A common theme I’m hearing with my clients is that they don’t know what to wear, feel they’ve lost their style mojo, they’re sick of everything they wore during lockdown and they want to start over, but don’t know how to. I’m feeling some of those feelings too, but I do know a thing or two about styling and putting wardrobes together for people, so I’m showing you how it’s done. You don’t need that many pieces to get going and I promise nothing I’m showing goes out of style. And, if any of you are over 40 like me, this wardrobe makeover is perfect for you!
Since I was in need of a little wardrobe reset myself, I cleaned out my closet and assembled a core collection of interchangeable, seasonal pieces that I can add to for years to come. My process starts with a color palette that suits the season, my skin and hair color and then I build up with the essential basics – thin layering turtleneck tees in neutral tones, a band tee, a crisp cotton white shirt, a dressy ivory blouse, a couple of casual button downs - one denim and one neutral, a style of jean in three washes that each suit many occasions and a black stretch straight leg pant. Next, I add in statement pieces like a boyfriend blazer, a camel coat, print dress, color pop sweater and long fringe cashmere poncho. For shoes and accessories, leopard mules and black slides are great neutrals and perfect for days where the temperature fluctuates between cool and warm. And three black styles that are no brainers - a sneaker, a casual ankle boot and a dressy knee high boot for elevated looks. A black clutch is always useful and in a stamped leather, you can wear day or night. A classic camel colored suede shoulder bag with adjustable strap is also perfect for everyday and every occasion.
Blazers and fall are like milk and cookies – they just go together. And this Smythe blazer has a permanent spot in my wardrobe. Camel is probably my favorite color this time of year and the oversized silhouette of the blazer makes it perfect for layering over many basic foundational pieces. I'm wearing it over this lightweight knitted turtleneck tee, paired with these favorite relaxed drop crotch jeans, suede crossbody and leopard ballet mules, but I also love it over this plaid statement vest for a pop of print and texture.
The Max pant is a great staple for any wardrobe and adds some diversity to a denim heavy closet. These have the perfect amount of stretch and the slit at the cuff makes them easy for pairing with boots, sneakers and heels. For day, add a color pop sweater, chunky ankle boots and the black clutch.
A fall statement coat is one of my all time favorite pieces, and an investment that I'm guaranteed to wear year after year. This double breasted coat is elegant and a fit suitable for all shapes and sizes. I love how it can be worn open or tied with the belt and I'm wearing it over this thin knit turtleneck tee, the Max pant and Chelsea boot.
Building up a small collection of accessories is just as valuable as a statement blazer or coat. The right bag, shoe or wrap can instantly pull together an otherwise simple or basic outfit. I took this white ruffle top and black pant and paired them with the luxe fringed cashmere wrap, (different color here), tall leather boot and the clutch. I love how mixing and matching the same accessories gives each look a different feel.
Fall is a good time to add a print long sleeve midi length dress to your wardrobe. The Sultane dress has an elegant bohemian silhouette, but features an elastic waistband to give the dress a great shape. For cooler weather, add the tall boot and cashmere wrap (alternate color here).
Somewhere between a jacket and a blouse, the Luke shirt, is made from super soft flannel and features western inspired details and a snap button closure. This versatile layer can be worn a ton of different ways, which makes it a must have wardrobe staple. I've been throwing it over this rib bralette and my favorite leopard leggings for trips to workouts and walks with Nala. It plays equally well elevated with the black pant and nude heels.
I tend to wear denim often, so the Max pants are a refreshing and extremely comfortable alternative. And while it's easy to assume they can only be dressed up, they look just as chic worn casually. For an easy weekend look, I paired with a band tee, the flannel shirt, the Chelsea boots and suede handbag.
As you can see, making even the smallest changes to an outfit can give a totally different feel. With a small core collection of pieces, like the perfect jeans and a blazer, it makes it easy to add in a top or a pair of shoes to complete the look you're going for. The band tee can dress down the oversized blazer with the dark wash jeans (or any other wash) and leopard mules or black slides.
One wardrobe staple that will take you far is a white button up shirt. Add a mid wash denim jean in your favorite style and you have a clean outfit prime for layering depending on the weather. Add the leopard mule and suede crossbody (which converts to a shoulder strap too) and you're good to go all day.
Since I'm building up my wardrobe with basics that are more neutral in tone, I love to add in pops of color here and there. This chunky knit is a favorite for its turtleneck style, cropped silhouette and cable knit stitch. This yellow hue is a great complimentary color to have in your wardrobe and works well with most skin tones and hair colors. I'm pairing it here with the mid wash cuffed jean and leopard mules. Accents of gold jewelry, like bracelets and earrings are pretty here too.
I’m a big fan of a well-worn Canadian tuxedo (denim on denim). This lightweight denim shirt with ruffle collar detailing is perfect for fall layering, and can be worn open over the band tee with the slides for a relaxed weekend look. Or for a more elevated, feminine feel, I wear the shirt alone buttoned up and paired with the leopard mules and suede handbag.
I hope this has helped alleviate the often daunting task of building a wearable wardrobe. With just over a dozen pieces, it's easy to make many interchangeable looks for all ages and body types, and there's close to 20 here (and I could keep going with more!). There are so many combinations that can be created, and that's what's fun about building a capsule collection that can be added to as the season shifts. And the best part is, when you've got the right elements to work with, you'll find your style mojo coming right back.
If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email at [email protected]
Love all of these, Caroline! You are beautiful and inspiring!
Love all of these, Caroline! You are beautiful and inspiring!