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How to Build Your Wardrobe Basics

How to Build Your Wardrobe Basics

What Are the Basics?

Wardrobe basics are the foundation for an amazing wardrobe. Once you have the basic pieces, finding something to wear each day should be a piece of cake.  When building your basics try to limit the more trendy pieces. Your basics should be able to last from year to year. These pieces should be more classic and able to stand the test of time.

The basic pieces should provide you with several options that you can mix and match, no matter what the season is. With a solid wardrobe foundation you should be able to repurpose the same pieces over and over again. The goal is to cut down on shopping to add new pieces and to start utilizing the things you already have.

The great thing is, you do not have to break the bank when building your wardrobe basics. I believe you should invest in staple pieces like, blazers and pumps. Believe me you can find quality pieces at bargain prices.

Assess Your Current Style

Before you start building your wardrobe basics you need to take stock of your current lifestyle. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Describe your current style. What do you like or dislike about it?

  • What’s your daily routine?

  • What are your after hours activities?

  • What do you wear to work each day?

  • What’s your normal weekend wear?

  • What colors work best for you?

  • What are some of your favorite pieces in your closet (clothing, shoes)? Why are they your favorites?

  • Is your current style a true representation of you?

  • How long does it take you to pick out something to wear?

  • What’s missing from your current style?

The answers to these questions should help you figure out what pieces you need to add to your wardrobe.  

Build Your Shopping List

Once you have figured out your personal style and have a handle on the pieces you need to create that style, you need to build your shopping list. Use the following tips when searching for pieces at bargain prices.

Tip 1: Be sure to check how the piece was constructed. Getting an item on the low means absolutely nothing if it only makes it through one wash cycle.

Tip 2: Shop thrift stores and consignment shops in high income areas.  You will not believe the pieces some folks will wear once and get rid of it immediately after.  I have found a lot of my high-end pieces in consignment shops.

Tip 3: Watch out for end of season sales at nice boutiques.  You can get really nice pieces at great prices during these sales.  I try to stay away from trendy pieces during these sales, since I most likely won't wear those items until the next year.

Tip 4: Outlet stores are my absolute favorite.  There's a J. Crew Factory Store around the corner from my house.  They run 40 to 50% off sales just about every week and the clearance section is my first stop.

Tip 5: Just because something is on sale does not mean you need to buy it.  Ask yourself how many pieces already in your closet can you wear this item with.  If you can't see several outfits with this item, leave it.

Here’s a list of essentials you should definitely have on your shopping list:

  • White Button Down

  • Chambray Shirt

  • Long Sleeved Tees

  • Silk Blouse

  • Little Black Dress

  • Skinny Jeans

  • Bootcut Jeans

  • Dress Slacks

  • Suiting Skirt

  • Pencil Skirt

How to Find Quality Pieces for Less

I truly believe in quality over quantity. You can find some really quality pieces for discount prices if you are willing to do a little digging and have a little patience.

Watch out for end of season sales at nice boutiques.  You can get really nice pieces at great prices during these sales.  I try to stay away from trendy pieces during these sales, since I most likely won't wear those items until the next year. Depending on what city you are in stores like Nordstrom Rack, TJ Maxx, Saks Off Fifth, and Neiman Marcus Last Call have designer sections where you can find brands like Yves Saint Laurent and even Chanel.

Nordstrom Rack is my go to store now a days. The Rack opened here in Birmingham a few years ago and I have been in heaven since. The designer shoe section is small here but if you hit the store at the right time you may come away with some great finds.

There’s not a Saks Off Fifth here in the ‘Ham but I am able to find some really great buys on their website. Make sure you sign up for their mailing list. If you are on the mailing list you will know exactly when the extra 50% off clearance and 30% off designer clothing sales are happening.

Hautelook, Nordstrom’s member only website, is my favorite flash sale site to find top brands. I can get my 7 for All Mankind and Citizens for Humanity Jeans for the low here.

The Outnet is Net-a-Porter’s discount site. This site is my one-stop-shop for new designer items. Be sure to check the site on Friday’s when they typically have special discounts. The only thing you have to be careful with is those are final, so be sure before you hit that buy button.

Consignment stores and websites are my absolute favorite places to hit up for quality pieces. If you are ok with second hand, barely hurt items check them out. Stop by the consignment or thrift stores in the higher end areas of your city. You can also check out sites like The RealReal, Poshmark, Fashionphile, and Tradesy to find reduced priced, second hand designer items.

Building your wardrobe basics is the best way to eliminate those frustrating moments of struggling to find something to wear. Be sure to get your copy of the Closet Essentials List to help you add the basics you need to build a nice wardrobe.

Using the 70/30 Rule to Build Your Wardrobe

Using the 70/30 Rule to Build Your Wardrobe

Tips on How to Shop Your Own Closet

Tips on How to Shop Your Own Closet