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Q: When I go shopping, I usually buy one or two items rather than a whole outfit. They are fashionable and stylish by themselves but when I get home I never know what to wear them with to make a coordinated outfit. Any advice?

A: Yours is a common complaint and part of the reason why so many of us never wear half the clothes in our closet. The trick to making your wardrobe work properly is to stock up with good basics – that way you’ll always have items to match your new purchases.

  1. Buy Bra Basics
    Start with good underwear. It goes without saying you need a good seam-free bra in white, black and nude, but it’s also a good idea to have some bras with pretty straps you don’t mind showing off – that way you can get away with a greater variety of tops and dresses.
  2. Make Pretty Purchases
    Buy a selection of pretty vest tops in a range of colours. You’ll get a lot more wear out of your cardigans, jackets and jumpers if you’ve plenty of variety to wear underneath them.
  3. Buy Denim You Dig
    Spend time and, if necessary, money on the perfect pair of jeans. Denim goes with everything and can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion – and now with so many brands and so many fits out there, there’s no reason to settle for anything other than the perfect fit.
  4. Go Shoe Shopping!
    Buy three new pairs of shoes: a good pair of flats (ballet shoes are cheap and go with everything), some knee-high boots** (which can be worn with jeans, dresses or skirts) and some suit-all heeled pumps in black or brown for when you instantly need to smarten up your appearance.
  5. Remember, Plain Pieces + High Fashion Items = Fabulous!
    Work on your blank canvas. Unless you want to make a real statement, high fashion items work best when worn with plain pieces. This doesn’t mean your entire wardrobe needs to be black, but that a few key items in plain colours are a worth investment – grab a neat pencil skirt, thin-knit sweater and boot-cut trousers, and then fix your more fashion-forward pieces around them.

**For my readers up North!

(Glamour Magazine/Ask The Experts/Fashion – remixed)

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