Wardrobe Essentials (Clothing only)

Anonymous asked:

Since you are the ultimate minimalist, would you mind blogging about a list of your absolute most essential wardrobe staples for the entire year? As much detail as possible would be great. Thanks!

I’d love to give it a shot, but I do have to say:

Minimalist!? 🙂 I’m trying, but am not quite 100% there yet. I’d love to be even more of a minimalist (it’d be awesome to have only 20% of my wardrobe left, and much, MUCH less stuff…)

Disclaimer: And whatever I’m listing here is what works for me as an individual.

It works for my body, my shape, my personal style and most of all my lifestyle. I do have a rather odd sort of life, living out of a suitcase, and at different client sites each project, so take everything with a grain of salt.

Some Background

Personal style: I love classic pieces like blazers, wrap dresses and dark jeans, but I like adding a twist in it, either the pattern or print is something special, or the blazer is a dark denim or a tweed instead of something quite formal. I use a lot of accessories to make the look more me, and I love colour. I’m not very trendy. I still haven’t gotten on the footless tights with a tunic sweater bandwagon and I’m fairly sure I never will. Still trying to rock those opaque tights and the idea of tucking my pants into my boots.

Work Style: I’m a consultant, so I’m always meeting clients and working with them on their company site. Sometimes I go into the office as well, but generally, I adapt to whatever the client’s culture is wearing. If they’re ALL in jeans, I wear jeans. If they’re ALL in suits, I wear a suit. Yada yada.. I generally stick to pants at work as they are seasonless (to me), and I rarely wear skirts or dresses to work. In fact… I can only recall doing that once. For some reason, I’m not a big fan of wearing that stuff to work. That’s weekend style to me.

Weekend Style: *guilty* I’ve been in sweatpants and sweaters at home as of late. But if I have to go out, I break out the dresses, skirts and feminine stuff. But I do love to wear my jeans, a cute top, a thick comfy sweater, tuck in my jeans into my boots (yes finally got on that bandwagon) and add a splash of colour with a cute scarf and accessories (I have plenty). I’m also not really the kind of woman who likes going to bars or clubs so I don’t buy any outfits specific for that…. any more. 😛 But I’ve been known to break out a bustier under a blazer with jeans and heels for the bar. 😉

My favourite shades to wear: Would be teals (cannot stand pure blues on me), greys, emerald greens, deep inky violets, white, ivory, sometimes black, and I’m starting to lean towards deep buttercup yellows and magentas/fuschias.

With that being said, I’d ideally love to live with only the following pieces:


2 pairs of Trouser Jeans
Even if they’re identical, I don’t care. One can be a backup for all I care. These are my work pants, and they go with EVERYTHING. If you get them in a dark rinse, low rise, slightly loose wash, no one can tell they’re the same damn thing day after day. Just like khakis.

1 pair of jeans
Honestly? I own about 3 or 4 pairs of jeans, and I only wear one pair. I’d wear 2 pairs of jeans if I could, but I didn’t have the foresight to buy ANOTHER backup pair of what I purchased (mid-rise, dark rinse, straight leg, pockets in the perfect placement for my butt.. ooo I’m kickin’ myself right now for not buying a backup). I’ve also mended it recently, and am going to keep mending it until I look like a hobo and/or I’ve found a replacement pair.


1 Casual Blazer
I’m talking about a jacket that’s structured and fabulous like a blazer, without actually being a blazer. I have a deep dark denim jacket with a mandarin collar and seaming that I wear constantly over my camisoles, and it can act like a work sweater/finishing touch, or just a weekend jacket, without being too formal.


