Last week as the first step in a series of building a great corporate closet (without breaking the bank), I suggested you sort through what you already own, do an inventory, and let go of all those items that have been hoarding space, collecting dust, and sparking frustration each morning you work to throw together a classy outfit through sleepy eyes and a foggy, morning brain. (Ok, maybe that’s just me, I’ll let each of you imagine your own morning search through your closet.)
For some, this may have been a massive undertaking. For others, like my younger sister (a recent college grad who is still building her business wardrobe), you may have been able to skip week one because you just haven’t had the many years of collection time to compile an overwhelming, maybe outdated and not-so-favorite wardrobe. In either case, we’ll focus the next step in curating a corporate closet on really building from the ground up – beginning with a basic color that will serve as the canvas for all the outfit development sure to ensue.
The easiest backdrop for your work attire will be a black or brown. Starting with a basic brown or black color palette and then adding a few pieces in coordinating colors serves as a foundation for a great work-wear collection for so many reasons.
For the office, especially a more conservative one, black is probably a better palette to begin because this color palette will mix with a nice black or gray suit as well (potentially needed for interviews or important meetings). Brown suits in many cases aren’t prohibited, but may draw more attention to attire than desired because they are less common.
Having a basic palette, be it brown or black or gray, leads to many more options (at least upon initially creating a wardrobe) because so many colors can be mixed and matched with black or gray or brown. Just a few colored pieces can create a multitude of remixes because all these items match the basic staples creating your closet’s foundation.
And beyond the simplicity and versatility a basic color palette can provide, it’s a not-so-secret truth that fewer people will notice if you regularly wear a basic black or brown skirt than if you often wear a bright red pair of pants or funky striped dress. For example, consider if I wore this black skirt once a week for four weeks in row compared to the navy and white striped skirt or the cobalt blue dress with equal frequency.
Here I only touch on building a wardrobe from the ground up but I encourage you to check out Jessica Quirk’s book, What I Wore, in which she dives much deeper into the steps of building a wardrobe from the beginning and starting with this basic color palette. I read this book and found it very helpful in my early journey. (I actually attended the Chicago Book Party as well so my copy is signed, which was fun.)
Also consider checking out Audrey’s Wardrobe from Scratch series over at Putting Me Together. She offers another perspective on building a wardrobe starting with just the basics. Her daily posts are a bit more casual because her work environment doesn’t require clothes as formal as mine (I’m jealous!) but she has great words of wisdom to offer. So instead of repeating all she has gathered, jump on over to her site for more great ideas.