My Philosophy for Crafting a Wardrobe: Foundational + Filler Pieces

philosophy for crafting wardrobe foundational and filler pieces

Let’s talk about crafting your wardrobe!

If you haven’t heard, I’m once again hosting my FREE class, 6 Common Style Mistakes + 3 Keys to Fix Them. In it, I share that one of the most common style mistakes women make is buying random pieces that catch your eye instead of having a plan to build a well-built, mix-and-match, easy-to-use wardrobe.

There are a ton of things involved in crafting your wardrobe, from figuring out how to build one that works for your lifestyle, personal style, body shape, etc. to specific pieces to build your wardrobe with. We won’t get into all that in this blog post because it’s quite a lot! If you DO want to get into that a bit more, register to check out my FREE class HERE. Definitely worth the watch to set you on the right path!

In today’s blog post, I’ll stay a bit more meta and share one concept that I use to guide how I craft my wardrobe (and all the capsule wardrobes I share with you). I also use this concept to guide my purchasing decisions, like whether it’s a piece I want to spend less or more on.

And, it’s this: building your wardrobe with a mix of foundational pieces + filler pieces.

This is the concept that I use when I create capsule wardrobes, Starter Kit Wardrobe Guides, and my own personal wardrobe, and it’s what I teach students inside of my online style course Simply Put Together—I base everything on it!

A great wardrobe has a mix of foundational pieces and what I call “fillers” or “fixings.” So, let’s talk about what those are and why they’re important!


What Are Foundational and Filler Pieces?

Foundational pieces are essentially the timeless basics. They’re the pieces that are pretty standard, like a great pair of dark wash jeans, a standard white tee, a denim jacket, or a black blazer. Things like that. They often act as the foundation for outfits.

Then, the many, many other pieces you could add to your wardrobe are the fillers and the fixings. These are pieces that might make more of a statement and/or have more distinct features and characteristics like a floral print blouse, a graphic tee, a printed skirt, a blazer with a trendy cut or silhouette, jeans with a trendy silhouette, and so on. BTW, I put pretty much all trendy pieces into this category because they are not timeless. You’ll see why this is important in a moment when we talk about purchasing decisions.

The food analogy…

One way I like to think of it is with a food analogy. When you make a sandwich, you have bread. There’s always bread. Bread is one of the foundations of the sandwich. Then, you’ll add all different kinds of meats, veggies, and condiments to really bring that sandwich to life, according to your taste. The meats and veggies and condiments fill in the sandwich and are the fixings that make the sandwich your own. With clothes, we have foundational pieces like a standard pair of jeans or a white tee. Then, you can combine them with fillers and fixings to bring your outfits to life.


A great wardrobe needs both

Every great wardrobe needs both foundational pieces and fillers.

Fillers keep your wardrobe feeling fresh and help you show off more of your personality through your clothes (depending on your style personality).

Foundational pieces are necessary because they serve as the glue that pulls together all those fillers or statement pieces.


How many foundational vs. filler pieces should you have?

As far as how many foundational pieces vs. filler pieces you should have, I believe it’s different for every person, depending on your style personality. (BTW, inside of Simply Put Together, we go through an exercise to help define your style personality.)

Some style personalities naturally lend themselves to more basics and foundational pieces while others naturally lend themselves to having more statement pieces. Rather than focusing on a specific percentage, the more important thing to pay attention to is whether you find your wardrobe boring or whether it’s difficult to create outfits. If your wardrobe is boring, then you probably need more fillers to liven it up. On the other hand, if you constantly feel like you can’t put together outfits, then you probably need more foundational pieces to be the glue and pull everything together.

If we go back to the sandwich analogy, some people like thick bread and/or very little meat, fillings, or condiments inside. In style, that would be the equivalent of liking lots of basics and just a little dose of pizzazz. On the other hand, some people like to stack and LOAD their sandwiches with the fixings, and the bread is secondary and just a means of holding all the fixings together. That would be like wearing primarily statement-making pieces and only needing the foundational items secondarily. (Side note, I can’t decide if my sandwich preference mirrors my style preference. Haha! I’m thinking it’s actually kind of the opposite. I’ll have to think more about that…🤔)

Depending on which end of the spectrum you are on, you can adjust your ratio of foundational items to fillers to match it.

Where you are on the spectrum can also inform your purchasing decisions. Which brings me to….


How Foundational and Filler Pieces Affect My Purchasing Decisions

I’m not attempting to give a strong or strict framework for this because it will be very dependent on your style and what you value in clothes. So, I first want to make a caveat to this section and say that I’m sharing MY personal preference, but that does not need to be yours.

