The fact is that women typically have more clothes than needed, but we often think that we have nothing to wear! How is that possible? Perhaps we just need to learn a few tricks to stretch our wardrobes and understand how to mix and match. A professional shopper once told me that an entire wardrobe could fit into a foot of closet space. Read on to learn how to master your closet.closet.feature

Think color scheme

Before you build a wardrobe, find a neutral color that suits your skin tone and makes you feel good. Neutral colors include black, navy, tan and white. If you live or attend college in a northern state, I suggest you select black or navy as your neutral base. If you live or attend college in the south, feel free to go with tan or white. I must warn you though; few people can rock white clothes – and dark colors are slimming.

Once you have your basic neutral color, build the rest of your clothes around that. For example, if most of your basic clothes are black, throwing in a navy skirt makes it hard to find the right top, shoes and accessories.

Consider your lifestyle

As a young college student, you rarely need to dress up. However, that’s no excuse to dress in sweat pants every day. Besides, wearing sweatpants allows you to eat a bit more and exercise a bit less before you notice the extra pounds. Wear clothes with a waistband to keep you honest.

In your junior and senior years, you might need to dress professionally for a job interview or internship. You might also have a special occasion (any time before, during or after college) that calls for an LBD (little black dress). How do you pull all that off? Simple – stock your closet with 10 essentials.

The top ten

I’ll select black as my neutral color, just to make this simple. You can substitute navy, tan or white if you prefer a different color.

  1. Black pants
  2. Black blazer
  3. Black skirt
  4. LBD
  5. Black heels/ black flats / black boots
  6. White layering piece (T-shirt, blouse, cami)
  7. Jeans or leggings
  8. Sweater in your favorite color
  9. Accessories such as earrings, necklaces, bracelets and scarves
  10. Dress coat

When you need to dress professionally, the top three items (pants, blazer and skirt) should all come from the same collection. That way you can wear the pants and blazer one day, and create a totally different look by wearing the skirt and blazer later in the week. Pair the pants and sweater, and later pair the sweater with the skirt. For casual Fridays or a date night, grab your jeans/leggings, white T-shirt and scarf for a sharp look. Your accessories will make every outfit look different so find scarves and jewelry that work with all the combinations above.

A word about shoes – love! Most women are obsessed with shoes, but you can get by with a few well-chosen pairs. Heels look great with pants, skirts and jeans – but you can also wear flats with those same outfits. If you have a lot of walking to do, save your feet and grab the flats. Boots are essential for northern winters and also look great with pants, skirts and jeans.

Don’t forget the dress coat! Complete your look with a sharp looking coat. You might need a down-filled coat to walk across campus, but wear your dress coat for job interviews and other special occasions.

Start building your wardrobe

Once you own the 10 essential items, add clothes that complement something you already own so you can continue to mix and match. Spend a bit more for the essential pieces, and less on trendy items that will only last a season or two.

There you have it – now go forth and shop well.