NadiaThinks

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Jessica of WhatIWore made this great post on what you would do if you could rebuild your wardrobe from scratch, so I decided to give it a shot with my idea of necessities and work backwards from the wardrobe that I do have.

WhatIWore: Let’s say you’re given a winning lottery ticket and can build your wardrobe from scratch. Or maybe you’re transitioning for college to the working world and need to buy “real clothes.” So.. what to buy? Where to spend, where to save?  Here are my ideas on what every woman should have as basic building blocks in her wardrobe.

NadiaThinks: The most important thing to remember is that basics can express trends in a subtle way.  So many people have outfits that would be great if it just had a little something extra.  Just because you need an LBD does not mean to buy a boring one.  Details can mix.  So start with one dark, one neural and one SUPER bold color that looks great on you when building your closet!  For me, this is black white and red.  This ensures you can match everything but that it’s not boring.  Also: NO DUPLICATES ALLOWED.  This is to ensure that your wardrobe is interesting, not just repeats of the same things in different colors.

So what do you actually NEED? Hmm…I’ve taken Jessica’s list and put next to them what color section I would pick from and then used my wardrobe to price out and organize the whole thing:

  • Flats: Two pairs - one in a great print incorporating your dark and one in a solid that incorporates midway between your dark & neutral.  My go to flats are one pair of round toe leopard print brown & black, and one pair of pointy toe grey flats with fake jewels from Zara.  Total cost: $29
  • Heels: Two pairs - one in your dark and one in your neutral.  I have black round toe Aldo pumps and white pointy toe Guess pumps. Total cost: $80
  • Shoe Care: would you buy a house without insurance?  The hardest things to replace are basics, so invest in an all purpose cleaner.  Total cost: $7
  • Tees: At least two - if you’re starting out, I say one in your bold and one in your neutral.  I have a basic white Express tee I love and a basic red Forever 21 one.  These must be structured enough to wear with dress pants, ‘cause if you wear them with jeans they’ll still look casual but must do double duty.  Total cost: $12
  • Blouses: I say every girl NEEDS a great white blouse.  Mine is a simple style with ruffles from The Limited.  Total cost: $40
  • Other tops: For these, I say pick one in each color section and make them distinctive.  I have one black long sleeved top with shoulder embellishments from Zara, a red 3/4 sleeve knit from The Limited, and a fabulous white cotton top from Express.  Total cost: $110
  • Jeans: these are a necessity for most people.  I say get one pair of ones for flats and one pair for heels.  When starting, pick a steamlined silhouette that fits your figure well in a fairly solid color with no rips.  I have one pair of simple dark Express bootcut jeans and one pair of Target lighter skinny jeans. Total cost: $75
  • Slacks: Everyone needs one great pair of slacks in a dark color.  They must fit fantastically and have a clean silhouette.  Mine are a pair of skinny black slacks from Zara that make me look really tall because they’re well tailored.  Total cost: $30
  • Skirt: I firmly believe everyone needs two well fitting skirts.  You can select your length or style, but I prefer the pencil skirt for the basics.  I have a great white skirt from White House with simple understated button detailing and a black slightly below knee skirt from Zara with stitching detail that I love. This is where I spent the most because I wear them a LOT.  Total cost: $120
  • Dress: I believe everyone needs to pick whether they need a LBD or a LWD and go from there.  My favorite go to dress is actually a simple high strapless knee length black dress that I found at Forever 21.  It seems like your basic LBD but has very subtle black on black texturing that looks incredible.  Total cost: $20
  • Coat: This will vary by person, but a coat is probably a necessity.  PLEASE PLEASE buy it in your neutral!  It will pop against the basics and can still match with a variety of choices. My coat is a white knee length one with a subtle texture design and big gold buttons for some pop.  Total cost: $120
  • Underclothing: Too many people fail to take into account how much your underwear impacts your outfit.  It makes your clothes look better, your posture can change, and panty lines can disappear once you stop wearing ruffled bottoms with your work slacks.  This is why I say you probably will start out spending the most here to fit great materials and good fit.  I think that the absolute essentials include two bras and a week’s worth of underwear.  This includes one strapless and one well fitted bra with straps.  I say pick panties that fit well and that match, but that fit your personality too.  Don’t get all plain ones, or don’t get all the same style.  You can match your underwear without wearing the exact same thing over and over.  Besides, the first thing you put on should make you feel gorgeous so you can transfer that mood to the rest of your outfit.  In terms of colors, I say get one black.  The other should be nude if you wear a lot of white, but otherwise should just be something that looks great against your skin.   Total cost: $135

That brings my total of what I’d keep in my closet if I was only allowed the basics to $778.  Imagining the fact that it can be hard to find basics like slacks & jeans for low cost, this number probably is higher for most people, but I think that a complete wardrobe can be redone from scratch for under $1000.  Given that Stacy & Clinton give people $5000 on What Not to Wear, this is a great budget version of that dream.

