Book Review: The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees

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I was recently asked about what my next workbook would be. I plan to do an expanded version of the style personality section of the first workbook, since that is the area where people seem to have the most trouble, and I hope to put it out during the first half of 2018.

In a similar vein to the work I’ve done in wardrobe planning and rebuilding is Anuschka Rees’s work, which she has on a site that used to be called Into Mind and is now just under her name. Last year, she published a book called The Curated Closet: A Simple System for Discovering Your Personal Style and Building Your Dream Wardrobe, which guides you through the process of developing your personal style, going through and restocking your wardrobe, and then maintaining and updating it.

The book is full of helpful exercises and step-by-step processes to help you achieve a wardrobe that fits your style and that serves you in all the different areas of your life. I will say, however, that I personally have some major philosophical differences with Rees. While she used to have information about seasonal analysis and perhaps other systems on her site–I can’t remember now–she is now against what she calls “style typologies.” Of course, my entire site is about these style typologies. She sees them as limiting; I see them as freeing–as long as they are applied correctly. The internet is full of people who treat Kibbe Image IDs as stereotypes, and some of these people are making a comfortable living doing it, but in the end you can express any style with any Kibbe Image ID; the Image ID just makes it easier. When it comes to colors, too, I think it’s not the best idea to seemingly completely leave out the seasonal concept, especially when you’re telling people to make their limited palettes of main colors, neutrals, and accents. You have to have either a background in art or an excellent innate color sensibility to come up with a workable palette that has harmony if you don’t have the tools of color seasons.

Another area where we differ is capsule wardrobes–she dedicates a fair amount of space to them, and I think that it is best to concentrate on full, head-to-toe outfits. I think capsule wardrobes lead to generic outfits, even if you stock that capsule with statement pieces. An outfit that tells an entire story generally requires thought, not mix and match.

Despite these major disagreements, I still think the book has practical and even fun advice for people who are looking to define their style and create a wardrobe that works for their life. I haven’t done any of the exercises from the book yet, since I’m in a place with my wardrobe where I feel like it has a cohesive style and it has what I need, but I will likely turn to it for inspiration next time I feel like it’s time for an overhaul and I want to tweak some things.

The Curated Closet: A Simple System for Discovering Your Personal Style and Building Your Dream Wardrobe, Anuschka Rees, Ten Speed Press, 2016. $15.99 (Kindle Edition)/$17.21 (paperback).

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4 Comments on Book Review: The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees

  1. dianne
    December 24, 2017 at 1:45 am

    I agree with you 100%! Everything you are saying is so very true.

    • stylesyntax
      December 27, 2017 at 8:20 pm


  2. Doctor T
    December 24, 2017 at 2:02 am

    I got this book when it came out, and while I was really inspired to try a lot of the suggestions, I still felt lost towards an identity/archetype and color palette. I could point to things I liked, but that didn’t translate to wardrobe cohesion or real style. It wasn’t until I discovered Kibbe types and color seasons that the reasons *why* I liked things made sense, and I agree it is much easier to come up with a starting point once you know these things.

    • stylesyntax
      December 27, 2017 at 8:20 pm

      Exactly–I find the ideas in here helpful *because* I know what works for me, but I think I’d be a little lost going into it without real guidance.


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