Closet Makeover Part 4: Identifying Your Wardrobe Essentials


Katharine Hepburn was famous for her white shirts and trousers


This is part 4 of my closet makeover series in which we tackle the issue of ‘wardrobe essentials’!


When it comes to clothes, coming up with a one-fits-all list of  ‘essentials’ is pretty much impossible. Sure the idea of a ready-made shopping list sounds fabulous but ultimately everyone has a different lifestyle and therefore a very different idea of what constitutes a ‘must have’ or not.

Now I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have a list of wardrobe staples. Quite the contrary actually. Wardrobe staples are the basis to any working closet and they’re also great to have for those days when you are out of inspiration or need to pull a look together fast. My point is that your wardrobe essentials shouldn’t be just taken from a random magazine article or blog post but rather be customized to your personal needs and fashion style.

So to help you figure out your personal wardrobe essentials whilst still giving you some ideas, I’ve decided to divide this article into two parts: the first part is a set of questions to ask yourself when compiling your essentials list and the second is a look into my personal essentials and the rationale behind them.

Identifying your essentials

Trying to figure out your wardrobe must-haves can be a bit of a daunting exercise so here are a few questions/tips to help you get started:

Think about your personal fashion style (as discussed in my earlier post). What items are you missing in your wardrobe to complete that ideal look you’re trying to achieve? For example: if you’re aiming for ‘Parisian chic’ then you’ll probably need a striped tee-shirt in your wardrobe as well as some ballet flats (very Brigitte Bardot) . On the other hand if you’re going for a more ‘Sporty’ look then a great pair of Chucks is a must!

What does your job require you to wear? A major chunk of our life is spent at work so it’s important that a few of your key items be work appropriate. For example: If you have a corporate job you’ll probably have a crisp white shirt or a black business trousers listed as one of your wardrobe essentials whereas a school teacher would probably go with something more comfortable and in a fabric that doesn’t get stained as easily.

Consider your body shape. What types of clothes do you feel bring out the best of your features? Every piece of clothing comes in various shapes so make sure you pick one that shows off your great body! For example I know that a wrap dress is the perfect way to accentuate my hour glass figure which is why it’s one of my wardrobe must haves.

What are you favorite colors? Your capsule wardrobe should not only be functional but also reflect your personal taste. If you love red for example (as I do) then at least one of your key items should come in red!

What items are you likely to wear the most? I LOVE the look of shirts and yet I hardly ever wear mine because I’m simply to lazy to iron them. In the same vein, if you pride comfort above everything else then a pair of shy high heels should probably not figure on your must have list!

Aim for versatility. Ideally, key items should make for easy mix and matching.

Finally ask yourself this question: if you could only have 10 items in your wardrobe, what would they be?

My Wardrobe Essentials

My Wardrobe Essentials

Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress/ Topshop LBD dress / Uniqlo cardigan / Topshop top / H M longsleeve blouse / Boohoo tailored jacket/ Asos jumpsuit/ Nudie Jeans / Topshop silk shorts/ Calvin Klein Underwear

As I usually work from home my wardrobe essentials do not include any corporate pieces. Instead, I try to have a selection of simple but chic items that are comfortable but still easy to dress up if need be. (ps. I didn’t include shoes, makeup or accessories in this list as I feel they’re a completely different kettle of fish…).

A print wrap dress. I love wrap dresses. Not only do I feel great wearing them (they’re generally made of very comfortable materials) but they also suit my shape and make me feel all ladylike. I especially love print wrap dresses as they’re a bit more fun and create a big impact. Every year, I pick one bright wrap dress as my go-to outfit for when I’m feeling a bit blah.

♥ A ‘hot’ pair of jeans. Finding the perfect pair of jeans is a never-ending quest of mine but I’m always ecstatic whenever I find one. For me, the perfect jeans have to be fitted (but not too skinny), with a medium to high rise and in a dark or black wash. They also need to have a little bit of stretch in them so I don’t feel like I’m suffocating every time I sit down..Now that’s not too much to ask, right?

♥ A striped tee-shirt. You can take the French girl out of France but you can’t take France out of the girl! I don’t own any scarves but I do love my Breton tees. They always look chic and can be paired with anything. Lately I’ve also been crushing on B&W graphic tees a lot so I’m thinking I should get myself one of those too!

A pair of black shorts. This is a new essential for me as I never used to wear shorts before I moved to Australia. However, with temperatures averaging 40 degrees Celsius in the summer I needed to adapt asap! I’m not a big fan of denim shorts so I chose to go with black shorts instead. They still look dressy enough for me to wear at night and I can wear them with…

A fitted blazer. Blazers look good with everything and instantly add a touch of class to any outfit.

♥ A Jumpsuit. Truth time: I’m obsessed with jumpsuits and if I were left to my own devices I’d probably fill my whole wardrobe with them. For me, jumpsuits always look effortlessly glam. However, because of my height and body shape I have to be very selective of which jumpsuits I buy (which is probably a good thing really).

♥ Nude underwear. Because showing off your underwear to strangers on the street sure ain’t classy.

A Cashmere Cardigan. I don’t actually own a cashmere cardigan but it’s definitely on my list of things to invest in. They feel so soft and luxurious and they’re perfect to layer with in the colder months.

A Little black dress. I probably wear too much black to be honest (and too many dresses) but then again it’s one of my ‘colors’ so I guess I have a good excuse? My cureent go-to LBD dress is in a skater style cut (which works with my body shape). It’s also sexy whilst remaining comfortable which is very important to me.

A V-Neck Draped top. Something to subtly show off my cleavage whilst still hiding my love handles. The ultimate blouse would include polka dots but I’m happy to stick with a white blouse for now.

A big smile. Because it never goes out of style and can brighten up any outfit!


I hope you found these tips useful.

I can’t wait to read about YOUR wardrobe essentials!

Also stay tuned for the last part of this makeover series which will be focused on being a better shopper!


  • Great list – I think I would have many of the same items on my list but I’d have to add a pencil skirt (for work) a red top (to go out) and a turtle neck sweater (because it’s cold here in Belgium! :)

    • Thanks Cendrine, yes I agree that a sweater is a must-have too, especially in Europe! x

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