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The most popular post on my blog is my Minimal Closet / 50 Item Wardrobe post. I wrote it over a year ago and an update has been a long time coming. My original Minimal Wardrobe plan was to use it as a capsule collection as I pare my own wardrobe down to merely 50 items. Obviously, that didn’t happen and as time went on it fell lower on my priority list. It wasn’t something I made a priority and I’m not very proud about it.
I don’t want to beat myself up because I know minimalism is a slow process. No one wakes up overnight and is magically a minimalist. It is something you just aim to practice as often as possible and will need to constantly work at until it gets easier. A lot of small changes add up, similar to growing your hair. It may not change much overnight, but when you compare it to six months ago it can be such a huge difference.
One major lightbulb moment for me was while reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, it really set in that there should be no set number or limit when it comes to your wardrobe. That the number of items you have will always be perfect if they bring you joy. While I feel this could become excessive to someone as indecisive as I am, after cutting my closet inventory in half, I’m left with the items that bring me the most joy. These pieces will serve as my foundation, and I will add few other well-loved pieces that are more fluid to mix in from each season. I’ve included all of the items below, with some substitutions necessary due to availability, etc.
I don’t have a fancy office job to shop for, but I do need versatility. While I’m a casual dresser most of the time, I do have events to attend and travels that require a fancier outfit.
2. Cuyana Pink Silk Top (similar)
Silk is one of my favorite fabrics because it goes with almost anything, and can be dressed up or down. The color of this top is fun enough for me to wear with lights in the spring, and darker moody colors in the fall and winter.
3. Phillip Lim 3.1 Silk Top (similar Cuyana Silk Top)
I wear this shirt at least once a week. It’s so light and versatile. Again, professing my love for silk. It hand washes and hang dries in roughly 5 minutes. I love to pair it with my black denim or boyfriend jeans.
4. Madewell Slub V-Neck Pocket Tee (similar Everlane Cotton V)
This shirt is so soft, I just love how it feels. I wear it when I want something more casual and it’s stood the test of time in the wash. According to my blog analytics, it’s one of my most popular recommendations as well.
7. White button down (similar cotton / silk)
I always feel so put together in a white button down, and it looks so fresh when paired with almost anything. I love to wear mine with denim shorts, or boyfriend jeans and loafers.
8. J.Crew Black Tissue Turtleneck (similar Cuyana Pima Cotton Turtleneck)
I purchased this in the color navy at the start of fall, but I feel like black is more timeless and versatile. Or it could be that I just love the color black.
9. Madewell Just Right Sweater (similar Chronicle Texture Pullover by Madewell)
This sweater basically goes everywhere with me. It’s so light and versatile, I love to pair it with white or black denim depending on the season and place.
10. Cuyana Classic Alpaca Cape (similar Objects Without Meaning Robe Jacket)
Cool nights in the late Summer and Fall go perfect with this sweater. In winter it can be worn all day. It can also be worn over a swimsuit if the beach is a bit breezy.
11. T by Alexander Wang Linen & Silk (similar Everlane Linen Long Sleeve Tee)
On my trip to Turks & Caicos, this tee saved me on the cool flight. I love to use this or a very light sweater for layering in all seasons. Here in California our beaches cool off at night and this is another perfect addition to a beach chic look.
12. Burberry Brit Cashmere Sweater (similar Zady Natural Chunky Knit Sweater)
A cozy white sweater goes with everything in the winter. Throw it on over a dress to warm it up, or wear it with white for a nice “Winter White” look.
I live in California. It doesn’t get too cold here, but I do travel often so I try to keep my outwear well-rounded. I’ve found that I don’t often need something heavier than heaviest coat (#17).
13. Topshop Poppy Double Collar Blazer (similar by Helmut Lang, 60% off)
Every now and then it’s required of me to dress more professional and adding a simple black blazer to almost any outfit makes it easy.
14. J.Crew Standing Collar Leather Jacket
I have a similar leather jacket that I’ve just found my love for again. I felt so nervous and silly every time I’d put it on, and now that I’ve finally worn it I’m wearing it more often.
I much prefer dresses to skirts. I’m petite and skirts I always feel ‘cut me in half’. Plus I find they are more versatile when you can layer them with other items. I’m a ridiculously huge fan of silk. It’s light, versatile, and travels very well.
18. Cuyana White Sleeveless Shirtdress
This dress is perfect to go from day-to-night and can work easily for work or play. I wore it during my trip to Grand Cayman and it was perfect!
20. Sleeved Black Dress by COS (sold out, similar by Black Crane & Elizabeth Suzann)
I picked this dress up during our trip to Denmark, and I swear I’ve worn it a million times since. It is my go-to little black dress.
Pants are usually my jam. If it’s really warm I will wear shorts, but I always fall hard for denim that fits well.
23. AG Stevie Jeans
These are another mid-rise favorite for me. I love the darker denim look sometimes, especially for business casual type wear.
24. Lou & Grey Slouchy Skinny Jeans
I have a petite frame and finding boyfriend jeans that I’m not swimming in is a real challenge, but these Lou & Grey slouchy skinnies fit perfectly and I lived in the lighter color denim most of last year.
27. J.Crew Pull-on White Shorts ( similar Lily Pulitzer)
These are slip-on and fancy at the same time, I swear! I like that white shorts can dress up easier than denim. I love the scallop detail on these from Lily Pulitzer too!
This is my big problem area. Huge, even. While these shoes are my foundation pieces, I also have lots of others that I just couldn’t part with. They’re mostly seasonal shoes so they will count as my seasonal ‘few’ items that I incorporate. I have however, put a halt on most new shoe purchases. Any new purchases must be ones I really love, and have to be an investment that is versatile.
28. Melissa Women’s Pollen Gray Sandals
Not only are these sleek and easy, they’re waterproof! I also feel like they can easily go from day to night.
29. White Birkenstocks
These casual shoes are near weightless, soft to walk in, and waterproof! They clean up easy with a light cleaning.
30. Everlane Modern Point Flats
I’ve been living in these for a few months now. I just love the clean lines and easy comfort.
31. J.Crew Matte Chelsea Rain Boots
I actually have these leopard boots from Loeffler Randall but they are not readily available anymore, so the olive ones featured are my alternative (I like the black too though). I’d buy them today if I needed rainboots.
32. Alexander Wang Gabi Booties
These are an investment piece, for sure. I’ve stalked them for over a year now and finally broke down and bought a pair in rose gold. I love that they pair so well with jeans or dresses. I always get comments about the cutout heel too, so they’re a great conversation starter!
33. Nike Air Pegasus 83
These are another substitution, but my New Balance are similar in color and vintage style. I’d probably buy these if I ever need another pair because the brand has worked well for me as athletic shoes in the past.
34. Vince Sierra Open Toe Booties (similar Maison Margiela)
I’m in agony over these being almost sold out. I’m dying to get my hands on a pair. I love the minimal design and versatility of the nude color.
35. Michael Kors Mavis Strappy Heels
These are some of my go-to heels for anything fancier. I can wear them with a nice dress for formal occasions, or I can wear them with jeans for a dressier casual look. I’d also consider a simple ankle strap sandal like these Stuart Weitzman heels.
I plan to share outfits from this for each season, so be on the lookout for a Winter list soon. I also received Marie Kondo’s new book for Christmas this year and plan to read it during my trip to Alt Summit so I can’t wait to see if it changes my opinion on any of this.
What clothing would you consider the foundation in your wardrobe? Do you have anything you can’t live without? What would you like to add?