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Departmental T-shirt with eShakti custom made skirt and L.K. Bennett patent leather wedges

How to buy a winner for an awesome wardrobe requires to unlock the secrets of successful clothes shopping. Treating your wardrobe like a collection means that you curate it, and only add new pieces that add value to your outfit options. Read how I learned curating my wardrobe, and how you can apply these secrets too to look your best with what’s in your closet.

  1. Prologue: A Shopping Trip to a Great Mall by Train
    • Pre-shop to See What’s Out There
    • Have at Least Three Outfits in Mind
  2. Never Buy Complete Outfits
  3. Questions to Answer before Buying It
  4. Example Outfits with a Striped Skirt
  5. Go for Garments that Work for more than One Season


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Prologue: A Shopping Trip to a Great Mall by Train

One summer, my grandpa Oskar invited me to visit him to go shopping for my fall wardrobe. I was really excited about the invitation. When my bus arrived at the bus stop that was across the railroad station, my grandpa was already waiting there. It struck me quite unusual. He had never picked me up at the bus stop before. After he had greeted me he said that we would go by train to Essen, another town of the Rhein-Ruhr metropolitan area that had a much longer mall than the town where he lived. Until today, I cannot tell whether I was more excited about the words “by train” or “greater mall.”

fashion blogger in full leather skirt
Oliveo pleated leather skirt with Brooks Brothers silk cashmere sweater to stay warm on a cool summer day with temperatures in the lower 60s (around 16C). The studded heels and leather add some edge to the otherwise “girly” vibe of a pleated skirt with knit sweater outfit


Pre-shop to See What’s Out There

We did some pre-shopping, ate something, and I decided that I wanted the pair of salmon colored pleated waist leather pants we had seen. My love for dressy leather pants, leather casual pants, and leather dress pants started already as a teenager.


Have at Least Three Outfits in Mind

He asked “What would you wear with these?” “My black turtleneck, the white blouse, the green striped sweater may work, and the blue one for sure.” “O.K., that sounds good enough. Let’s see whether we can find a matching vest for some extra warmth with the white blouse.” Later at the railroad station, he saw some plastic bangles and matching necklaces that he bought to “complete” the look.

In retrospective, it is kind of interesting that my grandfather asked this question whenever he went shopping with me. Why? I only remember him wearing a dark gray suit, white shirt and red tie with a long wool coat, gray scarf, and hat, and black lace-up shoes in winter, and the same outfit, but in light gray with a light khaki coat or without coat and black closed toe sandals in summer.

Interestingly, still today, before buying a new item I challenge myself to come up with three outfits with the new item in mind.

Never Buy Complete Outfits

Never buy a complete outfit that you see in a catalog or on an online site. #agelessstyle #style advice Click To Tweet

You may end up with only one additional outfit when the individual pieces do not go with anything in your wardrobe. It would be pretty expensive to build a wardrobe like that, right. Before buying anything always think about what outfits you can create with the piece and whether the piece works for more than one season. The latter is especially important in cold climate regions as often layering is the only way to create the insulation you need to stay warm.

Another reason why not to buy complete outfits is the risk that your bff or colleague bought the same outfit. You may end up looking like a copycat, when she wears it first. More on how to handle when your bff has the same clothes.

stylist in white leather motorcycle jacket
White leather motorcycle jacket with silk cashmere sweater, pumps and c/o eShakti striped skirt for a work outfit. Here the jacket is worn like a blazer


Questions to Answer before Buying It

Let me use the striped skirt as an example to demonstrate what I mean. You will admit that a striped skirt is not a neutral that goes with everything, i.e. an item one has to put some thought into before giving it a place in the closet. Thus, ask yourself these questions.

  1. Are there – from the top of your head, i.e. without long thinking about it – pieces in your closet that work with the colors and vibe of the item to build at least three outfits?
  2. When/where can I wear it?
  3. Will it work later, i.e. in another season?

To buy a winner the following must apply:

  1. You have to be able to answer the first question with yes. If so take mental notes or notes on you iPhone with which pieces it goes and check immediately at home whether it works so you can return the piece, if needed.
  2. The answer to the second question should include the part of your life that you need to dress for most of the time unless you are shopping for a special occasion (wedding, opera, vacation, etc.).
  3. The third answer should be a yes, and you should have at least three ideas! And also take mental notes or notes on your iPhone how. Of course, check at home and return, if needed.

Example Outfits with a Striped Skirt

Here are a couple of outfit ideas how to make multiple outfits with a striped skirt.

Striped skirt c/o eShakti and own silk scarf, custom-made leather top, DIY pendent, Ray Ban aviator sunglasses, printed oblong silk scarf, Bulova watch, Hermes collier de chien bangle, Nicole sandals for a work outfit


style book author wearing a skirt on a rainy day
Men’s HH raincoat, Longchamp pliage, Hunter rain boots, H buckle, GNW top to brighten up a rainy and windy day worn with skirt c/o eShakti


style blogger in polka dot cardigan
GNW polka dot cardigan, H buckle, plateau sandals, peridot necklace (all own) with skirt c/o eShakti for an office appropriate look on a chilly, rainy summer day


street style blogger in leather bomber
VS leather bomber, college T-shirt, L.K. Bennett wedges, Esprit shoulder bag, DvF sunglasses (all own) and skirt c/o eShakti


stylist in striped and polka dots work outfit
Jones New York polka dot shirt, Hermes collier de chien bangle and Christian Louboutin pumps


over 50 years old woman in office look with sweater
Pencil skirt c/o eShakti with own chartreuse and Moda International black cashmere sweaters, pearls, Hermes collier de chien bangle and leather band, Paloma Picasso sunglasses and Anne Klein slingbacks


midlife blogger in business casual look
Skirt c/o eShakti with own Oliveo blazer, Jones New York polka dot shirt, Esprit bag, Paloma Picasso sunglasses, Hermes collier de chien bangle and Christian Louboutin pumps


lifestyle blogger in custom made skirt
Skirt c/o eShakti with own Moda International silk cashmere sweater, opera pearl necklace, Hermes collier de chien bangle and leather band, Bulova watch and Anne Klein sling backs for an office


Go for Garments that Work for more than One Season

In fall, the same outfits can be worn with black tights and fall booties or sturdier shoes than shown here. While in the above outfits, the jackets are only as outerwear for the commute in the early cool morning hours, in fall they serve as the outfit and a trench coat or light leather coat are the cover-up for the commute.

How to Buy a Winner for an awesome Wardrobe in a Nutshell

The secrets to a great wardrobe are to edit your clothing and curate a collection of pieces that work for your lifestyle and together. Have a plan what you need, and how a new item will support your style goals.

If you are interested in further How-tos you may want to take a look at how to style jogging pants for work, how to wear capris in fall, and how to wear a long leather skirt.

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Photos: G. Kramm

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