Building a Wardrobe
Since beginning my blog just over two years ago, my own style and wardrobe have changed quite a bit and they are still evolving. I can honestly say I don't think I would have been near as confident to mix up patterns like I do now. I do love fashion and have become a better shopper in regards to keeping the importance of budget, versatility, personal style and trying new things. With years of shopping practice under my belt, I think I'm pretty darn good!
The one thing that is important to remember is building a wardrobe takes time. Chances are you will not go out shopping in the morning and come home in the evening with a complete wardrobe. It's a process, kinda like lasagna...layering one at a time! Let this post be a recipe to build your wardrobe.
8 Steps to Building Your Wardrobe
1. Think of your lifestyle
It's important to shop for your lifestyle. I, for example, work in a corporate office where there is a no denim policy. So, denim or chambray has to be added to my wardrobe in moderation. It's just not cost effective to own items I can't use regularly. So, the first thing you need to do is ask yourself a few questions about what your average day looks like.
Do you sit a lot or are you on your feet?
Do you adhere to a dress code?
Do you spend your day at home with the kids but meet friends out in the afternoon?
Do you work in a professional environment or work from home?
Do you live in the city or the suburbs?
What are your hobbies or activities?
Do you dress up often? (This can be helpful in justifying something you really want.)
If you keep these few questions in mind while building your wardrobe, you will have a much better shopping experience.
2. Determine your budget
One of the most important steps to building your wardrobe is figuring out how much you want to (or can) spend. If you have a $1,000 budget, you don't want to splurge on the designer handbag you've had your eye on just yet. Whatever your budget, stick to it and buy your core pieces first. What's a core item? See below!
3. Core Items
Before you begin shopping, make a list of ten to twelve items that will make up the foundation of your wardrobe - your core pieces. Generally your core pieces are your most expensive items. You may already own a few of these pieces and if so, that's even better.
The ten core pieces in my wardrobe are:
- A dark colored dress, AKA. . .the "little black dress" (Keep in mind that it doesn't have to be black anymore, it can be a deep navy too. Just make sure it's a solid color.)
- A crisp button down white or ivory blouse
- A great pair of jeans in a classic cut; nothing trendy
- Black pumps
- Neutral, solid color blazer
- A good fitting bra
- V-neck tees in solid colors (black, white, gray)
- An investment handbag (The best bag you can afford that is versatile enough to go with any season and/or outfit)
- A Trench Coat
Now that you have determined what your core items are, check to see if you already own them. Then make a list of the items missing you will need to shop for. Now the fun begins. . .focus on your core items and build the rest of your wardrobe around them with colorful, trendy and fun items. Add in that leopard scarf and a fun statement necklace! The key to trendy items is to not break the bank. Pinterest is a great resource for outfit inspirations, as well as other blogs.
Create a Pinterest board of outfits you like, then take a look back at the board to see what you are drawn too and what catches your eye.
4. Mistakes Learned
You know when you absolutely love something in the store but then you get it home and it doesn't feel as good? Those stripes really did go around your hips in an unflattering way and that color orange does make your hair look brassy. These items inevitably end up in your donation pile. I've also had days where I just didn't feel cute; that outfit customarily never is on repeat! These my dear friends are mistakes learned. Know what works and rarely trust the sales clerk. She doesn't know you from Adam and, of course it looks good on you to her, it's a sale!
5. Your Wing Woman
This is an important job and the gal who is deemed this position needs to be an honest friend. She needs to be trusted to tell the hard truth even when you don't want to hear it because you want the item so badly. Her role is to be the honest truth to the fit, look and style on everything but, most importantly, on the core wardrobe pieces you shop for. Your job is to trust her. I can shop with my bestie and hands down never come home with anything stupid. And believe me...she is honest. Nuff said!
6. Dressing rooms are there for a reason
Try on the items before you buy them. If you think mint green is a great color on you but have never worn it, now is the time to see. There is only one way to find out if it works for you! Experiment with accessories and styles. The sales clerk has probably seen that item tried on before and may have seen some fabulous styles she can share too. Now is a great time to also remember what designers to steer clear of and which ones fit your body well. Remember, dressing room mirrors generally are not your friend.
7. Out with the old, in with the new
Now you really should clean out your closet, keeping only your core items and the pieces you purchased to add. Get rid of everything that doesn't fit, you don't like or that you're hanging on to because you hope it will come back in style. Consign the nicer pieces, or even sell them on one of those sites that lets others shop your closet. (I think its Posh Mark?) Donate the rest to goodwill. All that money you make from selling unwanted items from your closet can be invested back into the new wardrobe!
8. New you, New style rules
Stop thinking about all the fashion rules you were taught, you know what works for you. Pay attention to how clothes and styles make you feel. After years of exploring my personal taste and style, I pretty much make up my own rules where fashion is concerned. However, I always keep in mind what works and what doesn't. Give yourself permission to be colorful, creative, trendy and have fun with it. Get creative and think outside the box!
Fashion may change and so will our bodies, but if you follow these guide lines you will be able to keep up with the latest fashions, and always feel good!