DISCOVER YOUR PERSONAL STYLE

A few years ago while living in a small Brooklyn apartment, I found myself standing in front of my very small, overflowing closet feeling completely overwhelmed. I was trying to pack for an upcoming trip and after hours of wasted time and failed outfit attempts, I felt helpless.
In an effort to make sense of the madness, I scoured the internet for what to pack for a week in Paris. Each article and blog post I read left me feeling more overwhelmed than the one before it, and I was about to give up and overpack, again, when I stumbled upon a neatly organized Parisian packing list that fit into a small carry-on.

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Each of the 10 or so items pictured were perfectly cohesive, classic and the effortless and chic outfits they created were almost too good to be true. I quickly clicked through and was presented with a new to me concept called the “5 Piece French Wardrobe.”

From there I discovered capsule wardrobes, The 10 Item Wardrobe, Project 333 and countless other minimal closet concepts.

Despite the different names, each of these approaches suggested that sartorial satisfaction stemmed from a less is more approach to dressing, and that a few key pieces were all I needed to look & feel fantastic every day.

Was it really possible to look and feel my best without having an overflowing closet? Could I really be stylish and have enough to wear with only a few pieces?

Everything in my experience (and our collective consumer culture) told me no, but each article and video that I consumed on the subject suggested otherwise. So, I decided to give it a try and here I am, years later and finally happy with my closet and more in tune with my personal style that I ever thought was possible.

I know what I love to wear and what I don’t and I’ve slowly built the wardrobe I always dreamed of having. Here, and on my YouTube channel, I hope to share what I’ve learned with you so that you too can discover your personal style and finally free yourself from clutter. If you’re new here, I’ve linked some good places to start below including my own personal closet & style ethos, the 10 items I alway have in my closet, my wish list and how it keeps me from making impulse buys and a few of my favorite wish list outfit planning collages that I use to decide if an item will work with my existing wardrobe. You can also see ongoing updates, inspiration and outfit posts on my blog here.

 
 

MY CLOSET AT A GLANCE

 

Here, I've outlined the main colors, silhouettes and descriptive characteristics that I strive for in my wardrobe. In the last few years as I've really honed in on my personal style, I've found that keeping this focus at the heart of my purchases helps ensure that I make smart buys that I'll actually wear. By following these points and constantly reevaluating and adjusting them as I get older, I move etc, I've been able to slowly but surely build a closet that I truly love.

My hope is that seeing these points from my perspective, and then seeing them in action here and on my YouTube channel will help you do the same. At the end of the day, fashion should be fun and we should use it as a way to express ourselves. It should never be taken too seriously, but a little planning never hurt either, and I've found that a little work at the beginning makes the entire process a lot more enjoyable.

 

COLOR PALETTE

First up let's discuss color palette. As a lover of neutrals with pops of color here and there, I am the happiest when wearing simple shades all year. This streamlined color palette has worked so well for me as a base for brighter accessories, and I wear these shades all year.

Not only are they incredibly easy to mix and match (nearly every color can be worn together with very little thought), but they work for me and all four seasons. 

Now, because I do love color I'm always trying to add a few bolder pops here and there and at the moment I have about 4 that I gravitate towards. Each of these make more of a statement than my base colors but still feel like me when done in small doses and are typically red/burgundy, green and pink.

That said, I'm also usually the most comfortable when these colors appear in accessories rather than entire outfits - with a few exceptions of course. If you're having trouble narrowing in on a color palette that works for you, I go into a lot more detail in my eBook below.

CLASSIC, MODERN, ELEGANCE & RELAXED

One of the things that really helped me lock in my personal style was picking a few descriptive words that described my aesthetic. The first time I sat down to do this I had too many words and as a result, I had a difficult time coming up with a cohesive style message. As I've worked on refining my style over the years, and have really allowed myself to grow into who I'm most comfortable being, I've narrowed it down to 4 words - classic, modern, elegant and relaxed.

