Images Via: Fashion Gum & Pinterest

When I moved to a different city for university, I hated the process of moving so much that I bought a book on how to have a minimalist lifestyle. I wanted to get rid of my stuff so I’d never have so much hassle ever again. While my minimalist life didn’t last long (or even start), there were some lessons that stayed with me. One of them is called the 80-20 rule. In The Joy of Less: A Minimalist Living Guide, Francine Jay writes about this rule, which basically says that we tend to wear 20% of the clothes we own 80% of the time. I’ve found this to be true for me, and I’ve been thinking about how I can maximize that essential 20%. I don’t want to think about what to wear in the morning. And yet, I still want to look put together.

In order to do this, I asked myself some questions. First, what’s comfortable for me? Second, I asked myself what kind of clothes fit my lifestyle? Third, I asked myself what do I want to look like? And finally, I asked myself what can I afford? 

My answers to these questions were that I’m more comfortable in loose clothes than tight clothes and generally more comfortable in pants than in skirts or dresses. Clothes that can be put on quickly, don’t have too many special laundry requirements, and that can stand up on public transportation, messy lunches, and all kinds of weather best fit into my daily life. I want a smart casual look that makes me appear put together, professional, and stylish. In terms of what I can afford, the answer is not much (I’m a student), but I’d be willing to save up on occasion for certain pieces in order to get better quality. However, I’d need to be able afford to replace and maintain whatever I own (for example, the cost of brown leather shoes also includes the cost of brown shoes polish & a brush).

Based on these answers, I made a list of things that I’d like to add to my wardrobe in order to be able to dress as effortlessly well as I’d like, as often as I’d like.

Wardrobe Building 1



  1. Blue button down: I love the versatility of a denim button down, but dislike how it always seems casual on me. I think that a blue button down solves the casual problem. I recently bought a classic oxford shirt from Old Navy, so far, it’s giving me what I had hoped for. I absolutely love it.
  2. Black long sleeve tee:  I had one two years ago, and it was the easiest item in my wardrobe to wear.  It matched everything, washed easily, was easy to find, and was easy to replace. I recently bought one, but was disappointed with the fit.  I should buy things in-store instead of online to avoid this problem.
  3. Gold watch: I’m interested in what I call permanent jewellery. Jewellery that I never really take off, so I’m always “decorated” with something. I like the elegance & professionalism of a gold watch, and the fact that it should look good regardless of whether or not it’s on trend.
  4. Stud earrings: More permanent jewellery. I like the way that earrings add something pretty around my face. I like that they look like effort has been made without actually requiring much.
  5. Structured bag: a simple statement. I find that the right bag can make me look more put together, and all I have to do is hold it. I  have such a bag, but I cringe every time I nick the leather. I can’t afford to replace it if it gets too beaten up. I think next time I should get something cheaper so I can worry less about it.
  6. 3 inch heels: this was hard for me, as I used to scoff at buying any heel less than 4 inches, but 3 inch heels make up in practicality what they lose in sexiness: I can actually walk in them. And they still look high. I bought a pair of brown leather block heel boots for the fall, but learned that I should avoid anything (like buckles) that will slow me down when putting my shoes on. I need to fly out the door!

What are your wardrobe essentials?





2 thoughts on “Building A Basic Wardrobe

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