How to build a wardrobe requires planning, patience, and discipline. Your days of impulse buying are over.
Your first step is to make a wardrobe checklist. Do you need a perfect black skirt that will go just about everything in your wardrobe and move from day to evening with polish? On your list it goes.
Notice how the same black skirt is used to create completely different day and evening looks, left.
If you need accent pieces, such as blouses and scarves, carefully consider the colors that are most flattering from your skin tone and most versatile for your wardrobe.
Here is a basic wardrobe checklist for a professional wear that can readily be adapted to part-time work, volunteering, or a travel lifestyle.
A three piece suit, consisting of skirt, slacks, and jacket or these basic pieces in complementary colors such as:
Add one or two casual slacks, jeans, or skirts. Don't skimp on the basic wardrobe planning stage, so that you know exactly how to build your wardrobe efficiently.
Three blouses of woven fabric in varying sleeve lengths and weights may be worn with the slacks and skirts. At this point, you have six outfits -- each blouse worn with either skirt or slacks plus the jacket.
Three knit tops in varying weights and sleeve lengths are another good investment. For example, a crew-neck wool blend sweater with long sleeves, a short-sleeve silk knit tee-shirt, and a good quality cotton tee-shirt will diversify your costumes for casual looks.
You can never have too many casual tees, so look for these on sale, as a cheap way for how to build a wardrobe.
Make sure your tops fits correctly to avoid a saggy-baggy look. For years, I mistakenly believed this made me look slimmer: wrong, wrong, wrong.
A cardigan or sweater coat adds drama and femininity to all of these outfits, so look for one that also complements your basic wardrobe colors.
A flyaway front, ruffles, or ruching will transform your business outfits into ensembles appropriate for many evening occasions.
You also need an all-weather overcoat with zip-out lining.
One last item to consider is investing in a figure-flattering dress. Depending on your lifestyle, a dark skirt with a jacket or cardigan may fill your needs for formal events such as office dinners or funerals.
On the other hand, if you attend parties or eat out often, you will need at least good dress that you can accessorize with scarves, jewelry, sweaters, shawls, and jackets to achieve different looks.
You will need several pairs of shoes, for business or dress-up occassions, as well casual shoes.
Each of us must take stock of our shoe needs. Many of us have special footwear needs, and this brings up the cost of buying this wardrobe essential.
Because these are the foundation pieces for how to build a wardrobe, spend as much as you can afford for quality quality.
Buy classic shoe styles and neutral colors for the lowest cost-per-wearing benefit. Plain pumps are the most figure-flattering for your legs; you will not find beauty pageant contestants in weird shoe styles.
Look for sales. Keep your wardrobe checklist with you. It will help you make wise choices when you are in the stores.
When you are tempted to spend money on an impulse buy, take out your list. Will the dollars you are about to spend better put aside to invest in a quality wardrobe item that you really need and will enjoy wearing often?
Quality figure-flattering clothes can help you feel your best, wherever you go and whatever you do. How to Buy Flattering Clothes is the focus of Part 3 of the Fashion After 50 Do and Don't Style Guide
If you invest in a few quality, classic pieces, these become your foundation investment in how to build a wardrobe.