Though similar, each of these words touches on a different part of my personal style and ultimately my wardrobe, and are all critical to making me feel like me. To better understand these, let's break them down a bit further. 

CLASSIC: First up is classic. On the surface this word means exactly what it says - something that is simple and elegant and not greatly subject to changes in fashion. For me, this couldn't be more true. From fashion to makeup to home decor, I have always gravitated toward things that stand the test of time. I love the traditional and legacy of time tested pieces and have found that they are some of my favorite items to wear. I love feeling polished but understated and classics help me do that with very little effort.

MODERN: Next is a piece of the puzzle that's critical to ensuring that I feel updated and never stuffy. As much as I love classics, I've learned over the years that wearing too many of them together can make me feel like I’m wearing a costume. Without a few carefully selected modern touches my clothes wear me instead of the other way around so to combat this, I've learned that no outfit of mine is complete without a modern twist and I love pairing timeless classics with trendier items for a balance that feels 100% like me. 

ELEGANT: By definition, elegance is "pleasingly graceful and stylish in appearance or manner" and it's a piece of my fashion pie that I've grown to value over the years. After years of classic opera vocal lessons and ballet classes, I've learned that anything too trendy, too casual or too "cool" just doesn't work for me. We all know that our experiences shape who we are and for me, years of classical training (beginning when I was 10) have given me good posture, careful diction and thoughtful movements that feel out of place when paired with anything too grungy. Even though I love the look on others, it always feels out of place on me and instead, I'm much more comfortable in tailored, understated pieces that compliment my life's experiences rather than combat them.

RELAXED: Last but not least is arguably the most important for me. Relaxed, which I use interchangeably with comfortable, is an absolute must for me. In fact, nothing ruins a day or an outfit for me quicker than being uncomfortable. I despise having to readjust, fidget or suffer when it comes to fashion and feeling relaxed is key to making me feel great in my clothes. I've learned the hard way one too many times that anything too stuffy, formal or complicated just doesn't get worn so now I avoid these pieces and I'm much happier. 

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THE TEN ITEMS THAT ARE ALWAYS IN MY CLOSET

 

Now that I've shared the colors I gravitate towards, the general feeling I strive for and how these keep me focused on pieces I'll actually wear, let's touch on the 10 items that are always in my closet. For me, these pieces are the cornerstone of great dressing and help me put together countless outfits that always feel like me. For you, these key pieces may look exactly like mine and for others they may be completely different.

The key here is to learn what works for you and then wear those pieces with pride - even if it means that you wear the same "uniform" of a t-shirt and jeans almost every day. Also, these 10 pieces have worked beautifully for me and I've found that they are also relatively universal but the nuances between each of our own personal styles lie in the colors, cuts and silhouettes that we choose these pieces in. For example, I love a crisp white, collared button down but you may prefer a collarless pillowy white shirt. What's most important is that you select pieces that can serve as a base or blank canvas for your outfits, and always do so with your own unique personal style in mind.

 

 
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  1. White Shirt

  2. Black T-Shirt

  3. White T-Shirt

  4. Striped T-Shirt

  5. Black Pants

  6. Black Skirt

  7. Light Sweater

  8. Classic Jeans

  9. Classic Blazer

  10. Black Dress

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WISH LIST

 

In order to build a well rounded wardrobe, and avoid impulse purchases I like to keep a running wish list of pieces I think will compliment my closet and my personal style. These include short term purchases (require less saving and planning - things like t-shirts) and long term purchases (things that require a lot more planning and saving - sometimes even years of planning and saving). Here, I'm sharing the things I have on my list with you. I’ve broken them into the purchases I plan on making in the near future (tier 1) and those that are on my list for a later date (tier 2 or 3). I will continually update it as new things make their way onto my list and also if and when I decide that some things on this list won’t work after-all.

