Be honest about your needs, simplify, consciously shop.


1. Use it or lose it.


Pare down your wardrobe to the basics. If you’ve been thinking about wearing a so-so blouse for the past 6 months but haven’t touched it, get rid of it. Then consider how to fill in what you need with items that will not only genuinely flatter, but also stand the test of time. Three sweaters you feel absolutely great in will triumph over fifteen sweaters that aren't quite right when it comes to color, fit and overall value-per-wear.


2. Buy to wear, not to store.


Before shopping, consider the purpose of your clothes—make a plan. Write down a list of events you will actually attend. Think about the clothes you have now and note what items still have tags and what items you consistently grab. Let the list guide future shopping so that you’re buying items to actually wear, not just hang in your closet and admire.


3. Work hard to find clothes that work hard for you.


Scrutinize the fit. This means if you have to compromise for a perfect fit in any way you should wait until you find a piece that fits you better. So many of us are guilty of making fit compromises in the name of an instantly gratifying purchase. But we lose in the long run when we can only stomach wearing the piece once or twice. Steps 1-3 will eliminate clutter and make picking an outfit less overwhelming and more of a no-brainer (because you’ll actually need and love everything in your closet).


4. Be your own fashion editor and director.


Understand your individual style to pick colors and designs that will continue to please you over a long stretch of time. This means recognizing the merit of a neutral color, but also embracing your love of deep reds and bright blues. Pick a style icon or pay special attention to looks in magazines and on the street that consistently please you. When it comes down to it everyone has a bare-bones “style” that will persist throughout changing trends. Find yours and embrace it.


5. Quantity over quality does not a satisfactory wardrobe make.


Set a budget that works for you to rationalize spending more on pieces that you truly love. This may mean acquiring one stellar $100 piece per month rather than four tops you could live without. Patiently building a wardrobe is a lot less fun than quick n’ dirty shopping sprees, but it will pay off over time. Your eventually luxe and satisfying closet will be the proof.