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.
The Pareto Principle states that for many events roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. If we apply this 80/20 principle to our closets it’s pretty common to find that 80% of the time we wear 20% of the clothing we own. For most of us that 20% is the foundation of our wardrobe; it’s what gives life and validity to everything else that’s in there.
What does your 20% look like?
If it feels haphazard, accidental, boring or repetitive maybe it’s time to recreate your 20%. Since this is what we wear most of the time, it needs to fit beautifully and be the best we can afford.
We went shopping on the web and picked out Core Wardrobes for two separate palettes:
The Core Wardrobe Black Palette
1. Color Block Cowl Neck $78, Ann Taylor. 2. Stretch Trouser $88, Ann Taylor. 3. Stripe Pleated Shirt $50, Lord & Taylor. 4. Tweed Jacket $228, Ann Taylor. 5. Long Grey Heather Cardigan $229, Talbots. 6. Scallop Tank Layering Piece $44, Talbots. 7. Ankle Pants $109, Talbots. 8. Turq Big Shirt, $74, Neiman Marcus. 9. Stripe Tank Layering Pc. $45, Talbots. 10. Michael Kors Pencil Skirt $69, Lord & Taylor. 11. Cheetah Print Skirt $69, Lord & Taylor. 12. Cowl Neck Layering Pc. Sweater $43, Lord & Taylor. 13. Not Your Daughter’s Jeans Black Boot Cut Jeans $130, Nordstrom. 14. Sleeveless Layering Ruffle Shirt, $89, Talbots.
The Core Wardrobe Taupe Palette
1. Khaki Jacket $149, Talbots. 2. Scoop T Layering Pc. $29, Talbots. 3. Signature Fit Pant $89, Talbots. 4. Cheetah Print Blouse $89 Talbots. 5. Kimono Cardigan $119, Talbots. 6. Denim Shirt $118, Neiman Marcus. 7. Crew Neck Cardi Top $68, Ann Taylor. 8. Scoop Neck Sweater $59, Talbots. 9. Skirt $119, Talbots. 10. Ralph Lauren Skirt, $119, Lord & Taylor. 11. Ruffle Blouse $59, Talbots. 12. Crop Pant $98, Ann Taylor. 13.Curvy Fit Jeans $89, Talbots.