A Perfect Basic Wardrobe
There is no perfect basic wardrobe that applies to all. A basic wardrobe takes into consideration lifestyle or clothing for all of our activities. If you are a hockey coach your wardrobe is going to be a lot different from a corporate lawyer’s. However when we choose a basic article of clothing it is something we should plan on wearing many times (getting our money’s worth). These items are like good investments since they will reward us many times in the future. When buying basics purchase quality pieces, not necessarily the most expensive.
Get started building your basic wardrobe by choosing a solid color that flatters your skin tone as your foundation neutral. Foundation neutrals are black, navy, grey or brown/camel. Then choose a secondary color that goes with your foundation color, e.g. red. Keep in mind fit, cut, comfort and care of clothing. Your lifestyle will dictate what items you have in your closet. Also, what is best for your figure type. For instance, if you have bad veins in your legs you might want to have all slacks, pant suits, and long skirts in your wardrobe.
You don’t have to run out and buy everything all at once. Make a plan. List what you need and stick to it when you shop. Don’t buy too much of anything. You can add pieces or replace things when they wear out or don’t fit any longer. List your weekly, monthly, and annual activities then visit your closet and find the clothing you wear for these different activities and/or special occasions. Ask yourself if there are pieces you can wear for several activities or events. If you want, write down activities that you do next to clothes you can wear for those activities. Make a list of what you are missing. Watch for sales and fill in the gaps.
Sample Basic Wardrobe
Suit – Buy a suit in lightweight wool or fabric appropriate for your climate (e.g. linen, cotton, or combination such as silk and linen) in a foundation neutral color. The jacket should come to the waist or below. Short women 5′ 4″ and under look best in short or waist length jackets. Taller women can wear longer jackets.
The suit should have very simple lines. It can be a pantsuit or traditional suit with a jacket and skirt.
Dress – Should be in your foundation neutral color having simple lines. Style and length should be determined by your figure. No prints, they can make you look old! A little black dress is perfect!
Optional – 2-Piece Outfit – in your foundation color that can be worn like a shirtwaist (tailored shirt and straight skirt or slacks for a slim look or fuller skirt if you are tall and slim.) These can be in the same fabric.
Slacks – in foundation neutral and at least one other color, stripe or small check.
Casual Pants / Jeans – again in foundation neutral. Stay away from large/ loud prints, checks, and stripes. They make you look larger. (jeans preferred only for younger women and / or women with great shapes.)
Skirt* – in a second solid color and/or interesting texture. A print skirt can be an extra if it works with your figure type.
Jacket / Blazer – A secondary color that works with your foundation color (e.g.. red). Then choose prints, stripes and checks/plaid tops with this color in them. The jacket should come to the waist or below. Short women 5′ 4″ and under look best in short jackets or waist length. Taller women can wear longer jackets.
Tops – 2 or 3 solid color tops (should include a white blouse/shirt) and then go for some variety and buy stripes, prints or checks/plaids, etc. They must go with your foundation color. Some dressy and a few more casual items.
Sweaters – 1 cardigan in your foundation color and 1 pull over that is in a color that works with your foundation color. Choose cashmere for work or more formal occasions.
Coat – In your foundation color. Choose one with simple lines not too short. You will be able to wear it longer.
Raincoat – In your foundation color or secondary color, such as a neutral like beige, red or army green. You can’t go wrong with a classic trench coat.
Casual Jacket – 1 lt. weight (cotton, denim or microfiber) and 1 heavy for cool weather.
Shoes – 2 or 3 pairs of shoes that are in your foundation color for dress and 2 or 3 pairs of casual low flats.
Optional – Boots in your foundation color.
Evening Outfit – Choose dressy slacks or skirts in satin, silk or velvet with a top. A long skirt and top will work, also. You can change tops for different looks. Two piece outfits are easier to pack when traveling. Cocktail dresses are beautiful and are popular for formal or semi-formal events.
A-Line – Most wearable, skim over curvy hips, ample thighs, and a protruding belly seamlessly.
Pencil – The pencil skirt works on almost every body.