I get it, you are a modern day gal who is penny wise and is on the go. By that I mean, there are not enough hours in the day to deal with the 100 or so thing lined up in the combat zone, aka real life, and never a purse fat enough to indulge in some wicked hedonism. You don’t have time, you don’t want to spend a ton on clothes and yet you want to look stylish (or somewhere in that zip code) and a little put together to uplift that mood with a compliment or two to put a prep in your steps. So here is my thoughtful monthly “fashion” post on the 10 closet essentials that can help you look neat in the bat of an eye without breaking the bank. I am no fashionista and these are merely suggestions, but I firmly believe that fashion should be effortless and not scream that you tried too hard. I am wicked lazy when it comes to fashion and my style is mostly centered around comfort. So here are a few closet essentials based on my mantra of get ready in a jiffy for those days when you neither have the time or inclination to preen like a peacock. Read on and let me know if I have missed out on anything or if there is something you would suggest adding to the list.
CLOSET ESSENTIALS # 1 DENIMS/JEANS
This is a no-brainer really, because no matter how glam your style quotient is, nothing spells comfort more than a great pair of well fitted jeans. Sounds simple but can be pain in the butt to find sometimes. Some helpful pointers are: going for a sturdy, dark or medium washed denim to get lots of wear, avoiding sagging butts and hanging crotch areas like plague and wearing a cut (boot cut vs skinny vs straight) that suits your body type and comfort level. I always reach out for my trusted boyfriend cut jeans (slightly slouchy with tapered legs rolled up at the end) for a slim, yet comfy fit. I personally do not like distressed denims but if the “distress” patches look sturdy, then go for them!
CLOSET ESSENTIALS #2 BASIC SHIRT
Another closet staple, and one more item that seems simple but is a stumbling block for many. Often the most simple style ensembles are the ones that make the most powerful statements, case in point being a white shirt that is crisp, smart and goes together with anything , especially well-cut pants or a pair of jeans. It is one of the best investments for the closet because it can be mixed and matched in infinite ways. A thicker, 100% cotton/twill fabric is a better option for a white shirt to guarantee coverage as well to keep you cool in those hot summer days. Another great, more casual alternative is the white tee that is equally versatile but more on the easier side of things.
The other closet staple and work horse is without a doubt a nice chambray shirt. It can be dressed up with a beautiful necklace or dressed down with jeans, can be layered below sweaters without bulking you up like the hulk or below sheath dresses to give you a polished look.
CLOSET ESSENTIALS # 3 PANTS
Invest in a well cut, tailored pair of pants (at least one pair matching with a blazer preferably) to wear individually for that sharp, structured look. Navy, brown and black are colors that translate to the professional environment as well so buying those colors will ensure use both at and outside work. However, camel color is extremely versatile and goes well both at casual events as well as in the office. While buying pants off the rack, make sure to go for a cut and length commensurate with your footwear and your body type. For example, flared pants which tend to sweep the floor are best worn with heels. If you have short legs like I do and cannot wear heels (like me), its better to go for tapered, ankle length pants. Curvy bottomed gals have different fits tun straight bottomed gals (see Ann Taylor loft for their great Marisa vs. Julie fits and different leg shapes to get an idea) Finally, if you are really hankering for something very comfortable yet chic, joggers are now the in thing and there are several options that will not make you look as if you are headed perennially to the gym.
CLOSET ESSENTIALS #4 BASIC CARDIGAN/PULLOVER
Doesn’t matter if cardigans or pullovers or both are your thing (I personally prefer the latter cause I am too lazy to even button up), it is always a good idea to invest in a basic monochromatic cardigan/pullover. White, navy, grey and black are some colors that come to mind. A sweatshirt, not the varsity kind, is also a fun way alternative to a pullover and there are several nowadays to choose from.
CLOSET ESSENTIALS # 5 STRIPES/GINGHAM
If J. Crew had their way, the whole world would be decked in preppy gingham or Breton stripes. Either way, a striped shirt/sweater gives off a preppy, chic vibe like no other. Perfect for that trip to Paris or perfect for everyday. The options are several, just go with slimmer stripes and classic combos like navy/white or red/white. Gingham is also another great mix-match candidate and can be dressed up or down with some pretty baubles. Look for complimentary colors and checks that are not too loud! J. Crew is going crazy over this print and they have tons of merchandize featuring gingham from shoes to shirts to blazers!
(image: Banana Republic)
CLOSET ESSENTIALS # 6 SKIRT
The world of skirts may seem daunting, with so many to choose from in minis, midis, maxis, A-lines, tubes, wraps and pencils, but it all again comes down to your body type, comfort and lifestyle. Pencil skirts are form fitting, mean business and can really elongate your form by tapering the lower end. Plus, they are welcome in the corporate world too, so you can get double the wear out of them at work or at play. However, a pencil skirt, no matter how awesome, may not be everyone’s cup of tea as they can flatter curvy bottomed ladies and that too not in a good way. For them, A-line or maxi skirts are a good option. Whatever it may be, having a skirt provides that right touch of feminine charm to your wardrobe without seeming too ostentatious. Invest in a piece which flatters your body type either in a single color or a print and flaunt those legs in the warmer months with style! Monochromatic colors like camel, navy, taupe and beige are great for mixing and matching with printed blouses while others such as red/pink can glam up an evening look.
(image: Ann Taylor)
CLOSET ESSENTIALS # 7 SHIFT AND/OR MAXI DRESS
Just like skirts, dresses come in different shapes to create different silhouettes, but if you are busy/on the go/looking for comfort yet don’t want to feel like a shapeless lump, then an easy peasy sheath dress or a flawy maxi dress will do the trick. Sheath dresses flatter all body types and can be dressed down or up, worn over a collared shirt for that preppy look or cinched at the waist with a cute belt for some more waist definition. Maxi dresses are a blessing when you just want to some leg coverage and are good for a change in weather when its still too hot for jeans. They are great for beaches, resorts for an easy breezy billowy look in tropical climes.
CLOSET ESSENTIALS # 8 BLAZER
A well cut blazer is not only restricted for office wear with those matching slacks, but can work wonders on its own as a standalone piece and make any outfit look sharp, such as a pair of jeans and t-shirt. Wearing a blazer over a casual ensemble makes it look more put together and gives structure to your figure. Look out for those made with sturdier materials and thicker knits and remember to get one proportional with your torso size. For ladies with smaller torsos like me, shorter blazers nipping right above the waist line are a good option. Blazers can be worn with dresses, skirt/blouse combos to make you look polished. Again, you can get more wear out of neutral colors like camel or monochromes like navy since they pair well with anything. Polka dotted or printed blazers are fun pieces if you are feeling more adventurous and can be used to break a monochromatic look.
CLOSET ESSENTIALS # 9 TRENCH COAT/JACKET
Investing in a well cut, well stitched trench coat is the wisest thing a fashionista could do because a trench coat is super versatile. Made from durable thick cotton, it is not only meant to weather the elements but also to make you look chic and preppy! A great spring/summer transitional piece and for rainy weather, a trench coat is understated classic and can be worn over all kinds of ensembles. You can get cropped, mid-length or the classic long trench coat (with/without a belt) at different price points. Remember to look for classic elements like shoulder epaulets, belted cuffs and the front flap.
CLOSET ESSENTIALS # 10 ACCESSORIES
Investing in some basic pieces like a good watch, a nice hat, a few jewel toned scarves and some elegant, subtle jewelry will help you elevate that look from drab to fab in seconds! For more fashion related stuff, read my post on slow fashion movement here.
Like this post? Pin it here