1. Print out the 80/20 Checklist and head into your closet with something to write with. 

2. Go through the list starting with Shoes (I get dressed every day starting with my shoes, so I prioritized accordingly). When you see something in your closet that matches the item on the checklist, check it off. Simple.

3. Keep going until you cover every category...


Well done! Your core closet is on point. Now all you need is to fine-tune. Get inspiration covering how to wear what you already have


No worries. That is what this list is for. Build slowly or all at once (I recommend slow and steady but it's up to you).


4. NEXT STEPS: Get ideas on how to wear what you have in your closet HERE.  And/or, if you need help finding something on your checklist, ask me HERE. Check out the Category Notes below for extra styling tips and tricks I've learned after hundreds of closet consultations...


There are so many "must-have" lists out there telling you what you should wear and buy. What they totally neglect to tell the shopper is whether it works for their body type or not. I find it hilarious to be honest. That is the MOST IMPORTANT PART.  So, if you're not sure what to wear for your shape? You can get a little direction here or just shoot me a quick question when it pops up.



  • Sandal: I'm talking about a flat sandal with straps, a slip on sandal, something that isn't a flip-flop but also isn't too dressy. This is the go-to shoe you reach for when you need an easy shoe for the summer. 
  • Sandal/heel: It doesn't have to be a high heel. It could be a wedge, stacked (easier to walk in), and at or below 2 inches. A cone heel is also great for this.
  • Flat: This is something akin to a ballet flat or TOMS that don't look too beat up. I have a couple of favorites in the category I can share as examples. 
  • Evening heel: Try an ankle strap here. Something simple and neutral enough to be able to mix back to any evening look.
  • Sneaker: Well, you get it, sneakers. *Note: I left activewear out of this list. Obviously we all can wear our yoga gear on and off the mat (um, more often than we'd like to admit), but activewear can be separated out into it's own little world. My hope: you opt out of yoga pants every now and then to mix it up. 



  • An everyday shoulder bag: ranges from a classic silhouette to a crossbody bucket bag. This is your go-to, mid-size, holds-your-life-in-it-so-you-don't-have-to-switch-bags-on-a-daily-basis, bag.
  • Tote: bigger, badder, holds everything and the kitchen sink. For summer, you could opt for leather OR straw here. A woven in a neutral color works as well, or even a pale metallic, just make sure it falls into that 'essential' bag spot and doesn't dive too far into any trend deep-end.

*My Bag PSA: I used to work in the handbag buying offices so yes, I'm aware I'm a bit of a bag snob, but truly, when it comes to core picks, invest. Don't break your budget or spend rent on it, that's just not smart. What I'm saying is, go for quality, not just "filler" here. I have some great bags I bought on sale that I have brought to a cobbler in town for years now. These can be refreshed annually and the amount you invest, you WILL make back in wear. 

  • Clutch: I love a neutral or faux exotic envelope clutch for this. It doesn't need to be, and probably shouldn't be, a box clutch or minaudière. Think more utility, less fancy-pants. That's for the 20%.



  • Delicate jewelry: means rings that don't eclipse your finger, bracelets that don't resemble armor, and necklaces that don't leave dents at the nape of your neck. Lightweight, gold or silver, up to you. You could have a chain strap bracelet or a leather version in a soft neutral hue. Keep it light and easy-breezy so you can layer. 
  • Statement jewelry: is the exact opposite of what I just described. Big, bold, hello. Invest in a STUNNING pair of drop earrings or a necklace that is vintage and unique. These aren't trendy, they are 100% you. This is where you show what and who you really are when it comes to your personal style. 
  • Earrings: are separated out because I think you should have a small little essential army of them. Studs, mini-hoops, maybe an ear climber, maybe not. Studs and a statement earring that isn't over-oomph'd work here.



  • Having a couple of lightweight and colorful scarves on hand is a simple way to dress up a bag, your hair, or even a basic t-shirt. So simple. I adore my scarf collection and the good news is, you don't have to spend much here if you don't want to. 
  • Sunglasses. I have two pairs that I never lose. Why? I keep them in their case and for some reason, that works for me. Go try on a bunch, see what fits your face, and get a basic pair you can wear everyday. From there, you can build with another pair down the line that has a different, yet still classic, shape. 
  • Hats: fedora, floppy, straw, wide brim, caps, beanies (not for summer really but you get the point). If you have a hat head, go for it. Pick one you can realistically incorporate into most summer outfits like a straw fedora or easy Panama hat. 



