Versatility makes getting dressed stress-free and makes you feel good!
Do you find yourself constantly shopping and feeling the urge to buy buy buy...even though you do not technically need anything? Then when you go into your closet does it feel like you have nothing to wear? Well, the issue might be that your closet is not versatile enough and you are in need of buying more because what you have doesn't go with everything else in your closet and you are aimlessly trying to fill a void. With a little more intention and a shift in mindset towards your closet you can have a more versatile wardrobe you love and feel great about.
Having a wardrobe that is well rounded, works well together and is tailored to your lifestyle is key to a stress-free life. Now, I know that not all of the stresses of the world steam from one's closet, but I have found that the closet is a symbolic place for us and represents how we feel and even how we care for ourselves. We have to get dressed every morning regardless of what we have to tackle that day and the stressful feels that can arise when walking into your closet shouldn't be the first obstacle you have to overcome. It should be a place that brings you pride and a sense of intention and confidence that guides you into your day instead.
Building a versatile wardrobe does not happen over night and does take a bit of a shift in mindset, but it is possible and can make a huge difference in ones life.
WHAT MAKES AN ITEM VERSATILE?
A versatile item is an item that works well with other items in your wardrobe. When adding a versatile piece to your closet you consider it another piece of the puzzle, not just an individual piece of clothing that you purchased just because it is cute or was cheap. A versatile item checks off all the boxes for you and really levels up your wardrobe instead of crowding it.
These items complement each other to create a well rounded closet and creates easily polished outfits without stress.
Versatile items don't have to be basic items but basic items can be versatile. I feel like when people think of versatility, they tend to think of plain and boring.. but I am here to tell you that is NOT the case! Versatility actually is a major characteristic of really understanding ones style. If you truly understand your style and know how you want to feel in your clothes, and what feels good and looks good on your body, you are more likely able to mix and match most of your clothing together without fail.
A way to think about this is, think about what you would grab if you woke up really late one morning and had to get ready within five minutes of running out the door, now what would you wear? Would you have the ability to throw together something flattering and that makes you feel good within seconds or are you more likely to be so stressed that you throw on something disheveled because your wardrobe isn't a whole, but instead a closet full of separate items?
An example of a unexpected item that I would consider a versatile piece would be something like this:
EXAMPLE: If you have a bold, over sized patterned blazer sitting in your closet that you love and are able to wear a few times a month that means that although it is technically a statement piece, it is also a versatile piece. At first thought this seems like it might be too bold to be considered versatile, but it actually isnt! If you are able to throw it on over a crisp white tee, jeans and flats and then the next week wear it over a short black cocktail dress with block heels and then the following week wear it belted over leggings and a blousey tunic - then that shows that this item is super versatile.
So now that we understand what being versatile really means lets talk about how to get that kind of wardrobe...or at least the start of building one! Lets start with shopping..since that is the first step to adding something to your wardrobe.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN SHOPPING TO MAKE SURE YOU ARE BUYING SOMETHING VERSATILE ENOUGH?
When you are out shopping try to mull over the items to make sure you are purchasing for the right reasons. Sometimes we can get stuck on a cheap price, a label for the sake of its label or something being super cute (despite its cheap fabric or complicated wearing needs)
Don't get yourself stuck in the cycle of shopping and then getting home and realizing everything you just bought (even if you love it) doesn't work for your lifestyle or with the other items in your closet. Be more mindful before you purchase something and make sure the items fits within this list to determine if this is adding value to your closet or taking up prime real estate.
#1: The item can be paired with a variety of items you already own:
Think about what this item(s) will go with. Do you have the right underwear, socks, shoes, jeans, etc to compliment this item well? Can you picture this item within a few outfits and are they outfits you can wear more than once without feeling like you are always wearing the same thing? Basically - does this item fit into you wardrobe to make it more complete?
