Sunday, February 13, 2011

How to Finally Have a Fabulous Wardrobe

Do you have BASIC jackets, pants, jeans, shirts, skirts, dresses and accessories?
Or is your closet made up of trendy odds and ends?

The main reason I started my MissusSmartyPants website is to help women get the wardrobe of their dreams. Great style starts with a fabulous wardrobe. It's the "how to do it" part that seems to continually elude so many women.

Here are a couple of my style tips to help get you started. You do deserve to have a fabulous let's make it happen...

Start by cleaning out your closet. Purge everything that doesn't fit or that you haven't worn in a year. You've got to remove the clutter FIRST before you can start planning a good basic wardrobe!

Client's "before" and "after" closet purge photos...

Do it again. A week later or so, go back into your closet and get rid of stuff you didn't. You know the stuff you told yourself you still might wear. I know it was just too scary to let it all go at one time. Get real now so you can start making a list of what you do need and take it from there.

Stop impulse buying--it sabotages you from ever getting a good wardrobe together. Every $20 "bargain" could have gone to a really great wardrobe basic that you still don't have.

Decide on three colors that either match or will coordinate with what you own and buy only those three colors for apparel. It may sound limiting, but actually it will give you more outfits by having a color theme to your base wardrobe.

Decide on a do-able wardrobe budget. When you set aside a little money and purchase only what you really'll end up spending less in the long run. The real plus is everything will go together making more wearable combinations!

Make a list of the items you still need in your wardrobe. (For example: still need dark wash jeans, white fitted shirt, a denim jacket, a LBD ) Keep your running list in your purse so you have it with you every time you shop.

Set aside time to shop either online or at the stores. A fabulous wardrobe takes time and is a continual process. Don't try to buy everything in one day. Concentrate on what you need, quality of the garment and the fit of the garment. Don't compromise.

Before even stepping foot into a store...make sure you've taken the time to write a list of what you really need...

Avoid trendy items. You need to build a solid foundation of basic pieces first.

Buy classic and seasonless pieces. Buy fashionable, yet classic clothing that is mostly in seasonless fabrics like gabardine or matte jersey. More wear-ability is what you are after.

Purchase clothes that work with what you already have. I always say, "Buy one item you can wear three different ways--or don't purchase it".

Pass on anything that doesn't fit -- no matter how great a buy. Great fit sets a woman's style above the others. There is NO compromising when it comes to good fitting clothes.

Yes, you must try it on! (It will save you time on the long run)

Add slowly. Rome wasn't build in a day...nor is a fabulous wardrobe. Try adding only one or two well-thought out items per month at the most.

Use accessories, shoes and handbags to add more style, trendiness and color to your wardrobe. It's the best way for a grown woman to look stylish and "on-trend". The trendy youthful clothes styles make you look desparate...avoid them and stick with the classics.

If you really start with the basics like I suggest...your wardrobe will give you that fabulous style you've always dreamed of. Great dressed women have a fabulous core wardrobe and now you'll be one of them!

Here's to finally having a fabulous wardrobe! Come join me at and get weekly style help! Love, Leslie


  1. I've been following your advice via Flylady for years now and I think I have a great wardrobe that I enjoy everyday!You can check my blog and tell me what you think!!!

  2. i will add a note: many people dont understand "neutral" versus "color". narrow your neutrals down to one or two (unless you change them drastically per season, like i wear white only in summer) and then pick co coordinating "colors"
    neutrals generally tend to be black, white, grey, brown and beige. in the united states denim blue (blue jean color) is also a neutral

  3. Gabardine- is that like twill khaki pants? does it have to be from wool? what about warmer climates?

  4. I looked really washed out unless I wear bright colors. Is it okay for my neutrals to be navy, red and black?

  5. I can't see the difference in the before and after shots. Not trying to be difficult, just wondering - is it just me?

  6. I have most of what I need, but I still need some shoes. While I have a nice black dress, I could probably use another LBD, with a suit jacket and a nice black skirt. Trouble is, black really isn't my color, and skirts and dresses are a tough fit for me. I don't think they look good on me. I would rather just get a well-fitting black skirt and forgo the LBD and black jacket. I don't know. I've confused myself.

