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10 Ways to Build Your Dream Wardrobe in 2016

Richel Newborg
December 31, 2015

We're willing to bet that if you opened your closet doors and stepped in front of them right now, you'd see a big mashup of impulse buys, clothing and accessories you hardly wear (but of course fantasize that you will one day), pieces you really love and even a few pieces you wear way too often.

Can imagine what it be like to open those doors and have a collection of pieces that you would say are all your favorites? What would it feel like to have pieces that could be easily mixed and matched into dozens of new outfits, and actually made you excited about getting dressed every day!

That's where the perfect wardrobe comes in! We know you can build it because we're here to tell you how to no matter what your budget is.  No, it isn't easy and yes, it takes some time, but nothing good is ever fast or easy. Plus you've got the whole year to get this job done!

So, get ready to round up your self-control and look forward to having the best style of your life!


First Take Stock, Then Define Your Style

Start by going through your closet and defining the types of pieces you see most often. Don't worry if they go together, because this will just help you define your personal sense of style. For most of us, it's a mixture of a few different genres.

I love boho in summer, soft and feminine in the spring for example. And when it comes to the most casual days, I'm in whatever is comfortable and casual.

Now that you have this knowledge in hand, you can better pick out pieces that reflect what I'll be most likely to wear after I've bought them. Sure, I completely love ultra girly pieces but honestly,  I just don't end up wearing them. If you find that you are moving toward like more than collecting a style, then stop and start over.

Know Your Body Type

We don't like standard definitions of shapes, like pear, apple, etc. They just don't fit most women and lead to advice that doesn't really work. It's better to define your body in terms of its individual makeup because every woman is unique and you know what you like on your body type.

For example, are you a bit busty with slender hips? Full thighs or rear? Long-limbed? Knowing this is going to help you pick the most flattering pieces. Don't be afraid to try different styles on at stores and in your closet.

You can also look at what your go-to pieces are because 9 times out of 10 these are the ones that flatter you most. Then try to stick with those general shapes and fits.

Pick Your Color Palette

Your hair and skin tone help determine the best shades for you. Most women know it's all about cool or warm.

Cool-toned women look amazing in blues, crisp greens, black and white.

Warm-toned ladies can rock cream, soft yellow, blush and other similar hues.

(To determine your tone, visit this article.)

Now Thin the Herd

Go through your closet, take out anything you don't absolutely love. It's honestly the worst part of this. There are going to be some things you want to hold on too but you just shouldn't. It's also okay if the bar in your closet looks a little naked.

Get rid of everything you can without completely stripping yourself of clothing options. Personally, we just choose to move them to another room so that you have them in a pinch but they are not in front of you everyday. So if you have to put back some "not so perfect" pieces, that's okay because hopefully, you've paid attention to what you actually want to keep and these are just placeholders.

Go for a Versatile Base

Now focus on building by adding pieces. Every item you purchase, should be a flattering color and a flattering fit, and you should ask yourself if it can be worn easily with other items you already own from jewelry to shoes. Don't be afraid to say " I can wear this top with my black blazer, my tan dress slacks".

Personally, I start with neutral pieces or the classics I don't already own. This would include a few things: if you're cool-toned, your neutrals are gray, black, navy or taupe. If you're warm-toned, a neutral will be a solid earth tone, like tan, off-white or moss. Don't forget that tights are a great transition item and don't be afraid of tights. They can be added to rompers, shorts and dresses even throughout cooler summer evening.

This is also a great time to evaluate your cost point. Sometimes it is better to invest a little more in a piece that you know you'll wear a lot. For instance we know that a black cardigan goes a long way for most women. This piece we might spend a little more so that we get great quality. However, no one will know if we purchase a $5 belt over a $50 belt in most cases. So use your online coupon codes and think about what each piece will do for your wardrobe in the long run.

Learn to Love Layers

Truly great wardrobes have layering pieces. T-shirts, tanks, cardigans and a couple of jackets and blazers or vests are must-haves. Long-sleeved tees are essential for everyone, as are lightweight sweaters you can wear over tanks (like a cardigan). A few simple belts in basic colors can also transform a shift dress into different looks by wrapping up a layered cardigan or vest. Easy peasy.

Should You Be Trendy?

It's hard to deny that we've all picked up trends that looked awful on us. We bought into the persona we hoped it would create for us and not that it actually looks good or works for us. It's okay to have trendy items in your wardrobe, since trends keep your look relevant and often you can buy a few pieces on the cheap. Just pick them mindfully.

Always ask:

Do they really flatter my figure?

Is the color right for me?

Think this when you buy: one trendy piece for every two to four versatile pieces is a good rule of thumb, in order to keep impulse buys in check.

Add in Pieces for Balance

The best shoe wardrobe is one based on your lifestyle. City dwellers do better with mostly flats and a couple pairs of heels, while those of us who have the luxury of frequent car travel can stock up on stilettos. Live in Seattle? Then you'll need more rainy day gear than someone in Phoenix. After you've got your basics and trendy pieces, you need to make sure you're dressing for functional living, too.

As for balance, look to add pieces that round out your closet. If it's all shift dresses, leggings and button-ups, don't forget that you might want to wear jeans at some point. You might only need one pair, since you wear them rarely, but a balanced wardrobe is a perfect wardrobe. 

Spice Things Up With Statements

It's really easy to go straight for the sequin-strewn mini dresses or the metallic jeggings, we know. You've got to ask yourself if this is something that you should buy rarely and ultimately consider an investment. Gorgeous statements really never go out of style, especially if they flatter you.

Make your statements the things that truly round out your personal clothing collection. That's right, your clothes are no longer just your wardrobe, they're your curated collection. If you need to have something extra special think of using a service like Rent The Runway and just borrow it for a couple weeks!

Don't be Afraid of the Journey

After you've built a wardrobe any fashionista would be proud of, filled with pieces that reflect your personality and your lifestyle, it's time to repeat the mantra:

If I don't love it 100 percent, I don't buy it.

Keep your eyes peeled.

Be choosy and remember that over the long run, your personal style is a journey. 


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