The best way to build a new casual wardrobe is to select clothes that match your body type and skin tone.

How to Create a Wardrobe for a Casual Lifestyle

by Chance Henson

You’re a busy woman with little time to waste. Whether you work from home, commute to your office or work as full-time mom, you don’t have many opportunities for costume changes or even formal attire -- you need a wardrobe that suits your busy, hands-on lifestyle. Like many modern women, you can look and feel your best when wearing clothes that are simultaneously comfortable, stylish and flattering.

1. Know Your Body

Perhaps the most important consideration to make when building a new wardrobe is your body type. Knowing your body type requires that you be completely honest with yourself -- admit your problem areas (they can be camouflaged) and recognize your best features. For example, plus-size women tend to look best in a wide-leg pant design, pants with pleats and pants with slim vertical stripes. Women with a boy-shape figure are well-suited to pants with a nipped or high waist and athletic drawstring styles.

2. Know Your Colors

Understanding which colors are best suited to your skin tone and which colors to avoid is a sure way to create a flattering casual wardrobe. Women with yellow-beige, golden brown, peach or ivory skin usually have warm complexions and are best suited to clothes in comparably warm hues such as gold, orange-red and yellow. Women with dark, olive, fair, rosy or pale skin tones have cool complexions and often look their best when wearing other cool colors such as blue, fuchsia, lavender, pink and green.

3. Know Your Style

Famed fashion designer Miuccia Prada once said, “What you wear is how you present yourself to the world, especially today, when human contacts are so quick. Fashion is instant language.” When creating a new wardrobe, it is essential that you determine what you want to your clothes to say about you. Get creative with your style; some outfits, such as a colorful sundress, should reflect your fun side, while other outfits, such as navy pants with a white button-down top, should reflect your more serious, businesswoman characteristics. The one thing you don’t want your clothes to suggest is that you are too tired to care about your appearance.

4. Etiquette

Although many people are inclined to consider flip-flops and cut-off denim shorts to be appropriate casual attire, such apparel is rarely appropriate outside of your home. Your casual public attire should always be in good condition, clean and tidy. The three main varieties of casual attire for which you should always be prepared are business casual, dressy casual and casual. Business casual includes skirts, khakis or pants; open collar, knit and button-up shirts; sweaters and casual dresses. Dressy-casual attire includes: skirts with nice tops, jeans that are in good condition, dressy pants ensembles and dresses. Apparel such as good jeans, sundresses, skirts, khakis, shorts, sneakers and plain T-shirts are appropriate for everyday casual attire.

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