Want to know the secret to creating a foolproof wardrobe? It’s all about “buying less and spending more.”
The ultimate goal is to build a wardrobe of clothes that suit you perfectly and that will mix and match easily to create innumerable outfits. It may take you several years to get there, but the result is absolutely worth it.
A perfect wardrobe should be made up of 60% Classic pieces 20% Basics and 20% Trend.
You probably already have a few classic pieces in your wardrobe. By classic we mean pieces that won’t date quickly, can be worn with lots of things and suit your body shape and colouring well. These are the items you paid more for but are made of high quality natural fibres and have seen you through several seasons. By purchasing classic pieces over a longer period of time, pairing them with good quality basics and keeping current with a few trend items like the latest handbag, you will always look elegant and put together.
Start the process with a quick and easy wardrobe organization. Immediately remove anything that is obviously worn out, stained or torn, as well as anything you haven’t worn for a few years. If you can’t mend it, bin it. Then separate your remaining clothing into piles of classics, basics and trend.
Classics – The classics are good quality items like jackets, coats, skirts and pants that fit you well, that look great and are still in great condition. They are the core items of your wardrobe that can be dressed up or down and will mix well with lots of other items.
Basics – The basics are good quality t-shirts, stockings and lingerie etc. These are items that get a lot of wear and should be replaced every season or so. Always buy the best quality you can afford and don’t skimp on underwear – well-fitting lingerie can work minor miracles. The more careful you are when washing and storing your basics, the longer they will last.
Trend – Finally you should be left with a pile of trend clothing. These could be current trends or those from a few years ago that you are loath to throw out. While you may want to hang on to a few favourites, once the trend is over do you really have any need to keep them? Anything you decide to keep should be stored separately from the rest of your wardrobe.
Once this is done you can create a list of what classic items you need to complete your perfect wardrobe. Here are the top 10 staples of a classic wardrobe:
- A good coat – for example a trench coat, is a wardrobe essential. As with all your classic pieces, choose a neutral colour like black, chocolate, navy or beige that can be worn over lots of different things. Avoid belted/waisted styles if you are large in the midsection.
- Good quality knitwear – Go for natural fibre like 100% wool or cashmere. These are more expensive but much better quality and will last a lot longer. A classic V-neck style with three-quarter or full length sleeves will suit most women and will get you through several seasons without appearing dated. Choose a thin rather than thick knit.
- A cocktail dress – Look for classic style that flatters your body shape, for example a wrap dress which suits most figures. Remember, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a “little black dress.” If you don’t like black or just want something more interesting, pick a dress in one of your best non-neutral colours.
- A collared shirt – a well cut white shirt with crisp collar and cuffs is always a great addition to any wardrobe. It is perfect for both weekend and work wear. Choose a white that is most flattering for your skin tone.
- A great pair of jeans – look for either a boot-cut or straight leg style in a dark, even denim. Definitely no fading, embroidery or hemline detail. Always fit your widest area first, then it can just be a simple alteration to nip in the waist if it is too large.
- An A-line skirt – A simple A-line skirt is very easy to wear and flattering on most body shapes.
- Boot-cut or man-style pants – A great cut that skims over the hip area, creates a long leg line and upper/lower body balance. These styles will suit most body shapes. Get several pairs in neutral colours like black, beige, chocolate etc.
- A pair of boots – perfect for Autumn/Winter weather. Look for a soft chocolate leather in whatever heel height you are comfortable with.
- A handbag – get the best quality leather you can afford. In a neutral colour like beige, this will go with practically everything.
- Any other signature pieces that you feel suit your own personal style
Now that you have your wardrobe of classics, you can start to create ‘clothing clusters.’ This is a clever and easy way to build a versatile wardrobe of clothes. Once you get the idea of how clusters work, you’ll be able to plan your wardrobe around them and give yourself lots of options.
A clothing cluster is a group of 5-12 pieces (classics and basics) that work in combination with each other. The basic guidelines are:
- Solids mix more easily than prints but prints can bridge the gap two completely different solids
- Choose classic styles with clean, simple lines
- Choose colours from your most flattering colour palette
- Choose styles that suit your shape and your clothing personality
- Invest in quality pieces that will last for many years
Go through your wardrobe and note down all the possible combinations you own and then try them on to make sure they really work. Maybe you could have a friend or your partner take a photo of you in each outfit you create so you can remember all the combinations you came up with.
Teaming classic pieces with good quality basics in your best colours will ensure you always look elegant and put together. Then simply adding a splash of the latest colour or trendy handbag will bring you right up to the minute. Best of all, taking the time to plan your wardrobe means you’ll no longer be tempted to waste money on impulse items that don’t go with anything you own.
Susan Lockhart is a qualified Image Consultant in Brisbane, Australia and owner of Synergy Image Consulting. Learn how to make the most of your appearance and dress for success, no matter what size, age or shape you are. Discover the most comprehensive personal styling program available online! You could have your own personal style portfolio in just minutes by visiting http://www.synergy.your-estyle.com/