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9 Classic Wardrobe Essentials for Women

Updated on November 3, 2018
Make sure your closet has the right wardrobe pieces to create stylish outfits.
Make sure your closet has the right wardrobe pieces to create stylish outfits. | Source

Fashion experts Tim Gunn and Lloyd Boston have their favorites. Just for fun, we wanted to weigh in with our list of timeless wardrobe essentials--classic clothing elements that every woman should own. With these must-haves in your closet you will never again ask the question, “What can I wear?”

While you may spend more than you normally would for these items just think of them as a “fashion savings account” that you can access for years to come. These investment pieces will not only last for decades but will also look good regardless of the prevailing fashion trends. Build your collection of wardrobe pieces over time and you won’t break the bank.

1. Blue Jeans

Buy at least one pair of comfortable blue jeans. Versatility is what makes jeans so universally loved. They go with absolutely EVERYTHING. You adore your jeans and wouldn’t trade them for the world. However, when you think about it jeans are an unusual choice for this list–denim is not really an all-season fabric. They tend to be hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Warm them up with a pair of leggings or tights for cold days and give them time off during the summer.

Find the perfect fit, dye wash and style. Too tight or too baggy can become a fashion liability. Choose a wash you can wear for work or play. Low rise and high rise tend go in and out of style depending on designers. Settle for a rise between the two extremes. Consider basic straight leg and boot cut blue jeans to avoid falling into a trend trap. Skinny jeans are cute but will probably end up in the back of your closet next season.

One or two pairs of blue jeans will help get you through the week.
One or two pairs of blue jeans will help get you through the week. | Source

2. Blazer

A quality blazer will jazz up virtually any outfit. Select a solid, dark neutral. Black, brown or navy is a good choice that will coordinate with many pieces of your existing wardrobe. Lapels are an obvious indication of fashion trends. Stick with a medium width lapel and you will always be in style. The blazer should be just long enough to conceal the top portion of your derriere. Avoid double-breasted blazers. They are too boxy for most body types. A well-tailored blazer with modest shoulder pads is the way to go.

A black or navy blazer can be paired with jeans, leggings or khakis for a versatile wardrobe piece.
A black or navy blazer can be paired with jeans, leggings or khakis for a versatile wardrobe piece. | Source

3. Black Heels

Even us casual gals have an occasion to dress up once in a while. Basic black pumps are just as essential as a little black dress. They don’t show scuffs and go with everything. One pair is all you need. Don't go too dressy or funky. Shoes with ornamentation and stiletto heels are best left at the store. A slightly rounded toe will be comfortable and remain current season after season. Shoes are not cheap so shop online for fabulous deals on a pair of high quality black low heels.

Black pumps are the mainstay of your shoe wardrobe.
Black pumps are the mainstay of your shoe wardrobe. | Source

4. Khakis

Khakis may even be a better wardrobe essential than blue jeans. They can be worn comfortably year round and are timeless. What takes khakis out the classic realm are pleats and cuffs. Avoid both of those like the plague. As with jeans go for a straight leg and a comfortable mid rise.

Khakis are a true classic.
Khakis are a true classic. | Source

5. Trench Coat

Trench coats for women have been popular for decades. Lengths and fabrics may change from season to season but the basic styling endures. Pick a solid light or dark neutral trench in a length that hits below the hip or at mid calf. Follow the blazer rules with regard to lapels. Like a blazer, single-breasted styling is a better bet for this wardrobe essential. Buy a trench with a removable lining for added insulation. The classic trench coat remains stylish and will keep you warm and dry year in and year out.

A trench coat is perfect for inclement weather and is completely stylish.
A trench coat is perfect for inclement weather and is completely stylish. | Source

6. Sweater Set

Become a member of the sweater set. This simple combo consists of a cardigan and sleeveless shell, which are a great for cooler months. They also come in handy during the summer as well. If you work in an air conditioned environment a sweater set will help fend off the chill. If things heat up simply remove the cardigan. Buy matching solids in basic colors. Lightweight sweater knits work best for all-season wear. In the winter you can layer your blazer over the sweater set.

Timeless sweater sets have been around for decades.
Timeless sweater sets have been around for decades. | Source

7. Dress Pants

Dress pants, or what we like to call nice pants will take you into the business world and the social scene. Dress pants work with almost any style of topper--short of a sweatshirt or bagged out t-shirt. Black and charcoal hues are best. Black pants go with any color and have that slimming benefit. The rules for dress pants are the same as khakis. No extreme rises, no cuffs, no pleats and stick with straight legs.

