“Un-Basic” Your Wardrobe with these 8 Inexpensive/Free Ways.
You’ve done it. You have carefully curated the perfect basic wardrobe full of classic pieces in neutral colors just like all the stylists advise. Now what? Are you are already a little bored? Maybe you don’t know what to do now that you have all the building blocks in place. Perhaps all your hard work has lead to a wardrobe that doesn’t really feel like you. Maybe your outfits look exactly like everyone else’s.
I’ve got you.
In fact, I’ve done the same thing a time or two. After my daughter was born, I thought it would be a good idea to create the perfect “mom” wardrobe. It was ok I guess, except that I didn’t feel like myself- I had been a little sexier and a little more sophisticated before motherhood and wanted to be that way again.
Oh, and I even bought “mom” jeans back when they weren’t cool. Sure my new wardrobe resulted in less laundry, I had no dry-cleaning bills, everything matched, and it seemed like a good idea, but it wasn’t “me”. Secretly, I wanted to start over and dump my entire wardrobe, but I didn’t have the budget to and my husband would have had a fit! So I worked out ways to infuse my personal style into my basic classic wardrobe.
I’ve seen people purchase clothing from collages on Pinterest entitled “The Perfect 37 Piece Minimalist’s Wardrobe” and quibble over whether they are following the rules of minimalism or not. These collages provide exact items need for the wardrobe right down to the exact plain white t-shirt you should own.
The outfits are often black, white and grey—and are perfect for a practical mix and match wardrobe. The problem is, every outfit looks the same and since others are buying the same pieces, everyone starts looking the same. I know of a whole Facebook group who subscribe to these ideas, only for women to come away with the same feel I had with my “mom” wardrobe back in the day.
Aubriella Floral Top https://rstyle.me/+jwV-m9FPYcXQTQaeIuzLbg
Paige Cindy Jeans https://rstyle.me/+jwV-m9FPYcXQTQaeIuzLbg
Woven Leather Mules https://rstyle.me/+oiXKtBmClxR63zGdFdBFXA
Natural Pearl Drop Earrings https://rstyle.me/+yVp5xRerA9YtK80UZc27Pw
Gucci Rouge A Levres Voile Lipstick https://rstyle.me/+hTFHX04traDHXMNKVQzK7A
If you are a little bored with your wardrobe, and have some great classic pieces in place, I am here for you. You don’t have to start over—even though the fashion industry might prefer that you do. With my plan you will only need a few new pieces—not a new wardrobe. You can even take your time—make a wish list and enjoy the hunt for your next great piece. Oh, and don’t worry if you’ve determined the minimalist’s life isn’t for you—this isn’t about minimalism this is about creating a strong wardrobe with your name written all over it.
Creating a basic wardrobe full of classic styles is meant to be a starting point. It’s meant to ensure you will have the clothing you need to dress comfortably and have a few outfit variations to wear though out the week, which is actually a good idea. I’ve talked about how to create a capsule wardrobe from scratch here. Plus if you are new here, you can grab my free fashion questions worksheet here.
Today, I’m going to share with you five ways to “unbasic” your wardrobe without starting over. After all, you’ve probably invested in good pieces-maybe for the first time your clothes actually work together. Let me say that this is a good place to be and with a few tweaks, your basic wardrobe will be singing your song-not someone else’s.
Veronica Beard Windasea Floral Dress https://rstyle.me/+qvQIsrBOQ1f9Hsjz384XPw
Olive Crock Embossed Mules https://rstyle.me/+MKGFa6NEw1rnW1WkApkTOA
Amelia Denim Jacket https://rstyle.me/+MKGFa6NEw1rnW1WkApkTOA
Tartlette Jucy Amazonian Clay Eye Shadow https://rstyle.me/+pmqV3sIUrm7dGZlqhEUCHw
Here are my eight top tips to “unbasic” your wardrobe:
- Add back some of your personal style: get a few “wild card” pieces that you love—perhaps, a vintage piece, or a special accessory. Try to add a “wild card” piece to each outfit. Let me just say that if you have already built a basic wardrobe, bringing in a wild card piece will be super simple—just add an interesting pair of shoes, a piece of jewelry or a scarf. It’s as simple as that.
- If you have built your wardrobe on neutrals, add in some bright colors-an interesting graphic t-shirt or a fun print. After years of wearing basic navy and black suits, I added a hot pink skirt, and some animal print and it felt like I had a whole new wardrobe!
