“I Have Nothing to Wear!” I’ll Bet You Do…
This is for every woman who has stood before a closetful of clothes and said, “I have nothing to wear.” We’re going to deconstruct the process of building a great – and functional - wardrobe. All it takes is a little forethought and a bit of discipline. The mantra is: simplify, simplify, simplify.
Here’s a little tip before you start. When you pull together an outfit that you like, snap a picture of it for later reference. It's easier to trust your camera than your memory. Often, the glazed over look we get when staring at our closet is simply because we do, in fact, have something to wear but we just forgot what it is!
So here are the building blocks for creating multiple outfits for a party, a meeting, or a luncheon with friends. You don’t need a lot of clothes and many of the suggestions are for things you probably have already (these are mostly the classics, after all). You might just need some practice combining them better.
1) You’ll need to have at least one great fitting, well-made dress and/or something like a tuxedo suit. The dress can be a sheath, a wrap dress or anything in one of your neutral colors. Neither the dress nor suit has to be black (not all of us can wear black). To wear over the dress you’ll either need a dressy jacket, cashmere shawl or a trench coat. The trench will also serve as a finishing piece for multiple outfits.
2) For more casual occasions, you’ll need one great pair of tailored slacks, one pair of dressy jeans - straight leg and boot cut are the most universally flattering - (save the ripped ones for hanging around the house) one pair of khakis or linen pants and if you like skirts a simple one, such as a pencil skirt. Each of these should go with at least three of your tops: blouses, tees, tunics, etc. And to complete those looks...
3) Have at least three types of jackets: a classic blazer, a leather moto jacket or something similarly informal, and a soft cashmere cardigan (or alternately, a pashmina shawl). Each jacket should go with almost all of your more casual pants, jeans, and tops. The only thing that would make them not work is a top that doesn’t fit well underneath one of them. To solve that problem…
4) Master the art of layering. Your blouse, knit top, tunic, or tee should serve as a seamless backdrop for what you wear over it. That means it’s a good idea to have a few versatile tops that are flattering, but are not the main event. If they’re bulky, too long, too short, or if the collar line conflicts with the jacket worn over it, try a different layer. Whatever you wear under a jacket or a coat shouldn't alter the silhouette of what’s worn over it.
5) Pick out three pairs of good quality, comfortable shoes that can be interchanged with multiple outfits: a simple heel for dressy occasions, a stylish pair of wedges, heeled sandals or ankle booties for a casual look, and a dressy pair of flats when you don’t want to or can’t wear a heel. Having at least these three will bring you peace of mind. These should all be in your dark or light neutral colors and should be comfortable, well-made and well-kept. Nothing destroys a nice outfit like worn, dirty, or sloppy looking shoes.
6) Have a couple of statement or chain necklaces and a few scarves in colors that flatter your face. They each add polish and show that you put some thought into the whole outfit. Scarves work best with a blazer or jacket. Jewelry works best with a dress or a top that has a simple neckline. You want the necklace to show up and not get lost.
7) Have one good quality, everyday bag and one small dressy one. The more dressy or formal the occasion, the smaller the bag. You can go inexpensive with your outfit if your shoes and handbag say quality.
If your bag is sparkly it should match only one piece of your outfit: e.g. the jacket or your jewelry. Not many of us can carry off looking like a glitter ball.
The key to all of this is that each piece should fit well and be well-made. They don’t all have to be expensive – Zara, H&M and Uniqlo have some pretty great and very inexpensive basics these days. Each item should go with multiple other items, and not be too trendy. Trendy is the fun top that you buy on impulse, and that goes with these basics. The basics are what make the trendy things fun and not anomalies in your closet.
So that’s it! Now go and play in your closet.
Andrea Pflaumer - SheSavvy Expert