  • Tees: I am always on the hunt for myself and my clients for the "perfect t-shirt." People tend to either be v-neck or crewneck centric. Whichever you are (I'm all about a v-neck in case you were curious), buy your favorite tee (one that will not disintegrate, no fast fashion here people, please) in black and a neutral whether that is white, oatmeal or gray. One in each color will do. Hand wash with the Laundress or Woolite, wash in a garment bag if hand-washing makes you tear up, and hang to dry.
  • Tanks: rinse and repeat what I said above. Whether you want a spaghetti strap or thicker strap is up to you. You could substitute workout gear here but I am asking you to invest in actual basics meant to be worn outside the gym/studio. Womp womp...
  • Button front shirt: If you have a white version, perfect. If you love chambray, go with that. I have a couple of printed button-front blouses that I wear on heavy (HEAVY) rotation. I would go with something that isn't too fitted and isn't too loose. You can wear this in place of a cardigan as well, bonus round.
  • Long sleeve tee/Cardigan: I have v-neck, fitted long sleeve tees that I dress up with jewelry for going out all, the, time. You can use them to layer or to wear solo. The cardigan can be drape-front (Pear shapes and petite women; watch that the length doesn't hit too low and Apple shapes, try to avoid too much ruffle action at the neckline).
  • Evening: these could be flowing tanks, printed fitted tees, sleeveless shirts, off the shoulder tops, it's a wild card that needs to speak to you and work for your body type. Not sure what to wear for your shape? Get a little direction here.



  • Black blazer: Get a fitted, streamlined black blazer and you can thank me later. Spend a bit more here, go for something that you slip on and feel like you can run the world in. On those days when you're not even sure whether you have the energy to step out of bed, this blazer will come in handy. It's your Superwoman cape, and not in the Comic Con sense. 
  • Blazer in a print or color: I have a plaid blazer in black and brown that I mix in as a coat more often than not. This can do double duty, going from the office to casual weekend occasions. Go with a color or print that isn't too bold, think soft blush or a subtle navy plaid, and you have a strong alternative to a black blazer.
  • Jean or Military: Some people are jean jacket people. I am not one of them but I respect the jean jacket and believe it has a home in a closet. I tend to opt for anything in an olive or military hue. Epaulets? Gimme. Pocket details? I'm in. You can go with either, or. Both are usually out in the market every spring season so pick what speaks to you most. They both work back to most outfits in your closet. Hence being a part of the golden 80%. Hence, lol. 



  • Lightweight: This is a general coat that applies to spring/summer. It isn't one silhouette per say, but there are plenty of lightweight outerwear options in colors or even a bright white that fall into this category. It could be swing coat or a cinched waist option, a kimono sleeve pick or a wrap coat. Whatever it is, keep the material light along with the color. 
  • Leather coat: Leather for spring/summer? Um, yes. Well, maybe not late summer, but a leather coat is always a welcome piece to have in the closet. This could be your go-to leather coat from Fall as well. Meet one of the most transitional pieces you will ever own. As such, you knew this was coming, I would invest a bit more. Don't go overboard if you can't, there are some amazing faux options out there (you hear that vegan friends? I pulled the "faux" card and I meant it) that work well. 
  • Trench coat: you know it, you probably already have it, and if you don't, now is the perfect time to bring a trench coat in camel or white or cream, or even navy, into your closet. It plays well with any piece you throw at it. Love a good trench coat.



  • This is going to be brief (no pun intended but it works right?): swim options are all over the place. Having a one and two-piece suit in your wardrobe arsenal is always a good idea if you can stomach the idea of a bikini. Fear not the two piece, but if you can't handle the thought of it, try a one-piece with some serious cut-out detail going on. There are tons of options out there right now. Just apply sunscreen liberally or else your tan lines will be a relatively hot mess. 
  • Cover-ups: I love a great lightweight cover-up for the pool and the beach. You can always get away with wearing this as a dress as well. I'd buy more than one, but it's up to you and your geographic location, let alone travel plans.



  • Skinny: I will not tell you this is a universally flattering cut, because it is not. Some body types can pull it off, some should opt for a heel, but most importantly, if you try on a pair of skinny jeans and they just feel foreign or you feel like a stuffed sausage, opt-out. You don't need something like that hanging (because let me tell you this, it will just hang there) in your closet. Nope. Move on. However, if you love a skinny and feel like a flare leg looks alien-esque to you, then go with it (shout out to my Bay Area people that still don't think flares are wearable; SF 2016- all hipster, no hippie). You can go ripped or not, or both, depending on your lifestyle here. 