#2: The item fits well and works well with your style:
If you feel like you can incorporate this piece into your day to day style, go ahead and get it. If it seems like it would be a struggle to pair with the looks you usually like to wear, move on to the next thing, because if it doesn't feel like a fit - it probably isn't truly your personal style! Also, always consider the fit and how it makes you feel. Is it comfortable? If it isn't comfortable or flattering, odds are you probably will ignore it once you own it or just be miserable when wearing it (even subconsciously)
#3: Can be worn for a few different occasions:
Being able to dress the item up or down is super important. Having a segregated wardrobe of 'work clothes', 'going out clothes', 'date clothes' etc just makes getting dressed more complicated and destroys you personal style. If you have quality items you really love and have the ability to work in all parts of your life, but in different ways that is key to a perfectly versatile closet. Try not to think about "oh this item would be perfect for work" and more like, "this item works well in my lifestyle". If you have the ability to style the item for work, going out, casual days, nights out, dates and more then you are on the right track to building the perfect wardrobe!
#4: Can be styled more than one way:
This ties into #3, but deserves its own section because styling is everything. When you are looking and trying on an item in the store, can you picture wearing it in more ways than just one? Try to think creatively about this to make sure it will be a gem in your closet. A simple example of this is a great pair of distressed denim. You may think these can only be worn casually perhaps, but if styled properly they can be worn to multiple occasions. Can these be paired with flat mules and a white button down one day, and then the next day a slouchy tee, over-sized scarf and booties, and then the next day throw on some pumps with a fitted turtleneck and a long blazer or jacket for a date night? Another example of this would be a flowy duster. This item seems like it may only be able to be worn in the summer over shorts and a bikini top BUT think about this item outside of those restrictions. Can it be tied in the front with cropped jeans and a cami? Can it be belted over a little black dress? Can it be layered under or over sweaters in the colder months?
Think about how many ways you can style it? Can the item be half tucked, belted, layered under or over, can it be styled to be casual or fancy? If you can picture this item being a part of your wardrobe in more ways than one, it might be the perfect item to bring into your closet!
This is one of my favs! Having items that can live in more than one season is amazing. This sometimes has a lot to do with mindset too. Try not to get too held up on the fact that white shouldn't be worn after labor day...that is your grandmother's ancient rule and it doesn't work for the modern day woman anymore. That old school rule will really only restrict you.
SO! If you can wear that silk cami with shorts/skirts and sandals all summer and then in the fall be worn under cozy sweaters, jeans and boots with a scarf, and then worn again in the spring with a jean jacket or under a duster - then that cami might just be an amazing item to bring into your closet. Always think about the items life outside of the season you bought it in, or what the store would pigeon hole the item into staying in. Of course there are items in your closet that you won't really want to wear come winter or summer and those items can be tucked away in the off season to keep your closet uncluttered, but the majority of items should be considered seasonless.
MAKE YOUR WARDROBE MORE VERSATILE :
#1. Color palette.
Think about the colors of your wardrobe as whole. Does everything feel right together? Do you have enough contrast and enough of the same? Having every color under the sun isn't going to help you get dressed quicker or make your outfits nicer. This will only make getting dressed harder and overwhelming. Stick to neutrals for basics/staples and let your statement pieces be the bold and colorful items. You really really do not need a t-shirt in every color of the rainbow!! Really!
Make sure you have a sound collection of staples. Then when you invest in statement pieces you have something easy to mix with it. Make sure your staples are pieces you invest in and care for properly so they can last a long time.
A SIMPLE BREAKDOWN OF A GOOD CORE OF WARDROBE STAPLES:
The staple starter pack:
- White(or neutral) button down/blouse: This is vague and there are a million options for this, but just try to have something that is nice quality and in a lighter tone so it can be layered (not a polyester fast fashion shirt that has been washed too many times and kinda looks tan and raggy at this point) Aim for fabrics made of linen, silk or cotton and that is more of a blouse or button down and not in the t-shirt family.
- Jean jacket: Jean jackets are a classic look that can be integrated into literally every style. Whatever your preference/style is try to find a jacket that matches your vibe. If you are preppy you probably wanna find a solid, fitted, clean cut, non-distressed option. If you are an artsy musician that likes your clothes to look worn in - go for a raw cut cropped, heavily distressed and oversized style. There are tons of different jean jacket options and this one item can be thrown over just about anything and look immediately make your look feel classic and put together.
