Clothes Call: Ten Wardrobe Essentials
Recently, after spending about an hour trying to find something to wear for poker night, I realized my closet was seriously lacking. I had tons of cute skirts for work, shirts to match, great shoes, and dresses. What I didn’t have were things most girls live in—great jeans, casual t-shirts, and anything under a 3-inch heel.
I made it my fashion mission to buy a few of those essentials every time I went shopping, and now I’m proud to say I have a pair of jeans I love (two pairs if it’s not a fat day), some adorable flats, and a few casual tops. I still prefer to dress up rather than down, but when I’m running on 73 minutes of sleep and am getting dressed with a cup of coffee in one hand, having a wardrobe of basic pieces that I can mix and match is a lifesaver.
Between my casual clothes and my dressy clothes, I feel like I have almost all the essentials (though I can use a few more pairs of jeans!). But chances are, especially if you’re loyal to a particular style of dressing like I am, you’re missing a few things. Take a look at my must-have list and see if you need to do some shopping ASAP:
A little black dress: I finally found the perfect one, and I love it so much that I bought a little gray dress in the same style. Pair it with high heels and a clutch for a night out, or flats and a casual bag to dress it down. If your little black dress is made from something like cotton, it’s a lot more versatile.
Cute flats: I don’t know how I lived without my Mia black flats all these years. Well actually, I do know—-with black heels that my feet will never forgive me for. Let a little toe cleavage peek out and be cute and comfy.
Plain t-shirts: Not the big baggy kind and not the belly-baring kind that was last popular circa Britney’s underwear-wearing days. Grab a few that hit at the hip to guarantee that they’ll look good with almost anything, and that your spare tire is covered up. Go as basic as possible—if you get one great v-neck black t-shirt, you can pair it with jeans for the dive bar, a pencil skirt for work, or a mini skirt for going out.
The perfect jeans: Notice I didn’t say “bootcut jeans” or “skinny jeans.” Shop according to your body type, not the 5’10 model that designers have in mind when they create their latest denim look. I have muscular legs; skinny jeans look like leggings on me and have no place in my closet. If you need help finding jeans that’ll fit your specific measurements, try truejeans.com—you’ll put in your measurements and body type, and they’ll give you a list of specific brands and styles to shop for.
Black heels: “But they’re not comfortable…!” Blah blah, I don’t care. I am so over perfectly attractive girls fugging it up with Crocs and running sneakers unless they’re at the gym or gardening. Flats certainly have their place, but to never wear heels is just fashion blasphemy. Heels can transform the way a woman looks in her clothes—ass and chest go out, stomach goes in, and legs automatically look toned and lean. So suck it up and practice your Top Model walk.
A fabulous hat: Maybe not today and maybe not tomorrow, but at some point soon, you will have a bad hair day to end all bad hair days. You will brush your hair in various directions to try and salvage it before giving up and screaming at your hair in the mirror, wishing you had a fantastic hat to cover up the mess on your head. There is no one hat style that you must have; just have one that complements your personal style. Go for a fedora if you dress kind of funky and offbeat, and a newsboy cap if you live in jeans and t-shirts. If you keep in mind what you actually wear on a daily basis when buying a hat, you guarantee you won’t have the problem I had the other day—trying to pair a slouchy knit newsboy cap with a dress.
A great jacket or coat: The style is up to you, as long as you’re not wearing the neon yellow bubble jacket you wore in 8th grade. When cold weather sneaks up you, your jacket or coat is often the first, and sometimes only, thing that people see on you. So if it’s the tattered jacket with holes that makes you look borderline-homeless, the impression you’re giving off won’t be a good one, even if you’re fantastically dressed underneath it.
A colorful shoe: A cute shoe in a non-neutral color can spice up an otherwise basic outfit, especially if black dominates your wardrobe. You don’t need flats and heels if you can’t afford it—just pick the heel height you wear most often. I have a pair of dark red stilettos that I’ve paired with jeans and a black t-shirt as well as my little black dress, and it’s a great way stand out and be a little creative.
A pencil skirt: Heels or flats, a pencil skirt looks fantastic with everything. Pair it with a t-shirt or a blouse, add a nice leather bag, and you automatically look put-together, even if you threw this outfit on 5 minutes before running out the door.
Your “I am monumentally hot” outfit: This can be anything, from jeans and blouse to a dress and heels. Every girl needs that one outfit that she feels absolutely amazing in, even when she’s PMSing, just broke up with her boyfriend, and failed her stats midterm. This is the outfit you break out when you’d rather set your closet on fire than wear anything in it.