Get over the notion that you need a lot of clothes. A well edited wardrobe in which every item works several different ways makes it easy to maintain consistent personal style.
With only a minimal number of the RIGHT pieces, you can create maximum style. Start by shopping your closet to see what’s there to build on. Whether your style is traditional, contemporary, or eclectic, you need basically the same number of pieces to work with. For instance a fall wardrobe can be built around the following core items.
1 Palette: Are you best in black/charcoal/white, brown/taupe/ecru, or navy/burgundy/ivory? Sticking to one is the basis to build on. A basic wardrobe doesn’t NEED both black and brown pants; it can lead to confusion because each palette needs different colors to support it. Most of us look best in one or the other.
2 Pairs of pants: These should be in whatever your basic dark colors are
1 Pair of jeans: No spangles, sparkles, rips, acid wash, or weird pocket details. Go for a dark wash, boot cut and great fit.
2 shirts: The perfect simple white shirt is a classic but solids and simple patterns are OK too. NOTE: White shirts have a shelf life. Plan on replacing them seasonally. They have a tendency to yellow, droop, and show their age when they’re in constant rotation. Crisp & white is the look you want.
2 Skirts: One solid and one pattern is a start.
7 Tops: This mix should contain layering pieces in basic colors (3), fine gauge sweater in a color that suits you and works with your core pieces (1), shirts (2), a printed shirt or blouse (1).
1 Jacket: Start with a basic. They can transform a look so don’t be afraid to add novelty jackets later.
For a business wardrobe, choose fabrics like gabardine and stretch woven bottoms and silk, cashmere, and fine gauge cotton tops. If you need a more casual wardrobe your core items can be denim, cottons, and knits.
If skirts aren’t your thing, then substitute pants for the skirts.
Prints pieces should work with at least two other items. If you opt for a patterned or printed top and skirt that match, you should be able to wear them separately. NOTE: dry cleaning can fade prints, so always send out your printed garments together (yes, even if one item doesn’t need it.)
Every item should fit without any buts about it. If a hem, button, sleeve, pocket or anything else is even a little off, take it to a tailor and get it fixed. All tailors display lists of common fixes and prices, most are not expensive. If a garment doesn’t fit well, it’ll never look good, no matter how much you paid for it.
See How It Should Look! We put together 2 core wardrobes. They will be posted here on Friday August 19, 2011.