The Most Basic Way to Create a Base Wardrobe




Here’s the thing, I love floral (duh). And if you’re here reading this, you probably like floral too. At one point, you likely have gotten carried away when shopping, ended up with a closet full of floral prints, and... nothing to pair them with. Because you forgot to get some basic pieces in basic colors. Of course, I have done this. I had so many prints that I didn’t wear because I didn’t have anything to wear them with. So I assessed the situation and created a base wardrobe that could go with any and every color/print in my closet. Super basic, but the way I do it will not work for everyone as it’s geared towards women that already dress or want to start dressing in a floral, feminine style.

BASE WARDROBE VERSUS CAPSULE WARDROBE

A base wardrobe is different from a capsule. When you're creating a base wardrobe, you're creating a bank of basic pieces and wardrobe essentials you pull from to pair with non-basic pieces. You’re not pulling day-to-day outfits straight from it. Capsule wardrobes change seasonally, it's a collection that you can mix and match to create different outfits. It’s best suited for minimalists or people trying to downsize. If you like color and patterns, I personally don’t find capsule wardrobes to be very realistic and can feel constricting. Unless you’re taking one suitcase to travel and need to pack two weeks worth of outfits, then it doesn’t really work. A base wardrobe is going to better suit your needs. It’s not something I see talked about a lot - not sure if it’s even an actual term. I saw one post that mentioned it and that’s good enough for me.

PUTTING TOGETHER YOUR BASE WARDROBE

I’m going to go through the steps in detail, but will also have a very basic checklist pictured below. To start creating a base wardrobe in the easiest way possible, you need to do three things:

#1 PICK NEUTRAL COLORS YOU LIKE

Do you like to wear black? Brown? Navy? If you’re just starting out, I would stick to white and black and/or navy at first, then add later. I find navy to be a good substitute for denim if you want to dress up (and vice versa for denim). Brown is ideal because it’s softer in appearance and more versatile. The shades I’d recommend most to add to your base wardrobe are camel, khaki, or beige. Don’t want anything too dark and if it comes in brown, it’s likely going to be in at least one of those shades.

#2 PICK THE CUT & FIT OF CLOTHES THAT YOU LIKE

Do you like to wear high-wise or mid-rise, cropped or long, loose or snug, etc.? T-shirts and jeans or skirts and dresses? Take into account your lifestyle, but your preference will influence your base wardrobe. Someone that is modest is likely not going to have a tight-fitting crop top in their wardrobe.

#3 MAKE A LIST

You’re going to list by clothing type and write down any essential pieces you already wear and/or want to include in your base wardrobe. Remember to take your lifestyle, where you live, and what your job is into account when creating a base wardrobe. Don’t be like me living in warm and sunny Southern California with all these skirts and dresses and no pants to wear to your manufacturing job. Also if you don’t like a particular style, that’s fine don’t add it. You don't need to have everything on the list. I’ll use a general example for this post.

SHIRTS

Pick at least three styles in any neutral color (including white and gray).
  • T-shirt
  • Long-sleeve shirt
  • Turtleneck
  • Button-down
  • Blouse
  • Tank Top or Sleeveless Shirt
In terms of fabric, make sure it’s a nice-looking (and clean) fabric. I do have a preference for rib knit because it has a lot of stretch and just looks nicer than non-rib knit. The texture also has a smoothing effect.

CARDIGANS & SWEATERS

Pick at least one style in any neutral color.
  • Cropped Cardigan or Sweater (short-sleeve, ¾ sleeve, or long-sleeve)
  • Standard Length Cardigan or Sweater (¾ sleeve or long-sleeve)
  • Maxi/Sweeper/Duster Cardigan (long-sleeve)
You’ll notice that I put sleeve lengths in parentheses for each one. These are just sleeve types that I think will be the most flattering.

SKIRTS

Pick at least one style in any neutral color.
  • Pencil Skirt
  • Circle Skirt
  • Pleated Skirt (box or accordion preferred)
  • A-line

DRESSES

Pick at least three styles in any neutral color.
  • Shirt Dress
  • A-line
  • Maxi
  • Sundress
  • Sheath
  • Bodycon or Bandage

PANTS & LEGGINGS

Pick at least three styles in any neutral color.
  • Slacks/Dress Pants
  • Jeans (or Jeggings)
  • Khakis
  • Leggings (Black, Brown, or Gray)
  • Wide-leg or Palazzo Pants
  • Sweatpants
  • Shorts

SHOES

Pick at least three styles in black, brown, or navy preferrably.
  • Loafer or Saddle Shoe
  • Mule(s)
  • Heels
  • Sandles
  • Wedges
  • Sneakers (White)
  • Boots

COATS & JACKETS  

Pick at least one style in brown or black preferably.

  • Trench Coat
  • Pea Coat
  • Frock
  • Princess
  • Wrap
  • Tweed Jacket
  • Blazer

 



I hope this helps. I've also included a link to the downloadable version of the Base Wardrobe Checklist pictured above.

















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