After introducing the idea of a cold weather wardrobe, where everything in your wardrobe makes sense for the season, I’d love to share the sixteen items that form the base of my closet for the next six months or so. By removing outliers, it has become easier to quickly mix-and-match items into outfits I love wearing. If you feel frustrated getting dressed, one game changer I’d recommend is to limit yourself to a neutral color palette of grey, black, navy, denim, + white with the occasional fave color, like burgundy, blush, or army green.
To build your essentials closet, it pays to avoid trendy items that will be “out” in a year or two and clothes that are too limited to last a full six-month season. For example, within a year cold shoulder tops, bell sleeves, or velvet could run the risk of looking dated. I prefer to save my dollars for longer-lasting quality items.
Another tip is to watch what you actually wear versus what you buy and allow to sit untouched in your closet. For example, over time I’ve realized I don’t like the feel of long-sleeve t-shirts. I always am fussing with the sleeves. Instead I like wearing casual button downs on colder days. Same goes for skirts and most synthetic fibers, in my book.
These are the pieces that stock my closet…
- FLANNEL SHIRT // (old black watch from Madewell, similar) The coziest but still with structure. Mine is from last year, but blush is what I would buy this year.
- CASHMERE CREW // (Everlane) A go-to luxury that you shouldn’t keep tucked in a drawer. Stick with a neutral color that you can wear for years and years. More styling ideas here.
- CARDIGAN // (old, Everlane, similar) I prefer mine a little oversized and drapey, so it can layer over everything.
- BUTTON DOWN SHIRT // (old, Grana, similar) This is a base of my fall uniform, and I also like a feminine version or chambray.
- COTTON TEE // (Everlane) I keep a small rotation of tees – grey, white, black, so I always have one clean. I prefer to air-dry them.
- HIGH RISE DENIM // (Grana, runs small) An essential. I have a few pairs of Grana Japanese denim, but also like Everlane’s new line. The price point and quality of both is excellent. If you’ve never shopped from Grana before, you can use my link to get 10% off your first order.
- BLACK DENIM // (Madewell, but I would now buy these instead). More edgy than indigo, I like how this one item can change the look of an outfit. I would not recommend Madewell’s black denim, which fades after one or two washes. Everlane’s new line is called Stay Black and designed to resist fading.
- BOY JEANS // (Everlane) Versatile and comfortable, I looove wearing and styling boy jeans. This pair is a new purchase this year and I’ve been wearing them nonstop.
- SWEATSHIRT // (Everlane, and their updated version) I wear this at least once a week if not more.
- SILK TANK // (old, Everlane, similar here and here) My closet is a majority of washable, casual clothes since that works for my life. A few fancier pieces help when I need to dress up for dates or special occasions. I keep a travel steamer to keep them fresh without dry cleaning.
- SILK BUTTON DOWN // (old, Everlane, similar) Works alone as a chic shirt tucked in jeans but I often layer it under a sweater so just the collar pops out. Silk is shockingly breathable and insulating since it’s a natural fiber.
- CHUNKY KNIT SWEATER // (Grana, similar for less) The sleeves and ribbing on this are so pretty.
- STRIPED TEE // (old, Madewell, similar here and here) I layer this under everything when it gets cold. The pattern helps mix up a closet of solids.
- ANORAK (old, Everlane, the updated version is even better) So glad I finally got smart and bought weather-appropriate rain gear. Cute enough to wear without rain too.
- FLEECE JACKET // (Penfield) Cozy, sporty and it has a hood.
- WINTER COAT // (old, J.Crew, similar here and here) Last year, I wised up and realized that I am a much happier person when I am warm. Spending a winter freezing cold in a fashionable coat was so silly. Especially now that we often walk to school, I love wearing an very warm puffer that still manages to look good.
These sixteen items form the base of every outfit for six months. They mix and match into a myriad of outfits. I can be ready for sunny fall days and the dreary snow of winter. Best of all, I rarely spend more than a minute in front of my closet trying to figure out what to wear.
Here are just a few recent outfit combinations:
Chances are, you have most of these pieces already hanging around in your closet. Assess what you have to work with and if there are any gaps you need to fill for the cold months ahead.
Stay tuned for part 2… a list of accessories and shoes to round out your closet.