As an image management consultant, I empower and enable my clients to achieve their personal and professional goals by applying image management strategies in everyday life.

Image management is the ongoing process of evaluating and controlling the impact of your appearance on yourself and others. It is about creating an authentic, appropriate, attractive and affordable personal/professional image which increases your confidence, capability, credibility and productivity.

One strategy that can help to simplify your life and help you reach your goals is learning how to cluster your clothes. You don’t need to spend a fortune on a ton of clothes to have a wonderful wardrobe.

A ‘cluster’ is a small group of coordinated clothing and accessories, that are easy to mix and match, and provide individuality, versatility and economy. Learning to create clothing clusters can seriously expand your wardrobe. It all starts with 5 to 8 easy pieces of clothing that, when combined, turn into 25 to 72 outfits.

No need to go shopping……yet. Start with pieces of clothing you currently have in your closet. Time to evaluate what you have in your wardrobe and how you can use what you have before you create a shopping list.

As you create your clothing clusters, you will be able to assess gaps you have in your wardrobe. At that stage, start to create a shopping list of the pieces of clothing missing from your wardrobe that you can purchase over time to close those gaps. Your shopping list will be informed and help you to focus on what you truly need to meet your personal and professional image goals.

Here is a guideline to help you create your clusters of clothing that you can apply to any of the roles you lead in your life and achieve your personal and professional image goals – such as a formal business clothing cluster, casual business clothing cluster, weekend clothing cluster, formal evening clothing cluster, or vacation clothing cluster – just to name a few:

1. Start with an inspiration piece. Choose a piece of clothing that has a pattern – a print, stripe or plaid – to inspire the colour scheme of your cluster.

2. Plan for 5 to 8 easy pieces of clothing – top and bottom pieces. Choose wardrobe neutral colours that go with the colour scheme of your inspiration piece.

3. Select pieces that are basic – simple in style lines and shapes.

4. Select pieces that go together – pieces that will work with at least three other pieces in the cluster.

5. Select pieces that are distinctly different from one another – no two pieces alike.

6. Select accessories that go with the clothes – basic accessories first, like shoes and hosiery.

7. Gradually expand your clothing cluster to meet all your wardrobe needs. This is where your informed shopping list will come in handy.

Not sure where to begin? Need help evaluating your wardrobe and learning how to create your clothing clusters based on your roles and goals? Please contact me to learn how I can help you or for a complimentary half-hour consultation: ecrotty@bloomstraconsultling.ca or 613-321-5159.

Erin Crotty, Founder & Director of BloomStra Consulting, is a certified business etiquette expert and professional image management consultant. As a speaker, trainer and coach, Erin leads dynamic, interactive and informative leadership programs to individuals, businesses, professional associations and universities. She helps her clients Outclass the Competition and transform into world class leaders.