A lovely woman named Victoria (in a Facebook group I play in) likened building a wardrobe to building a house. She had been having trouble because she had been buying all kinds of lovely things, but still didn’t feel like her style was growing. Then she realized those beautiful accessories were like the throw pillows, and paintings in a house. Until you have a foundation and walls, and furnishings, all the trimmings in the world won’t help! I loved her analogy and asked to borrow it. With her permission, I am going to push the analogy further to examine how a wardrobe is built. Thank you, Victoria!
Your blueprints are what determine how your house is built. Your wardrobe blueprint is your plan. It should take into account your terrain (your body shape), your budget, and your needs. Your needs are determined by your lifestyle, values, and personality. Choosing a palette can help give your plan definition.
I’ll be lazy here and let Foundations be foundations. Your underthings. Here I include panties, bras, camis, socks and hose, and myriad other bits. Shapewear, too, if that’s your thing. As frilly and flimsy, or sturdy and practical as you like
The Structure is the studs, plumbing and ductwork that hold your house together and make it liveable. Your wardrobe Structure is the basics you come back to day after day. These are the workhorses of your wardrobe that you can always count on. For one woman that might be jeans and a tee, for another–a skirt suit, another–a dress. They are usually simple pieces in solids. Your basics should be versatile and comfortable. (No, that does not mean all yoga pants.) A wardrobe full of Structure pieces will keep you protected and covered (like an empty house) but get boring very quickly.
At home, the furnishings are what make your structure livable. You could live in an empty house, but it’s much more comfortable with beds, tables, and chairs! Your wardrobe Furnishings are different from Structure pieces. You might think of them as wardrobe Heroes, pieces that definitely stand out. It could be the color, cut, pattern, or detailing that makes an item a Furnishing item rather than a Structure piece. Frequently tops, and statement accessories fill this category. You don’t want to wear them day after day because they are quite memorable. A wardrobe full of Furnishings with no solid Structure leaves you with a closet of nothing to wear. (Kind of like a room set up outside… It may look fabulous, but you don’t want to be sitting there when the rain comes!)
This is the place you can get into trouble, or be a really easy way to revamp your look. At home it’s throw pillows, bedding, artwork, and knick-knacks that you choose to spark up your home. This is often where we indulge our personalities and quirks. If your furnishings are bright and complex, you may keep the rest of your decor items pretty simple. Or you may be like Iris Apfel, and everything is over-the-top. You wardrobe Decor pieces are your Accessories: shoes, scarves. jewelry, hair baubles, watches, purses, even phone cases.
Most of us don’t start from scratch and build a whole new wardrobe. That is usually reserved for those poor souls who have lost everything due to disaster. The structure is there, the foundations are solid (or may need some shoring up), but most of what we are doing is a remodel. Maybe you have outgrown your old style, or are simplifying. To remodel, you still start at the beginning with a plan, and then work through the list to see what you can still use, and what needs repairing or replacing. And if you want, you can always call in a contractor. I love to help with wardrobe remodels!
What is your favorite piece of clothing? Is it Foundation, Structure, Furnishing, or Decor? What do you have too much of? Or need more of? Please let me know in the comments below! I love to hear what you have to say…