How to Build a Lean Wardrobe
with Lee Vosburgh of Style Bee

Fashion trends may come and go, but the growing enthusiasm for buying quality over quantity is a trend we hope is here to stay.

With this in mind, we’ve teamed up with style blogger Lee Vosburgh to discover her top tips on building a lean wardrobe that is full of items you’ll love for years to come. 

Keep it classic, keep it conscious. 

Lee Vosburgh of Style Bee

Lee Vosburgh of Style Bee


How would you describe your approach to building your wardrobe?

Considered and personal are the two words that come to mind.

Considered because I take a lot of time to think about each item that I add. I consider where and how it’s been made and if it’s something that will have longevity, both in style and quality. I used to shop sporadically and on a whim but so often those items weren’t right for me and would end up collecting dust. 

Personal because I focus much less on trends and what’s cool, and much more on what resonates with me and my lifestyle. The pieces I love to wear and truly cherish are the ones that I feel best reflect my individuality and allow me to tell a unique story through how I dress.

Why is it important to you to shop consciously?

I believe we often underestimate the influence and impact that material goods have on us.

The things we wear, use and interact with everyday can make a big difference to our mindset, space and general day to day existence. From something as personal as a pair of pants to something as objective as a pen we’re affected on some level by all of it. Shopping consciously has really changed my relationship with the things I bring into my life and live with, in the best way. 

I’m also lucky enough to be in a position where I’m able to decide how I spend my money and I think it’s important to treat this privilege responsibly. I choose to support brands and companies that are paying their employees and partners fairly, respecting the environment and producing goods that are designed beautifully and made to last. 

outfits

Picture Credits: Lee Vosburgh, Style Bee


What factors do you consider when buying a new item?

First and foremost, the item has to fit very well within my personal style – clean, considered, versatile – and fill a unique or at least highly utilised position within my closet.

Then I look into where the product was made and what the brand’s position is on responsible production. From there I assess whether it’s going to have longevity and if it appears to be of a quality and design calibre that will last a long time.

I never add something with the intention of wearing it once or twice, so it needs to be functional and made to be worn again and again. I also feel it’s important to be excited about each piece I add to my closet. If there’s no initial spark I typically wait until something else comes along. 

What advice would you give to someone setting out on their own closet mission, yet unsure where to start?

My advice is always to start by taking a break from shopping for a little while. I call it a shopping fast.

Too often we try to add more items that we think will help remedy our wardrobe frustrations but instead it just adds confusion and clutter. By taking a break from shopping for a month or so you’re able to regroup and forced to revisit your existing closet and get to know it better.

During this time I suggest people conduct a closet editdefine their personal style, address shopping triggers, try a 10 x 10 challenge and create a wish list to help them get a good sense of what’s working, what’s not and what they actually need to make a positive difference. Otherwise you’re just going to keep going in circles! 

 

Picture Credit: Lee Vosburgh, Style Bee


You coined the popular 10 x 10 challenge – can you explain what this is and what inspired the idea?

The 10 x 10 Challenge is a fun exercise I developed when I was on a month-long shopping fast a few years ago. I wanted to see if I could take 10 items I loved and style them into 10 looks over 10 days.

It turned out to be such an eye opening experience which taught me so much about my personal style and how I could do way more than I thought with such a small number of pieces. 

It’s essentially like an accelerated capsule closet experience with no upfront cost or lengthy time commitment. You simply choose from your closet and play around with different ways to style your favourite pieces. The insights that result from the challenge are always so interesting but by far the most common takeaway has been that our closet can work way harder than we give it credit for. 

Fast fashion and a cheap shopping fix can sometimes be really tempting – what’s your top tip for sticking to a lean wardrobe philosophy?

Keep a well edited Wish List. This way if you’re tempted to shop on a whim you can refer to the Wish List and be reminded of the items you’re saving for. I also have a set of 5 questions I like to ask before I buy something:

  1. Does this fit my personal style?
  2. Can I afford it?
  3. Do I have anything else like this?
  4. Can I think of three outfits I’d wear this with?
  5. Can I take care of this?

 

Shop the Style

Karmoie
Classic Spectacles – Leaves

Maiyet
Pointelle Trimmed Peplum Sweater

Po-Zu
Wren Wedge Black

Chartwellandg
Wide Brim Panama – Navy

Loewe
Culotte Trousers Black

Aitch Aitch
Ella Clutch – Grey

Stivalera Cavallin
Chelsea Ankle Boot

Maiyet x The Brave Collection
Rose Gold Tassel Cuff

Umran Aysan
Silk Shirt Dress in Olive

Gabriela Hearst
Seymore Reversible Dress

Bronagh Holmes Luxury
Alana – Black

Vieri
Golden Clouds Necklace

 

If you enjoyed this, you might like to read Reinvent Your Wardrobe Classics or Key Jewellery Items That Will Never Go Out of Style.

Lee Vosburgh