I’ve always been someone who shops on a budget and values versatility in new pieces I buy. You could even call me a minimalist, because I believe quality trumps quantity every time. But even with a closet filled with wardrobe essentials, I can create lots of outfits. Here’s how I make the most of my investment pieces using stylish accessories.
Note: I am a Stella & Dot stylist and will earn a commission if you buy any of S&D’s products in this post. I am passionate about the work I do with Stella & Dot and only share pieces I truly love and wear often. :) | Photos by Riss Rahm
Outfit Details: Old TCEC Vest, Kate Spade T-shirt (similar), Madewell Jeans, Kate Spade handbag, Stella & Dot 3 in 1 Necklace, Stella & Dot Bracelet
Shopping for Wardrobe Essentials
So, let’s start from the beginning. Every good wardrobe starts with the basics or the “wardrobe essentials.” These are pieces like a good pair of jeans, a nice handbag or a pair of boots that you spend more money on and wear often. I always consider the cost per wear of an item before purchasing. Here’s how I decide if something is worth the money:
Cost per wear = cost of the item / how many times you wear the item
Pretty simple, right? The more you wear an item, the less the cost per wear will be and the better you’ll feel about investing. Remember, it’s all about quality over quantity when it comes to the essentials. Why have 12 pairs of jeans when you really only wear your three favorite pairs regularly?
Versatility is also super important to me when I’m investing in pieces for my wardrobe. (Check out how I styled the same little black dress two ways here!) So, I may have a more expensive black T-shirt from Kate Spade… But it’s one that won’t wear as quickly as cheaper versions, plus I know I can style it with a pair of jeans or a floral skirt.
With a handful of quality pieces to work with in my closet, creating outfits is easy. Think of your wardrobe essentials as the foundation to any outfit. From there, you can mix and match fun, less expensive items with the basic pieces to change up your look.
Maximizing Your Wardrobe Essentials
Now, this is when the magic happens! I’ve created a few looks using my wardrobe essentials to show you the power of accessorizing. Just by swapping out my accessories, I can style many “outfits” all while wearing the same T-shirt and jeans.
1. Add A Vest
Outfit Details: Abound Boots (similar), Stella & Dot 3 in 1 Necklace, Stella & Dot Bracelet
Purchasing layering pieces like vests, jackets and blazers is always a good idea… Especially when looking to maximize your wardrobe essentials! I found this long, plaid vest at a cute boutique in Des Moines called Matilda Muse. I love how it makes me feel instantly more put together when I toss it on over a simple T-shirt and jeans.
Earring Details: Stella & Dot 2 in 1 Earrings
2. Wear a Scarf/Poncho
Outfit Details: Stella & Dot Poncho Scarf, Kate Spade bag (similar), Indigo Rd. boots, Stella & Dot rose gold hoops
Scarves and ponchos also work amazingly well for switching up your look in the fall and winter. I love how I can wear this one as a scarf and as a poncho because of the buttons it has running up the side. If you’re like me and love neutrals, don’t be afraid to pick out some colorful scarves too for an easy way to add color to your everyday pieces.
Note: The scarf/poncho I’m wearing sheds a bit, so keep that in mind if you’re thinking about purchasing it. I’ve rounded up some other great options for you below!
3. Swap Out Your Jewelry
Jewelry Details (left to right): Stella & Dot ear climbers, necklace & earrings set and statement earrings
When I’m in a hurry and don’t have too much time to think about adding layers of clothing, I throw on some jewelry instead! You can see above how trading delicate rose gold pieces for statement earrings completely changes a look. Doing this is a quick and easy way to transition a T-shirt from work to date night.