Creating a Working Wardrobe

sept-27-coll1{The same sweater and heels made the jeans on the left appropriate for a special lunch, and a quick switch to dress pants made it work for a fashion event. That’s the beauty of basics that fit well }

For the last two years I’ve been working towards creating a wardrobe I love. It wasn’t about big name brands or designer shoes; it was more about self-love and functionality. I didn’t want to have any more clothes in my closet that I had to squeeze into, or made me feel “fat”, or I just didn’t feel like myself in, and on the same token, I wanted only clothes that mix and match to create outfits in under 5 minutes. When I started curating my closet intentionally there was a mish-mash of professional, casual, special event clothing – it was too complicated. My social calendar doesn’t call for lots of standalone pieces, what I needed was clothing that translates from day to evening or business to casual by simply switching out the accessories, or updating the make-up.

sep-27-coll-3{The same jeans seen above are cuffed for a relaxed breakfast meeting and paired with a fun sparkle top. The same sparkle top on it’s own stands out for a girls night out look paired with some printed pallazo pants.}

sep-27-coll-4{The same pants as the first pic dressed up even more with an embellished cardigan and printed blouse, the same printed blouse with jeans, and then the graphic print pants with a a basic sweatshirt that I can easily pair with jeans. Full circle}

So how do you go about creating a working wardrobe? Here are three tips to get you going…

1. Build your basics in one colour story – when you first start shopping with intention, pick one colour family to build on. I started with pinks and purples (of course), but another good place to start is blue. Blue and purple are usually flattering on all skin tones. Build up a stock of tee shirts, long sleeve knits, and cardigans in your preferred colour. That way you can create some good tone on tone looks.

2. Buy your bottoms in one basic colour – preferably black, navy, charcoal or camel. This might seem strange coming from me since I wear a lot of printed and coloured pants, but those came into my life after the basics. You need to start with a good pair of jeans, a pair of dress up-able pants (something that you can fancy up with heels), and a couple of good skirts if you wear them. I started with a charcoal grey as my base colour, but lately I’m really into deep blues. Whatever you choose, just make sure it complements the base colour you chose for your tops. 

3. Always use the Rule of 3! Never buy anything that doesn’t already go with 3 other items in your wardrobe. No ifs ands or butts. If you don’t already have a pair of shoes and cardigan that go with that dress, put it down and keep looking. That printed yellow top looks beautiful on the rack but you have no bottoms that go with it, back away sister. The only way to create a wardrobe that is truly mix and match is to plan your purchases.

Bonus rule: Never freak out shop for a special event. It’s okay to buy a new dress for a wedding, graduation, or anniversary dinner – but not because you want to look like someone else. Always by clothes that enhance what you have, not try to create a new you. (I learned this one the hard way through years of bad purchases).

I hope you find these tips helpful for creating your own working wardrobe. If you would like more inspiration you can check out this video I made last year on Tips for Building Your Wardrobe.





  1. October 1, 2013 / 11:50 am

    Awesome tips for mixing and matching the pieces in your wardrobe. Admittedly, I’m terrible at buying a piece and always wearing it with the same thing. Tomorrow I’ll make an effort to switch it up. 🙂

  2. October 1, 2013 / 8:35 pm

    great tips. now I know why I have such trouble getting ready for events. very little of my wardrobe mixes and matches. I tend to buy “outfits”. And now it is all outdated instead of being classic pieces I can build on.
    But….it will be fun going shopping to get it right! ha

    • November 18, 2013 / 7:30 am

      Thank you so much! You are too kind Dayle:)

  3. November 13, 2013 / 5:28 am

    I never really think about building my wardrobe when I buy clothing, it’s just what something I like or looks nice on me. But then I just end up with things that I wear only once or don’t work with other pieces. Thanks for all the tips, I will keep them in mind next time I am shopping.

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