Project Wardrobe: Planning a Basic Core Wardrobe

A few months ago, Sarai from Colette Patterns published a blog post about taking a closet inventory, along with a download for an inventory template.  I downloaded the template, and went through the exercise of taking a detailed inventory of my closet.  This was a very useful exercise for me and the results were … eye-opening.  It really made me think about what my wardrobe looks like now and how I would like it to look.

Then I came across Justine’s post on Sew Country Chick about sewing a basic wardrobe, with recommendations for a few key pieces for a foundation of a basic wardrobe.  I really liked Justine’s list and the whole idea behind it.  So much so, actually, that I decided to put together my own list of wardrobe basics to sew for my own wardrobe.

Mine undoubtedly includes a few more basic pieces, largely because I spend every weekday in a law office, which requires more work-appropriate items.  Also, my activities can change drastically from day to day depending on what is happening at the office.  As much as I hate to wear them, a couple of suits really are wardrobe necessities for me.

In addition to my office attire, I really like the idea of having a stylish but comfortable weekend wardrobe as well.  I would love to have pieces to choose from on the weekend other than plain ol’ jeans and a t-shirt.

So, the goal I have set for myself, which will likely stretch out over a couple (or more) years, is to sew a quality basic, core wardrobe for myself.  I hope to challenge myself along the way to learn the proper way to fit finish garments so that they will last.  And of course I’ll spice up these basics with fun, trendy pieces (hopefully handmade) as well!

I would love to say that I’ll use up my prolific fabric stash to make said wardrobe, but I know that’s not realistic.  I want these pieces to be quality pieces, and part of that is really good, quality apparel fabrics.  My stash is currently fairly slim on high-quality apparel fabric, particularly in solid colors!

My hope is to unload (hopefully sell) a good chunk of what is currently in my stash and use that to offset the cost of the wool, silk and higher-quality cotton apparel fabric that I’ll want for this ongoing project.

Here is the link to my Pinterest board (for those interested), and I’ve been gradually putting together my plan:

Work Attire

Pants

  1. Charcoal skinny pants (Colette Clover, Burda High Waist Trousers)
  2. Navy trouser pants (Sewaholic Thurlow or Colette Juniper)
  3. Brown/tweed trouser pants (Sewaholic Thurlow or Colette Juniper)

Skirts

  1. Charcoal pencil skirt (By Hand London Charlotte Skirt)
  2. Navy pencil skirt (By Hand London Charlotte Skirt)
  3. Brown/tweed A-line skirt (Colette Ginger or Beignet?)

Blouses

  1. Cream silk blouse (Colette Sencha, or Sewaholic Alma)
  2. Lace blouse (Colette Laurel in Version 4)
  3. Pink silk blouse (Megan Nielsen Crescent Blouse)

Dresses

  1. Little navy dress (This will be my version of the LBD.  Navy is just so much more flattering on me than black!) (Colette Macaron, Peony, or Sewaholic Cambie)
  2. Shirtwaist dress (Colette Hawthorn)
  3. Lace shift dress (Colette Laurel)

Jackets/Suits

  1. Charcoal blazer (I have no idea what pattern to use — any recommendations for a good fitted blazer pattern?)
  2. Navy jacket (Colette Anise)
  3. Print jacket (Colette Anise)

Weekend Attire

Pants

One area of my wardrobe that I intend to be primarily RTW is my jeans.  I don’t know that I can ever replicate the quality and fit of a really good, high-quality pair of jeans, so I probably won’t even try.

  1. Colored skinny jeans or twill pants (Sew Liberated Skinny Jeans or Burda High Waist Trousers)
  2. Drawstring natural linen pants (Sewaholic Tofino or drawstring pants from Simple Modern Sewing)

Blouses

  1. Chambray button-down shirt (Grainline Archer Shirt)
  2. Gingham/plaid shirt (Grainline Archer Shirt)
  3. Polka dot woven tank (Megan Nielsen Eucalypt Tank)
  4. Small print woven t-shirt (Grainline Scout Top)

T-shirts

  1. Navy fitted t-shirt (Sewaholic Renfrew)
  2. White fitted t-shirt (Sewaholic Renfrew)

Dresses

  1. Neutral knit dress (Jamie Christina Miz Mozelle or Cake Patterns Tiramisu)
  2. Eyelet sundress (Colette Hazel)
  3. Woven tank dress (Megan Nielsen Eucalypt Dress)

Skirts

  1. Denim skirt (Grainline’s Moss mini)
  2. Bright full skirt (Megan Nielsen Kelly Skirt)
  3. Navy polka dot full skirt or culottes (Megan Nielsen Tania Culottes?)

Jackets  (Same request as above — what pattern would you use for a good fitted blazer?)

  1. Seersucker blazer
  2. Velveteen blazer

Anything I missed?

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7 thoughts on “Project Wardrobe: Planning a Basic Core Wardrobe

  1. Michelle

    Nice! We just moved — to a different climate, and now would be the perfect time to take inventory and evaluate my needs. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Reply
    1. Katie Post author

      Glad it helped! I found taking the inventory to be a really useful exercise, and would definitely recommend it. Moving to a different climate is definitely a good time to reassess! Thanks for commenting!

      Reply
  2. Kelly

    What a great plan, I am not so organized but I do plan on making all my own clothes for now. I hear you about RTW jeans though, when I buy really nice jeans they fit awesome and last forever, I really don’t think I am going to match them! But I am going to give it a try. Your list looks great!

    Reply
    1. Katie Post author

      I will watch your jeans experiment with great interest! I’d love to be able to make my own custom-fit jeans, but I have a hard time believing I could make any that fit as well as my nice designer jeans. That’s the one area of my RTW wardrobe where I don’t hesitate to splurge :)

      Reply
  3. Pingback: Wardrobe analysis | SLow Ideas

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