Thursday, December 6, 2012

If You Only Had 15 Items In Your Closet...

... What would they be?  I got into a fascinating conversation two weekends ago with some girlfriends about how they did not really like shopping.  This was fascinating for me since I love shopping and clothes!  Although those are not my only favorite things  -- food is definitely up there along with celebrity gossip, books, culture, travel, family and friends!  I even volunteered to go shopping with them because I think I like it even more when I can go and browse with someone else but don't have to buy!  I understand the stress of it all as well. The crowds of people, the picked over racks, the endless trying on in messy fitting rooms with bad lighting and pushy salespeople are just the tip of the iceberg.  Even online shopping can be stressful when you're not used to the sizing in certain online stores and are not sure you're actually getting what you paid for based on the image you see on the computer screen.  While I have developed my own techniques for shopping in stores and online that work for me and make it a more enjoyable experience, I realize everyone handles these things differently.  Some just avoid the process all together until it's "time" to replace something or get something you really need.

Back to our conversation though!  One of my friends mentioned that she wished she had a wardrobe of 15 things that all just went together and she wouldn't have to fuss with continual shopping and keeping up with the latest trends.  In the magic 15 closet would be clothes which were better quality and cost a bit more, seeing as you only are spending money on 15 things.  I found this really intriguing and started thinking about what items I would love to have in my closet if I were limited to 15 things.  Then I started to put together a Polyvore collage of my top 15.  Obviously, if you count accessories such as tights, socks, underwear, hats, belts, scarves, gloves, jewelry, etc., you would not have much space left for clothing so in this scenario, I ruled those out.  But I did keep in shoes and coats (which could have their own categories) to make it more interesting.  Check out my collage below.  Here's a list of my top 15 items.

1.  A nice cocktail dress for all manner of formal/cocktail occasions.
2.  A great pair of jeans. I went for a straight leg that can be worn with or without being tucked into boots.
3. A basic shift dress.  Versatile for work and cocktail wear.  The cap sleeves keep it professional but it can also be worn in the super hot summer months. 
4. One really great winter coat.  I chose a stylish coat from Burberry in a neutral camel color.  Balancing style with practicality was a challenge here because you had to pick out versatile pieces that can be both classic and fashionable.
5.  A fitted cardigan. This is a must have for me on any given day depending on whether buildings use too much air conditioning or whether you need to layer pieces in cooler weather.  Being fitted also helps this cardigan look more professional when necessary. 
6.  A classic trench with a fun color.  With my wardrobe now, since I have so many other colorful items, I tend to have more neutral coats, but here, as I only have 15 items, I thought this was a great way to add in color to a wardrobe that would otherwise look too basic and neutral. 
7.  A great pair of black pants.  No matter what fit, these have always been a must for me. 
8.  One nice blouse for pairing with suits and skirts for work or dressing up jeans. 
9.  A top for working out in. I love working out in a basic tee and realized that because I workout often enough, using one great basic tee for working out and as a casual tee to pair with other things, it wouldn't last very long!  Getting dri-fit gear is also a must if you sweat!
10.  A pair of capri running leggings for exercise.  These are a must if I want to stay in shape and can take me through the seasons.
11.  A basic white tee.   I have at least one of these in my closet at any given time and they pair well with fancy skirts and pants as well as they do with jeans.
12.  A black pencil skirt.  I live in this style skirt at work! I just add in tights and boots when the weather outside is frightful and the fire is so delightful... (And since we've no place to go, let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!  i.e. Winter time!)
13.  A classic knee high boot.  The wedge adds a balance between having a boot with a heel and one with that is flat.  I picked out a tan color so it can work well with blacks and colors all the same.
14. Classic black pumps.  These go with jeans, skirts, dresses, you name it!  I love them in black which is my go-to basic. But a tan, grey or nude would work great with many colors and styles as well.
15.  Running/exercise sneakers.  A must for anyone who works out! 

Actually, this project was much harder than I thought because I wanted to keep in some workout gear and had to consider dressing for the seasons which would include a winter coat and spring/fall jacket of some sort.  And since this dream scenario includes only a few items, I decided price would be more flexible since I have a limited amount of items, so I can spend more on quality things.  That being said, I couldn't resist the pull of Burberry, Karen Millen, Vivian Westwood or Reiss in my collage.  In the end, I realized that one or two other necessary items I might have also needed would be a black blazer which I could pair with the black pencil skirt or a full suit, considering I work as an attorney and, even though my office is business casual, a suit is necessary at times.  If I were able to go back and do it again, I might take out the shoes this time and put those in a second category with a limit of 5.

What do you think of the collage below?  If you could only live with 15 items in your closet, what items would you include in your top 15?  Is there something you absolutely cannot live without?

What's Your Top 15?

Karen Millen a line dress

Vivienne Westwood silk top

Karen Millen long sleeve top
$130 -

Vneck shirt
$42 -

DFC slimming top

Burberry hooded coat

DKNY black skirt

Gérard Darel wide pants
$250 -

Adidas pants
$36 -

Asics shoes
$135 -

H&M suede pumps
$48 -


  1. i would add a soft cashmere cardigan as a "must"- in black, brown or grey-what do you think? a

  2. I totally agree! I originally put a grey cashmere cardi into my list as well but thought the 15 piece wardrobe would read too many dark basics, so I thought of adding in that Karen Millen cashmere cardi in beige with an interesting detail might help spice it up a bit! Boy do I love a good cardigan. Hmmm... Perhaps I should have included a cashmere cardi on my holiday wish list!