However, I’ll share my framework for thinking about purchases just in case it helps you think through a framework for yourself and helps you be more intentional about how you spend and craft your wardrobe.

When it comes to foundations and fillers, my style leans a bit more on foundational items, so I tend to more readily spend more on foundational pieces and less on fillers, at least as a starting place. There are often several other things I consider when deciding whether or not to keep a piece, (like quality, how it feels, how hard it is to find the type of item that fits me well, if it’d be hard to find that kind of piece for a lower price point, cost per wear, etc.) and sometimes I might spend more on fillers. But as a general starting place, I keep my “filler” pieces at a lower cost, and I’m willing to go for higher priced items for foundational pieces.

However, your style might be the opposite, where you lean more on fillers or statement-making pieces and mix in just a few foundational items to glue things together. In that case, perhaps you might spend more on fillers and less on foundational items. Know what I mean?

Alright, a bit more as to why I spend more on foundational items and less on fillers. I do this because foundational pieces are timeless, and I tend to keep them for a longer period of time. Like, there are soooooo many pieces in my closet that I’ve had for years and years and continue to wear the heck out of. Things like my Wit & Wisdom skinny jeans, utility jacket, denim jacket, white tee, and white sneakers, just to name a few. I’m willing to spend more on those because I know they are foundational to my wardrobe.

For fillers, I often approach them with the mindset that they may not last in my closet beyond one or two seasons. And that’s usually an intentional choice, not because I made a poor purchasing decision or a shopping mistake. It’s because, while I wouldn’t say that I’m super trendy, I do like to keep my wardrobe at least a little fresh, you know? But, since trends are fleeting and they change constantly, I’d rather spend less on those filler pieces.

One note is that not all filler pieces are trendy. Sometimes they might still feel current for years, but I still consider them “fillers” simply because they are not foundational basics. And often, I do keep filler pieces for years and years. Nonetheless, I usually start with the assumption that I won’t keep filler pieces that long and therefore aim to spend less on them. If I end up loving them longer than expected, then that is fantastic!

Aaaaand, like I said, spending more on foundational items and less on fillers is just my general starting place. I don’t hold it as a strict rule at all. Like, if I found a unique filler piece that made me feel amazing, I might splurge on it and spend a little more on it, simply because it’s unique and sometimes you have to pay more for more unique things. But, I will start shopping for filler pieces at lower price points, and it’ll take me a lot more thought and consideration before spending more on one compared to how readily I’ll pay more for foundational pieces. Hope that makes sense!

Alright, wrapping it up… remember, how many foundational pieces versus filler pieces you have will be dependent on your style. How you approach purchasing decisions will also depend on your style. No matter what though, I encourage you to have some sort of plan so that you are intentional about your wardrobe and your purchases.

And, I’d love to know:

  1. Does your style focus more on foundations or fillers?
  2. Do you feel like your wardrobe currently has the right mix of foundations and fillers for your style? i.e., Do you find your wardrobe boring, or is it hard to make outfits because nothing goes with each other? Or neither? (Neither means you’ve got the right mix!)
  3. Does your sandwich preference match your style preference? 😜

If you want more help crafting your best wardrobe, remember to check out my free class 6 Common Style Mistakes + 3 Keys to Fix Them.” More info below!



Does your wardrobe work FOR you or FRUSTRATE you?

Ever wish you just knew how to make your outfits work all the time?

Ever look around and wonder how others make style look so easy and effortless?

If so, I’d love to invite you to my FREE masterclass, “6 Common Style Mistakes + 3 Keys to Fix Them” to help you out!

In it, I’m sharing:

➡️The 6 biggest mistakes people make when it comes to building a wardrobe and improving their style (This will save you so. much. time! )

➡️The 3-part style framework I (and my students) use to create their best wardrobes yet and nail perfectly put-together outfits every time

➡️Why you don’t need to change anything about your body for style to be a snap

➡️How to work with me more closely to love your wardrobe and make style “click”

Knowing these will help you stop focusing on the WRONG things when it comes to style and make REAL progress. 👏🏽

**This is FOR YOU, IF**

🙋🏻‍♀️You’re tired of feeling frustrated with your closet and you want to know how to create a closet you LOVE.

🙋🏻‍♀️You want your clothes to make you feel confident and awesome, not make you feel blah.

🙋🏻‍♀️You want to stop guessing when it comes to style and be able to nail put-together outfits all the time.

🙋🏻‍♀️You’re ready for style to be easy!

Learn more about my free class and sign up HERE!

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