- Play with textures—maybe try leather, velvet, silk, or linen. Same basic pieces—same neutral colors—just in an unexpected texture. I had a great leather pencil skirt and faux leather pants both of which were perfect for both office and date nights. They were unexpected, sophisticated and “me”. If you love interesting fabrics this is a perfect tip for you.
- Play with the seasons. I do have a basic all year around wardrobe. I do have my wild card pieces and some interesting textures. But I also want to change things up seasonally. I would go crazy wearing the same clothing year around. Each season, I pull out a few accent pieces—like my cognac colored suede boots for fall, my black leather and velvet for winter and flowing dresses for spring and summer. Having these items tucked away may break the “minimalism” or capsule wardrobe “rules’—so please don’t turn me in to Marie Kondo- I’m just a woman who likes a little novelty. And a few fun pieces to look forward to wearing each season won’t hurt anything. Having a few seasonal items keeps things fresh.
- Take some time and style your clothes in different ways. It’s surprising to me how many clothes we have! A woman on Instagram challenged herself to style her clothes a new way every day. She’s going on six months without duplicating a single outfit! She has come up with outfits she never realized she had just by putting her clothing together in different ways. This can breathe new life into old favorites, and a great way to develop your styling abilities.
- If you haven’t done a closet clear out in a while, now might be a good time to do it, especially if you want to bring in some new pieces. I have found I can be more creative with fewer pieces, and in looking at what I wear and what I don’t I have become more clear about my own personal style. If you want to keep your wardrobe small, be sure to use the one in one out policy- you get rid of something before before adding something.
- One simple solution is to create an organized wardrobe. Studies have shown that reducing the number of decisions you make helps to reduce stress—plus when you can see every item of clothing it’s easier to make them into interesting outfits and create a new style for yourself.
- Get out of your comfort zone. Take a few pieces you wouldn’t ordinarily try into the dressing room. Instead of buying white shirts all the time, try different colors. Build a small capsule in a new color scheme or around one of your “wild card” pieces.
Smocked Peplum Top https://rstyle.me/+0dl2i_zvqBGYcCgHN6Rs8ASto
Stovepipe Jeans https://rstyle.me/+uwEjXxL-04ydxL6m5ipcFA
Kamila Clay Mules https://rstyle.me/+iBNyLodd-VfyZ1M6zpYdsw
Straw Hat https://rstyle.me/+xRtwA6NVR2CMxbGCjMEOHQ
Luxe Metal Rose Eye Shadow Palette https://rstyle.me/+ud4SgNJZe0D03-yCjSEOtA
These are simple ways to avoid style ruts and really begin to find your own personal style. Plus, you will begin to have fun creating a number of outfits from a few pieces along with a signature piece that will make the look your own.
In addition, once you have your basics in place, you can shop for a few new pieces every season to build out your wardrobe and keep having fun with your style.
Having an organized closet and regularly making sure I love everything really helps me with putting together outfits. I typically don’t get bored with what i have and I look to other bloggers and Pinterest to create new outfits from my closet when I do. Of course, getting a few new things here and there is fun too!
I do get bored with my closet–and I like to get a few new pieces each season. I do keep my closet tidy so I can see what I have and I do one in / one out rule–when I buy something I remove something from my closet.
That floral blouse is gorgeous!! You have awesome taste. I signed up!
Thank you so much Wendy! so glad to have you here!
These are all great points! One’s wardrobe ought to feel like it represents oneself. As I look at my closet, I have a ton of prints and color, but have recently bought more neutral pieces for my closet.I think it is great to try and be creative and not always buy buy buy, but fill in the gaps a bit each season. I love each outfit you are sharing here. I think we have similar tastes!
These are such great tips, Nina! I have determined long ago that I will never be a minimalist with my wardrobe. My closet is more like my craft room where I keep all of my supplies for decorating my canvas (me, I am the canvas)! But I do appreciate the ease that comes with things like a capsule wardrobe sprinkled with unique personalized statement pieces. If I had to limit my wardrobe for storage reasons, I would definitely pare down much more! Thanks for linking with me.
It’s a pleasure linking and seeing what you are up to! You definitely have a great wardrobe to suit your moods and desire for experimentation. Such a great way to be. I have had times when I have enjoyed a large wardrobe and now a much smaller one, as we do much less than just a few years ago. I’ve also gotten into finding pieces I really love which is somewhat new- I used to be very careful what I chose, then suddenly things became very inexpensive and I was able to have so much. When I found myself getting… Read more »