“I always tell people let’s get the bones first. Most people don’t have the wardrobe bones-the essentials-and then they just feel frustrated. In a house you get your big pieces of furniture first-you get the bones first-this is the same idea. Let’s get the bones and then we’ll add all the fun.”
The main issue Jeanette sees is this: most of us wear 80% of what is in our closet 20% of the time. This is a symptom of the (more salient) underlying problem—most people don’t understand what kinds of things should make up 80% of their wardrobe. Simply put, most of your closet should be dedicated to essentials that reflect your life right now—these are the bones. And this is important—your bones will look different than your neighbors’ bones or your partner’s bones or your best friend’s bones, or your own bones five years ago or ten years from now. Wardrobe essentials reflect life, and they should change as your life changes. "People read a magazine article that says, 'essentials are black trousers and white button downs and a pencil skirt…,' and that’s great if you’re in business, but if you’re a stay-at-home mom your essentials are going to look different." In every case, the remaining 20% of your wardrobe is for all things fun, personal, and pleasing (accessories, great shoes, dressed-up and dressed-down pieces that put some flesh on the bones, so to speak).
Building the skeleton structure of your wardrobe looks something like this: take a beat, ask yourself lots of questions, and contemplate. What do you do with most of your time every week? What to you tend to wear every day? Do you love it? Hate it? Why? Record your thoughts and use them as a thoughtful guide to begin the process of editing your closet and building up your wardrobe strategically. Ultimately, you want 80% of your wardrobe perfectly suited to 80% of your life. Trim the fat, build the bones.