If you can afford to spend more, do it. Especially for sturdy boots, your winter coat and a day to night dress. You can get away with spending less on tights, sweaters and tees. <— I COMPLETELY AGREE WITH THIS STATEMENT FROM JESSICA.  Quality items are not necessarily more expensive, but if you find a quality item then you should invest in it if it fits your entire wardrobe perfectly.

Once you’re past basics, these are the secondary items that I would recommend:

  • patterned blouses: i have a blue blouse with red sleeve edging that I love
  • patterned skirt: I have a floor length skirt that fits great and is comfortably elegant
  • knit tops: these are so versatile and comfortable
  • textured tights: I say go with some in your dark color
  • Spanx (unless, unlike me, you are in fabulous shape)
  • white flats: These are plain simple and grab so many compliments!
  • amazing, bold heels: I love my red satin shoes
  • cardigan in a contrasting bright: can dress up casual or dressy outfits
  • three purses - one dark and work friendly, one fabulous clutch that reflects your personality in any color, one basic neutral tote for day to day errands (I have a black Target laptop purse, a Kate Spade envelope clutch, and a Bloomies medium brown bag)
  • bright scarf for cold weather

If you had to reduce your wardrobe down to basics, what would YOU have?

whatiwore:

WhatIWore: Let’s say you’re given a winning lottery ticket and can build your wardrobe from scratch. Or maybe you’re transitioning for college to the working world and need to buy “real clothes.” So.. what to buy? Where to spend, where to save?  Here are my ideas on what every woman should have as basic building blocks in her wardrobe.

RULES:

Its best to stick to one color story or palette if you’re on a budget. A lot of women find themselves with “nothing to wear” because their clothes are only being worn one or two ways. When everything matches with everything you have a lot more outfit combinations. Once you feel like that set is complete (and when you’re buying classic clothes that last more than a season) expand into a new palette.

I’d recommend starting out with black (although navy, gray or dark brown are great building blocks as well!), including the following items:

  • Flats
  • Heels
  • Boots
  • Opaque Tights
  • Cardigan
  • Camisole
  • Blouse/Tee
  • Socks
  • Trouser or Legging or Jean
  • Day to Night Dress
  • Day to Night Coat

If you can afford to spend more, do it. Especially for sturdy boots, your winter coat and a day to night dress. You can get away with spending less on tights, sweaters and tees.

Next start injecting some secondary colors into your wardrobe. Same rule as above - pick 4 or 5 colors at most that work with each other and look for:

  • Floral or patterned skirt
  • Secondary color skirt
  • Floral or patterned dress
  • Secondary color dress
  • Cardigan in secondary color
  • Tanks in secondary color
  • Tights in secondary color
  • Fun heels (either color or print)

I usually spend less on items that are multicolored of patterned. Dresses and skirts are great pieces to thrift as well! As with the basic blacks, you can spend less on tights and tanks.

Accessories!! They will really up the ante and are a good place to get a lot for your money if you’re on a budget. Accessories are also something that don’t necessarily need to work with everything you’ve got, especially if they’re cheap. In fact, I get a lot of compliments on things I’ve bought in thrift stores and at target (even jewelry!) Consider:

  • Belts
  • Scarves
  • Hats
  • Necklaces
  • Bracelets
  • Sunglasses

Finally, buy yourself some decent underwear!! Get RID OF ANYTHING that doesn’t make you feel good about your body (and you know what pairs I’m talking about!!!). A modern woman might argue that slips are for grannies but they’ll make your clothes flow when you’re wearing tights! Its your starting point! I recommend:

  • Nude seamless bra and undies
  • Black seamless bra and undies
  • At least one matching set of bra and undies in a fun/sexy color
  • Half slip (to wear under skirts)
  • Full sleep (for sheer dresses)

Of course, the above outline is from my reference point of working in a creative field in New York City, so alter it for your workplace/lifestyle and climate!

  1. ba-so-cool reblogged this from nadiathinks
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  5. moonlityork reblogged this from whatiwore and added:
    This post is exactly the kind of guidance I’ve been seeking. When I finally get my little office job (in the library or...
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  7. bravelittlesoul reblogged this from chescaleigh and added:
    Note to self!
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    whatiwore
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  13. prettynitsrik reblogged this from whatiwore and added:
    i could, i fucking would.
  14. nadiathinks reblogged this from whatiwore and added:
    Jessica of WhatIWore made this great post on what you would do if you could rebuild your wardrobe from scratch, so I...
  15. fizzingwhizbie reblogged this from whatiwore and added:
    I love this advice. I feel like I need to throw all my clothes away and start over!
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