Monday, September 27, 2010

Building a Stylish Wardrobe: Finding "It"

"Fashions Fade, Style is Eternal" --Yves Saint Laurent

Some women just have "it." She never looks out of place, even while wearing 4-inch heels to a preschool meeting. Most people just look like they're trying too hard. That's why it's so important to find clothing that really speaks to you. Building a stylish wardrobe starts with identifying your triggers, your likes and your dislikes. This took me years! I still buy stuff I know doesn't work with my lifestyle. But, as they is blind and a cocktail dress at a high school football game isn't too out of place, is it?

In part one of a multi-part series on building a stylish and functional wardrobe, here are some tips for getting started.

1. Establish a purpose. Do you work outside the home or do you specialize in carpool and class parties? For me, I'm a work-from-home mom. So, most of my clothing needs to be stylish yet comfortable enough for the park. Now, take a look at your closet. Does it match the lifestyle you lead? Mine sure doesn't! I get dressed up for church and occasional nights out but my closet looks like I spend evenings socializing at fundraisers and high-brow functions. So, I've had to consciously edit what I buy to avoid the dressy items I love.

2. Identify your triggers. OK, I live in Florida but I love fall/winter clothing. I'm a work-from-home mom, but I love sequins, silk, beads and leather. What's wrong with this picture? Nothing if you can identify your fashion weaknesses and control your urge to overspend in these irrational categories. Which, I'm, ummm, still working on. What type of clothing are your drawn to? Does it fit your lifestyle? And, do you really need another pair of jeans? The answer is, "Yes, if the others in your closet are too uncomfortable to wear!" If the jeans you have don't fit your body, your lifestyle and are uncomfortable, get rid of them!

3. Figure it out. I have a short waist and am pretty much straight up and down, so I avoid anything too unstructured, anything with an empire waist and anything too "maternity" looking. I also tend to avoid capris, but that's because I have a general dislike for them. :) What looks good on you? Take this quiz (click on quiz) to determine your body type. Just because straight leg jeans and mini skirts are popular doesn't mean you should own them. This is an exercise that requires a good friend or spouse. One pass at your closet, and you'll probably have at least 10 items that don't fit right, don't look good on you or are just plain out of date. You can love a piece of clothing, but if it doesn't look good, why keep it?

OK, you've identified that you need a work wardrobe with some pieces that can double for casual wear on the weekends. You've identified what you truly need, not just what you want. And, you've figured out what styles look best on you. So, let's get shopping.

My next article will be on your top must-have skirts, pants and jeans.


  1. I'm a ruler... thanks for the quiz. The sad thing is I have a ton in my closet, but only wear things one way... I need help with my clothing creativity. Love the blog!!! Michelle Stromberg

  2. I'm an hour glass. Tracey, we had some fall weather hit here yesterday. It was 52* this morning. So fun pulling out some fall clothes. :)