So now that my closet has been purged of its debilitating clutter and organized to where I can see “everything,” it’s easier to assess what additional items I need to maximize the utility of what I already own (you like that? maximizing utility? it all stems from my roots as a high school Economics teachers).
I will henceforth call this step “Filling In the Holes”. The “holes” I’m looking to fill are those key staple pieces that could increase the number of uses of the existing items (at least by 3 or 4 more outfits). If the item doesn’t do that, it’s not a staple piece, and it will likely do more harm (clutter up your nice, organized closet) than good.
So after organizing my closet, what was I looking for? I realized that there were some common, simple, almost boring pieces that have been deemed “closet staples” by others that I knew would seriously increase the versatility in my wardrobe. I categorized these items into the following, ranking each category from top priority to not-so-top priority.
1) Classic, Timeless Clothing Items – These are those simple, basic items that everyone owns, but no one really talks about. But they are absolutely essential because they can go with all of those fun, trendy pieces you own, highlighting them in all their glory (because their muted, quiet style just works with and brings life to them. Such were the items I have been shopping for in the recent past (the last few weeks). For me, I knew if I could find…
- a decent pair of white skinny jeans,
- a nice pair of black skinny jeans, and
- a few looser, colorful crew-neck t-shirts,
…I would be able to take my wardrobe to the next level.
You notice what I did with that list? Keeping yourself from overspending on new items usually means being as detailed as you can with what you are looking for. Sure, you can leave some room for flexibility (lest you NEVER find what you are looking for). But there are the items you KNOW you would wear all the time with everything else in your closet…so you know you will get tons of wear out of it (which also means you can spend a bit more on them).
Here are some examples of my “staple pieces” that I’ve been able to incorporate in so many different outfits. Definitely some of my better investments. They have (and continue to) served (serve) me so well!!
|J. Crew Utility Jacket…as also seen here, and here, and here, and here….|
|Naturalizers Boots…as also seen here, and here, and here, and here…|
|GAP Gray Fleece Pleated Dress…also seen here, and here…|
|American Eagle Faded Denim Jacket…also seen here, and here, and here…|
2) Trendy, Seasonal Clothing Items – Okay…so I said I liked to “fill in the holes” in my wardrobe with more classic, timeless pieces. But I do enjoy a nice trendy, seasonal piece here or there. But, as I mentioned, I try to stay away from purchasing too many of these as they are difficult to pair with each other, being more decorative and unique. In my closet, I try to keep the classic/timeless to trendy/seasonal items to about 70:30 (70% classic, 30% trendy). This will ensure me that I will focus on more versatile items than one-time wear ones. Here are a couple of items I was looking for (and found, as mentioned in this post).
- an a-line navy/floral spring dress (knee or almost knee length), and
- an a-line white spring dress (again…around knee length),
Again, details, details, details! One tend to purchase on a whim more (and spend more of their hard-earned dollars) when there isn’t a specific game-plan. This is even MORE important with trendy pieces than classic pieces.
3) Don’t Forget Accessories!! – I’m slowly starting to learn just how accessories can completely change an outfit, making it look completely different even if you are wearing the exact same clothing pieces as the day before. I could wear the exact same pieces of clothing…but by adding different accessories, can make them look like two completely different outfits. This can include items like…
- jewelry (I focus on necklaces…I hate wearing rings and most bracelets are too big for my wrist),
- hats (rarely do I actually wear hats), and
- shoes (okay, so to most people this is NOT an accessory…but to me, it is).
One general rule of thumb I follow is purchase quality items at cheaper prices (try Hautelook.com and BaubleBar.com…my two favorite places to buy accessories). Also, variety is a key component. Already have a blue/green statement necklace? Focus on looking for a pink one! Have a lot of winter scarves? Look for spring/fall ones. Have a pair of black sunnies and a pair of brown ones (both are basic colors, but can change the color palate of the outfit completely). Etc…etc…and so forth.
Here are a couple of recent purchases of mine that I’ve already worn enough to get the price down to under a dollar per wear!
4) Make the List (and keep it with you at all times) – Once you determine what it is you are looking for, make sure you keep the list with you at all times. In the day and age of technology we live in today, I have put my list in the factory “notepad” app on my iPhone 5. Whenever I have the desire to visit a mall or outlet, I always have this list handy. I always focus on looking for these items first, and limit anything outside of my “list” to maybe one or two items. It’s such a time and money saver…and I’m satisfied and confident in knowing these items will fit perfectly in my wardrobe.