I may not have a minimalist wardrobe but I do have a wardrobe that works.
It’s taken me a long time to work out how to make that wardrobe work but once it started working, I realised why.
I finally had nailed the building blocks in my wardrobe.
For too many years I’d been seduced by flashy, show-pony pieces. Which would have been fine if those show ponies hadn’t come home from the store at the expense of the work horses I actually needed.
It’s all very well having a beautiful – dare I say – chartreuse or orange top winking at your from the centre of your wardrobe but if you’ve not got a stitch of clothing that makes you feel fabulous to team with that top, then you may as well have left it in the store.
My advice to you?
Step away from the show ponies until you have these 7 essentials nailed.
No, I don’t pull myself into sucker-in-ers every day of the week but if you have the essentials sitting in your draw then there is no barrier to wearing that dress or top that refuses to hide even the smallest lumps and bumps. Oh, and lose the stigma about shapewear. Yes, a Bridget Jones nana pants moment is the risk you take but hey it’s worth it for the smooth line. Any Hollywood celeb worth their red carpet pose is working those Spanx. I’d keep a slip, a girdle/top and a full pair of knickers on hand as your shapewear collection starting point.
Sussan, Country Road, Witchery, Basque (Myer) stock them. I own and have owned them all. In recent years t-shirts seemed to have got thinner and more flimsy in design, coinciding with my own design NOT getting thinner and more flimsy. Having these in every neutral and a few seasonal colours means that you can layer a top or tee over the top and have your shape show through … in a good, semi-controlled kind of way.
Country Road seamfree tank $29.95
Show pony tops are great. But what about when you really just need something to work with jeans and a jacket so you can show off that stunning new necklace or scarf. I always have at least two tees in black, white and grey that I can call on to be a blank canvas for my accessory collection. Quality is important. And as soon as they start to show signs of wear, ditch them.
These are to light cotton frocks what stretchy camis are to light tops. They enable layering (which is always an outfit enhancer) but like in this outfit here, they can also add length to a shorter dress. You get to keep your cool without showing off more thigh than Cheryl on Puberty Blues.
Jeans that fit
This is a big one. It took me so long to find a cut of jeans that really works for my shape: curvy, but wide, flat butt and ok thighs. For me the answer is NYDJ … and now I have almost every colour. For you, it’s worth putting in the effort to find the cut/brand that works for you. Once you’ve nailed it, all the tops in your wardrobe suddenly have a mate. Wardrobe life is sweet.
A little black dress
I know it’s very Chanel of me but HELLO … Coco really did know a thing or two about wardrobe essentials. If you have a dress-up/dress-down LBD in your wardrobe you are always good to go for any event. Just add accessories, hold your fashionable head high reach for a champers.
Jackets are the wardrobe work horses that make me look polished. Every. Single. Time. Since doing this work-from-home-gig, they have become the one item I reach for should I need to take my coast casual outfit on a city excursion. In one easy move I can take a jeans and tee or frock and lift it so my metropolitan fashion sisters are none the wiser to my lazy-beach-girl ways.
Having these essentials nailed makes it easy for me to pack for a work or play weekend away – these pieces (minus the dress) pretty much worked to create each of my outfits for Melbourne last weekend.
The essentials also mean that I’ve always got something to wear. Yes, I like to mix it up a bit to make each outfit different but I always have a solid starting point.
Last bit of advice you didn’t ask for?
As you’re building your collection of wardrobe building blocks, start with neutral colours. You can splash a bit of colour around once you’ve got white, stone and black nailed.
Happy weekend, Stylers? What have you got planned? I’m hoping for a quiet one. And have you got these essentials nailed?
* I was sent the Nancy Ganz underbust body slip for editorial consideration in accordance with my disclosure policy.