Dress pants do come in handy for work and evening events.
Dress pants do come in handy for work and evening events. | Source

8. Boots

Black or dark brown boots are a fall and winter wardrobe essential. A flat or medium heel height is more practical than a high, spiked heel. A trendy fashion characteristic like a pointy or bump toe will not do the trick if you want to get the most out of your investment. There’s nothing worse than buying a great pair of boots, wearing them for a season or two then putting them in the back of the closet. If you hang onto them long enough they will come back in style.

Keep a pair of stylish boots around for cooler weather.
Keep a pair of stylish boots around for cooler weather. | Source

9. A-Line Skirt

Your closet would not be complete without a skirt with classic lines. One skirt that looks good on most body types is the A-line. This skirt fits at the hips and gradually flares out down to the hemline. Speaking of hemlines you’re better off with a longer length. Keep it just above the knee. Don't forget the cardinal rule of choosing neutral fabric colors.

A-line skirts are flattering for all body types.
A-line skirts are flattering for all body types. | Source

© 2010 Linda Chechar

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    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Chechar 

      6 years ago from Arizona

      Jenny, thanks so much for your comments! I love to get others' perspectives! Your choices are absolute classics and I feel they are perfect additions to the list of wardrobe must-haves! Having traveled to France, I can attest to the impeccable fashion sense you see everywhere. I'm especially glad you mentioned accessories -- you picked quality items that work with virtually anything and will stand the test of time. Thank you so much for sharing! You are a joy. Cheers!

    • profile image

      jennyinfrance 

      6 years ago

      Oops, may I have a second bite at my cherry?? LOL! I forgot a really classic, elegant watch (I wear a bi-colour gold bracelet Omega, which I've had for twenty years, and it's still in style, as well as keeping perfect time.) A more economical, yet just as elegant alternative is a simple man's watch, with a good leather strap - the slimmer and plainer, the better, and, enfin, a soupçon of truly beautiful French perfume.

    • profile image

      jennyinfrance 

      6 years ago

      This is a good list, but as a brit who has lived in France all her adult life, I would suggest a few simple additions. The first is a classic Breton top. Since Chanel famously adopted it, it has never gone out of style. I wear mine with jeans and my basic black blazer (even a tuxedo jacket), or under my oversize basic white shirt, open to bust level, and knotted at the waist (perennially chic)and usually worn again with jeans. Next, and for true Gallic chic I cannot over-emphasize this one, a truly beautiful classic Hermès foulard in heavy silk twill. Yes, it will cost you £300 or more, but it will last forever, and transform that same white shirt, this time worn under a v-neck cashmere sweater, with the cuffs rolled nonchalently over the sleeves of your sweater. Then, I suggest a few pieces of really good jewellery. A truly elegant Frenchwoman will never compromise with costume jewellery, it must be discreet (preferably gold or silver), and pearl stud earrings. If at all possible add a pair of diamond ones too, to glam up the LBD (good fakes if necessary!). And finally, pearls, pearls, and yet more pearls, à la Chanel. Hope this helps. It's born out of long experience of looking chic with a minimalist wardrobe. The cardinal rule: with clothes, as with hair and make-up, less is always more.

    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Chechar 

      8 years ago from Arizona

      tnvrstar, glad you enjoyed this Hub! Thanks for the vote up!

    • tnvrstar profile image

      tnvrstar 

      8 years ago from doha, qatar

      Wow! lovely Hub. I need a good wardrobe to arrange my cloth because my room usually looks messy.. lol Voted up ;)

    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Chechar 

      8 years ago from Arizona

      Glad to hear you have most of the timeless pieces in your closet. You should be good to go for any occasion! I appreciate your comment and HubPages support. Thanks!

    • Klena profile image

      Klena 

      8 years ago from England

      An excellent hub and I was thrilled to see that most of the Timeless Wardrobe Essentials I already own! Fantastic, thank you so much for writing this informative hub :)

    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Chechar 

      8 years ago from Arizona

      Thanks for reading and voting up! Glad you enjoyed it, Dolores!

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      8 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Voted up! Great tips for timeless essentials to create a classic wardrobe!

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