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Wardrobe Rehab: the Perfect Wardrobe Essentials

Style Jun 23, 2011

As most of us know, essential items are the backbone of a functional and gorgeous wardrobe. If you’ve been following me for a while you will have read about my Wardrobe Rehab Project – where I used 6 steps to (attempt to) perfect the contents of my closet. I found that with an arsenal of high quality and well fitting essentials, you should be able to mix and match a multitude of outfits that suit every occasion. Although I often reflect or DIY a trend when I like it – blindly following trends can lead to regrettable, never worn, purchases. (Cue Clueless soundbite – Dionne: ‘Dude what’s wrong, are you suffering from buyers remorse or something?’ Cher: ‘God no, nothing like that’). So for the last 6 months I have I put a ban on buying cheap disposable items (no H&M or crazy sale purchases for me) and got to work creating my ideal wardrobe, made up of perfect essentials. Although getting my essentials down pat was never going to happen over night (I’m not made of money), 6 months on I think I am doing pretty well. I decided to put this little collage together of my wardrobe essentials, most of which I have in my wardrobe by now.

Mixing and matching the styles in this collage is fun – so much outfit potential to take you from the office, to out on the town, to the beach and well, just about anywhere.

To refresh on the tips I posted in my Wardrobe Rehab Essentials post, the things that have helped me to develop my essentials are:

  1. I have tried to stick to a neutral colour palette for essential items. When faced with a choice of buying coloured or neutral for a specific item, I chose the latter (black, navy, white, came, khaki) for longevity. I added a little bit of red for pop – I love wearing it so I think it’s allowed to be in the ‘essentials’ category.
  2.  When in doubt, I go for a ‘frenchy’ aesthetic, as you can probably see. I love to buy out there items but in the area of essentials, French chic proves long lasting
  3. I tried to buy the best quality I could afford (the Sofia Cuppola LV bag in the image is OBV a pipe dream), by rationing purchases of smaller items to save for larger essential items.
  4. I mix in vintage or DIY styles for on trend items.
  5. I actually found lots of my essentials – breton tops, camel skirts and dresses and some accessories – in thrift stores. I find sometimes that the quality of vintage clothes trumps new cheap styles.

Suggestions for your essentials:

Jackets & Sweaters:

  • The perfect leather jacket
  • The trench
  • The Blazer
  • The knit


  • White and black tees
  • Breton top
  • White silk shirt
  • Black and white singlets


  • Black fitted skirt
  • Black pleated skirt
  • Leather shorts
  • Lace shorts
  • Black Maxi Skirt
  • White Trousers
  • Perfect washed blue jeans (for your body shape)
  • Cut of denim shorts


  • Perfect LBD (for your bodyshape)
  • Statement coloured dress in your fave colour
  • Camel dress
  • Breton dress


  • Black and nude ballet flats
  • Black classic pumps
  • strappy flat sandals
  • Suede ankle boots


  • Fedora hat
  • Scarf
  • Sunglasses
  • Black patent belt
  • Patent clutch
  • Watch
  • Everyday black handbag
Tags Instructionals Perfecting My Wardrobe

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