By Cynthia Weber Cleary
Step 1: Pick your eight best pieces
First things first: Select your favorites and build from there. For me, special pieces are often ones I've splurged on, but they're not always the newest items in my closet. Whether it's style, cut or fabric, these pieces have an indisputable "it" factor. They should be unique enough that you always feel fabulous in them.
Step 2: Lay your choices out on the floor
You can put them on the bed too! Really, do whatever works for you. The idea is to be able to see everything in front of you. It's easier to analyze and hone a workable color palette this way. Then, start refining and styling for different occasions.
Picking a color palette
Unless your closet is strictly a black, white and neutral affair, your outfits--starting with your best pieces--should reflect seasonal palettes. Two go-to color groupings this spring are: khaki, brown, ivory and gold with yellow and red accents; or black, white, gray and silver with bright pink and turquoise accents. As a rule, two of your best pieces should be neutral for ease of mixing.
Step 3: Pick your basics
The key to finding a good, working basic is to keep in mind its cut and proportion to other pieces. For example, this spring your slim capris may work with a hip-length jacket, but your wide-leg pants won't. Look for colors in the palette you've picked.
Lots of tanks
Step 4: Make a list of what's missing
Now the fun part--it's time to hit the stores! After all this work sorting through your closet to pick your best pieces as well as your basics, it will be clear that you have an affinity for one style, cut or color at the expense of another. Have too many solid pieces? Consider adding textures or prints. Your list will be a work in progress as you continue to edit your wardrobe, so be open to updating as you go along.
Step 5: Create outfits and try them on--shoes and all!
Dainty or chunky, heels or flats, shoes are crucial in determining how well your outfit comes together. As you put everything on to figure out complementary cuts and colors, you'll discover exactly which pairs have the right attitude--and correct proportion--for the overall look.
Step 6: Choose a handbag
Don't play it safe: An all-black outfit with an all-black bag is blah. Now's your chance to add texture and contrast while staying within your palette. Keep in mind you'll need three bags: a structured day bag, an evening bag and a casual bag.
Step 7: Accessorize!
Jewelry is highly personal, so try on bracelets, earrings and necklaces last, and go with what you feel works best.
Step 8: Snap the looks
Photograph your outfits and keep the shots on hand for easy reference. You'll be set for every occasion and then some.
So now you have the basics and you're in need of some inspiration to mix it up. This morning Design Mom pointed me towards two "Daily Wear" blogs - one run by an adult and one by a 15 year old (go figure, my fashion lines up rather nicely with the 15 year old's) and then her readers added many many more to the mix. I've culled them down to a nice little list of links for your inspiration (and mine!)
Childhood Flames (this is the 15 year old, Camille)
Style Rookie (Tavi is no more than ten or eleven and dresses much like I did. I see great things in her future.)
Another What I Wore, this one on tumblr
and a flickr group, which of course I joined.
Here's hoping I have the inspiration to start shooting some of my own outfits. Maybe I'll plan to do that when I get knocked up. I feel like that would go on the design blog, though. I'm actually toying with moving the fashion musings over there, since it's all related. Hm...thoughts?
Ok - but a little more searching on Tavi's site and I find the link to weardrobe.com, which appears to be an online closet site. THIS might be what I've been looking for all along! Too bad I only have one more day off!