I Have Nothing to Wear!

How many times have you gone to get dressed have you walked into your closet and thought “I have nothing to wear” even though it was stuffed full of more clothes than anyone could possibly imagine? This used to be a daily occurrence for me until I learned the secrets to building a usable wardrobe. This is a lengthy process, and not all of the steps are particularly fun. It takes about a year of rigid (for me) discipline when it comes to planning and shopping, and it may cost a good bit of money up front, but it will save you THOUSANDS later – plus you’ll never have to worry about what to wear again. So, who’s ready to look chic and fashionable?

Step One: Clean Out Your Closet

This is by far the most difficult steps, and there are multiple methods to achieve it. Your main goals are to rid yourself of anything that:

  • Doesn’t fit or is damaged beyond repair
  • You don’t wear/use
  • Doesn’t reflect who you are/You don’t like

My suggestion is to take an entire Saturday and dedicate it to the purpose of weeding out what has to go. You should sort these clothes into 3 piles – nice designer items to sell on eBay, items in good condition to consign, and items to throw away. Toss the throw away pile immediately (it’s best to put everything in a dumpster outside so you aren’t tempted to grab it back), and list/consign everything else within a week. Whatever doesn’t sell, you donate.

If you have trouble determining what you don’t wear, try the following method. Hang everything in your closet with the hanger backwards, once you wear something turn the hanger to it’s normal direction. After a year (or 6 months if you rotate clothes seasonally) pull out everything with a backwards hanger and sell/donate/toss it.

Step Two: Inventory

Now that your closet is full of  well fitting, wearable clothes that you actually like, it’s time to fill in the holes. Make a list of the pieces you have and the major colors you wear repeatedly (for me it’s navy, blush pink, and orange). From now on, everything you buy must be able to for at least 3 different outfits with items you already have.

Step Three: Shop For Basics

It’s always tempting to run out and buy all the latest trends if you have the space and the money. But you should be sure you have the essentials first. This is the hardest part for me because it’s boring. I’d much rather try on cocktail dresses than white shirts, but I’ll wear white shirts far more often. Here is a list of everything that I find is required  in a basic wardrobe, you should alter this list to fit your lifestyle of course, but realize that the neutral colors are there for a reason – they go with everything.

  • Black Tanks
  • White Tanks
  • White Tees
  • Short Sleeved Black Tees
  • Short Sleeved White Tees
  • Long Sleeved White Tees
  • Long Sleeved Black Tees
  • Black cashmere (or similar fabric) turtleneck
  • Silky white button down
  • Standard white button up
  • Crisp white blouses
  • Thin crewneck sweaters (in a neutral color or one of your major colors from Step 2)
  • Neutral Cardigans
  • Little Black Dresses (I recommend 3: something casual for running around in, something church appropriate, and something for a party)
  • Pencil Skirts (once again, neutral or one of your major colors – black is a MUST)
  • Jeans (dark washes are the most versatile, so be sure to have at least two dark pairs)
  • Black Pants
  • Khaki Pants
  • Blazers (same color rules)
  • Ballet flats
  • Metallic Evening Shoes
  • Fleece Vests
  • Trench coat
  • Leather Blazer
  • Peacoat
  • Brown Flat Boots
  • Black Heeled Boots
  • Black Booties
  • Heavy winter sweaters
  • Pant suit
  • Down Vest
  • Winter Coat (faux or real fur trim is always pretty)
  • Cotton polos
  • Cotton blouses
  • Lightweight raincoat
  • Inverted pleat skirts
  • Capri pants
  • Cotton dresses
  • Black bathing suit
  • Khaki shorts
  • Flat leather sandals

Yes, it’s a lot, and it’s all pretty plain. However the amount of outfits you can create with a wardrobe like this is unlimited. My suggestion is to start out buy purchasing (over time) one of each item – you most likely already have a few. Once you’ve built up your basics, then live by the rule that every time you purchase a trendy item (these should always be inexpensive) you’ll also buy a basic item until you have about 3 of each (I’m referring to the items in plural form, if it’s singular you only need one). The biggest thing is to buy quality items – in make and fabric – because they will last you a lifetime.

Step 4: Enjoy!

Now that you’ve formed your wardrobe enjoy it! Try to see how many different outfits you can wear in a year. Find cute accessories to brighten up all your look. It’s far easier to follow trends and express yourself with accessories that are matched to a basic, classic wardrobe. Pretty soon you’ll be known as the best dressed in your friend group!


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