Learn to be a better clothing consumer and use your resources wisely in making apparel choices. Determine which clothing styles are most appropriate for your age, body type, and lifestyle. What is your personal style and how does that fit with what is trending? How do you select clothing that enhances your body type, skin tone, and personal style? If you only have a limited budget, how could you go about updating your wardrobe?

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Exploring 4-H

Shopping in Style

Spark Activity: Style in your Closet

The way you dress and your style say a lot about who you are as a person. Put together your favorite outfit and analyze what it says about you. 

  • Why is it your favorite outfit? 
  • How does it make you feel when you wear it? 
  • What type of activities would you do in it (fancy dinner, go to school, lay on the couch and watch TV, go for a hike)? 
  • How does the functionality of your outfit reflect who you are and the activities you like to do? 
  • How can you change the look of the outfit with accessories? 
  • Can you give it multiple looks just by switching out accessories that you already have? 
4-H Project Levels and Goals
  • Get to know yourself and your wardrobe better 
  • Discover colors and styles that look best on you 
  • Learn how to shop within a budget 
  • Learn how color and fabric affect design 
  • Learn how to make wise clothing purchases 
  • Learn how to read care labels 
  • Learn about textiles and fabrics 
  • Complete a clothing inventory 
  • Learn clothing care, how to remove stains, and repair clothes 
  • Learn to coordinate clothing using principles of design 
  • Learn to build your own wardrobe 
  • Explore careers in clothing and textiles 
  • Discover how science, technology, engineering, and math are part of fashion design 
Put Your Project Into Action

Show Your Skills 

  • Display your favorite personal outfit or your dream designer outfit, explaining the principles of design including, but not limited to, color, line, and texture 
  • Create an inventory of your wardrobe, develop a poster or digital display of how you could mix and match items to create new looks 
  • Make a stain removal chart and kit 

Service and Leadership 

  • Organize a clothing drive; donate to a shelter 
  • Organize a neighborhood clothing swap or sale 
  • Sort donated clothing at resale stores 
  • Organize a prom dress swap in your school 
  • Lead a club workshop about style on a budget 
  • Create a video demonstrating positive body image and dressing for different body types 
  • Teach others to read clothing care labels and do their own laundry 
  • Recycle clothing for new purposes, reducing waste sent to landfills 


  • Create clothing or jewelry that you could sell 
  • Create a business plan- personal stylist or shopper 
  • Create your own blog or social media channel on fashion tips or trends 

Technology Connection 

  • Clothing or accessories using wearable LED lights 
  • Advances in fibers/fabric - color changing/UV reactive, biodegradable, moisture wicking 

Connecting with a Mentor 

  • Local clothing boutique and shop owners 
  • Local cleaners 
  • Local seamstress 
  • Retail clothing buyer from a local store 
  • Older 4-H members in the project area 


  • 4-H sewing or related workshops or events 
  • Exhibit opportunities at your county and state fair 
  • Participate in your county’s 4-H fashion review 
  • Upcoming fashion show at a local mall 
  • Trunk shows or fashion shows hosted by prom or wedding dress stores or community groups 

Project Manuals & Exhibit Requirements

  • Shopping in Style

Purchase manuals from Nebraska Extension.

View exhibit requirements and scoresheets on the Illinois State Fair page.

Related Projects

clothes on hangers on a store rack
  • Personal Stylist
  • Fashion Designer
  • Retail Buyer
  • Boutique/Store Owner
  • Fashion Blogger
  • Textile Designer
Start a Conversation
  • How can you recycle your out of style clothes into something that someone would wear today? 
  • What should you consider when selecting garment styles that will be flattering?  

“Shopping in Style” Cooperative Extension, University of Nebraska, Institute of Agriculture and Resources, 2013

University of California 4-H project sheet

Katie Duitsman, University of Illinois Extension 4-H Youth Development Specialist

Spark Activity Created by Brittney Muschetto, University of Illinois Extension 4-H Youth Development Intern

4-H Spark Sheets are a collaborative effort of 4-H staff, volunteers, alumni, and teens from across Illinois. A big thanks to the many contributors and reviewers!