If you’ve ever come across one of those “closet must-haves” lists, raise your hand. o/
I have, and I confess I felt frustrated every time I tried to follow those lists. How crazy is it that we expect someone who knows nothing about us to determine what we should wear?
My theory is that we feel insecure about not having a degree/career in fashion and think we need a professional to guide our choices. But it would be much more effective if we got to know ourselves better. If clothes are a form of communication, who better to define the essence of what we want to say than ourselves? So let’s get rid of those lists and create our own! I’m here to help.
Why do I need basics?
The first thing we need to understand is the function of the fundamental pieces in our closet. They don’t make up our entire wardrobe, but they serve as a starting point to create several looks. They are the base. We’re finding the foundation for our outfits, not creating a capsule wardrobe.
We’re finding the clothes that make you feel “at home”, that offer you countless outfit possibilities, and that will give you more security when creating an original look or trying something new.
What are wardrobe basics?
Everyone’s “must-have” list will be different. We usually associate basics with neutral pieces and colors and simple shapes, but that can vary so much from one style to another! If I love prints, for example, my base piece may be a versatile striped T-shirt that I can use to create several looks. Do you see how your fundamental pieces don’t have to be a white T-shirt, denim skirt, or a black blazer? You can choose anything to be the piece around which you build your outfits.
Finding your closet fundamentals
So let’s define your closet essentials. We’ll start off simple. Choose five basic pieces that you always wear, the “go-to” pieces in your wardrobe. Maybe it’s that top that goes well with everything, the skirt that you can wear any time… Just make sure the pieces are different types. You can choose a top, a bottom, a dress, a shoe, whatever type of clothing you want, but not five dresses or five tops, for example. Choose pieces that work in your daily life and that you really truly love! That will make creating new looks easier and a lot more fun.
If you need some extra help to choose your five pieces, here are some ideas:
- Notice the pieces you wear the most – look through your recent photos; ask your friends and family; pay attention to the clothes you automatically reach for, and I’m sure you will already have several options.
- Count the number of outfits you’ve created with a particular piece – once you know the pieces you wear the most, open your closet and try to remember how many outfits you’ve created with each piece. Looking through your photos is a great way to get some ideas.
- Maybe your fundamentals aren’t a specific piece, but a color! – it’s possible that your “must-have” isn’t a specific piece, but a color, a fabric, a detail, a feeling… Let that inform your choices of the five pieces for this challenge.
Choose your five basic pieces calmly. Consider why you’ve chosen them. Write them down! The idea is to choose at least five to have a starting point. Gradually, you can add to the list to find your perfect number of basic pieces.
It’s important to consider our clothes often. Take the time to remember what’s in your closet. Most of the time, when we want to “reinvent” our style or when we just don’t know what to wear, we think the solution is to buy new clothes. But that doesn’t solve the problem, just adds to it. It’s only possible to overcome our style issues when we understand what we like, what we want to communicate, what we already have, and how to wear it!
So select your essential pieces with care. Your core closet is yours alone and has to serve your lifestyle. From time to time, redo this exercise. We change and so does our style. Take note of what it’s like right now and learn more about yourself in the process!