Wardrobe 101

Wardrobe Balance

Tops : Bottoms? 2:1

Happy day, dear reader!

Welcome to our Back-to-School Blitz (or B2SB), I will be sharing basic posts about wardrobing, wardrobe logistics, seasonal trends, and some ruminations on style and the seasons as we head back into a new school year and try (once again) to get a grip on what we think of as normality. Think of it as an after-summer refresher and peek forward into the next style season!

Whew! We are midway into August, and that means (In normal years!) if the children aren’t back to school, the time is coming soon. Back to School is always a time of change and evaluation. It’s a second New Year each year! It’s interesting how the patterns we set (or that are set for us as children) often determine our feelings and behaviours, many years along!

As a girl, I wore a uniform to school. I have fond memories of shopping for new jumpers (or when older, skirts), knee socks, shirts, and shoes every August. The list would also include a new outfit to wear for out-of-uniform days and other events, and a few new play clothes. There was a seasonality to shopping and an accounting every few months. What fits? What doesn’t? What will be needed next? I remember shopping for a new outfit for the Christmas season, and one for Easter. I’m no longer outgrowing my clothes like I did back then (Hopefully!), but I still feel the need to shop each fall. A wardrobe refresh is how I think of it… And I feel like a new outfit is in order for Christmas and Easter. (Not necessary. I have plenty of items in my Special Occasion Capsule to handle holidays!) There’s also a part of my that wants something new for trips, too. I’m going to have to think more about that. (When we can travel again!)

We’ve lost that seasonality and accounting. We buy 52 weeks a year. The average consumer shops (IRL or Point-and-Click) with little attention to what is needed. We end up with overstuffed closets and dressers, and often, a style we don’t love. (And YES, you should LOVE your style. It’s part of you!)

Today, let’s chat about balance. No, I’m not asking for yoga poses or work-life balance (HA!), but wardrobe balance. Let’s face it. Unless you are a baby, you don’t need the same number of tops as you do bottoms. Once we are past potty-training, bottoms don’t get dirty as quickly as tops. That means that as an adult, you don’t need as many bottoms in your wardrobe as tops. (Unless you only shop from an outfit mindset. That’s another post for another day! I’ll get there.) School aged children are another matter!

Finding the right balance of tops to bottoms in your wardrobe is about finding the ratio that works for you. (Don’t worry, the math won’t be scary!) A great place to start is 2:1. That means 2 Tops for every 1 Bottom. Those bottoms are not fixed in type. They might be trousers, skirts, jeans, or shorts, depending on the season and your lifestyle and preferences. (AND how often you do laundry!) 2:1 is just a start. You might find that 3:1 works better for you. Or if you are in a messy season (Do you have a newborn with a talent for missing the burp rag?), your needs might be 4:1!

So how about you? Take five minutes. (Really. This won’t take more than 5 minutes.) Go to your closet. Open the door and make a quick count. Don’t stress about what’s in the wash, just count what’s hanging in the closet, and then add what’s in your dresser drawers. Help me with my research. What’s your ratio? Let me know in the comments below! I do so love to hear from you…

Stylishly yours,



    I did just count! I have 53 tops ,2blazers (bought in what I thought was serendipity-NOT!) and 37 bottoms. This isn’t counting the sweaters and sweater sets filling my drawers along with what I consider PT skirts, tees and waffle weave sweatshirts filling drawers. This is only for winter! How embarrassing! I don’t even feel I have what I need!

    • Liz K

      No need to be embarrassed, Natlie! Your situation is the rule rather than the exception. And if it’s working for you, there’s no need to change it. I find I am more creative with limits and easily hit decision fatigue with everything at hand in my closet. You may not! It’s about what what makes you happy and lets you be creative with your clothing.

      • NATALIE

        I have always been the girl who works best with more. I do have my Bachelors in Fashion Merchandising and one in Business Admininstration. Dressing used to be very enjoyable for me and a way to express myself to the world. This is me! Yet, over the years of my being ill (as things have progressed slowly) I struggle to even get ready. I just need to wear the clothing I own! I know all the rules of dressing! I have been affected by my changing body. I needed to hear that other women are experiencing just what I am in that area. My husband tells me I’m beautiful anf he loves me how I am. He expresses how whan I was so thin I looked like a skeleton with skin just hanging. Too funny! So that isn’t my problem. I believe my problem comes from having a certain lifestle change. My husband retired about 8 years ago. Our lifestle has changed so I’m trying to dress more casually. This doesn’t fit me! There in lies some of the problem.

        • Liz K

          I hear that retirement dressing struggle from a LOT of women, Natalie! I would say that if you don’t feel comfortable dressing more casually, and aren’t hampered by physical constraints, then don’t dress more casually! I say it all the time… You do you. You can stay at home in a lovely pair of trousers and a blouse or sweater just as easily as in yoga pants and a sweatshirt. I know a woman who wears skirts and dresses 12 months of the year. She doesn’t like trousers or jeans, and has a denim skirt for gardening. What others deem appropriate for retired life doesn’t have to be Natalie’s dress code. If you need more polish and a touch of elegance to feel like yourself, do that in a way that works for your life now…

          • NATALIE

            Liz K, I am a woman who wears only skirts and dresses as well. Long jean skirts are my jeans. Thank you for your advice. I believe my problem is two fold. Physically not feeling well enough to dress in the way I’m accustomed to expressing myself yet unable to find my level of refinement within my physical limitations at this time in my life. I will continue to working on this issue!

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