You can click on any of the images to be taken to their purchase page if you're interested. Also, at the bottom I've included anything from the wish list that I've purchased or have been gifted so that you can see how the items go from wish list to purchase, and are actually incorporated into my wardrobe. You should also note that some affiliate links have been used below. This means that if you choose to shop from one of my links, I may make a very small commission from your purchase. This support helps me continue to make content. That said, none of these links or items are sponsored but I am occasionally gifted things from this list. Sponsored posts will and gifted things will always be disclosed and you can read more about my personal approach to ethical blogging here.

Finally, at the bottom of this entire section I’ve added a running list of things that have been retired from my wardrobe (donated or sold), those that have been moved to either yard work/dog walking wear and anything that has been moved to the back of my closet so that I can determine if it’s still a goof fit with my style and wardrobe.

Thank you so much for your support!

 

 

TIER 1 - THE NEXT FEW MONTHS


TIER 2 - SOMETIME THIS YEAR / EARLY NEXT YEAR


TIER 3 - BEYOND THAT (NEXT YEAR +)


PURCHASED WISH LIST ITEMS

Below, I’ve rounded up anything that was on my wish list and has been added to my closet with my own money. In other words, these are things I bought myself. Below this I’ve outlined the items I have been graciously gifted. You can also see how I style these things with my current wardrobe on my YouTube channel, here on my blog and over on my Instagram.

 

GIFTED WISH LIST ITEMS

Sometimes, I am very graciously gifted items from my wish list. Although the vast majority of my closet has been purchased by me, with my own money over many years, below I’ve outlined anything that has been gifted. To learn more about how I work with brands and occasionally accept gifted items, you can read my full disclosure here. You can also see how I style them with my current wardrobe on my YouTube channel, here on my blog and over on my Instagram.

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THINGS TAKEN OFF MY WISH LIST & WHY

Below, I’ve rounded up anything that was on my wish list and has been removed. As is the case with careful wardrobe planning, sometimes things we think will work don’t actually end up doing that. Here, you can see some of the things that have been removed from my wish list after realizing that I either don’t actually need it or it may not actually serve my wardrobe in the way I’d like.

 

DARK WASH, ALMOST FLARED JEANS

I didn’t always, but since starting on this journey years ago, and now working from home I’ve realized that I really do love jeans. For that reason, I’ve gathered a small collection over the years of differing silhouettes and 3 main colors - light or mid blue, black and dark blue. While most of these jeans are in a classic straight leg with a mid to high rise or a slight flare, I’ve always admired the look of a wider leg jean and thought the extra option would be great for my wardrobe.

After having and wearing my high waist, dark wash, straight leg jeans for a bit now and styling those along with my other pairs, I’ve realized I actually prefer that cut and if anything I’d like to add another pair like that to my closet with a slightly shorter length - you know how much I love my crops.

I’m also considering retiring a few of the pairs I have now that have been around for a few years and are starting to show their age. When this happens, they get retired to my house clothes/yard work clothes and/or dog walking clothes so that they can live another day without being wasted.





SUEDE LOAFERS

I’ve had these beauties on my wish list for a long time now but have ultimately decided to take them off at this time. Even though I think they’re gorgeous and would be very versatile for my wardrobe, I don’t think suede is the best choice for my closet.

NUDE BALLET FLATS

I decided that a pair of black ballet flats would serve be better - especially as I save for another pair of chanel ballet flats. I like that black is versatile and goes with most of my wardrobe, plus it can be. dressed up slightly which I love for dresses and skirts.


