Guide to A Basic Wardrobe

Step Three - Wardrobe Refashioning Analysis

The Elegant Woman's Guide to A Basic Wardrobe. Wardrobe Refashioning Essentials - How to Build An Elegant Wardrobe That Works.

If you have just joined us from our foundation of an elegant wardrobe page, you would have learned the underlying principles of a basic, classic wardrobe that works.

The keys to having the ideal wardrobe is to have a thorough understanding of your lifestyle, some planning and editing and learning how to maintain it. We have also established that it is not necessary to have a large quantity of clothes to be well dressed, as long as you have acquired the skill of mixing and matching elegantly.

Previously in Step One - The Wardrobe Edit and Discard., we have pruned all the clothes that does not work and we no longer love.

In Step two, we have acquired our basics. We are now on STEP THREE.

How do you know if your wardrobe works for you?

Do You Often Feel like You've Got Nothing to Wear?

A wardrobe does not work if you find yourself often in these situations:
guide to a basic wardrobe
  1. Taking a long time to get dressed (past forty five minutes).

  2. In a constant state of "I don't have anything to wear".

  3. After you get dressed, you leave the house feeling insecure and don't feel good about yourself.

  4. You wish you were wearing something else but it was in the wash.

  5. You wonder what your friend will think of you because you are wearing the same outfit the last time you met her.

  6. You find it hard to match your clothes, bags and accessories.

  7. You have a random pair of shoes/bags/pair of earrings that never get worn because they never go with anything you have.

  8. You find yourself shopping for a new outfit whenever you have to go to an event.

  9. You don't feel appropriately dressed (because you have nothing else).

  10. You have a feeling that what you are wearing are too worn out and should not seen outside the house.

This guide to a basic wardrobe has to be studied so you'll never again feel like the above. An Analysis of your Lifestyle must be done.

Wardrobe Refashioning Analysis

First make a list of ALL activities and Social events that you attend in your life.
Your lifestyle may consist activities of
  1. Cooking

  2. Cleaning

  3. Running errands

  4. School

  5. Office work

  6. Retailing duties

  7. Meeting friends for coffee

  8. Exericse

  9. Church

  10. Weekend gatherings

Got your list? Okay let's now proceed to the next part of 'Guide to a Basic Wardrobe'

Analyzing your wardrobe

As you look at what you have, you may find you have too many of something, for example, a pair of stilettos when you only wear them once a week for cocktails, and not enough of linen pants for your elegant casual weekend.
You may want to further categorize your clothes into categories, 'Work Wardrobe', 'Weekend Wardrobe', 'Cocktails/Dates Wardrobe' etc.

The purpose of this 'Guide to a basic wardrobe' exercise is to know what you have.


  1. Career/Work Wardrobe

  2. Daytime Wardrobe

  3. Evening Cocktails, Elegant Gowns

  4. Sportswear

  5. Housedress (what you wear at home)

  6. Negligees (what you wear to bed)

Mapping Out your wardrobe

The guide to a basic wardrobe is to map out your wardrobe.

If you work five days a week, you could have possibly 5 to 15 outfits. (Note that outfits refer to combinations, so actual pieces of clothing could be less, though not necessarily.)

Your weekend wardrobe can range from having 8 to 12 outfits. A different outfit for every weekend for about two months!

If work from home, you can wear a few 'uniform' pieces, white blouses, skirts, capris or sleeveless dresses making 5 outfits.

These wardrobe guidelines are not absolute, but you may wish to map out your own guidelines and structure your wardrobe.

After mapping things out, compare them to your current wardrobe and fill in the blanks. Once that is done

Organizing Your Basic Wardrobe

Separating them into sections for different activities help you get dressed better and quicker.

Some ideas:

  1. Have different drawers for different categories of clothes.

  2. Buy five pink satin hangers and use them to separate your clothes into sections

Make a Lookbook

Some of you are extremely creative and as long as you have sufficient options, you can whip out a fabulous new outfit. Others, you may not have the time in the morning to do trial-and-error in front of your mirror. Whether or not you are creative, a lookbook is effective. It enables you to 'see' the outfit before trying it on. It minimizes efforts to 'put things back'.
A few different ways to create lookbooks
  1. Take a snapshot of yourself whenever you are wearing an outfit you feel good in.

  2. Take a snapshot of everything you own and put them into categories. When you are mixing and matching, flip the lookbook, take out those photos and 'match' them together.

Tip: Always lay out what you are going to wear the night before, so you won't be stressed out in the morning!

Check out our Guide to a Basic Wardrobe Gallery! It could give you your own lookbook inspirations!

Go back to Wardrobe Refashioning Step Two Acquiring Your Basics

Thank you for reading 'Guide to a Basic Wardrobe'!

You may like:

Timeless Style

Wardrobe Refashioning - Step One Edit and Discard

Wardrobe Refashioning - Step Two Acquire Your Basics

Go back to Wardrobe Essentials - A Classic Wardrobe

Return from Guide to a Basic Wardrobe to Elegant Woman Homepage


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