Wardrobe From Scratch, Part 4: The Starter Kit Shopping List

Wardrobe From Scratch Starter Kit Shopping List - Clothes Only

Are you guys ready for THE LIST?

We have rounded the corner in the Wardrobe From Scratch Series, inching closer to the personalized case studies and tailored lists to help you build a wardrobe.  Before we get to that, Part 4 of the WFS Series is a template of a very, very generalized list to get you started.
I’ve said before that I am not about the lists of “essentials” or “must haves” for every woman.  I have my personal must-haves that fit my lifestyle and style, but I’m not about to tell you that every single one of you needs them too.  Some of you chase kids all day and don’t need pencil skirts.  Some of you need those pencil skirts for your office.  Some of you don’t even like skirts!
how to build a wardrobe list
How To Use Today’s List
Hopefully you did your homework from Parts 1 and 2 and have identified your style and lifestyle needs and have chosen your neutrals and color palette.  You’re gonna need it to use this list well!
It’s like a starter kit.  This is NOT meant to be an exhaustive list that will fill out your entire wardrobe.  I kept it very minimal so that you could focus and not get overwhelmed.  Starting from scratch is overwhelming!  This list is meant to serve as a solid foundation for you that should allow you to build a great mix-and-match wardrobe that serves you well.  Like a starter kit, get it?
You decide the specifics of each piece.  As you can see, it’s very general.  The intent is for you to decide what cut or silhouette or style or functionality you want to fill in for each piece and to build a wardrobe in a way that suits YOU.  Like, if the list says “neutral colored skirt” you can decide if a pencil skirt or an a-line skirt will be more useful to you, based on what you identified in Part 1 with your lifestyle and style.
It doesn’t have to be rigid.  If you are not a skirt wearer, then ignore the skirt stuff!  Swap it out for another pair of pants!  Of course I’d encourage you to at least try owning one skirt or a dress or whatever else you have sworn off, but if you are dead sure that you’d never wear those things or that you can’t or don’t need that many of that category, then swap it out.  Make the list your own!
Real Life Example.  If you want to see how this list played out in real life, check out the two posts for Hannah’s makeover: Hannah’s Shopping Guide and Hannah’s Outfits.  And remember, I’m also going to use this list to make specific lists tailored for each of the upcoming case studies!
The List

Okay, seriously, if you haven’t done the work of Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, then you’d better get to it before you get your hands on this list!  Otherwise you’ll be trying to fill in the pieces kind of blindly and I don’t want you ending up with an uncoordinated wardrobe!

Examples & Shopping 
I really hesitated to put any sort of visual examples in this post because I didn’t want to limit you to styles that might not fit you.  But then I thought you might actually benefit from a range of examples to help jog your mind about what cuts and prints are possible.
I put together some examples for pants, skirts, and dresses.  Completer pieces and tops are available in plenty, so you should have no problem finding those.
Links for where to buy the items shown are available below each photo.  They are all from Target or Old Navy.  Many of the Target options are available in regular, petite, and plus sizes!  Also, most of the Target items come in LOTS of different colors that are NOT featured here.  If you like an item but wish it were in a different color, check and see what else is available!
Quick reminders: 1) Fit is key.  2) Keep in mind what to look for when shopping for remixable pieces.
Top Row: one / twothree / four / five / six
Bottom Row: one / two / three / four
Everyday jeans in a medium or dark wash.  Whether skinny jeans, straight legged jeans, or boot cut or trouser jeans, or whatever, make sure you’ve got a pair for the “everyday.”  Go for a medium or dark wash as it’s more flattering and can transcend different scenarios better.  A pair of dark washed straight legged pants can be great for everyday but can also be dressed up.  It’s harder to dress up lighter washed jeans.
Pair of neutral colored pants.  Khakis, cargo pants, trousers, cigarette pants, whatever!  There’s a bunch of options above.  These can also be utility, everyday type pants, but a different color and possibly a different material besides denim will bring a lot of versatility.
Pair of pants in another neutral or from your color palette if you’re brave.  You know how I feel about colored bottoms.  But you can do another neutral pair if colored bottoms aren’t your thing.  Maroon is a safe step away from a neutral if you’re trying to be brave but aren’t quite there yet.  If maroon is too dark for your color palette, try salmon!  Believe it or not, those salmon cropped pants above go with a lot and aren’t too scary.
Top Row: one / two / three / four
Middle: one / two / three / four / five
Bottom: one / two / three / four / five

Neutral colored skirt.  Pencil, a-line, hi-low, maxi.  Pick whatever fits your lifestyle in a neutral colorSkirt in your color palette.  Maybe even another, too!  All of those skirts above are from Target and each come in a VAST array of colors.

1-2 printed skirts within your color palette.  Patterned skirts can be hard to find.  In addition to the Target ones above, ModCloth has a ton of great ones.


Top Row: one / two / three / four
Middle: one / two / three
Bottom: one / two / three / four / five
Ideally at least one of these dresses should be wearable for parties and baby/bridal showers, and the more remixable it is the better.  If you can wear it with a denim jacket and flats or with jewelry and heels, it’s probably a winner.
The rest of the dresses should be for your everyday wear, whether your needs are for the office or for the playground, unless you regularly have parties or showers to go to.  Being that I don’t need dresses for the office, all of my dresses can actually be worn to showers and casually.  Just saying it’s possible!
Solid dress in neutral; second solid dress in either neutral or color; 1-2 printed dresses in color.  I encourage more printed dresses rather than solids because printed ones can often be worn with lots of different colored completer pieces, especially a print like dress #4, the navy one in the bottom row.  You can wear it with black navy, mustard, or pick out the purples and teals in it.
Completer Pieces
Completer pieces are things like blazers, cardigans, cropped jackets, etc.  Basically things that layer over your shirt or dress.  I’d encourage you to change it up, opting for a mix of different kinds of completer pieces.  However, if you really don’t like blazers or cropped jackets, four cardigans will be fine too.  Target and Old Navy have lots of blazers, jackets, and cardigans.

Tops can get crazy.  There are so many types to choose from!  T-shirts, button ups, plaid, utility blouses, dolman shirts, sweaters.  It’s nuts, which is why I didn’t show any shopping options!  However, having defined your style and lifestyle should help you focus on what kinds of tops you’ll make use of.

Another Tip
In my experience skirts are harder to find than completer pieces and tops.  I suggest nailing down your pants, skirts, and dresses in colors and patterns before looking for completer pieces and tops.  Once you land on those, then look for completer pieces and tops that will go with them.


Okay, that was kind of crazy.  Take some time to fill out specific types of items for your list.  If you get stuck, don’t worry–the case studies are coming soon!

**For all 6 parts of the Wardrobe From Scratch Series, click HERE.

If you would like further help creating a list of more specific items for YOU, check out Cladwell’s capsule wardrobe creator HERE.  Find my in-depth post about Cladwell HERE.  

Previous Story
Next Story

You Might Also Like