What are you to do, when your lifestyle changes and you need a new wardrobe?
Determine Your Colors, Choose a Palette
I’ve already done that – I know my season, and I know, further, the colors that are my very best. Jade green, turquoise, ivory, navy, pine green, warm red, coral, and buff. Most of those colors will play well with what I have in stock – because I always shop from this list.
Determine Your Needs
I’ll be working from an office in the near future, and my wardrobe requirements have radically changed, while the number of discrete outfits I need has increased dramatically. Corporate dressing means that I have to leave my beloved ankle-length skirts at home – there are a couple of blouses that can carry from my normal life to the office, but otherwise there’s little cross-over.
Evaluate What You Own
I spent some time this week pulling out everything I have that’s corporate and matching it up on my dolly.
Here are the outfits that I can make from those combinations. Minus the red & green, which in these particular shades is a tad too Christmasy. This is 15 possible outfits.
Skirts: One navy blue silk skirt, one dark green wool skirt, one rainbow silk skirt, one cotton floral skirt, and one polyester navy floral skirt. (5)
Blouses: One white linen shirt, one red polyester blouse, one aqua rayon blouse, one navy lace blouse, one navy floral blouse, one red & white cotton blouse, one red-embroidered cotton blouse (7).
Dresses: One jade green dress, cotton twill (aka not totally corporate).
Shoes: Navy blue heels (comfortablish), nude stilettos (not comfortable)
Determine Your Needs
So, what kind of shopping list am I looking at? Well, yours truly has been shopping from the heart, and that means I have a lot of patterns. What I need is some solids that will match as many as possible of my current items. And shoes. I dearly need some dark-brown heels in which I can walk more than three steps.
Prioritize in Order of Utility
- Blouse, linen (1) (Ivory)
- Light-neutral skirt (1) (Ivory)
- Shoes, dark brown
- Solid colored blouses (2) (Turquoise, jade green)
- Blazer (1) (Ivory)
- Light-neutral skirt (1) (Camel)
- Shoes, nude
- Solid-colored dress (1) (Ivory)
- Blazer (1) (Jade Green)
- Blouse (1) (Soft coral)
- Solid-colored dress (1) (Jade Green or Turquoise)
- And after that, I can play with patterns and florals once again.
Why in this order?
- I need one impeccable outfit. The ivory linen blouse (Italian linen, long sleeved) + my navy blue silk skirt = that one impeccable outfit.
- More of my wardrobe orphans are blouses than skirts, and I have more blouses, period. One neutral skirt that goes with most of my blouses will increase my total number of outfits far more than another blouse.
- But I have some zingers in the skirt category. Love is love… and these items were acquired over the course of years. If I get a few more solid blouses, those skirts get to come out to play more often, and with more variety.
- It’s August in Southern California. Blazers may be de rigueur – but it’s too hotto wear them, and it will be too hot for at least another six-eight weeks. I would rather make up my splendid jade green … but looking at what I have, ivory will be far more flexible. More flexible yet if I choose the same fabric as my light-neutral skirt (that would give me a suit). Navy is the traditional color for blazers. Bright navy is an excellent color on me. BUT – navy is a tricky color. You have to match the dye lot and fabric if you want to wear it with another navy, and I have three navy skirts, all slightly different shades. If I pick navy, it will only go with one of those skirts, which defeats the purpose.
- I love a good dress, but they’re worn less often in offices than they used to be, and are stand-alone statements without a jacket. Without-a-jacket is generally how you are seen when actively at work, so that pushes them down the list too.
- Accessories are not a problem for me – I have a ton of jewelry that will add interest to a wardrobe made up of solids. I also have several beautiful scarves.
- Shoes are a problem for me – I have a bad foot and most office-appropriate shoes don’t fit or are excruciatingly painful. Finding good shoes is difficult (and expensive), I’m not going to vary my wardrobe by what’s on my feet.
Now all I have left to do is shop…
Seem complicated? Need some help in your own wardrobe transition? Feel like you have a million clothes and they’re not serving you properly? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get to work on your wardrobe conundrums post haste.