- Quality leather jacket: If you prefer vegan leather that works too - just make sure that it doesn't look cheap..and when I say cheap I mean like it was purchased from Target or Forever 21. There is no point in wearing a faux leather jacket, if it comes off immediately as being fake. If you can't afford a leather jacket or just don't like them - go for another style in a canvas weight cotton or other nice fabrics. A dark canvas bomber jacket is a good example for an alternative.
- A great blazer: I don't mean a uncomfortable, uptight looking blazer that your mom handed down to you that makes you feel like you are selling insurance or are on an episode of The Office...I mean a cool, COMFORTABLE blazer that you can throw on over jeans and a tee for an instant cool girl look. You can get a super classic sleek style, a boho style and anything in-between. If it isn't your style then think of another topper piece that can finish your look off the same way.
- Great fitting jeans: Now, I know how hard it is to find amazing jeans.. I feel like it is my life struggle TBH. Spending a little extra on a good pair of jeans really is worth it though. Try to avoid buying the super cheap jeans because they never fit well and they will shrink and become altered in the laundry no matter how hard you try to avoid it. If you do not believe there is a difference between the higher end jean and the HM pair, then you clearly have not tried a nicer quality jean before. Take your time with this one! Try to keep your eye out for the perfect pair and if you are on a budget shop second hand at Goodwill or local consignment shops for designer/quality jeans.
- Black jeans/pant: Black pants are a key to every wardrobe. If you prefer non-jean that works too - just something black and sleek. Black bottoms can make getting dressed super simple. You throw these on with a simple top, a cute jacket and some nice boots or a nice blouse and a necklace with sandals and you are immediately ready for day or night out, work or party.
- Nice leggings: Leggings are super important and are a common go-to for most of us and that is OK! Just make sure you have nice, thick leggings that are not stretched out at the knees, 5 shades lighter than they should be and kinda see-through. When you have nice quality ones that are not see-through a look can be very polished and comfy - what is better than that?!! At first it does feel funky to purchase leggings for more than $10 from Old Navy, but trust me if you put on a well fitting, flattering pair made of nicer fabrics like the ones from Spanx you will be hooked and wont look sloppy ever!
- Crisp tees: A great white tee and a great black tee (long and short is good) is great and can be layered under and over tons of looks. You want to make sure you care for these properly and that they are kept in good shape and kept super crisp white and black.
- Little Black Dress: Yes, it feels cliche to say..but it is true. Having a simple, well fitting black dress can be awesome. You can dress it up if you need or dress it down and you can layer over it to do either. This isn't just something people say...it is true!
HOW ACCESSORIES & JEWELRY CAN MAKE AN OUTFIT & YOUR WARDROBE MORE WELL ROUNDED:
- Having simple outfits can be an easy way to keep your life simple but that doesn't mean you have to feel boring! Shoes and accessories are amazing tools to build an amazing outfit each and everyday.
- Invest in your shoes and make sure you have a shoe for any and every occasion. Having the right shoes can make it easy to dress something up or dress something down.
- Use long necklaces and bold earrings to make a statement for you. Long necklaces can elongate you and make a super simple look feel intentional and sophisticated. You don't have to buy overly expensive jewelry to look great. Try to find items from local makers/designers or pieces that nice enough that they wont turn funky colors after a couple of days of wearing. Discoloration does nothing for a look and just makes you look unpolished and cheap..so don't wear that cheapo stuff please! Look for quality costume jewelry, and gold plated or sterling silver delicates and rings.
Hopefully, by the end of this you have a better understanding of what a versatile wardrobe can look like. The number one thing I would say is make sure you have your basics and core staples and always always always stick to your personal style. Try to think of it in the same way a business would ask "is this on-brand for us?". This doesn't mean you shouldn't experiment and try things out of your comfort zone sometimes, it just means stick to what makes you feel good and makes your life less stressful. Really think about your closet as a whole collection instead of a mass of individual items that happen to live next to each other.
GCM // RUBA RUBA