3 Work Sweaters
All V-Neck or open because the work best on me and is the most flattering. Work sweaters are a thin knit (not chunky), and are a bit ‘structured’ in the sense that they don’t look too sloppy, are too thick, and cover me properly. They don’t have to all be pullovers either. They can be button up, or wrap, or whatever you’d like. I have an emerald green v-neck pullover, a black button up wrap that’s a v-neck with a thick collar and an ivory button up, for example.
1 Ultimate Soft Cushy Sweater
You know what I’m talking about. Chunky knit, or cashmere, usually a wrap or button up style, this is THE comfort sweater you go to. I’m sure you have one. Or two. Sometimes you just need a sweater like that to wear over your outfit to keep even warmer under your jacket when you go out (no judgement, you can always remove it 😉 ) or to lounge in at home and cuddle up in.
3 Camisoles
Out of the 3 Work Sweaters and the 3 Camisoles, I can make 9 combinations of tops. That’s more than enough to see me through the week. Of course, the camisoles are contrasting colours like a deep buttercup yellow, so if I pair it with a teal sweater, it peeks out delicately underneath the V-Neck (but not by much), and gives a hint of colour.

3 T-Shirts
Sometimes you just need a casual t-shirt. But I like them in a very thin material, a bit stretchy, smooth, and in dark colours. Usually in a Scoop-Neck is best. I have this one army green t-shirt that I’ve worn constantly, and I just accessorize with funky necklaces. And you can wear these T-Shirts under that fab casual blazer, and end up with 3 more outfits!
3 Fun Tops
These are the tops that aren’t T-shirts, camisoles, or long sleeve sweaters. These are the fun tops. The ones with a tuxdeo detail down the front, or a empire waist, or a wrap top. Something unique, something you love to wear, and again, the possibilites are endless to pair this with something else. And you can wear them at work, or on the weekends, but you need some tops that are fun.

That pretty much covers it for Spring, Autumn, Summer and Winter. 🙂 If you leave in a uni-season kind of area, then you won’t need sweaters and jackets for example.


But maybe not that much cleavage required.. 😛 😛
2 sets of Sweatpants
When I say 2 sets, I mean 2 pairs of pants to 1 zip-up hoodie top. The reason being is that pants tend to get dirtier than tops, and if one of my pants gets dirty, I can wear the other as a matching to my hoodie if need be. Mostly to be used for lounging around the home, etc. The ‘spare’ pair is what I wear to do laundry in. 😛 I also use one of the pairs for working out. I just wear a t-shirt with the sweatpants, and I’m good to go to the gym.


1 suit with a matching skirt and pant
Preferably NOT in black. I find it tends to wash me out, so I go for the deep greys with an interesting texture, or the medium greys so that it’s conservative enough to handle most situations. I don’t wear suits often, but if I need to, I like to have options of wearing a skirt or not. If I wore suits more often, I’d probably have 2 pairs of suits so I could switch it up (2 pants, 2 skirts, that’s 4 outfits at least + 3 camisoles = plenty of options).

I should note, don’t get a BORING plain suit. Get one that has a light pinstripe in it, or has a interesting texture, something, anything, but keep it conservative. My reasoning is if you buy a boring suit, you’re going to want another more “fun” suit to add to your wardrobe. Nuh uh. Don’t fall into that trap. I did, and now I’m regretting it.


3 Skirts
3 seems like the best number for me, because I don’t have the option of ONE or the OTHER, but the option of a third choice in case I felt like something different from the other 2. All knee-length for me, I don’t like minis, microminis or long skirts, and no slits, plus I don’t normally wear skirts to work, only on weekends or on vacation.

I usually gravitate towards A-Line or Mermaid-tail skirts as I’m trying to create some curves on my body, and I like the textures being different – tweed, silk and cotton, with varying patterns/prints. Everything else I own is a solid colour, so I need something fun to spice it up. Besides, I have a solid colour skirt – it’s part of my suit 😉

2 Knee-Length Wrap Dresses
I know I said I don’t normally wear these, but there WILL come an occasion when I want to. And wrap dresses can easily transition from Spring into Winter (layer, layer, layer!). Again, not in black. A really amazing Black and white pattern and Brown and Teal polka dot dress are my two favourites. And they have different sleeve lengths too, to vary it up.

