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6 Steps to a Mix and Match Wardrobe

The following is a guest post Trina of 6 Steps to a Mix and Match Wardrobe

Have you ever looked into a closet full of clothes and cried, “But I have nothing to wear!”

I have. I used to spend hours rifling through my clothes, frustrated to the point of tears, struggling to understand my inability to create an outfit with so many hangers full of options.

Finally, I realized that the problem was not too few options but too many. I had too many colors and too many different styles. I needed to narrow my focus to a tighter color scheme in order to build a wardrobe that worked together and worked for me.

If your closet is packed, but you can’t make a match, you need to follow these 6 steps to building a mix-and-match wardrobe:

1. Start with your favorite bright color.

Don’t worry about what’s in style this season. This is about you. Choose a color that’s a perennial favorite with you, one you come back to over and over. This will be the foundation of your wardrobe and allow you to love every outfit you create. {Mine was Fuchsia.}

2. Add a secondary shade that coordinates with your favorite.

You want something that looks good next to your favorite color without overwhelming it. This is your supporting actress. {I chose Navy Blue.}

3. Choose 2-3 neutrals that compliment your brights.

I define neutrals as black, white, and anything in between, as well as earth tones like browns, khakis, and tinted greys. {My neutrals became black, white, and stone grey.}

4. Purchase 3-6 pants or skirts in your personal neutrals.

Choose pants that flatter YOU, not simply styles that are trending. Find skirt lengths that are right for your legs, and stick with them no matter where this year’s hemlines have bounced to. {I got rid of lengths that didn’t flatter and have stuck with two favorite styles: maxis and knee-length.}

5. Purchase 3-6 tops in your personal colors.

This is where it gets fun! Choose tops in varying shades of your favorite and complementary colors. Don’t be afraid to choose a pattern or bit of styling that’s new or different for you. When you’re following a strong color scheme and choosing bottoms in coordinating neutrals, you’re guaranteed to be able to match it to something. {I love gathers, shiny fabrics, and stripes!}

6. Don’t forget 2-3 tanks!

Layering tanks add fun and depth to any outfit, and many blouses or tops won’t work without one. Again, choose these in a few neutrals and at least one bright so they work under lots of your tops. {I love both spaghetti straps and full straps to compliment a variety of necklines.}

Final Tips:

  • Realize that you may already own some great core pieces in your favorite colors or neutrals–you just need to add more in that color scheme to give you options.
  • Make sure each article you purchase matches at least two other tops/or bottoms.
  • Make your jewelry and accessory purchases in the same color scheme, allowing yourself some bolder statement pieces because you know you’ll have the stuff to match.

With the purchase of 10-15 articles of clothing, you’ve created an entire wardrobe full of colors you love and easy co-ordinations. Now you can have fun every time you step into your closet because your wardrobe works together like a puzzle. The pieces in the above graphic mix and match to create a whopping 35 combinations!

Need more help building a wardrobe that works for you and makes you smile? Check out my book, Embracing Beauty: Practical Style for Every Shape and Season of Motherhood, for more fashion tips and to find out how I build my mix-and-match wardrobe frugally from the thrift store!

What is your favorite piece of clothing?

Trina is a mom of 3 who regularly schedules field trips to the thrift store. You can find her wearing purple most days, jotting down words that beg to be written in between cooking whole foods, homeschooling, and laughter-filled conversations with friends. Find her at!