THINGS NO LONGER IN MY CLOSET OR MOVED TO THE BACK & WHY

My ability to maintain a lean but well curated closet is something I’ve loved about this journey toward personal style discovery & building a closet for the long term. Since I did my first few major closet purges, I’ve been slow to add new things and am always reevaluating my wardrobe to make sure it’s serving me well. Part of this is removing things when they no longer work because they’re either damaged or tattered beyond repair or simply not something I reach for that often anymore. For the first part of that equation, I typically move those things into my yard work/dog walking/house lounging section of my dresser and for everything else I will either donate it or recycle it if it’s really damaged and can’t be used in another area of my life. For things that are still in great condition but I haven’t been reaching for them in some time, I will move them to the back of my closet and keep track of how often I think of them or reach for them. After a few months or even a year or two in some cases, I’ll reevaluate these things and sell or donate anything I’m sure I won’t miss and continue to hang onto anything else that still has a place in my style but is on vacation from frequent wear. Below, I’ve outlined some of these for you.

 

SOLD, RECYCLED OR DONATED OVER THE LAST 2 YEARS

  • Striped Blue & White Wrap Top - started to show some wear and tear after 2 years but was still in wearable condition so I donated it. This was a great trial run for this style of top for me and I learned that I actually prefer something with buttons

  • White Puff Sleeve Top - Sadly this top showed irreparable wear and tear after extensive use- noticeable staining and fraying of the shoulder seams and wasn’t suitable for donation so I recycled it. I learned though that I love this style and if I were to add something similar to my closet in the future I would look for something of higher quality

  • Striped Everlane Cotton Oxford - this sadly turned out to be very poor quality and wore through much faster than I would have liked

  • Solid Blue Everlane Cotton Oxford - the same story for this oxford

  • Black Horsebit Loafers - while gorgeous and perfect for my style, these were just a bit too big so I never wore them and ended up donating them

  • Everlane Pointed Toe Flats - These were among the first new things I added to my closet after the first few purges and one of my first Everlane purchases. These shoes took a long time to break in but once they did, I wore them non-stop. They were great walking shoes for NYC when I was living there but after many years they sadly were worn through beyond repair.

  • Short Black Faux Leather Pencil Skirt - after wearing and styling it for a while started to feel a little too short for me so I donated it

MOVED TO THE BACK OF MY CLOSET OR IS NOW USED FOR YARD WORK/ HOUSE WORK/ DOG WALKING

  • Everlane Mid-Rise Skinny Jeans - still lovely and actually in amazing condition despite wearing them multiple times a week for almost 2 years but I’m loving the darker wash high rise jeans at the moment so these have been moved to the back of my closet

  • Levi’s 501 CT’s - these are now yard work and house work/super casual jeans for me because they have a slightly lower rise than I prefer now, but they are still in perfect condition and I think Levi’s makes some of the best 100% cotton jeans

  • Levi’s Denim Shorts - I still loves these shorts but they don’t serve my summer style like they used to anymore. I prefer more tailored shorts and dresses so these have been moved to dog walking & yard work (perfect for the middle of summer when it’s a thousand degrees)

  • Beautiful Blue & White Striped Ralph Lauren Shirt Dress - I got this back when I was living in NYC and wore it all the time there. It felt perfect for the city and I could comfortably wear it almost all year long. Unfortunately, it feels a bit much here in Charleston so it’s on hold. This is the perfect example of something I’ll never part with it even though I haven’t worn it recently

  • Black Pointed Toe Flats: I really love these flats but I haven’t been reaching for them nearly enough recently so I’ve moved them to the back of my closet for the moment. Instead, I’ve been rediscovering my love for my Ferragamo 1 inch heeled flats that I’ve had for well over 5 years now and still love.

  • A Few White T-Shirts: A handful of the t-shirts I’ve had in the last few years are no longer white and sadly no longer salvageable. For my Mott & Bow short sleeve white tee that I got makeup on, I now use it exclusively as a layering tee under sweaters and the others have been moved to my loungewear, yard work, dog park clothes so that I can continue to use them. Once they get too dingy even for that, I’ll likely cut them into pieces to use as cleaning cloths.

