How to build a good wardrobe

Most of the time I open my closet doors and wonder what I am going to wear. So, I end up standing in front of the closet for what seems like eons trying to figure out what will be perfect for that day, depending on whether I will go to an event, a dinner or just to work. Worse yet, I go through multiple try-ons and inevitably end up running late for work, unsatisfied and with a pile of clothes on the bed to come home to.

But all is not lost. I have some tips on how to build a good wardrobe:

1. Have closet essentials

You must own closet essentialsfor a properly stocked closet. No wardrobe is complete

without these five pieces for any well-dressed woman:

Black dress

A black dress is a must in every woman’s closet / Photo: Fritz Langman/Dreamstime

  • a dark, preferably black, lean suit
  • a pencil skirt
  • a crisp white shirt
  • a great pair of jeans
  • a little black dress

2. Fill in with all the right basics

Once you have your closet essentials down, it’s worth stocking up on pieces that will always look amazing, no matter the trend. Think longevity, versatility and everlasting appeal. White tees, cashmere cardigans, white jeans, trousers, shift dress, trench coat and camel overcoat.

Expert advice from CAROLINA HERRERA: “I love white shirts, I find them so refreshing. They can be very snappy, crisp, sexy and mixed in so many ways. You can dress them up with a full skirt or down with jeans. You can wear jewels (gold, silver, pearls, diamonds) or no. Anything you wear with them looks good.”

3. What’s worth your dime

Invest in staples such as coats, chunky knits, blouses, faux fur, cocktail dresses and evening gowns. While it is never easy to spend a lot of money on clothes, there are some things for which it makes sense to pay a little more. The secret is to find high-quality items and faux furs that defy fashion’s mercurial moods. You will end up getting so much wear out of these elite pieces that it is worth the price in the end. Think of it this way: if you pay for an item that is well made, you will have it for a lifetime.

GIORGIO ARMANI “Tailored items should be well made and well designed. So, investment will be rewarded.”

4. The pieces you can save on

When you’re wardrobe-building, there are many places where you can skimp a tad. It’s not about low quality, it’s about knowing what should be easy on the budget. So, you can save on jeans, pants, skirts, button-ups, lightweight knits and tees and tanks.

ELLE MACPHERSON: “If you find something you like, get it in two colors.”

5. How many pieces of every item should you really have in your wardrobe?

The fundamentals of a well-stocked closet are:

  • 4 pants, 4 skirts: 2 that are office and evening appropriate and 2 informal
  • 4 jeans: 1 relaxed fit for laid-back days, 1 slim cut for a cleaner look, 1 ankle length for flats, and 1 longer pair for higher heels
  • 4 sweaters: 2 work worthy and 2 for weekends
  • 4 jackets and coats: 1 elegant coat, 1 sporty outerwear jacket, 1 day-to-night jacket and 1 classic trench
  • 7 tees: long and short sleeves, tanks and turtlenecks
  • 1 suit: for every season, that you can wear together or apart
  • 5 dresses: 2 for day, 1 long for formal, 1 short for cocktails, and 1 special knock-‘em-dead frock.

Of course, this is the average. There is nothing wrong with having more!

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