It seems like money doesn’t stretch as far as you would like it to these days. Once the bills… kids… car… house and savings are taken care of, who does have the money to spend on yourself? While it may feel like it’s hard to set aside money for fashion, don’t fret! With a few key mix and match classic pieces, you can stay on trend and be ready for any social situation.
Here my top 10 must haves that every woman should have in her closet
1. The blazer
This garment was once thought of as strictly office attire – he protective gear you would put on before going into the office. Who could forget Melanie Griffith circa 1988 in the movie Working Girl?— her shoulder pads were as big as her hair. Fast forward to 2014 and it’s not about the padding anymore, it`s all about the cut.
While it’s still a must for many conservative workplaces, a well-tailored blazer now far more versatile. You can pair a blazer with jeans and be ready for a shopping trip, coffee with a friend or even a casual meet up. I’ve even warned one with a comfy T-shirt and jeans combo for overseas flights. They provide warmth for chilly planes and make a cotton shirt and a pair of jeans look polished and put together.
I will admit for my line of work I have a blazer almost in every colour, but if I could pick a favourite, it would be my black or navy blue blazers. If you are only in the market for one blazer right now – go for a neutral colour like black, dark gray or navy blue. It’s important you have a blazer that you can pair with other bold colours.
Even before the colour, the secret to a flattering blazer is cut. A blazer will create a clean line and even make you look thinner – yes, you heard that! If you’re buying off-the-rack and the fit doesn’t 100 per cent to accentuate your figure, don’t hesitate to take your garment to a tailor so they can nip, tuck and tailor your blazer just for you.
For a modern look, try a blazer with small leather or pleather accents or trim around the lapel or pockets. Or look for a blazer with no lapel or a stand-up collar.
2. Dark wash jeans
Blue jeans have come a long way since Jacob Davis and Levis Strauss first invented them in 1873. Originally made for cowboys and miners, they are now worn by professors and doctors and everyone else. A good pair of dark wash jeans can take you from work to a night on the town. A uniform dark wash is the most complimentary for all body types, but make sure you pick a style that is flattering for your figure. Not everyone will look good in a skinny jean. Again, the same tailoring rule applies – if they gape at the waist or the pockets pucker, make an appointment for your new friend, the tailor.
3. A chunky scarf
If you`re like most women I know, you have a tendency to be on the cooler side. I know I welcome the comfy feel of an infinity scarf that gently hugs my neck and caresses my skin and they’re a great fashion accessory that you can play with. Find a funky pattern or colour and enjoy the stylish warmth the chunky scarf will give you. The only rule here the scarf has to be soft for maximum coziness.
4. The silver stud earring
The simplicity of this design is classic and it’s today’s updated version of the pearl earring. Composed of a single ball that sits directly on the earlobe; this stud (and not the one sitting next to you at the coffee shop) is perfect for the office, giving off a conservative yet modern polished look. Best of all, it’s complimentary to most face shapes.
5. The oversized bag
I am the proud owner of not one oversize bag but three. They have become an essential part of my busy life holding and toting just about everything. Sure, I get teased at work by my male co-workers asking if I have, “packed enough for my vacation” or if I’ve got “everything plus the kitchen sink inside” my bag, but that doesn’t faze me. NOPE, with just one bag, I can pack a change of clothes, my make-up and toiletries, my books, a laptop or anything else that suits my fancy.
Moms, you don’t have to use the traditional diaper bag – instead, pick up a bag like the LUG bag. They are a bit pricey sitting around 100 dollars, but they have tons of handy compartments and pockets. The good news, once you are done having kids you can transition it for an everyday bag.
6. A white blouse
You may be thinking where am I going to wear a white blouse? But, they’re so versatile, you should at least have one well-tailored blouse in your closet. If you are going to get just one, go for a white one. A crisp white blouse is good for the office, throw it on with a dark wash jeans and you have a classic outfit. It’s guaranteed to go with skirts, trousers, and jeans alike.
6. Statement necklace
Statement necklaces used to be something you would wear for a fancy dinner, or a wedding. But, these days, it’s not uncommon to see a fashionista pair one of their favorite pieces with a T-shirt and jeans. It can be used with pretty much everything and for every occasion. If you’re feeling particularly bold, try pairing it with a striking colour. I like wearing them with a more subdued color scheme, so the statement necklace can do its job, which is making a statement.
A good piece can be expensive, that’s why you want to stick to a metallic colour, perhaps silver or gold. If you’re looking pick one up, Stella and Dot has some great well-constructed investment pieces that can take you from day to night.
7. A wool coat
A well-tailored wool coat won’t just flatter your figure it, will also keep you warm. Wool is a great insulator and can keep you warm without overheating your body. According to the American Sheep Industry Association, “Wool is also able to soak up as much as 30 percent of its own weight in moisture without feeling wet, which is one of the reasons it can still keep you warm even in the rain.”
8. Walking shoes or sneakers
This item is on the list because I want to see people to be comfy, but also stylish. It’s important that your feet be supported and comfortable. A few years back, I bought a pair of Puma trainers for style and little did I know, they would be the best walking shoe I’d ever have. They have been on so many trips to Europe where was walking upwards of 8 hours a day and didn’t have a single blister. They saved my feet!
Those experiences made realize how important it is to have a good pair of shoes. My ex-boyfriend used to tell me that his dad would say there are two things you don’t want to cheap out on, the first a bed, the second a good pair of shoes. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Since half your life you spend sleeping, the other half on your feet walking around. Chuck Taylor’s All Stars might be a good brand to try out. After nearly 100 years of existence , they continue to be a staple in many a rock stars closets.
9. The dress
Has a man ever told you that they prefer you in a pair of pants over a dress? Nope, that’s because a dress is the symbol of femininity. Dress = Woman. When men see a woman in a dress, what they see, is her never ending curves. In this case, if you’re building up your wardrobe a wrap dress is perhaps the most versatile and most flattering on most body types. Of course the little black dress is always a staple, but don`t rule out navy or even a dark grey. A neutral colour will give you loads of versatility.
For the very last spot on this list, I thought long and hard what I could include. I considered pumps or a skirt, but I kept coming back to shapewear. Hidden underneath your favorite dress or behind layers of clothing, it may not be top of mind when building your wardrobe, but if I were to look back at the pieces that I use most, my shapewear is up there. They are such an essential item that A-list celebs like Beyoncé Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Gardner swear by the shape shifting genius.
Photo credit: adapted from Rubbermaid Products| Flickr