Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Building a wardrobe: Laying a foundation with basics

So far, we've discussed how to identify your closet's colors, prints, and proportions, as well as how to identify how many of each item you need to maximize your closet.  Before today's post on how to pick specific items for your closet, you may want to read the following great posts from Into Mind:
Ok, now that we're all on the same page, yesterday I made estimates of how many items I'd need to have a fully functional closet. Today I'm going to share how to build a foundation of basics to optimize your capsule closet.

For each basic I included in my imaginary closet, I asked myself if it had a few characteristics:

  • Classic: Basics need to work with your entire closet, so trendy items need not apply here.
  • Comfortable: If your basic isn't comfortable, you won't wear it, so make sure you want to rock whatever is in your closet! "Comfortable" means not only does it fit well and not annoy/hurt you to wear, but it makes you feel like your best self--your closet should not make you self-conscious!
  • Chameleon: Make sure that items can work dual-purpose (i.e., black workout leggings can double as leggings under a work dress and boots) or are simple enough to 'go with' most of the rest of your closet.
  • Quality: Because basics work overtime in your closet, make sure that the pieces you choose with withstand a little wear and tear. This doesn't necessarily mean that basics need to be expensive, but it does mean that you should probably avoid Forever 21 for your work trousers, for example. 

For each item I selected, I also asked myself: Can this item be easily substituted with any other piece in this closet? If yes, I kept looking or eliminated one of the items. If no, it was added to the closet and my list narrowed.

Here are the basics I ended up with--tune in tomorrow for my Key Pieces!

Basic Bottoms

The breakdown:

  • 1 pair grey workout capris: a nice counterpoint to fun, bright workout tops
  • 1 pair black long leggings: the 'little black dress' of workout gear, I wear this to workout and wear them under work dresses/under boots as well
  • 1 black lounge pant: I buy comfortable workout pants and wear them as lounge pants, to workout, and to sleep in
  • 1 pair black shorts: another staple in your workout gear closet
  • 1 black work skirt: this skirt is a bit more interesting than your typical pencil skirt, but plays equally nicely for work and play
  • 1 black and white stripe skirt: another versatile piece, this can be dressed up for work or paired with a graphic tee for play
  • 1 pair bootcut jeans:
  • 1 pair denim skinny jeans: I wear mine constantly--they go with everything in my closet!
  • 1 pair tailored black trouser pants: these do-it-all work pants are tailored enough for work, yet simple and interesting enough to wear out to the bar with a fun top
  • 1 pair white skinny jeans: these can be swapped for black or grey skinny jeans as well
  • 1 black maxi skirt: so versatile, it's like wearing black pants

Basic Tops:

Basic Tops

  • Black leather tee: starting off with a 'not so basic basic', this tee can be work to work or play
  • 1 black long-sleeve dress: dress it up or down, wear it to work or the bar!
  • 1 denim jacket: I use my denim jacket to complete my more casual work outfits and layer it constantly when running errands
  • 1 leather jacket: a wardrobe staple, this jacket can be worn nearly year-round and immediately toughens up the girliest of outfits
  • 1 striped hoodie: wear it to workout or layer it under the jean jacket to run errands
  • 1 black cardigan: makes basically any top work-appropriate
  • 2 long-sleeve tees (black and blue): wear as a layer or on its own with a fun necklace
  • 1 white swiss dot tuxedo buttonup: the dots bring a bit of subtle pattern, and the top can be worn alone or under sheaths, jackets, cardigans, etc
  • 1 silk bow-tie top: wear it over/under sweaters, tied or untied
  • 1 black blazer: another versatile item to make any top or dress work-ready
  • 3 v-neck tees (grey, blue, coral): closet staple.
  • 1 lavender workout sweater: this is workout gear that doubles as a lovely work top!
  • 3 workout tanks (black, aqua, grey stripes): another dual-purpose top, this can go to the gym or under a jacket at work 
  • 1 coral long-sleeve workout top: this is too sporty for work, but it's such a fun color that it does fine on its own! :)

As you can see, I gravitate towards neutral-colored bottoms (black, white, grey, denim) and wear more color up top. Some people advise to invest in basics, since they're the foundation of your wardrobe. My philosophy is that basics are always available and easily replaced, so I'd rather splurge on fun key pieces and accessories--so stay tuned for my next post on how to round out the 'key pieces' portion of my wardrobe!

For the other posts in this series, see:

Coming up next:
  • Building a Wardrobe: Finding key pieces
  • Building a Wardrobe: Accessories and Shoes!
  • Building a Wardrobe: How to Maximize Options in a Capsule Wardrobe

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