I always feel a little bit phony talking about things like the perfect pair of black pants or a great jacket, because in reality, I’m a maximalist. Minimalists have a level of organization and restraint that I admire, but never aspire to. It’s just not in my nature.
I like prints. Color. Sparkle. Sometimes all at once, but always, you know, tastefully.
I am the impulse shopper who never met a trend (or a sale) she didn’t like.
I like shoes. Lots and lots of shoes. And what I like most of all are options.
But this is the sneaky thing about options and choices and closets crammed so full of clothes you give up trying to find anything.
Contrary to what I’ve always believed, more clothes do not necessarily lead to more options. Crazy, right? It’s counterintuitive, especially for a spontaneous shopper like me, but it’s true.
Separates don’t equal options. Outfits do.
That’s why it’s so easy to choose something from my girls’ tightly packed closets. They are packed with outfits, and they all fit.
In a sea of separates, of pieces, fashion essentials are the connectors, but fashion statements are the sprinkles. This is where it gets fun, because when your closet is stocked with well-chosen basics, you can start to mix and match and play. To recap, the fashion essentials are a collection of neutral basics designed to work with everything that you own. They include:
1. Black blazer jacket (1-2 button style)
2. Black cardigan
3. Button-down shirt (white, black, or even chambray)
4. Tee in black, white and either a black/white combo or gray
5. Tank in black, white, and either a black/white combo or gray
6. Black shorts
7. Black pants that can be dressed up or down
8. Black skirt in your choice of style, but versatile enough to dress up or down
9. Black dress, again versatile for dress or casual
10. Dark jeans in a straight or skinny silhouette
That’s it. 14 items total (counting the tees and tanks) that will serve as the foundation for endless looks.
Since your fashion essentials are neutral, your statement pieces are where you bring in the color and pattern. Start with an accent color or two (preferably two that work together – you may already find that you have a couple of colors that dominate in your closet) and then incorporate them into the mix of essentials for plenty of possibilities.
Consider these versatile essentials in your color of choice:
2-3 printed blouses, tees, or tops
1 pair of pants
1 pair of shorts
1 jacket or cardigan
Add them to the mix, and your fashion essentials come to life. Here, a few examples, using blue as the accent color:
It’s really that simple. Does this solve every wardrobe conundrum you have? Sort of.
For some people, the really disciplined types, this can serve as the catalyst for a minimal, well-edited wardrobe where everything works together. For the rest of us, the shoppers and the impulse buyers and the lovers of all things sparkly, it will serve as the anchor to all the fun and frilly and trendy pieces we can find. No matter what your personality, this approach can offer every woman countless, stylish answers to the “nothing to wear” dilemma.
Still underwhelmed by the prospect of stocking your closet with black basics? Check out my Fashion Essentials Pinterest board and my Essentials Capsule catalog for endless inspiration and countless outfit ideas.