1 Formal Dress
For my lifestyle, I need at least 1 or 2 cocktail dresses. I have 2. One black (I know) sheath dress and another more flowy, sexy black dress with bronze flower detailing down the front (cost me an arm and a leg back then, let me tell you!!). But these dresses are my go-tos if I have black tie dinners to attend, and would NOT be able to wear my Wrap dresses (too casual for the affair), or a pant/skirt suit (too business-y for the affair).


Spring Jacket
This is where I have the most fun. *guilty* I have this fabulous red coat from Jacob that’s too thin to wear in Autumn (unless I wear a sweater underneath and a scarf), but is the perfect weight, colour (deep red) and shape for my body. It comes down to the knee, and nips in at the waist.

Autumn Jacket
This is usually in thinner wool, not thick and heavy enough to be burden on your shoulders, and is not meant for sub-freezing temperatures but is too heavy for spring. Not black please. 🙂 We’re in autumn, not in mourning. 😉

All-Purpose Winter Jacket
This is for below freezing temperatures, blocks wind, and keeps you truly warm. This is usually a jacket that comes down to mid-thigh, or higher (waist?) like a ski jacket. You wear this jacket every day. It can also be a to-the-knee cashmere and wool jacket, which can double as a Formal Winter Jacket (see below), and looks more posh than a ski jacket when you wear it to work. But don’t sacrifice your body for the sake of fashion, yeah?

Formal Winter Jacket
Look, you just can’t wear your North Face, All-Purpose Winter Jacket over formal wear. This “formal” winter jacket is special. You wear it over your fancier clothes (sometimes your fancy clothes are floor length) so you don’t show up awkward-looking and out of place. Plus, it’s floor-length, and elegant. DO NOT buy black. Buy it in dove grey, ivory (you aren’t wearing it every day, remember?), or a charcoal grey if you must.

And we’re done! Last notes..

Let’s do a roundup of what I’d ideally love for my entire wardrobe to consist of, at the bare minimum:

1. 2 pairs of trouser jeans
2. 1 pair of jeans
3. 1 Casual Blazer
4. 3 Work Sweaters
5. 1 Ultimate Cushy Sweater
6. 3 Camisoles
7. 3 T-Shirts
8. 3 Fun Tops
9. 2 Sets of Sweatpants (1 set = 2 pants + 1 hoodie)
10. 1 Suit with matching skirt and pant
11. 3 Skirts
12. 2 Knee-length Wrap Dresses
13. 1 Formal Dress
14. Spring Jacket
15. Autumn Wool Jacket
16. All-Purpose Winter Jacket
17. Formal Winter Jacket (Floor-length)

Just ball parking it from looking at the numbers, I see about 60 outfits from there and more if you mix the work sweaters with the t-shirts, fun shirts and/or camisoles. 1 pair of jeans can match with any of the 3 T-shirts, camisoles, fun tops or sweaters. Not including suits or formal wear, or jackets…

I’ve purposely left out capris and shorts because I hate wearing them. They make me feel awkward and short, or fat (which I know I am not). I stick to skirts and jeans in the winter.

Hot? Yes, sometimes. Awkward? Never.

If you love capris and shorts, add 3 pairs (capris AND shorts, not 3 capris and 3 shorts) to your wardrobe..

And that, would be my perfect wardrobe.

See? Told you I wasn’t a minimalist 🙂 If I was, it’d look something like:

1. 2 pairs of pants
2. 3 tops
3. 2 sweaters

😛 😛 😛

But it wouldn’t be nearly half as fun!

Oh, and shoes, jewellery, purses and accessories are a different matter 😛 They don’t take THAT much space (ish), and I think if you can keep your shoe collection to under 50, you’re doing a great job in my opinion. 😛 😛 😛

Of course, that includes summer shoes, boots, flip flops, heels, trainers, you know the drill. I ought to post my entire ‘wardrobe’ of shoes some time. It’s ridiculous but I love every pair. 😛

Wardrobe Series

I just recently posted 6 steps to a better, healthier wardrobe:

1. Take a look at what you’ve got
2. What is your lifestyle like?
3. Assess your personal style
4. Determine what makes you feel fabulous
5. Begin to slowly declutter
6. The finishing line

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.