

      Awesome! Yep it’s a good. Hm. Still establishing my list of all my places but some where I’ve had success are j. crew factory, h&m, and forever 21.

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