Building a Complete Wardrobe with Essentials in Mind

By: Tracee Jones
It’s that time of year again - pretty soon summer vacation will come to an end and kids will be returning for the start of the new school year. With this transition comes a well-known marker - back-to-school shopping. This is a time often associated with buying new school supplies along with new clothing, shoes, and accessories. One could certainly justify buying more clothing for their kid(s) since they’re always growing, not to mention the wear and tear that they could have had on their clothes over the year or summer alone. This thinking doesn’t work as much for adults, and if they are shopping for their kid(s), they have less of a reason to focus on themselves. Yet, the season reminds us that attention to clothing is warranted, not just for kids going back to school, but for adults as well. Have you asked yourself if you have a complete wardrobe? It’s easier to say no to buying what you don’t need (for some this may be just as challenging for adults as it is for kids). However, gaps in one’s wardrobe can contribute to wasted time and money. For example, maybe you haven’t had as much of a need to buy dresses because you’ve been working from home, and typically buy pants and the occasional skirt, but suddenly learn of an event where a dress would be appropriate, so go off to look for one that would be perfect for you. Moving forward you will have one in your wardrobe should you ever need it again, or want to wear it. Like this dress, there may be pieces of clothing that would be worth having on hand to save you time and money. On the other hand, maybe it’s hard to say no to buying clothes in excess, including clothes that you may not ever wear, still contributing to a waste in time and money. To avoid either extremes, consider starting with creating a list of essential items of clothing.
When you think of essentials, you might think basic, and for some basic could mean boring. Still, many basics are timeless classics that continue to stand strong season after season, even when compared to the newest trends. But, that’s not all. You can pair basics with trends. The most important point is to ensure you have the essentials that you can use to build upon. From Vogue to other fashion-focused publishers, there are certain pieces of clothing that are agreed upon as top essentials to have in your wardrobe:
Suit or blazer   Black pants/jeans   Leather jacket   Comfortable heels
Leather bag     Dress, especially the LBD (Little Black Dress)   Skirt   
Denim jeans    White tee (shirt or sweater)    Satin or silk (top or scarf)
Tailored Pants  Classic coat/trench coat     All year boots     Flat shoes   
Comfort wear (trainers/sneakers, leggings, sweats)   
Accessories (sunglasses, belt, and basic earrings/necklace)
There are a number of benefits to having a range of essential pieces of clothing in your wardrobe. As already mentioned, two that are especially important for parents (and anyone with multiple responsibilities) is saving time and money. A 2021 publication of CreditDonkey reported 50% of women don’t wear 25% of their apparel (the equivalent of $600 wasted) and women only wear between 20% and 30% of the apparel they own. Regarding wastes in time and money, Rachel Besser, an editor at Vogue, wrote in an August 2021 issue, “...a closet bursting with clothes translates to time wasted digging through piles and putting outfits together on Sunday nights. The opposite then must be true: a streamlined closet filled with wardrobe essentials saves precious time.” Besser pointed out how one’s shift in focus to important essentials can increase work productivity. This idea can be applied to other areas of one’s life where they would like to give more attention, like activities with their family or other personal passions/endeavors. Among fashion content there’s also a lot of support for buying less with greater quality. The reasoning behind this is that although possibly more expensive at the time of purchase, quality clothing will last longer so you will save (time and money) in the long-run, as well as contribute to sustainability.
The last couple of years have presented numerous challenges for people, whether it was physical sickness, emotional stress, or financial pressures. It caused people to evaluate the direction they were going in their lives and make changes. For many this involved identifying the things that are most important to them physically, emotionally, and financially, either because they had to due to circumstances, or wanted to. Building a wardrobe of essentials is a big part of this shift. For some this is also a way of simplifying life, which has mental health benefits. It has been reported that people with simpler lives experience less stress and anxiety and are happier. The shift for many to largely working from home helped with identifying what one considers important when it comes to dressing for work, even if just their top was visible if they were on camera for an online meeting. As people have been returning to work or a hybrid version, they can take with them that when times are hard, whether physically, emotionally, or financially, it’s the essentials that they can look to and depend on with confidence. For parents, having the time and money needed to support their family is a top priority. What’s nice about fashion is that everyone can have their own unique style. Like in life, what’s essential might look different for everyone, and that’s ok. What’s important is people finding what will work for them.
There’s no doubt that clothing is important, as shown in research completed over the years, particularly when it comes to wearing what each individual feels their best in. Trying to achieve the objective of wearing what feels most appropriate while keeping time and cost in mind can be a challenge. It’s in these times that it would be especially helpful to have the professional advice of a stylist who specializes in making clothes functional and enjoyable for everyday people. This is where personal stylist and owner of Renee’s Boutique, Crystal Napier, thrives. In her 1:1 personal styling consultations, which can be held virtually or in-person, women can review their styling history, preferences, and body type, see products, and receive recommendations and help with finding clothing that will be perfect for them.
In this back-to-school preparation season, consider your top essentials for a complete wardrobe to save time and money, and how you might mix and match timeless classics with new trends. Renee’s Boutique offers clothing for the Confident Woman, regardless of style or size, and provides a safe space for women to shop and embrace their bodies while understanding and loving that each of us is wonderfully made. Schedule your personal styling experience with owner Crystal Napier today! Call: (434) 260-1773 or Email:

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