Angie, I hesitated about the lilac turtleneck but for me it is a completer and here is why. It is a simple style (same as my essential navy turtleneck) and I wear it, not to make it a focal point, but to complete outfits. I have a high tolerance for colour and in real life this is not as standout as it appears here so it sort of blends in behind a jacket.

I did not include my brighter pink cashmere tee because even though it’s equally simple in style it is brighter and I do wear it as a focal point. It’s a statement.

Does that make sense?

So, the one below is (for me) a statement.

The other items for me are also completers...

I'm going with Renee Zellweger's character in that Jerry Maguire movie.

Rachy, essentials CAN create a signature style.

Helena, in an ideal world, that strategy could be very handy.

Suz, I hear you, and it makes sense. The lilac of the T-neck isn't as bright as your brighter statement orchid pullover. Completer it is.

Boy I still struggle with Completers!

I think of a lot of my jewelry as completers. It’s nit so big or bold for me to think of it as “ statement” but it adds something, the items may echo a color or metal in the outfit.
If I think about handbags, I get confused. My floral handbags could be statements but I’d subtle, to me the might be Completers. I could carry a black handbag but the floral one adds subtle interest and connects colors.

I am tempted to define completers as the most interchangeable part of my visible wardrobe - I would still maintain my style if I tossed all my completers and replaced them with other completers. Does that seem right?

I don’t think of you as a ‘neutral’ dresser, Unfrumped. Your blouse choices often have ‘interest’... pattern and colour and shape... I’m thinking your bottoms are the essentials you most often use, to offset the tops ... I could be wrong of course...

Question: are people buying their completer pieces deliberately- as completer pieces for outfits?? Or is this tending to happen in a more random way. Ie are most people going shopping thinking “oh I need to find the perfect completer piece for my pink maxi skirt outfit” or do most people just try to use what they already have? I always try to use what I have but it seems to make it trickier.....

Welcome to the group, Sara, you chose a very good topic, I can also use some help in defining my completers.
Angie, my question on the blog about completers was, if one wears red shoes and tries to tie them into the outfit by adding a red belt and a small red purse, are the belt and purse considered completers? Or are they just a complement and, if so, how does a complement differ from a completer?

Jussie, I start out trying to use what I have to complete an outfit, but sometimes I say to myself, "What this outfit really needs is X!" And then I will go out searching for that thing. An example is this pink scarf from Nordstrom, which I bought to match some light pink shoes. I didn't have anything else pink in my wardrobe, so I had to get something to match the shoes (I like to repeat colors in an outfit).

On the other hand, certain items that I think are completers were bought at random...such as my Madewell sweater dress. It is not so bold as to be a statement, but it's not an essential either. That makes it a completer. I like to wear it with black faux leather leggings, which I also consider a completer. I did, however, buy the leather leggings specifically to wear with the dress.

Welcome Sara to the forum!!

I think there is grey between the categories - definitely between people but over time for ourselves.

Today I wore silver shoes - statement, black cropped pants - essential, black and white striped tee- essential and an olive jacket - completer. They are all workhorses. But if I get rid of the olive jacket I might not replace it - I may get a white or red one instead. If I got rid of the pants or tee I would replace with a similar piece. The silver shoes are a statement as they are quite striking.

In two years I might have changed though and no longer see black crops as integral to my wardrobe but an olive jacket may be.

rachylou , you’re right. My pants have some different silhouettes but are my most ESSENTIAL essentials! I’d actually wear more color in pants if I could find the right ones ( I do more of that for casual/ summer).

Sally, that's a great explanation. And Gigi's explanation with images is also fab!

Joyce, I answered your question back on the blog yesterday.

Jussie, I usually do buy items knowing that they are completers. Gigi's examples are great.

Shevia, a good way to think about it.

Sal, YES, items evolve over time with respect to the role they play in our styles. My own essentials list has changed A LOT in ten years. On a specific leg of your style journey though, an item can usually be popped into one of the building blocks quote clearly. (GREAT example of your outfit. You get it).

I think completers give you some variety - for me they are not a big category as I wear quite a lot of statements and have my favourite essentials that I "thrash" (a black tee this summer for example).

It is perception too - some people might not view silver shoes as a statement - they could almost be an essential or a completer. I don't think that part matters - I think defining what are the essentials is the key to having a functional wardrobe and making sure they are current/in good shape.

Jussie - I do both. I added a peachy pink layering tee when I realised that a draped sweater would be better with a pink tee underneath - and I now wear this tee in other ways too. I have some legacy pieces too that fit into this idea - an A line skirt, a coral draped tank, even a wine red and cream subtly spotted dress. I personally would consider see dresses as either a statement or an essential - in my case the dress is a very quiet statement...

This thread has been very helpful in clarifying what “completers” are. Thanks for sharing, everyone.

Sara- first welcome to the forum.
Thank you very much for this post. I was feeling quite confused about essentials vs completers and this thread has really helped to clarify these categories for me.

This is so helpful to me. I am getting better at identifying my wardrobe items, but boy does it take some thought. I have not yet purchased any item based upon the categories. I have approached shopping with the “ I need a blue top to match my new floral skirt.” It is simple and seems to have worked well overall. Perhaps I was lucky.
Now that I am better informed I will be thinking about that blue top in terms of if it is an essential, a statement, or a completer. Knowing what I do now, I am going to think completer, because it would be interchangeable with other tops to match the florals.

Wow, this thread is an eye-opener. When I have a functioning wardrobe but get bored, I tend to buy something new and somewhat trendy that's not too conspicuous but that gives me several new outfit options. A completer! Like a pair of red pants back when those were trending. Or a straight leg pair of jeans at a time when skinnies are/were my essentials. Or a new style of shoe (but in a neutral color) to shake up my typical proportions. Then, when I have bought too many completers, I tend to start questioning my style identity because I lose sight of my essentials. * Mind blown*
I am excited to do inventory now, but will probably need to identify my current essentials first, as my style is currently in transition.

I think I do the exact same thing, Liesbeth.


Liesbeth, yes! That's exactly what I do, too. I think now that I'm wrapping my head around the simplicity of this concept, it's going to be very, very helpful.