  7. @Leah no twill like w/ a khaki pant is stiffer and a more casual fabric. However, gabardine fabric is typical for suiting pieces. It is tighter woven twill fabric w/ good draping. It does not need to be made out of wool...however, a tropical wool blend is seasonless and wonderful to have.

    @Marcella, yes you can use navy as your main neutral.

    @Mrs. M you were right. I made a correction w/ the before and after shots...thanks for pointing it out. Sorry for any confusion.

    @Serendipity...sometimes separates fit us better than dresses. This happens especially if you are different size on top and another size on the bottom. If you prefer separates go w/ them instead of another LBD. The reason a LBD (it can be another dark neutral color besides black, by the way) is so recommended is because they are like a blank canvas you can easily dress up or down.

  8. I am having trouble trimming down my number of colors. I am a clear winter and have narrowed my choices to the following:

    Neutrals: Denim, Black, Grey, Navy
    White (is this a neutral?)

    Colors: Red (tomato or red/blue)
    Blue (royal or cobalt)

    This just seems like too many colors. Also, I don't know how to coordinate these colors together. Help. I really need to work on my wardrobe. Thanks.

  9. Alex, your neutrals: denim and gray go with EVERY color you listed. Most of us have some black in our wardrobes, so I'd work with what you have but not add anymore. Use denim blue and gray for your main wardrobe pieces (unless you like black better) and everything will go together.

    White is a neutral but best for wearing only in the warmer months so I wouldn't make it a main neutral...just a seasonal choice to add in when the weather is warm.

    Red, blue, purple and turquoise all go together. With your choice of accessories (including print scarves w/ these mixed colors in it) you can get all these colors to work in your wardrobe!

  10. Hi Leslie,

    I am a summer and working on my wardrobe basics for bottoms in black, charcoal and denim. What color shoe should I be looking at that will go with everything. You mentioned bronze shoes in some of your podcasts, but I don't know if that will go with my summer colors and my basics.

  11. Cathy,

    Instead of a bronze shoe (w/ gold undertones) your best option would be a platinum one.

    With spring coming up, also consider a nude/natural color wedge too!

  12. Another question all together??? I've been reading Chatter and your Blog and all MSP's ~ and I'm wondering where I missed the 25 outfits out of 7 articles of clothing? Can you lead this poor girl to where you taught or showed that? Thanks so much, Cheryl

  13. @ckl616 you've gotten a little mixed up, LOL! No worries!

    Starting the first of Feb. I took on a style challenge where I took 7 items and showed many, many ways to wear just those 7 pieces. This ended up being a 2 week challenge...

    Last week was about choosing YOUR wardrobe colors based on your skin, eye and hair coloring. Making a master plan based on a couple of neutral colors and accent colors. Ideas of what colors mix w/ what colors to make up a cohesive wardrobe plan.

    This week's style article is called "Style Recipes" it about taking 25 basic pieces and creating over 100 outfit combinations! I give YOU the "style recipes" to do it!

    Lots of fun and challenging style ideas to get your wardrobe prepared BEFORE spring even arrives!

  14. Thank you for your advice, MSP. I think I'll go with separates for suiting (a jacket and skirt) in navy or maybe gray. I'll figure it out. I'm liking Talbot's selection.

    Thanks for liberating me from the "I'm a NYC woman I must wear black" doldrums!

  15. Hi,

    I'm an autumn and having trouble picking my two neutrals. I'm set on chocolate brown for one, but the other is between olive and khaki. I would choose camel, but I can never find it.



  16. @ Midkiff,

    I would go with a khaki or a stone color for your other neutral color. It will mix fabulously with the chocolate brown. Then you can use olive green and terra-cotta red as main accent colors!

    Hope that helps!

  17. Thank you very much! Sounds good to me. I noticed Christopher and Banks has the olive and rust colors today as well as chocolate brown and khaki. What color is stone?

  18. Thanks for the valuable information and insights you have so provided here...
    bespoke fitted wardrobes in london


Thanks for leaving your comment. I hope you enjoy my blog and stop by often!

Love, Leslie

4 Steps to Chic

1. Start with a feminine top 2. Pair with classy slacks 3. Ground with bold shoes 4. Finish with statement earrings ...