With everything one color, it was a fun and surprisingly easy task to group things into essential categories. My wardrobe is more coherent than I realized. And the things that don't fit in these categories don't get worn very often.

  • button-down shirts, sleeveless and long sleeve (silk, cotton)
  • shirt dresses worn as tunics (silk, denim, cotton)
  • low-neck tees (the deep v adds some structure to outfits)
  • tunic-length tees and tanks
  • long cardigans, boxy cardigans (cotton, wool)
  • light v-neck pullovers (cotton, silk)
  • sleeveless or short-sleeve wool pullovers, often structured felted fabric
  • three jeans silhouettes: skinny, relaxed skinny, and boyfriend.
  • biker jackets (leather, denim, wool)
  • not black: white buttoned shirts and tees

I'm currently adding wide-leg jeans to the mix -- we'll see if it sticks. To go with the new jeans, I think I also need to add fitted knit tops, and maybe some grey or white options for contrast. I could also use a few more summer-weight cardigans of different shapes.

I can pick out some details that make these things feel like essentials, not just basics. The heavy wool sleeveless tops (eg, Helmut Lang felted wool funnel neck) and silk shirts are really my go-tos. My cardigans are interesting, almost architectural shapes.

This list is going to be really useful for packing!

Things that aren't represented at all, even though I own plenty of them:

  • skirts (ok, a denim skirt probably should be on the list)
  • pants that aren't jeans
  • pullover crewneck sweaters
  • grey (never wear it, except today, as it happens)
  • blazers (I LOVE my blazers but I guess I just never wear them)
  • dresses
Edit: On statements: I think my leather jacket and the structured wool tops might actually be statement items, come to think of it. Same with one or two of the shirt-dress looks. And the blazers and dresses would fit in that when I do wear them. But I think my overall look is a statement silhouette made out of essential items, rather than statement items, if that makes sense.