how to build a lasting wardrobe

While I'm still waiting to win the lottery that will fund my lifestyle and endless shopping spree, I will be carefully (ish) building a wardrobe that will last me until that winning ticket - i.e. I will be buying "pieces" that are versatile, durable and perennial. 

Sure, I most likely won't (and shouldn't) wear a midriff-skimming blouse like this one when I'm forty (and honestly, I plan on winning the lottery by then anyway), but it's a basic that will work in a variety of settings with a little ironing: work, play, blogging pictures. 

As will the wide-leg jeans, wallet-on-chain and shades/sunnies/sunglasses. And sure, my concept of work/play/blogging picture attire might be a little blurred, causing me to stress out about an outfit when I go to my one social function of the year (dinner-outfits, drink-outfits, and going-out-outfits are so nuanced, right!), but I have a closet full of things that can work in a variety of settings.

Here's my guide to creating a lasting wardrobe that can take you from 9-to-5 to drinks to dinner to going-out "out." 

  1. Identify the basics you need and invest in them... For me, this means the following: great pair of white, black and medium wash jeans; sunglasses that I would die for; classic white shirts; a pair of black heels; a pair of great flats; a great big purse; a great smaller purse; and two sweaters in neutral colors. This might also mean buying into the idea of a "uniform."
  2. Stay away from colors and patterns... Does this sound familiar? It should, because that means you're actually reading Fifty Two East. Regardless, neutral colors means more combinations of clothing, which means it seems like I have more clothes than I actually do. Or, at least, I think it makes other people think that I have more clothes than I do. 
  3. Know your environment... For example, Austin, Texas doesn't really encourage heels (platforms and booties rule), but Manhattan does. Therefore, wearing heels feels like it really dresses up any outfit, be it jeans and a blouse or a shift dress. This means I can add some heels to a jean and white-tee combo and be ready for a dinner. 
  4. Get things tailored... I'm kind of late to the party on this one and rarely get things tailored, but it helps me take better care of my clothes (i.e. no jean hems dragging in bar sludge) and look more put-together. Things that fit-well look better, which translates into easily transitioning them from day to night. 
  5. Buy in accordance with what you already have and what your life looks like... This means I ask myself (hopefully) whether or not I have something I can wear the piece with and somewhere to actually where the piece. Although, being a totally self-professed blogger, I now just wear things in photoshoots. 

Theory Tie-Blouse (sold out but similar here, here and here

Zara Wide-Leg Jeans

Chanel Wallet on Chain 

Black Ray-Bans