  • 3/4 Sleeve Striped Tee: My original tee like this from when I first started sharing this journey here on my blog over 4 years ago has sadly seen it’s time come. After very frequent wear over 2 or 3 years, it got a few holes and was retired to my dog park/yard work clothes where it still lives. I then replaced it with the same tee and wore that one consistently until last season or the season before when I started to feel like the 3/4 sleeve and semi-wide stripes weren’t serving my style perfectly at the moment so I decided to move it to the back of my closet. Since doing that, I haven’t reached for it and have instead added a short sleeve striped tee with grey stripes and a narrow pattern which feels better for me. I’ll continue to hold onto the other tee though and see how often I think of it or reach for it over the next year.

WISH LIST OUTFIT PLANNING

 

One of the ways I decide if a purchase is worthy of my money and a slot in my wardrobe is to see how it will work with my current wardrobe. I have worked so hard to get my closet to a place I love that I don’t let just anything in and this prep beforehand helps ensure I make an educated, well thought out purchase. Below, I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite wish list outfit planning collages. 

 
 
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WHAT I HAVE: Delicate Necklace / Signet ring / Delicate bracelet / Greenish Brown Cotton Sweater / Cap Toe Pumps / Vintage Gucci Bag
WHAT I’LL ADD: Beige Sunglasses / Light Cashmere Scarf / Wide Leg Crops / Long Gold Necklace / Classic Charm Bracelet

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WHAT I HAVE: Vintage Gucci Bag / Delicate Necklace / Signet ring / Delicate bracelet
WHAT I’LL ADD: Solid Mules / Handknitted Sweater / Wide Leg Crops / Beige Sunglasses

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WHAT I HAVE: Delicate Necklace / Signet ring / Delicate bracelet / Camel Coat / Black Cashmere Sweater / Black Ankle Boots / Skinny Jeans / Bold Gold Hoops
WHAT I’LL ADD: Beige Sunglasses / Classic Bucket Bag / Light Cashmere Scarf

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WHAT I HAVE: Delicate Necklace / Signet ring / Delicate bracelet / Grey Cashmere Sweater / Sabina Savage Scarf
WHAT I’LL ADD: Beige Sunglasses / Classic Bucket Bag / Light Cashmere Scarf / Wide Leg Crops / Suede Loafers / Modern Diamonds

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WHAT I HAVE: Delicate Necklace / Signet ring / Delicate bracelet / Sabina Savage Scarf / Cap Toe Pumps / Skinny Jeans / Bold Gold Hoops
WHAT I’LL ADD: Handknitted Sweater / Beige Sunglasses / Classic Bucket Bag

angela-roi-angelou-mini-bucket-thelma-loafers-wide-leg-crop-mejuri-pantos-paris-sunglasses-cuyana-scarf-transparent-sunglasses-ruffs-signet-ring-sabina-savage-scarf-everlane-silk.jpg

WHAT I HAVE: Delicate Necklace / Signet ring / Delicate bracelet / Cap Toe Pumps / Vintage Gucci Bag
WHAT I’LL ADD: Beige Sunglasses / Light Cashmere Scarf / Wide Leg Crops / Long Gold Necklace / Classic Charm Bracelet / Silk Shirt

angela-roi-angelou-mini-bucket-marc+fisher+yale-wide-leg-crop-mejuri-pantos-paris-sunglasses-cuyana-scarf-transparent-sunglasses-ruffs-signet-ring-sabina-savage-scarf-the+curated-camel-coat-marc-fisher-yale.jpg

WHAT I HAVE: Delicate Necklace / Signet ring / Delicate bracelet / Black Wool Coat / Black Cashmere Sweater / Black Ankle Boots / Bold Gold Hoops
WHAT I’LL ADD: Beige Sunglasses / Classic Bucket Bag / Light Cashmere Scarf / Wide Leg Crops

the-curated-camel-coat-sabina-savage-scarf-pantos-paris-sunglasses-nido-sweater-ruffs-signet-ring-mejuri-bracelet-gucci-kelly-bag-chelsea-boots-wide-leg-crop.jpg

