Wardrobe essentials are timeless. Investing in quality pieces will provide you with numerous options for several years. These essentials will bring a classic yet stylish edge to your outfits when paired with trendier pieces.
1. White T-Shirt
Finding the perfect white t-shirt has been more elusive than the Loch Ness Monster. They are either too thin, see-thru, stretchy, loose, baggy, tight or just do not fit right. Alas, the perfect white t-shirt has finally been spotted, the photos authenticated, and it has my stamp of approval. The best part is, it is under $40. Drop the mic.
2. Black T-Shirt
An everyday black crewneck will be your BFF as a versatile wardrobe essential. Choose one that is close-fitting so that it can be layered under a blazer, jacket or sweater without providing bulk. Select a soft fabric like a Pima cotton, modal, or Tencel that is going to hold up to washings and will not pill over time.
3. White Button-down Shirt
A white blouse is the perfect foundation piece for any outfit. Sharon Stone proved the versatility of a button-down at the 1998 Oscars when she wore a white button-down Gap shirt right out of her then husband’s closet. The button-down can morph from the Oscars to running errands all day with skinny ripped jeans, flats and a cross-body.
4. Denim Jeans
Jeans are probably everyone’s favorite essential. I love how jean styles today run the spectrum from wide-leg to skinny and from low to high-rise. Pretty much any cut and style are in fashion. When I was growing up, it was either Calvin Klein, Gloria Vanderbilt or nothing else (or maybe it was “nothing” comes between me and my Calvin’s – LOL). Today I would select dark wash denim in a cut that compliments your body shape and leg length. A higher waist and slimmer leg will flatter almost all body types.
5. Little Black Pants (LBP)
Research in color psychology shows that a preference for the color black indicates prestige and power; someone who wears black takes themselves seriously. I love to wear black, but I try not to take myself too seriously. When I wear black pants, I feel confident, and chic every time I put on my LBP. Choose a pair with a little stretch and a cigarette leg to take you from casual to cocktail.
6. Black Skirt
A simple black skirt can be paired with tennis shoes or flats and a t-shirt for a fun, casual look. Dress it up with a statement blouse and nude pumps for work, church, or a dinner date. It is one of the essential workhorses in your wardrobe. Choose a knee-length pencil skirt that is a little forgiving through the hips. If you have shorter legs like myself, the length should be just above the knee. If you have longer legs (I secretly hate you), then just below the knee is perfect.
7. Little Black Dress (LBD)
The quintessential LBD will forever be in style and part of every woman’s wardrobe. Most of us probably have several. Like its cousin, the black skirt, a little black dress easily transitions from casual to evening. Layer a white t-shirt underneath, tie a denim jacket around your waist and sport a pair of tennis shoes for a casual look. Step into evening mode with a nude pump, glamorous clutch and striking red lip (read my post on Perfecting the Red Lip Over the Age of 40).
8. Jean Jacket
The first recorded jean jacket was created around 1880 by Levi Strauss, as a new type of work apparel intended for rugged use by cowboys, miners, and railroad workers. An American icon, the jean jacket has been liked equally by both men and women over the years. Feminine styles today run the gamut from cropped, embellished, oversized, frayed, and patched all in a multitude of denim colors. A jean jacket with a bit of detail, stretch and softness will have you grabbing this favorite piece for endless outfit options.
9. Long Cardigan Sweater
Nothing says cozy like a sweater and I like to grab one all year long. A longer cardigan covers backside flaws, yet with a stylish and fashionable statement. You can button it up and wear it as a top, leave it open, or belt it for a sharp look. Choose a sleeveless version for a year-round modern look and layer a simple shirt underneath.
10. Tennis Shoes
Tennis shoes especially designer brands are currently getting their spotlight on the walk of fame. I am surprised we have not seen them on the red carpet. Couple tennis shoes with skirts and dresses for a more casual, street ensemble or pair with your favorite denim. Adding this trending touch of comfort and grit will elevate any outfit to super cool status.
There is nothing better than finding the most comfortable pair of flats. Ones you can slip on at any time knowing you can now conquer the world without having sore feet at day’s end. Once I find a pair that feel like bedroom slippers, I buy that pair in every shade I love.
12. Nude Pumps
Nude pumps are the ultimate in sophistication and upgrade every wardrobe. Find a pair with a little bit of sexiness and you have the perfect pump. A nude pump matches every outfit. Choose a color that is closest to your skin tone as possible to promote the illusion your legs are longer.