• 10 Easy Tips for Building Your Wardrobe

    Posted by in Image Update, Impression Management, wardrobe building, Wardrobe Planning With | 11 Comments

    Building a wardrobe takes time, planning and money.  And if you're going to spend your valuable time and money building your style, you want to ensure that the outcome is effective and functional for the future.  I am often asked for shopping tips and ways to make your wardrobe dollar go farther.  To make the most of your wardrobe, take a look at these tips.

    1. Think about lifestyle. – If you want your wardrobe to “work for you”, you need to take inventory and build a wardrobe that is in direct proportion to how you spend your time. If 50% of your time is spent in work related functions, then you need 50% of what’s hanging in your closet to be business appropriate.

    2. How do you want to be perceived? – Your wardrobe sends out bits and bytes of information about you. Pay attention to details such as garment & shoe care, design elements, and fit. These can either work for or against you. Know the details that will help you send the right message.

    3. Do your homework – know what designers fit your figure the best and which ones can easily be tailored for a custom fit. – Once you have a clear understanding of what styles work for you, the easier it will be to identify the designers who cut their garments for your figure type.  This will save you time and frustration in the fitting room.

    4. Focus on the most challenging part of your body. – Is it more difficult to find pants or jackets to fit? Determine which it is and build your wardrobe around those pieces.

    5. Build a wardrobe of small groupings. – A functional wardrobe is made up of multiple groupings that start out with as few as 7 pieces. These groups will be based on a 2 – 3 color palette, have fabrics that coordinate, and are similar in styling.

    For example:

    • One matched pant & jacket (casual or formal)
    • A second jacket to wear with pant
    • One open sweater or vest
    • One skirt
    • Two (or more) tops

    Once you have multiple groups, you can begin to mix and match garments to increase the number of outfit options.

    6. Begin with your base neutrals. – Build groups based on neutrals. Fall colors include (i.e.: navy, gray, black, camel, brown)

    7. Identify your core color(s). – Start with three colors in addition to your whites and base neutrals. Choose colors that will blend across the groups to give you the most flexibility.

    8.  Layer to polish your look. – A completed “look” begins with three pieces. In addition to your pant (or skirt) and top, the third piece could be any of these: jacket, sweater (worn or thrown over the shoulders), vest, scarf, tie, colored top worn under a shirt.

    9. Tie it all together with wraps and outerwear. – Nothing stretches a wardrobe more than scarves, wraps, and outerwear/cardigan type sweaters.  This brings color into our groups, helps to create a variety of outfits and prevents you from getting bored with the same old look.

    10. Shop your closet and replace items that are worn, pilled, or stained. – Now’s the time to assess the condition of what you own and replace those items before you need to wear them.

    The 10 tips provided here should allow you to make the most of your wardrobe dollar and give you the confidence to create multiple outfits.   

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    Diana Jennings
    Diana Jennings is the founder of Brand You Image – a personal branding and image management company based in Southern California. A specialist in non-verbal communication, she brings a sophisticated understanding of people and a passion for growth to those working to reach their personal and professional goals. Typical engagements involve the development of high potential individuals and senior level management in personal brand discovery, image management, social and business behavior, and body language for better communication and interaction with others.

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Comments (11)

Mary Rosenbaum » 24. Sep, 2010

Great piece Diana. You make it sound so simple but I know finding those basic pieces that fit well are often the hardest. Thanks for all your tips.

John Papers » 01. Oct, 2010

Great Post
Thank you for sharing your tips with us.

Diana Jennings » 01. Oct, 2010

Hi Mary,
I’m glad you enjoyed the post. We have an easier time finding the right pieces when we do our homework and know which designers’ garments are similiar to our body shape. It’s not uncommon for women to require varying degrees of alterations to customize the fit.

Diana Jennings » 01. Oct, 2010

Hi John, You are welcome! Let me know if I can answer any personal branding or image related questions for you. Diana

Judith Rasband | The Image Expert » 20. Oct, 2010

Such excellent tips, Diana! My “clustering” 5 Easy Pieces concept is right in line with tip #5. Having 5 interchangeable pieces in a similar color scheme can allow for multiple easy outfits. A cluster can always be expanded to 8 pieces to include more styles of clothing and open up more outfits options.

Prajna » 25. Mar, 2012

Read a few of your articles and find it professional and useful for business woman.
I am trying to organize my wardrobe and work on brand, style and ROI of each piece of the clothing I bought. Hence, would like to efficiency organize my wardrobe, is there a professional iPhone app for managing wardrobe in would recommend. I need a professional one.

Diana Jennings » 26. Mar, 2012

Hello Prajna,
Thank you for visiting my site. I’m glad you have read my articles and find them helpful. Unfortunately, I’m not aware of an app for wardrobe management. I’d be happy to schedule an online appointment, or give you the name of a consultant in your area that can help you.
Kind regards,

Brittany » 06. Nov, 2014

What do you think about thrift stores? We have a thrift store here called style trader and they only accept certain brands (which is good I think), haven’t checked it out yet though. Do clothes still last a while even if they were pre-owned (I guess it depends)? I know some people who find some nice things at certain thrift stores. I mean I don’t need anything too fancy as I am a college student and spend most of my time at school, but I still want to have a nice minimalist wardrobe without buying anything too expensive, and yet still be picky. By the way these tips are great! Hoping to build a new wardrobe soon.

Diana Jennings » 09. Nov, 2014

Hello Brittany, I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Thrift stores are an option for finding gently worn garments. The key is to purchase the best quality you can afford and select items that you can wear three or more ways with what you currently have. Inspect the garment for stains, working closures (i.e.: snaps, zippers, buttonholes that are stretched out…) and seams that can potentially pull open.

uche benson » 09. Nov, 2014

thanks Diana with your tips styling becomes stressless. kudos

Diana Jennings » 09. Nov, 2014

Thank you, Uche. I’m glad you found value in the post.

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