Whether she's hunting for the perfect cropped blazer for one of clients or scouting the latest and greatest for her fashion blog, Natalie Decleve is constantly shopping. Here, the stylist gives us her tips on building the perfect wardrobe.

Identify what's missing:
"It's really important to take a look at what you have in your wardrobe and what you don't like and why. People say, 'I open my closet and I have nothing to wear.' Then they go shopping and buy more of the same stuff. The first step is to identify what's missing and what would make your life easier getting dressed in the morning."

Study style: "Look at inspiration photos on street style blogs. But don't just say, 'I love that girl's outfit.' Well, why do you love it? Do you like the way she put things together or do you love a specific item?"

Decide what's worth investing in: "When you're deciding where to put your dollars, it's important to think about how much wear you're going to get out of something. A concept I talk about [with clients] is cost-per-wear. You take the price of an item and divide it by the number of times you'll wear it. So if you have a $100 coat but you're going to wear it a 100 times, then your cost-per-wear is only $1 a day. Then you can evaluate what is really worth spending on."

Shop for your body type: "Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses. If you have a tiny waist, why not show it off? If you have short legs, make them look longer by wearing high-waisted things. If you have broad shoulders, you can do a halter neck top to make them appear less wide. If you have a body part that you would like to draw less attention to, wearing dark colors and avoiding prints will detract the eye from that area."

When to pay full price: "Pay full-price when an item is exactly what you're looking for and it's something that's hard to find. So if you see an incredible coat, and you've been looking for a coat just like it, and you're not going to have time to comb discount sites, by all means get it because otherwise it will haunt your dreams."

Shopping sales: "Department stores have great discounts. Take advantage of their friends and family sale because that's when you can get in-season merchandise for less. The important thing with sales is to think, 'Would I buy this if it was not on sale?' Sample sales can be dangerous for that reason. Just really identify before you go in what it is you're looking for and what you're going to allow yourself to buy."


Buy that cocktail dress: “If you find a cocktail dress that
you love and it’s a perfect fit and a great price — even if you don’t
need it at that moment — it’s a good idea to get it. It’s worse when you
have an event like a wedding and you can’t find a dress. Then you’re
spending hours looking for one.”

What’s worth the splurge?

“I think handbags and coats. In the winter you wear your coats over everything. If your outfit is amazing underneath, but you’re wearing a crappy coat on top, who cares?”

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