This is an awesome discussion, thank you Sarah! I read it last night just before bed but was too tired to comment then! I struggled a bit with the essentials concept as well, and what threw me off was the "can't get dressed without them" thing. So many of my items are statements or even if not they are often very bright. I only put down 6 pairs of shoes out of 44 pairs and even one of those has a sparkly strap which is meant to make a bit of a statement. Which is why I thought my essentials were a bit sparse. I mean, I need shoes to get dressed but in summer they are nearly all statement sandals of some sort.
I like your "neutral glue" term as well.

karen13, yeah, I have to admit that I'm still a bit confused by all the torso-related terminology. I suspect that what it boils down to is just that my torso is so short overall that I have a very narrow sweet spot when it comes to pant rises.

La Ped and JenniNZ, I am SO glad this discussion (and my weird little "neutral glue" phrase) was useful to you! Thank you both so much for letting me know.

I suspect that for a lot of us, it's difficult to keep hold of the difference between "essentials" as the term is meant to be defined in this context and "items that are essential to expressing our style."

Hi Sarah,
Just wanted to chime in quickly to say I've really enjoyed this thread. You've dug deep in your journey, and have generated lots of good conversation. Thumbs up!

Elizabeth, thank you so much for letting me know! Hugs.