Wardrobe 101

My Daily Dozen: Everyday Style

What A Stylist Wears Day in and Day Out

AKA: My Wardrobe Workhorses!

Happy day, reader dear!

A while ago, I was facilitating at a book club meeting with a group of Image Consultants… A stylishly opinionated bunch.

We had read Anna Murphy’s How to Not Wear Black which I enjoyed immensely! (You know how I feel about color…)

Of course, I took umbrage in spots, as one does. One of my sticking points (as always) is her list of wardrobe essentials or as she called them The Doyenne’s Dozen. (She gets points for a cute name!) It was interesting that her Dozen was actually eleven items and then she threw in an “I’d add…” grouping of ten more.

If you’ve been hanging around Closet Play for any time, you know I am no lover of style lists. If you are new, the best way I can explain my horror is You’re-Not-the-Boss-of Me combined with a healthy respect for the widely varied personalities, body shapes and lifestyles of the women I know and serve.

How can someone who doesn’t know me and my life come up with a list of clothes that I need to be stylish?

Short Answer? They can’t.

But YOU can. Come up with your own list, that is!

Which is the purpose of the Working Wardrobe Activity/Challenge. Because when you know what you actually wear, you are able to make better buying choices AND figure out what gaps you have that will make your favorites work together more stylishly.

I took advantage of my irritation to look back at what I’d been wearing most frequently (or wanting to wear–but weather) to create my personalized Dozen.

The Doyenne’s Dozen

For a little context, here are Ms. Murphy’s twelve:

(1) Trench Coat, (2 &3?) Tuxedo Suit, (4) Cashmere Sweater, (5) Loafers or Ballet Flats, (6) Classically Cut Jeans, (7) Breton Top, (8) Little Black Dress, (9) White Sneakers, (10) White or Cream Shirt or Blouse, (11) Olive Utility Jacket, (12) Peacoat

This dozen may be perfect for you! Most of the list is not for me. I’ll skip the LBD and the White Sneakers and the trench if it’s beige. I’d love a tuxedo suit… Maybe someday I’ll find (or have made) one in something not black! What are my twelve?

My Daily Dozen

Quite a few of these pieces reflect back to the Mini-Capsule I pulled together earlier this fall. You could have called it a 10 X 10Note to Self: Remember this Dozen if you run into another stressful patch this winter! (Like that would ever happen… LOL) Furtunately, everything on this list is also in my Winter Capsule Wardrobe. Hmmm. Wonder if that’s a pattern.

Find Your Balance

Ideal Wardrobe Balance varies from person to person and season to season, but 2 Tops per Bottom is a good place to start!

Can you imagine the sweaters becoming tees or lightweight shells in the warmer seasons?

Is this Dozen doable? I have twice as many Tops (4) as Bottoms (2) and two Toppers, two Shoes and two accessories. I want more accessories, but a good pair of hoops and a nice scarf will take me far. Especially now that I have SO many new ways to tie one… Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. Stay tuned for the next installments.

I need a few toppers. Let’s go for leather in the winter or a fabric moto jacket for warmer seasons…

Now for feet! Pointy toe flats work all year long, but I’d swap the boots for sandals once spring arrives.

Do I regulary wear more than these twelve? Of course! These would make one tidy little capsule, though… With more than 50 outfit combinations! Hmmm. I wonder where this is going. Maybe a 12 X 12 would be a good way to start the new year? Let me know what you think!

How About You?

Are you joining me in the Working Wardrobe Activity? Do you know what 12 pieces in your wardobe give you the most bang for your style buck? If you know your twelve, do share! There’s plenty of room on the internet for your dozen…

Stylishly yours,


  • Lise

    Your list is so much more relatable for me than the other one. I need three lists. One for Winter, one for Summer and one for Spring/Autumn. Example jeans are a no-no here in high summer or cotton shorts are only for summer. But yes I do have a really good idea now since recording wears. Great post Liz!

    • Liz K

      My list is dramatically different for summer, too, Lise! It’s just too hot here for regular jeans! I think I’ll revisit my list for Spring/Summer to see what it looks like!

  • Sally in St Paul

    When I was reading your list, by item #5 I was nodding to myself: This is definitely Liz’s list! Those first five items seem like a Liz outfit formula for sure, and the rest of the list made total sense. It’s amazing how this list of only 12 items captures the essence of your style. The only one that surprised me a bit was the heeled boots, but I wonder if that’s because we have been in pandemic dressing mode for a while so there hasn’t been the same opportunity to wear them recently.

    I am going to give my Daily Dozen some thought. I don’t think my style is as well-defined, so it’ll be interesting to see if I can encapsulate it as well as you did here.

    Re: pandemic dressing…someone looking at my blog might be surprised that I consider a pair of tall flat riding boots (probably the cognac pair that goes with everything) central to my fall/winter style because during my WFH/stay at home period, I have been enjoying the opportunity to pants + flats instead of my usual skirts + boots!

    • Liz K

      You’ve made a great observation about Pandemic Mode, Sally! I, too have been wearing more jeans and flats since shifting my work pattern to (almost) exclusively on-line. When classroom teaching, my standard uniform from November to March was Dress + Flat Knee High Boots + Something Fun, so I totally understand including the flat boots! I waited a long time to find/buy new heeled boots, so I expect them to figure pretty prominently for the cold months. (Of which we have few… Sigh. My sartorial nature is NOT Southern.) I’d love to see your Dozen. I’d wager that after a month’s Working Wardobe you’d have a better idea of your Dozen!

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