How to create a women's mix & match wardrobe

Written by michelle powell-smith
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A well planned wardrobe offers versatility and style. Ideally, most of the items in your wardrobe should work with most of the other items in your wardrobe, allowing you to mix & match most of the garments you own. The same basic strategies can be used for a casual or a professional wardrobe, and some pieces can work for days at work, weekend errands or evenings on the town. Keep your lifestyle, personal style and favourite colours in mind when you plan your wardrobe.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Four bottoms
  • Six tops
  • One jacket
  • One day-to-evening dress

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  1. 1

    Consider your needs and your lifestyle. Think about what you actually wear day in and day out. If you consistently go to work in basic cotton khakis, don't worry about purchasing a matching wool suit. A well planned wardrobe is one that fits your actual daily life, letting you look great at home, work, or when you are out to dinner.

  2. 2

    Choose a colour scheme for your basic wardrobe. Start with a neutral colour. This can be black, navy, chocolate brown, charcoal grey, or even beige or light grey if you prefer a lighter palette. You may already own some key pieces to start your first wardrobe capsule, or coordinated set of clothing items. Once you have one complete wardrobe capsule and a number of mix & match clothing pieces, you may want to consider adding a second set of garments to your wardrobe in a coordinating colour palette.

  3. 3

    Start with the basics. Every woman needs a good fitting pair of slacks, a stylish jacket or blazer in a flattering cut, and a really good pair of jeans. Your slacks and jacket should be in your basic colour. If you prefer a dressier look, or a slightly dressier look suits your lifestyle better, opt for jeans in a dark wash with a trouser cut to go from work to weekend with ease. Add at least two more bottoms to your wardrobe that fit with your colour scheme. You might opt for a pinstripe dress pant and a well fitting pencil skirt for a dressy wardrobe or corduroy trousers and a comfortable and casual a-line skirt for a casual one.

  4. 4

    Choose your tops, including tees, sweaters and blouses. All of your tops should work with all of your bottoms. A classic white shirt is a good choice for both casual and dressier mix & match wardrobes. A cardigan that can be worn alone buttoned or over other pieces is another excellent addition. Keep in mind that your blouses and tops do not have to be your base colour, but should work with that colour and with each other. Both print and solid tops are a good choice. Prints can even be used to help unite pieces from different colour groups in a well planned mix & match wardrobe capsule.

  5. 5

    Go dress shopping. Even if you're not a fan of dresses, every woman should own one good dress, in a style and colour that offers versatility. Consider a simple and well-fitting shift dress or a classic wrap dress in your basic colour. Add a jacket or cardigan and wear your dress to work. Add strappy heels and bold jewellery and wear the same dress out to dinner.

Tips and warnings

  • Consider building a second wardrobe capsule in a bolder colour to allow additional mix & match options.
  • Add to your wardrobe by selecting pieces that work with what you already own.

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