Mix and Match Clothes - Planning a Basic Wardrobe - Part One

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A basic wardrobe, or wardrobe module, is a minimum collection of clothes that you cannot do without. It is a range of mix and match garments and accessories that will take you anywhere and equip you for any occasion that might arise. It is the principle of using a few pieces of clothing that are co-ordinated by colour and fabric to mix and match together to make an extended wardrobe of clothes. It can be adapted to any lifestyle, and any age group. It works for the professional woman, housewife, part-time worker or student.

This concept of mix and match clothing is the principle of a small group of garments, coordinated in colour, fabric and shape, with all the parts being completely interchangeable. It is an extended set of mix and match pieces, created by you and for you. It will give you as much flexibility as your needs require. It can be worked around a daytime wardrobe, and evening wardrobe, a work to dinner theme, a work-play idea, a travel package or whatever your needs may be.

It is designed to fit your life and your requirements. It includes everything you need – skirts, pants, jackets, blouses, sweaters, and dresses and is limited to two principal colours, each of which can stand on its own or mix with the other.

It is a way to organize your clothing to make it work for you, day to day, week to week, year to year. It is a concept that applies to any taste level and any budget.


When planning a foundation wardrobe, start by thinking about your needs – how you spend your time and where.

  • Do you work? If you are working, you will need a good five-day office wardrobe. You will probably be surrounded mostly by the same people every day and you will no doubt want to change you look for them as well as for yourself.
  • Do you entertain much? Where? At home, in restaurants, at a club?
  • Do you have charity or business meetings and conferences in your life?
  • Lunches? Dinners?
  • What are your husband’s job demands on you? Do you travel with him to his conferences? Do you need to interact with other executive wives?
  • Do you have children? Pets?
  • Do you live in a city where you find yourself in restaurants a lot?
  • Or do you live in the country, where dressing in jeans is fine for almost anything?
  • Do you travel much? To sophisticated cities, or for work, or for holidays?
  • Do you live in a warm, or cold, or temperate and changeable climate?
  • In what sort of clothes do you feel you are at your best and most attractive?
  • Do you prefer to wear skirts or trousers, or dresses?
  • P17

  • Separates usually allow for greater versatility than one piece outfits, but if you should prefer to wear dresses instead of separates, this can still work very well for you. The key here is the dress and jacket look – shirt-dresses and jumper style dresses would also be a good option. The shapes of the individual pieces must all work together so that a jacket can be worn with two or three skirts and perhaps a dress as well.
  • In the same way the blouses and tops can be worn with all of the skirts and pants, and some can even double as casual jackets.
  • Cardigans, T-shirts, sweaters, tank tops, coats and accessories have to be added.
  • Scarves and printed fabrics can be used to tie the pieces together – for example two solid colours which are strong contrasts work better with a scarf or blouse incorporating both colours in a pattern, with the inclusion of a third colour to soften the whole effect.
  • A mix and match module can contain as few as five items or as many as twenty five.


A basic wardrobe will differ from person to person. You might feel that you cannot wear a suit because you are too short or too hippy or perhaps you feel you will never need one. If you live in a really warm climate you might not need a coat, but generally speaking the basic clothes are the same for everyone

So to get started, firstly you need to work out season by season, exactly what you need in the way of clothes, and what you can do without. This means not only giving some thought to your need for individual items, but planning their place in the overall scheme.

You need to consider how well you are equipped for any event that may arise. For instance funerals usually come about quite unexpectedly and you may suddenly have to find a suitable outfit. Similarly with happier social occasions – do you have a ‘party’ dress or a co-ordinated outfit ready and waiting to be worn to a job interview, or a parent / teacher meeting, a seminar, wedding, graduation or whatever?


However bear in mind that a basic wardrobe is not a COMPLETE wardrobe, which would have much more variation. A basic wardrobe is essentially a collection of ‘best’ clothes.

Once your basic capsule is set, you may want to add to it. Your working wardrobe can contain a single capsule with an infinite number of pieces based on a two-colour scheme or it may be composed of different capsules which inter-relate. Your second and subsequent capsules should be able to mix easily with your initial capsule. Please note that black and navy do not go together so you need to choose one or the other as a base for all your capsules.

All clothes shown on this page are available from SOFT SURROUNDINGS. Click on the images to see more.




Click here to go to Planning a Basic Wardrobe Part Two

Click here to learn about Colour Analysis

Click here to Find Your Colour Season

Click here to analyse your shape

Click here to find out what shape you are

Click here to learn how to accentuate your good points and eliminate your weaker points

Click here to learn how to adjust for your scale and proportions

Click here to see the importance of your First Impression

Click here to find out how to make your clothes fit well

Click here to go to Dressing Well

Click here to go find out how to choose good clothes

Click here to see how to Recycle Special Occasion Clothes

Click here to go to Mix and Match

Click here to go to the Basic Mix and Match Starter Wardrobe

Click here to go to The Clothing Capsule Plan

Click here to go to Tailored Dressy Module

Click here to go to Wardrobe Organistation for Mix and Match

Click here to find out how to build a Capsule Wardrobe

Click here to go to Your Face and Hair pages

Click here to go to Business Wear

Click here to go to find your Style Personality

Click here to go to Natural Country Style

Click here to go to Elegant Classic Style

Click here to go to Romantic Woman Style

Click here to see the Dramatic Look

Click here to see how to dress for your Working Hours

Click here to see how to wear the Mix and Match Suited Look

Click here to see the Unsuited Business Dress Look

Click here to see the Elegant Dress Work Look

Click here to find out how to Budget for your new clothes capsule

Click here to find out how to design a three year buying plan

Click here to find out how to do Comparison Shopping

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Choose your seasonal colour

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Margaret Chetter

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Filling your closet with clothes can be a fun adventure in shopping, but if you do not cover the bases with the right basic items, then it can become a calamity to get dressed. This list of essentials should be a place to start, and then built upon with your own style. These pieces create a foundation for any wardrobe and are timeless.

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