The first step to figuring out your capsule wardrobe is to take stock of what you own, Cerrito explains. “A closet-organizing service is a great tool, but if you can’t afford that, have a friend come in to help,” she says.
Try everything on with your friend, she adds, as most people don’t necessarily have good judgment for themselves. Cerrito recommends asking of each item, When was the last time you wore it? Is it comfortable? “Don’t keep things that have great memories but that you don’t wear,” Cerrito says.
“Get rid of your scuffed shoes and torn shirts,” she adds. “As much as you think you might fit into that old pair of trendy jeans, you probably won’t. Don’t adopt your life to fit into clothes; it should be the other way around.”
The perfect capsule wardrobe should include these items, Cerrito says:
• Classic white button-front shirt
• One great white tank and one great black tank that are flattering but not see-through; perfect as layering pieces
• Cardigan or a duster
• Soft, cozy scarf that you can wrap around your neck a few times
• Pair of jeans that you feel comfortable in that don’t squeeze your belly and that you don’t need to unbutton. “The most comfortable pair should have stretch and be high-waisted. If you can’t find a jean that’s comfortable, find a pull-on trouser or great stretch-leather leggings,” Cerrito says.
• Closed-toed mule that is easy to put on and off for quick trips to the store
• Short pull-on boot
• A perfect kitten heel
• A sweat suit that you feel comfortable in and is nice enough to wear outside your house; nothing sloppy — it should have a flattering fit.
Based on the above list, determine what gaps you have in your closet and then decide on a budget for purchasing the missing items. You don’t have to spend a lot, Cerrito notes, but she advises that it’s better to have 10 really good items than 100 pieces that were cheap but don’t last. “Department stores have personal shoppers. Use them to help you find your investment pieces that you’ll wear all the time,” she says. “You have to evaluate your body, lifestyle, and needs when making these decisions. Don’t just pay attention to what’s trendy; you can instead follow trends with nail color, jewelry, and hairstyles.”
Want to put these ideas to work but think you need help? Cerrito works in conjunction with 25-year fashion-industry pro Michelle Rose to do a comprehensive closet takeover. Cerrito’s services are available at her permanent popup, Love, Leeann, located at Hairdo in Irvington, or by appointment, at 646.831.9822.