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Choose Classic Pieces, Frugal Fashion Hunter

The fabulously frugal fashion hunter knows that she has to choose foundation pieces for versatility to round out her wardrobe. This is my second post in the Frugal Fashion Hunter series. If you didn’t catch it the first time, take a minute to jump over to How To Shop As A Fabulously Frugal Fashion Hunter.

Many people assume that fashionable living has to be expensive. But the truth is…one can spend a fortune on designer clothing and still look no more put together than the woman who spends a fraction of the cost.

What is it that takes an outfit from functional to fashionable? Ultimately, it is the ability to mix and match different clothing pieces and accessories to form a visually pleasing ensemble.

Choose Foundation Pieces For Versatility

Mixing and matching clothing pieces is an essential skill for the frugal fashion hunter. I love to shop and I am always looking for a bargain. I can honestly say that I never ask myself, “what would I wear with this,” when I see something that catches my eye…NEVER! Why?…because I already have a core wardrobe of foundation pieces to mix and match to form endless wardrobe possibilities.

Foundation pieces form the base of a versatile wardrobe. Otherwise, you are stuck with a bunch of interesting wardrobe pieces that don’t fit together. It doesn’t matter how beautiful your new polka dotted skirt is if you don’t have one solid colored blouse to wear with it. This is often where women fall into the trap of buying only fully conceptualized outfits.

While there is nothing wrong with purchasing a mannequin outfit, this is typically not the cheapest way to shop. Mannequins wear the latest arrivals, which means the clothing is likely to be full price. What’s more, buying full outfits allows little room for creativity or injecting your own personal style.

choose foundation pieces for versatility, frugal fashion hunter

10 Essential Foundation Pieces

Do you have these 10 essential foundation pieces in your wardrobe?

  1. black pants
  2. pair of good jeans
  3. pencil skirt
  4. white blouse
  5. chambray shirt
  6. light weight button-up cardigan sweater
  7. neutral tank top or v-neck t-shirt
  8. ballet flat
  9. neutral pump or wedges
  10. neutral flat sandals

Of course, black is my neutral color of choice. But, keep in mind that black is not the only dark neutral. If it doesn’t fit mesh well with your coloring, then go for navy blue or chocolate brown as your dark neutral.

Each of the five outfits above incorporate one or more of these ten foundation pieces. Notice that all of my foundation pieces are a solid color. Here is a list of some possible combinations that incorporate these foundation pieces.

choose foundation pieces for versatility, frugal fashion hunter

Make A Focused List Of What You Need

Do you own these ten foundation pieces? If not, tuck a list into your purse for future shopping trips. This list provides direction when you enter a store. If you’re a shopaholic, a focused list will keep you from becoming distracted by fun colors, prints and textures. Likewise, a focused list will help those of you who don’t enjoy shopping because it gives you a singular goal, so you can get in and out!

Don’t Overlook The Shoes

I have seen a lot of lists for foundation wardrobe pieces, but they seldom include shoes. Don’t overlook the shoes when you are trying to build a versatile wardrobe. Shoes can make or break an outfit. That’s why I included three essential shoe styles in my top ten. When it comes to shoes…I always have foundation pieces in black and nude.

If your style is decidedly casual, go with wedges over pumps. Likewise, if ballet flats seem too dainty for you, try a nice stream-lined pair of flats. When it comes to flat sandals, you can’t go wrong with a nude or black color.

In a future post, I will talk about the second tier of foundation pieces, but until then, I hope this list sets you on the road to a versatile wardrobe.

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Learning It (2)


  1. Janice Wald says:

    Hi Shellie,
    You have the physique to wear those clothes.
    Thanks for bringing your post to Blogger’s Pit Stop.
    Janice, Pit Stop Crew

  2. Shellie, this is a fabulous post and you look so awesome in all of the outfits.

  3. Terri says:

    Looking good, Shellie! Always great advice for us midlife fashionistas who still like yoga pants πŸ™‚

  4. You are an inspiration for women over 40, I am one of those women and love the tips you give.

    • Shellie Bowdoin says:

      Thanks Maria! I a so appreciate you taking a minute to stop by for the encouragement!