9 Classic Wardrobe Essentials for Women
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
© 2010 Linda Chechar