Your Signature Style Part III: Identify The Missing Pieces

Your signature style: find the missing pieces. After the less-than-cheery step of “analyzing my mistakes”, we are back on track for fun with step 3: Identify the Missing Pieces. It requires analysis and reflection. The questions below, verbatim via the Real Simple article, are spot-on for discerning what’s needed to round out your wardrobe:

Step 3: I.D. the Missing Pieces in Your Wardrobe

Separate your clothes by type. Ideally, you want to have three times as many tops as bottoms—the same ratio you see in stores, says Julie Watson, a wardrobe consultant and a former senior director of merchandising for Banana Republic. “No one remembers your pants,” she says. “We associate with people from the waist up.” Watson also suggests a 60-40 balance of staples (timeless, solid-color pieces) to novelty items (prints, funky details). To refine what you need, write down your responses to these questions, then check off what’s lacking from your closet:

  • What items would make the pieces you own more versatile? (For instance, a print blouse to perk up a pencil skirt or pointy-toe flats to make cropped pants look less casual.)
  • Do you spend most days in a corporate environment but have a closet full of cheery sundresses? (It might lift your spirits more if you invested in a new suit that makes you feel great.)
  • Have there been occasions (maybe a dressy dinner, a job interview, or a funeral) when you were at a loss about what to wear?
  • Do you need to update any go-to items that you’ve reached for one too many times (say, a pair of overly dry-cleaned black pants, a wool suit with shine marks, or a ring-around-the-collar white blouse)?
  • Your answers reveal: The only things you should be buying. (Stay strong!)


Here I go: I don’t necessarily agree with the tops-to-bottoms ratios for my own closet, as I like to wear interesting/memorable skirts. But I need to pay attention to my tops, and not always fall back on my store of black tees.

The missing chunks in my wardrobe relate to weekend/casual wear (I’m retired, yay). The questions above got me thinking about upgrading to a nicer pair of dark denims, some fresh cotton tees (they do wear out) and maybe a cool delicate necklace for casual wear. I already bought a gray wool cropped cardigan to wear any day of the week and it has filled a lot of gaps.

These jeans look a little boring, but I love the simple cut and the versatility.
Another basic that gets worn a lot around here.

I’m good with occasion-wear, having a classic black pantsuit and a Little Black Midi Dress. So my shopping list is short and focused, with flexibility for dream-pieces. A woman can’t be too strict about these things! For example, here are some fabulous blue oxfords, not on any list but totally my style:

These are so cool, a statement to go with the basics.

Next installment will be the finale: shop smarter!

Over to you, insightful fashionistas: What are the missing pieces, if any, in your closet? Do you shop by the list, or let the style spirits move you?

Stay fabulous, xo

Wear what you love, always. Here are some goodies to browse:


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  1. Hi Patti, I did a major clean out of my closet earlier this week and packed up four bins of clothing (!). What I’m looking for going forward are cardigans that are loose fitting (grandpa style) and fairly light weight. I’m warm blooded, so even in winter I prefer lighter weight tops/toppers.

    • Good morning Kimberly! Four bins is impressive – cheers to you. Love a good grandpa cardigan any day. Have a lovely weekend, xx.

  2. That dog is adorable!
    I have to say that I saw a striped tee on your blog and I went out and bought one for myself (black with white stripes, so opposite to yours). It’s so cute and I love it.

  3. Adorable picture of that cute dog in pink along with your helpful fashion style guide and lovely advice to “enjoy every sandwich and gild the lilies” Thank you. I am trying to be creative with clothing items I have and am on the lookout for interesting accessories to give my outfits a pop of beauty, fun, and artistic creativity. In the meanwhile, I will have fun browsing and know intuitively when I find that special item.

    • Hello Joan and always nice to see you! I bet you’ll find that just-right accessory, and I hope you enjoy it. Stay well and safe, xx.

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