Timeless Wardrobe Essentials
Fashion experts Tim Gunn and Lloyd Boston have their favorites. Just for fun, I thought I would weigh in with my 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 am I going to 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 years, but will also look good regardless of the prevailing fashion trends. Build your collection of wardrobe essentials over time and you won’t break the bank!
Buy at least one pair of comfortable blue jeans. Versatility is what makes jeans so universally loved. They go with absolutely EVERYTHING! I adore my 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-weather fabric. Jeans tend to be hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Warm them up with a pair of leggings or tights underneath and give them a vacation during the summer.
Find an attractive fit, wash and cut. Too tight or baggy and jeans go from being a fashion asset to a liability. The waist is a bit trickier. Low rise and high rise are out. Settle for a rise between the two extremes. Choose a wash you can wear for work or play. Consider basic straight leg and boot cut blue jeans to avoid falling into the 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 many body types. A well-tailored blazer with modest shoulder padding is the way to go.
Even us super casual girls have an occasion to dress up once in a while. Basic black pumps are as much of a woman’s wardrobe essential as the little black dress. They don’t show scuffs and go with everything. One pair is all you need – not too dressy or funky though. 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 heels.
Personally, I think khakis may even be better wardrobe essential than blue jeans. They can be worn comfortably year round and are timeless. What takes khakis out the timeless realm are pleats and cuffs – avoid both like the plague! As with jeans, go for a straight leg and a mid rise.
Trench coats for women have been popular for decades. Lengths and fabrics may change from year to year, but the basic styling remains the same. Pick a solid light or dark neutral trench coat in a length that hits below the hip or at mid-calf. Follow the blazer rules with regard to lapels. Like your 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 will keep you warm and dry year in and year out.
Become a member of the sweater set! Sweater sets, consisting of a cardigan and shell, are a great idea for the fall and winter months. They also come in handy in the summer! If you work in an overly air conditioned office, a sweater set will help fend off the chill. If things heat up, simply remove the cardigan. Buy matching solid pieces in a timeless color – no lime green or neon orange! Lightweight knits work best for all-season wear. In the winter, layer your blazer over the sweater set. A sleeveless or cap sleeve shell is much more versatile than one with long sleeves.
Dress pants, or what I like to call “nice pants”, will take you far in the business world and the social scene. Dress pants work with almost any style of topper -- short of your gym or sleep t-shirt! Black and charcoal are best. Black pants will go with any color and are slimming as well. The rules for dress pants are the same as khakis – no extreme rises, no cuffs, no pleats and 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. And remember, 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 hoping they come back in style!
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. The A-line skirt is fitted at the hips and gradually widens 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 colors.
Wait, There's More!
For more wardrobe essentials, go to my Hub entitled How to Create Black and White Style - For Your Wardrobe!
More from my "Timeless" Series
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