The Interchangeable Wardrobe
An interchangeable wardrobe is a smart wardrobe. Have a think about your wardrobe; likely you have several outfits that are stand-alone, meaning that you can’t really wear much of it with other outfits. This is inefficient, not only does it take up more space, it also costs a good deal more. The goal is to have each article of clothing work with nearly everything else. This will also make packing light when traveling much easier. So without further adieu, here’s your guide to creating a fully functional, interchangeable wardrobe.
Assess Your Dress
The first step to creating an interchangeable wardrobe is to take stock of the clothes you currently own. In so doing, you shed the excess, while making room for new pieces and getting a sense of the direction your wardrobe is headed.
It is important to rid your closet of unnecessary clothing. This includes pieces that no longer fit, have gone out of style, or can be characterised by the thought “what was I thinking?” Don’t hold onto an article of clothing that you’ll never wear just because the money put into it makes you feel obligated to do so. It’s a sunk cost, if you’re not going to wear it, it doesn’t matter how much you spent.
Next, take a look at clothes you own that you don’t wear because they are in need of repairs or adjustments. Make a pile of pieces that need altering, a fixed zipper, and anything in between. By doing this, you can easily get these pieces fixed at one time and bring some life back into your wardrobe.
Finally, think about repurposing some pieces that you may no longer wear. Just because the trousers of an old suit don’t fit anymore, doesn’t mean you can’t still dress down the jacket with jeans and a tee shirt.
Once you’ve made these assessments, you will better understand what your wardrobe is lacking, where it is strong, and the overall look that you are building.
Now that you have a good idea of where you’d like your wardrobe to head, it’s time to establish your go-to pieces that you can consistently rely on. When gathering these core items, think simple—pieces that go with everything. They should look good, even if they aren’t overwhelming exciting taken on their own.
Staple pieces will vary from one man to another; they are a product of their own personal style. However, some good pieces include a dark, navy or charcoal, suit; a sturdy pair of jeans; a blazer; half a dozen solid or slightly patterned dress shirts, preferably white or light blue; a lightweight solid-colored jumper; two pairs of dress trousers; and two pairs of casual shoes.
This is not to say that your wardrobe must embody an all neutral-colored, modest style. No, instead this offers you a basis for which you can add potentially more exciting pieces. The idea is to establish a central core of pieces that pair well with a variety of others, not to bleach the personality out of your wardrobe.
Once your wardrobe has a solid foundation, it’s time to start branching out and adding pieces that vary its tone. The purpose in expansion is not to simply add pieces that already fit the nature of your wardrobe, but to find clothing that expands your style, while still meshing with what you already own.
Take for example a man whose personal style is centered on jeans and tee shirts. An easy way to expand this wardrobe would be to add things that still fit into this mix, like suit jackets and blazers. This thereby retains the original style, while creating some depth and expanding the range of said jeans and tee shirts.
Accent Pieces that Shape Your Personal Style
In keeping with the notion of expansion, the next step in creating your interchangeable wardrobe is to develop it’s unique vibe via accent pieces. Slight variations can drastically alter an ensemble. The aforementioned jeans and shirt will look entirely different if it is paired with a black belt and silver watch vs brown leather cowboy boots.
Accent pieces may include:
* Jewelry (wristwatches, cufflinks, tie clips, etc.)
* Outerwear (coats, hats, scarves, etc.)
Easy additions like these add range and personality to your wardrobe. They subtly help express personal style, while not being overwhelming to shop for or bearing down too heavily on your wallet.
Accent pieces don’t only take shape in the form of these more inconspicuous accessories, though. There’s always room in the wardrobe for larger pieces that are too loud to be considered part of your core wardrobe. A colourfully printed shirt may be too eye-catching for an everyday look, but by pairing it with jeans and a simple jacket, you’ve created a great ensemble.
Most looks will be a mixture of a few staple and accent pieces. Don’t feel you must overdue it with the accent pieces; a little bit here goes a long way. Good core pieces only require so many accent pieces on top of them.
Quality over Quantity
Finally, it is important when shopping to prioritise quality over quantity. While it may be tempting to buy several cheap shirts, you will ultimately get less use out of them than you would a single piece of quality clothing. Furthermore, if you over-shop on low-quality clothing, you will have fewer funds to invest in good pieces.
When shopping, it is important to keep in mind fit and fabric.
Fit is essential. If an article of clothing doesn’t fit properly, it isn’t going to look right. Additionally, you won’t be comfortable in the piece and consequently just won’t wear it as much as you would something that fits just right, nor should you. Buy pieces that fit well or can be easily tailored.
Fabric directly correlates to quality. Heavy, smooth fabrics will sit more naturally and will last much longer than fabrics that are thin and cheap. Be sure to keep this in mind when shopping. Also, take into consideration the construction of the piece. Why buy something that will fall apart in the machine after a handful of washes?
So there you have it: your own guide to creating a dynamic and interchangeable wardrobe. Take a look at your current wardrobe and take action. Focus in on your personal style and expand. Choose quality over quantity. Adhere to these guidelines and find yourself looking dapper as ever, rarely in the same outfit twice but with enough cash left in your wallet for drinks after