  • Flare/Boot cut: This is your chance to take a big step or a step in moderation. The bootcut (specifically a pair of Paige jeans I go-to all day every day) is a universally flattering cut. It just is. It complements several body types but make sure you bring it to your tailor (womp womp; it's worth it though) to get it hemmed perfectly for flats or heels. 
  • Boyfriend or White: Similar to skinny jeans, the boyfriend cut is not for everyone. You can reference the Body Type style guide for this. However, if you love a good relaxed fit, make sure you have a pair, ripped or otherwise, in your closet. If you aren't into the Boyfriend jean or cuffed/looser jeans, then here is a chance to try out some white jeans for the season. Pick the silhouette that flatters your silhouette most, skinny or bootcut or flare. This bright white will act as another neutral you can use in all of your outfits, and it polishes a basic look up in a cinch.
  • Dark Wash Skinny: review what I mentioned above for a skinny leg. If you are a skinny jean lover, grab a pair in a darker wash to use for going out at night.
  • Dark Wash Flare/Boot-cut: see above, switch "skinny" with "flare/boot-cut" and you're all set. I like having a dark wash of both skinny and flare in my closet, but that's just me.



  • Wide Leg: This is a bit of a trend but also a very classic pick to have in your closet. Opt for a wide leg trouser/pant in a neutral like black or gray, it could even be herringbone or a subtle print/color. These essential pants work for the office and also for casual occasions you would have never thought of possibly. A basic t-shirt back to a polished wide leg pant can be toned down for any weekend brunch if you bring in a couple of easy accessories. 
  • Black pants: be they skinny or wide leg, boot-cut or straight leg, find the shape that works for your body, and have a pair on hand. These cover office occasions but also help when you need a quick dressed-up fix for an interview, luncheon, or casual dinner. 
  • Leggings +/or Shorts: Some people love shorts, some people have a visceral reaction to the mere mention of them. If you happen to be the latter, then focus on the leggings portion of this bullet point. A basic pair of black leggings or even printed leggings (not so much activewear, but yes, you could bring a yoga pant into this, just don't tell me you're doing it) is a great item to keep on hand. These will also take you into winter. The shorts are just a must, namely jean shorts that you feel comfortable in. Or if you like a preppier look, go with a tailored short in a print that can work back to other colors and pieces in your closet.



  • Pencil skirt: I, love, pencil skirts. I have an hourglass shape and they work well on me. So take your body type into account here, but if you love them as much as I do, or haven't thought about giving them a try until now, make sure you have one in your wardrobe whether it's basic black or a solid color. It could even have texture, just keep the color neutral.
  • Midi or Maxi: Again with the body type talk! A midi skirt should be worn with a heel 99.9% of the time. A maxi, with a flat in my opinion, unless it's long enough to fall to the top of the toes. When the hem of a maxi skirt hits at or around an ankle of a foot wearing heels, something just looks "off" to me. Again, personal preference. If you are petite, you can absolutely wear a maxi or midi-skirt, for some reason petite people think they have to walk away? But you should just make sure it isn't too voluminous. The fabric should graze the hip and slightly flare out from there. Too much bulk will swallow you whole. For the rest of us, get these essentials (either, or, or both) in neutral colors like black, white, blush, or even a subtle print.
  • Evening: This could mean mini or this could mean metallic pleats. If you have high-hem anxiety, your evening skirt can be a black a-line option that fits through the hip and falls away from the lower leg. It could be a sexier version of a pencil skirt in lace or a body-con wrap. Or, if you want to work your legs, go with a mini. Just make sure you can sit down in it without having an unintentional Basic Instinct moment. 



  • Maxi or LWD: Some people love a maxi dress in a classic solid color or just black with cut-out details. If you don't feel like yourself in a maxi dress however, opt for an LWD or a "little white dress" that works for daytime. There are tons of options out there from sleeveless to t-shirt dress, cap sleeve and off the shoulder. Pick the shape that works best for your body. This isn't the casual day dress, that's below. This is the dress you can wear casually but want to have on hand for slightly dressier occasions that aren't formal. It's your middle ground dress option. 
  • LBD or evening: This is your "workhorse" dress that fits you exactly how you want it to. And, you can move around in it without tugging fabric. Try on, try on, try on to find this dress. And once you do, remember the silhouette/brand/fabric because you will keep coming back to it. Most likely, it will carryover season after season, and year after year, because it's a classic. The hem should be shorter on this without getting too high. Go with a cut on top that flatters: Apples, a v-neck is great. Pears, something high-drama at the neckline works. Hourglasses: fitted, show off the curves you're working with. Rectangles: smaller busts can carry a spaghetti strap, go with a halter top, or off the shoulder. More ideas are in here
  • Last but not least, the Day Dress: This depends on what your weekly agenda looks like. If you are in the office quite a bit, go with a polished, structured day dress in a neutral hue like black or dove gray. If you freelance, or run the house like a true boss all day, this could be a t-shirt dress or shirt dress that you can cinch in at the waist with a belt. 

There you have it! Those are the building blocks of your core closet. Now...