How to Shop Like A Stylist

How does one go about achieving the perfect wardrobe? One that allows you to show up looking like your most authentic self at every occasion while producing the desired perception you aim to achieve. Of course, that wardrobe would be unique to every individual, but is there a process or set of steps you can take to achieve wardrobe mastery? I believe there is.

When working with a client where I’m performing a wardrobe rebrand, there are 3 specific phases we go through when shopping. Each require a different set of wardrobe choices and price points which culminate in a perfectly curated wardrobe.

Phase One: Foundational items

This is the start. Once I’ve determined their lifestyle, career aspirations, and physical attributes I come up with a strategic plan of items to purchase and a suggested dollar amount for each item based on budget. This is the time where we look at industry staples. They’re pieces that work with every other piece in your wardrobe and easily transition from day to night.

This is also the most disciplined step of the shopping process. We aren’t looking for “wow” items just yet. Rather, just covering your bases to provide a solid foundation to instantly upgrade your image. The irony is, once this area is covered you get to the point where you look good every day!

Budget: 50-80% of what you would spend on an investment item from the same category (i.e. if you would spend $300 on investment trousers, you would spend between $150-240 for a similar foundational piece).

Phase Two: Investment pieces

This is where it gets fun. Now that you’ve accumulated the 20% of your closet that you wear 80% of the time, you can afford to splurge a little bit.  However, these are still pieces you’ll wear quite often because they’ll last forever. My motto is “timeless items are classics with a twist.” Unique enough to stand out, but not so over the top that you can only wear them on special occasions.

Tip: Another idea to consider when purchasing investment pieces is Cost Per Wear (CPW), as opposed to just looking at the sticker price. These are items than can last a decade. So when you look at the cost over that time frame, these pieces will usually become some of your most affordable purchases.

Phase Three: Wow items

This is what you get when you want to make a splash or cause a scene. Peacock if you will. These are the accoutrements that bring just a little added flair to your ensemble. A lot of times these will be accessories. The cost isn’t necessarily the most expensive, but they’re not something you wear every day. Think Gucci.

Maybe not head to toe, but a piece here or there can make an outfit. As a stylist I love to add these pieces to everyday items. It will instantly take you from so-so to exceptional.

These are the steps I use when working with a client or even updating my wardrobe. Try them out for yourself, they work for every budget. You’ll find by following these steps you’ll have a perfectly blended wardrobe and you’ll never dread reaching into your closet because you know you love everything in there! You’ll even save money as you won’t be wasting time on items that are subpar to begin with.

In subsequent posts I’ll dive deeper into each level and explain the types of pieces one may buy while curating their new wardrobe.

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