It’s the in-between clothes that get us, every single time. Most of us can pull off the occasional dressy look, and we’ve nailed our corporate or business casual looks for work. We also have no problem with workout clothes or cleaning the house/puttering in the garden clothes.
But what about everything else? All of the times when we are not working and not working out. The clothes for errands and lunches and weekend outings. The clothes for shopping and chilling and casual dinners. The smart casual clothes.
This is the category that stumps most women. Smart casual becomes an afterthought, and often ends up being a mish-mash of old work clothes and athleisure. Not intentional and not confidence-inspiring.
But what if you approached your smart casual wardrobe with the same intentionality you used for other projects, like work projects or family holiday dinners? What if you spent just a short time planning so you could spend the rest of the season enjoying your wardrobe, rather than fussing with it and never quite feeling ready or right for wherever you’re going?
That’s where my cluster concept comes in. If you’re new to this concept, you won’t know that I slyly slipped in a dress for spring and summer. The Classic Cluster Concept consists of 6 pieces. The new Spring/Summer Cluster Concept consists of 7—6 separates and a dress. You could also do a jumpsuit.
For this video, I decided to create 2 clusters, for a total of 28 possible outfit combinations. You can do just one cluster or 5. It’s totally up to you and depends on your budget, your lifestyle, and the amount of variety you like having in your wardrobe.
Now let’s build out these clusters. All of these pieces can be found here. (In all of my blogs, the individual pics are also linked to make shopping easy!).
For versatility, I chose a solid dress and a printed dress for this cluster. This will give you some options for styling these pieces and allows them to mix and match with more ease.
For variety, I chose two pairs of jeans, one in white and one in light blue, as well as a pair of white shorts (a staple for those of you who love shorts) and a pretty skirt.
Next, I chose an assortment of tops, including 4 essentials (a tank, a tee, and white and chambray button-downs) and two pretty tops (both with short sleeves) for maximum versatility.
A couple of casual completer pieces round out these clusters. I chose a cardigan and a casual jacket. They can be any style you choose, but neutral and simple, and casual are what we are looking for here.
I used the first two, the cardigan and the green moto jacket, in these clusters.
The most versatile warm-weather shoe wardrobe consists of a pair of dressier shoes (sandals, wedges, pumps), a pair of pretty flat sandals, and a pair of summery white sneakers.
And now let’s look at the completed clusters, with 7 items instead of the standard 6.
These two clusters create at least 28 different outfits. Of course, there are some that you will like more than others. Here are just a few of the different possible combinations.
You can use this framework to create clusters with your own wardrobe. Simply switch out the pieces in these clusters with similar items that you already own, maybe adding in a few new pieces as needed.