Friday, February 27, 2009
Your wardrobe should be a reflection of who you are. In other words, your lifestyle should be well represented when you open your closet and drawers. For instance, If you work in a casual environment and enjoy casual evenings...then your clothing will be casual for this most part. Whereas if you work in a formal office and have many social engagements the majority of your outfits would be business attire and evening wear. So take a moment and think about what is the most appropriate clothing for you to wear during an average week.
After your personal assessment of your clothing needs its time to do some planning. The best way to create numerous outfits is by having key basic pieces and accessories that can easily be mixed and matched. Think of it this way, you have a small suitcase that you can take for on a week long trip. For woman you can have only two pants, a skirt and a dress. For men, three pairs of pants. In addition, let's say three shirts each. Then some accessories, for men 2 ties, a vest and a jacket. For women, a sweater or jacket, a scarf and a set of jewelry. Let's not forget-two pairs of shoes each. Socks, a pair to change each day unless you plan to wash mid-week; for women be sure nylons in a nude color are at least one of your socks.
So now that we got some basic pieces decided on we need to examine style and colors. Again, we want to stick to the basics so we can easily mix and match. In other words all of your bottoms should be able to be worn nicely with all of your bottoms. Generally speaking, your tops will be in very basic colors such as black, white, navy blue, tan/khaki, chocolate brown, gray, etc. Remember your season colors and choose which are most flattering for you. With your tops you can choose colors, again based on your season, that will coordinate or match with your accessories and wear well with your bottoms. Choose accessories that have two or three colors in them. Men, instead of a solid color tie choose a tie with a print that contains at least four colors. One color should be a basic to match back to your bottoms, such as black or khaki. The other colors on the tie should match back with colors of your shirts. Ladies, you'll want to the do the same with a scarf, rather than a solid color go for a strategically printed scarf. For jackets, sweaters and vests remember, they need to match back to your top, bottom and accessories.
Now it's time to mix and match. I'm going to do a sample week using the items above for both a man and then a woman. Let's say this is a man who works in a casual work environment and has a casual lifestyle. For the work place I'll wear a khaki pant and a cargo pant. The khaki is a tan color, the cargo a dark brown color. I have some a pair of blue jeans for the evening. I pick a nice black sweater. I pick one tie that has light blue, some red, yellow and black in it. I have a dark brown casual shoe. My three shirts are light blue, white and a cream color. Two of my shirts are polos and one is a button-down. So let's recap:
* khaki pant
* brown cargo pant
* blue jeans
* white button down shirt
* cream polo shirt
* light blue polo shirt
* brown pair of casual shoes (not tennis shoes)
* also, 5 pairs medium brown colored socks
* black sweater
* Tie with light blue, some red, yellow and black
How many outfits can we create?
* Khaki pant, light blue polo shirt, brown shoes & socks
* khaki pant, cream polo, shoes and socks
* khaki pant, white shirt, shoes and socks
* cargo pant, light blue polo, shoes & socks
* cargo pant, cream polo, shoes & socks
* cargo pant, white shirt, shoes & socks
* khaki pant, blue polo, sweater, shoes & socks
* khaki pant, cream polo, sweater, shoes & socks
* khaki pant, white shirt, sweater, shoes & socks
* cargo pant, blue polo, sweater, shoes & socks
* cargo pant, cream polo, sweater, shoes & socks
* cargo pant, white shirt, sweater, shoes & Socks
* Khaki pant, whtie shirt, tie, shoes & socks
* cargo pant, whtie shirt, tie, shoes & socks
* blue jeans, blue polo, shoes & socks
* blue jeans, cream polo, shoes & socks
* blue jeans, white shirt, sweater, shoes & socks
* blue jeans, blue polo, sweater, shoes & socks
* blue jeans, cream polo, sweater, shoes & socks
So it looks like 19 different looks can be created from those few pieces. Noticed, I avoided pairing funny looks such as polo shirts with a tie or jeans with a button down white shirt. Though you may feel these combinations are just fine. I think you get the idea about wardrobe planning. It's about assessing your lifestyle, choosing clothing that fits your daily needs, picking basic colors and styles for core pieces, selecting accessories in strategic colors. All your pieces should work together in order to mix and match easily throughout your week!
Next week, I'll give an example of two women with different wardrobe needs and how the above planning tips can be implemented to fulfill their basic clothing needs!