Sometimes you look at your wardrobe, and it is just bursting with pieces you wear maybe once in a blue moon. The random pieces only work for one or two outfits, and the occasions for those outfits are now few and far between. You know you have too much and that it's time to clean out your closet. But what should you let go of, and what should you keep? When life and your closet feel crazy, simplifying and remembering what you really need can help you find some stability in the chaos.
It's time to get back to the basics. Here are some basic pieces and outfit ideas to reduce the complexity and clarify your priorities.
A simple white top is a staple of any wardrobe. Whether you work in a professional environment where you need a white women's blouse or your lifestyle calls for a white crewneck or V-neck t-shirt, having some version of a white top in your closet is a must. You may have a top with a simple, elegant design or one with some embroidery or ruching. Whatever you have on your hangers, remember your white top is a versatile piece that works for many kinds of outfits. It can stand alone or serve as an underlayer for a more complex ensemble. Pull your white top out from where it has been hiding and use it again to inspire effortless, natural looks.
If you have a white top, you probably also have a black top. Again, depending on the demands of your life, your black top may be more formal or more casual—or you may have one of both! Black is the most slimming of the dark colors, which makes it a great choice for a basic piece. Whether you wear your black top by itself or layer it with other pieces, it is a flexible addition to any closet. Bring your black top back into your style rotation and rediscover all it can do for your outfit combinations.
Jeans are the casual to semi-casual bottom layer of choice for many of us. From the more informal light washes in looser cuts, like boyfriend jeans, to the more formal cuts in darker washes, like slim-fit, straight-leg, or skinny jeans, nothing hamstrings a wardrobe like missing a solid pair or two of jeans. Pairing your jeans with your black and white tops creates easy, classic outfits that you don't have to worry too much about styling or matching. If you prefer a little color in your combinations, most colors are great with jeans. Dress your jeans up with sandal wedges or heeled boots, depending on the season, and you are ready for most semi-formal events. Flats of any variety, on the other hand, are perfect for more laid-back occasions. See? Easy!
Having a simple women's skirt on hand in a neutral color gives you the most options for lovely elegant ensembles. A pencil skirt is a little more formal, a fit-and-flare skirt can go a little more casual, and a full-length bohemian skirt is just so pretty. Choose whatever skirt (or skirts) make the most sense for you and your life, then have fun pairing it with all the different tops you can. Classy combinations might include your black or white top. Other ideas include wearing solid-color blouses or patterned blouses with a cute necklace and/or earrings. Flats or heels will always match well with a skirt, but a pair of sneakers might also be fun if you are feeling adventurous.
Black, as we have said, is a slimming color. Choosing a darker women's cardigan, or a blazer if you prefer more formal looks, as an outerlayer makes you look smaller as the eye is drawn away from your sides and to your center. The cardigan then creates a vertical space at your center, showing your top underneath. The shape of the space helps you because the eye has to move up and down to follow the line of your top. This creates the visual impression of length, which also makes you seem taller and thinner. With all these advantages, a black or dark-colored cardigan or blazer is an excellent basic piece for any wardrobe.
Every wardrobe needs a dress. Most patterned and colorful dresses are certainly fun, but the little black dress has been a closet staple for a long time—and with good reason! Black, in addition to being slimming, is also a relatively flexible color. It goes with pretty much any other color, so you are relatively unconstrained in your shoe choice or overlayer options. Black also goes well with black, so if you can't decide what color to choose, it matches itself! The other great thing about choosing a black dress is that black can be formal or informal depending on what you choose to wear with it. This makes it a great piece for simplicity and elegance and a solid component of getting back to the basics.
With this reminder of your basic options, throw out what is needlessly complicating your closet and return to your classic wardrobe elements and the gorgeous outfits they make.