The Perfect Wardrobe – Part 2

This week, I’m sharing the details of the wardrobe I created for my retirement years. My goal is to get dressed for any event using what I already have. I no longer waste money buying cute things on sale that never get worn. A minimal classic style wardrobe that I can wear year-round serves all of my needs. I invest in the best quality I can afford because I intend to wear each item at least thirty times before replacing it.

Building your best core wardrobe starts with purging all the things from your closet that you never wear, don’t like, that no longer fit or aren’t a reflection of the woman you are now. Those items will take up valuable space and remind you of your mistake each time you see them. You will never benefit by keeping them. Let them go and forget about it. Consignment, donations to charities and giving to friends are great options.

As you add new items, make sure you are shopping for your lifestyle, your shape (the body you have now), and your coloring. It is too easy to get sidetracked by what looks good on someone you admire or the display in the store. If you have to talk yourself into it, put it back. Wait for the perfect item. If you settle, you will end up with another wardrobe full of so-so pieces. Keep a detailed list of what is missing from your collection. Shop with that list because we all know how hard it is to stay focused when you see all those choices.

My core wardrobe collection includes V-neckline blouses and shirts, cashmere sweaters, cotton tees, short fitted jackets and vests, slim-fitting tanks, a few dressy knit tunics and a variety of V-neckline camis. The pants and jeans are mostly slim-fitting with straight legs. I added a couple of sparkly camis to dress up my basics for special events. My light jackets, winter coats, and trenches are tailored and sleek with no toggles, large collars, fur trim, or embellishments.

Statement pieces add interest and drama to your basics, but you need a good core wardrobe first so that you have something to wear with those standout items.

Color is a significant consideration since all the tops should work with most of the skirts (if you wear them), pants, and jackets. My wardrobe includes navy, gray, white, shades of blue, a few pieces in true red and some black. Mostly solid colors allow for endless mixing and matching possibilities. Any patterns are repeating geometric ones such as dots or stripes. When pieces are not memorable, it is less likely I will tire of them.

A variety of textures creates more elegant looks. For example, you can wear three navy items and look fabulous if the jacket is leather, the sweater is cashmere, and the pants are denim.

Taking care of my clothing and accessories allows me to enjoy them for several years. Sitting down at a table to enjoy all food or beverages, immediate spot cleaning, washing in cold water, and hanging on a hook or rolling rack to dry are the secrets to keeping things looking good. I never put anything away that needs to be repaired or cleaned. So that items will not be forgotten, I store everything so that I can see it.

We took these photos on a lane where I often go for my early morning walks. I wear similar casual pieces to walk, relax at home, visit with family, and run errands such as going to the grocery store and the Post Office. Both the navy cotton tee and white cotton jeans are about three years old. Links to similar current items: TeeJeansBagShoes (Referral and affiliate links in my posts may result in a small commission for me at no additional cost to you.)

My goal as a blogger is to share with you what I’ve learned. I use myself as a visual example, but I hope you can apply the concepts I share to help you look and feel your best every day.

37 Comments
    1. I wash only white items together in cold water and hang them to dry on a rolling rack. Sometimes if you use too much detergent and then put them in the dryer, they will get off-color.

  1. These tips can’t be beat in building a core wardrobe! If implemented, one will save money in the long run. Keep up the good work.

  2. Susan, you are popular! I clicked on shapeez.com, then phoned them for help with sizing. Said I read about their bras on a blog and the lady immediately said “Oh, Susan Street!”
    Btw, they’re out of your favorite style.

  3. Love your tips. I just purchased the Portifino shirt that you wear and I love it. Such a classic that can be worn for various occasions.

  4. This is a very useful post for me. It reminds me to stay on track and don’t be tempted. I’m trying to pare down to basics and not be tempted by new trends. This list will be my bible on what I need. Thank you.

    1. I rarely iron them. If I do, it is to straighten a cuff or get out a significant wrinkle. I take them out of the dryer way before they are completely dry (if I put them in at all) and hang them on a hook or a rolling rail to finish air-drying.

  5. Great tips Susan. I need to let go of more clothing and shoes that I paid good money for but no longer work for me. You are right, they just remind me of the money I wasted.

  6. I follow a few different fashion blogs and yours is by far the one I enjoy the most, as your fashion advice is adaptable within anyone’s price point, as well as being classy, timeless and age appropriate. As a recently retired sixty year old, I will be working on purging my closet and acquiring a more minimal wardrobe of classic interchangeable quality pieces. I look forward to the rest of your posts in this series.

    1. It all depends on your lifestyle and how often you do laundry as to what items you need. For example, if I were staying home every day in the summer months, I would need three or four pairs of light-colored pants and four or five light colored tees. I do laundry at least twice a week.

  7. Thank you for this blog. Easy to understand how to create a core wardrobe. I now have the basics on what to do, you always look fabulous and so stylish.

  8. Thank you for all of your great tips. You’ve inspired me to purge my closet and be more mindful of what I purchase.
    I’m in the process of looking for a new handbag since the one I have been carrying definitely needs to be replaced.
    I’ve been especially noticing your handbags to help me decide on mine.
    Your make up pointers are always welcome too!

  9. Thank you for the words of wisdom, Susan. I have been following your blog for a while and your advice has truly simplified my life. I have learned so much from your tips and my closet is no longer a mess. And I feel so much more confident about how I am dressed. Thanks again!

  10. Your blog this week is very informative, looking forward to your tips. I am really working hard on purging and buying only usable clothing. Thanks Susan!

  11. I love your style , but I have my own style , as a 63 year old woman it took a lot of following bloggers to realize that they aren’t always me . And when I follow their rules I’m not happy with them . I am 5’7 not overweight by any means . I live in the delta if Arkansas & sometimes overdressed , I like my makeup, hair & heels. Your blog is my favorite, but I’m not going to go gray or ride off into the sunset quite yet. I think we all need to live ourselves & appreciate all of our differences. Thankyou for all your great advice & keep blogging !

  12. Hello Susan,

    I enjoy your blogs very much every time. Especially now that I am preparing for retirement myself your tips and tricks are very much appreciated. Not to mention your beautiful pictures of the places you visit.

    Hardly can wait for your next Blog?

    Best regards from Germany,

    Karina

  13. This question just shows my ignorance of your life–but I was wondering when you speak of retirement–I know you sold your jewelry business a year or so back, and you state that you plan to continue your blog. How will your new life differ? You have talked about traveling more, so maybe just drawing down on retirement and/or inheritance income? I am not trying to be cheeky. If you don’t want to answer, that’s fine, it is your business. Just wondering.

    1. For now, I will have to be content with an occasional week of solo travel per year. I still have a lot of social commitments and family responsibilities beyond the blog, but I do treat it like a full-time job.

  14. WoW! Just what I needed to read today. definitely time to clear out my closet.

    Thank you for your insight.

  15. I love your idea of planning for a retirement wardrobe! I like to buy classic winter coats but never thought of the years that I would not have the money to buy into all the fabs. I have 5 years until retirement. I am going to start buying for the future now. Thank you!

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I blogged for five years as Fifty, not Frumpy. Now that I am in my sixties, I am sharing ideas and inspiration for using and loving what you already have.

Thank you!
Susan

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