This 52-week guide will teach you, step by step, how to put together fabulous outfits and do so sustainably.
A sense of style may come naturally to some lucky folks, but for others, like myself, it feels like a foreign language in need of translation. So you can imagine my curiosity when I heard about A Year of Great Style (YOGS), a 52-week wardrobe planner that teaches women how to put together great outfits.
A Year of Great Style (YOGS) is produced by Toronto-based company Citizenne Style, whose co-founder Sarah Peel I met at the World Ethical Apparel Roundtable last October. As she explained to me, Citizenne's goal is to make fashion fun, accessible, and transformative, and the YOGS guide is designed
"to help you gain more freedom (to be yourself and shake off whatever is holding you back); unleash creativity (using the art of dressing); and to be an everyday influencer for a better world (by making conscious wardrobe choices)."
When the publication was launched, Peel sent me one to review and I've found it to be educational and inspiring. The introductory guide contains, among many other things, information about fashion's environmental impact, 15 practices of a conscious wardrobe, and – perhaps most helpful for beginners like me – a list of 11 elements of art that actually create that 'stylish' look that appears so effortless for some women, i.e. line, shape, color, texture, pattern, etc.
Next is the keystone of the publication – "12 steps to an easy & aligned weekly wardrobe." This is where theory is put into practice, where you stand in front of your closet and play with your clothes, using the elements of style. The goal is to put together 7 outfits for each day of the week and then repeat this practice for a year.
The latter sections of the guide include a journal and a planner. The journal encourages women to reflect on their reasons for wanting to improve their style sense and offers exercises for 'auditing' one's wardrobe. There are pie graphs for determining what percentage of your time is spent doing which activities and for estimating what percentage of your clothes fall into different functional categories.
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Audit before you edit: this week’s blog post is about seeing your closet as the canvas of your life. • What’s hanging in that closet of your life? . . . Are your clothes reflecting YOU well, or not so accurately at the moment? • One of our co-founders @citizenne_gwendolyn talks us through her closet audit — as found in the Journal portion our Year of Great Style . Have a read! #linkinbio. • Graphic design by: @luizaferro⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ #balance #loveyourself #lifestyle #lifestyleblogger #growth #bethechange #taketime #personalstyle #confidence #authenticlife #makeyousmilestyle #aboutalook #slowfashion #wardrobeplanner
The pie graphs were eye-opening for me, since I have a closetful of dressy clothes that get used on average 1-2 hours per week, and yet I hesitate to replace worn-out gym clothes, despite spending 1.5 hours in the gym most days. Never before had it occurred to me that my time and clothing investments did not align.
The planner consists of 52 weeks of blank templates with prompts for style and conscious wardrobe play and planning. There is space to comment on the weather and to rate how you felt in your outfit. You can print it out and tape it to your closet door for quick reference.
There is a real sense that A Year of Great Style is designed to meet women at all stages of their fashion journey. Some are at the beginning and need help with the most basic concepts. Others may be very comfortable in playing with clothes but want to take it to the next level. Some might just need help with organizing and scheduling outfits.
The guide fits into a greater societal shift that's taking place in the way we view personal belongings. Think of the Marie Kondo effect and how people are assessing whether their clothing "sparks joy". As Peel told TreeHugger, YOGS takes this a step further:
"When clients hold an item and decide if it sparks joy or not, it’s purely an intuitive thing. Doing a few months of wardrobe prepping and the reflection activities in the Year of Great Style will help people be a lot more nuanced and informed with their decisions about what to keep, what to give away, and, more importantly, what to add in the future! YOGS is about a weekly process that leads to habit formation over time, and the KonMari way is about doing the entire purge at once."
Think of it as a deepening of the minimalist/capsule wardrobe movements that have captured the attention of so many, except this is an actual educational program designed to teach you how to dress, so that you won't be subjected to the whims of trends. As the guide says,
"Take one month to forget what the magazines and influencers say about what’s on trend, and even what the style 'experts' tell you about what colours, shapes, and motifs will look good on you or reflect your vibe. Once you start finding your style voice, you can return to the types, trends, and influencers. The difference is that this time around, YOU will know what serves your personality, life phase, body, values, and have the power to say yes or no."