WHAT I HAVE: Camel Coat / Brown Ankle Boots (old from Cole Haan) / Vintage Gucci Bag / Delicate Necklace / Signet ring / Delicate bracelet
WHAT I’LL ADD: Sabina Savage Scarf / Handknitted Sweater / Wide Leg Crops / Beige Sunglasses

angela-roi-angelou-mini-bucket-thelma-loafers-wide-leg-crop-mejuri-pantos-paris-sunglasses-cuyana-scarf-transparent-sunglasses-ruffs-signet-ring-sabina-savage-scarf-the+curated-camel-coat-vaneli-aliz.jpg

WHAT I HAVE: Delicate Necklace / Signet ring / Delicate bracelet / Sabina Savage Scarf / Cap Toe Pumps
WHAT I’LL ADD: Handknitted Sweater / Wide Leg Crops / Beige Sunglasses / Classic Bucket Bag

angela-roi-angelou-mini-bucket-thelma-loafers-wide-leg-crop-mejuri-pantos-paris-sunglasses-cuyana-scarf-transparent-sunglasses-ruffs-signet-ring-sabina-savage-scarf-the+curated-camel-coat-melissa-joy-manning-earrings.jpg

WHAT I HAVE: Delicate Necklace / Signet ring / Delicate bracelet / Sabina Savage Scarf / Brown Ankle Boots / Skinny Jeans / Camel Coat
WHAT I’LL ADD: Handknitted Sweater / Beige Sunglasses / Classic Bucket Bag / Modern Diamonds

WHERE I LIKE TO SHOP

Below, is a snapshot of where I like to shop for high quality items that stand the test of time. I’ve had very good luck with everything I’ve purchased from these retailers and I hope they help you as well.

 

SOME MORE OF MY FAVORITE RETAILERS

Net-a-Porter
Luxurious Staples
shop here

Nisolo
Ethically Handmade Shoes
shop here

Vestiaire Collective
Pre-Loved Luxury
shop here

Reformation
Basics & Romantic Pieces
shop here

NAADAM
Ethically Sourced Cashmere
shop here

Marguax
Gorgeous, Classic Shoes
shop here

Pamela Card
Gorgeous Handmade Jewelry
shop here

Bombas
Socks With A Cause
shop here

Mejuri
Beautiful Jewelry, Great Price
shop here

Stone & Strand
Modern Jewelry Shopping
shop here

Grana
Staples At A Great Price
shop here

 
How To Build A Classic Capsule | 27 Easy Pieces For A Year Of Outfits
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If you're interested in creating your own capsule or just need some help minimizing and focusing your existing wardrobe, this guide is for you! Inside you'll find a crash course in classic separates and an overview of the core 10 that are always in my closet and make up the base of each and every one of my capsules. You'll also find an easy to follow guide for selecting your ideal color palette, a sample capsule with 27 easy pieces for a year of outfits and of course, how to create your own capsule in 4 easy steps.

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EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SIGNET RINGS

 
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Buy Now, Wear Forever: The Signet Ring
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When it comes to building my wardrobe, I gravitate toward classic, well-made pieces that I can wear for years to come. I extend this philosophy to everything from my blazers and sweaters to my footwear and jewelry, and with this ethos in mind, I have been slowly building a collection of classic, beautifully made, jewelry that I can wear and love for years to come. My newest jewelry addition is a signet ring and after years of searching I've finally found the perfect piece and enclosed here I'm sharing everything you need to know about choosing your own signet. This information and advise is as a result of my own extensive research and plenty of expertise from the incredibly knowledgable team at Ruff's Signet Rings which has been crafting these lovely pieces since 1904. 

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BEAUTY FAVES

I love beauty products, but I don’t like spending a ton of time on my makeup. I like products that stay put throughout the day, give me a natural look and work for every occasion without a lot of effort, and each of these deliver just that.

 
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