Hello All! Ok, so I’ve tried to share these twenty-five items with you before, generally over a series of posts, and I’ve decided it just makes a lot more sense to have them all collected in a single post so they’re all in one place, you can save the image, and are free to refer back to it as necessary. You can also shop my full Lookbook here, where I use these 25 key pieces to build a variety of outfits for every occasion.
So, lets get to it …
These are the pieces that should form the foundation of your wardrobe … they’re the essentials … the building blocks. Once you’ve got these in your closet, you’ll never again struggle to answer the question, “what am I going to wear today?” I can probably put together at least fifty different outfits using these pieces alone.
And, don’t panic … as I said, this is the foundation … it doesn’t mean you can’t add additional items to your wardrobe. In fact, I encourage it… just be smart and strategic. Each season, choose a few trendy or “of the moment” pieces that you love, and add them to your collection. This works best if you keep these extra pieces somewhat consistent, in style, color, and pattern. You’ll essentially create a capsule wardrobe each season, and the mix and match possibilities are endless.
Once you figure out how to rotate with the seasons, while keeping these tried and true essentials in your closet at all times, you’ll feel like you’re getting a whole new wardrobe with each new season, but for only a fraction of the cost, and trouble (dwindling closet space, the hassle of returns, etc.).
One thing to keep in mind — view these pieces as an investment. Take a look at them. Every single one of them is timeless… they will never go out of style … ever. And since they form the foundation of your wardrobe, they will get quite a bit of wear. So, I suggest you take the time to seek out the highest quality that your budget allows. Be honest about what you can afford, and be patient while you seek out the highest quality items you can find at your budget price. And, finally, once you do make a purchase, please take good care of the item! Get it cleaned regularly, store it properly, and follow the care instructions. Gosh I sound like a mom, don’t I?
Now, lets go through these pieces one by one.
1 … white button down shirt … it goes with everything, and it never, ever goes out of style.
2 … silk scarf … it adds a touch of class to any look … it’s incredibly versatile … headband, belt, in a French knot around your neck, tied to your bag for a colorful flourish.
3 … nude pumps … a power piece, again, that goes with everything … you could wear these to work every day, on a date Saturday night, and to church and brunch on Sunday morning.
4 … black slacks … choose a cut and fit that suits your lifestyle … I love a refined jogger because they’re comfortable enough to wear around on the weekend but still look polished enough to wear to work. Love this sporty style too!
5 … silk camisole … it’s elegant and feminine … wear it under a suit jacket to work, alone for date night, or layered underneath an oversize cardigan on the weekend.
6 … diamond or pearl studs … classic, goes with everything, it’s one of the only pieces of jewelry you’ll ever really need.
7 … trench coat … timeless … one of the only types of coats you can wear with anything … distressed jeans, a white tee, and sneakers (go ahead and add a baseball cap); over a suit for work; with a floral midi dress; or classic black slacks and ballet flats. I strongly urge you to invest in the best you can afford here. I linked above to a Burberry version, but if that’s simply outside your budget, this one by Barbour is also very high quality and much more affordable!
8 … black pumps … echoing the same points as the nude pumps … this classic just gives you more variety.
9 … neutral blazer … the perfect layering piece … over your shift dress for work, or with a tee and jeans … dressed up or down, it’s got you covered.
10 … white jeans … some may disagree, but these make my top 25 list, hands down. I don’t buy into the no white after Labor Day rule … in fact, I think there’s nothing more chic than head to toe, light-colored neutrals during the winter (the trick is to keep your other pieces thick, luxurious, and full of texture). And, what says summer like a pair of white jeans and sandals? This is a neutral, year-round staple.
11 … timepiece … I know we’re all attached to our cellphones so the need for a watch has gone by the wayside … it shouldn’t. Every woman should have a beautiful, high-quality watch that reflects her personality. Save up, and get the best you can afford here… if you care for it, it’ll last forever.
12 … classic white tee … another staple that goes with everything. If done right, you can even take this piece to a formal event … try it paired with a full, A-line skirt, statement making heels, throw your hair in a sleek bun, and rock your diamond studs … and you’re done.
13 … neutral handbag … I like to go light here (I just have a preference for light colored neutrals, I find them more feminine), but you can choose black or navy too. Choose a simple shape, and extra points if you can carry it as a handbag or shoulder bag. What you’re going for here is versatility. If you choose wisely, this could be your only bag, with the only exception being for formal occasions.
14 … classic striped tee … ok, gut check. This piece is a prime example of how much you can do with just these 25 pieces. Here’s a quick run down of what this one piece can do for you:
— add white jeans, sandals, and your neutral handbag
— add skinny jeans, a neutral blazer, and black pumps
— layer underneath your sleeveless sheath dress, add pumps (nude or black)
— pair with skinny jeans, loafer slides or ballet flats, silk scarf, and classic sunglasses
— layer underneath your neutral crewneck sweater, add jeans (blue or white) and sneakers
Need I say more?
15 … loafers or ballet flats … you want flat, comfortable and neutral …. other than that, go with whatever makes you happy!
16 … classic, oversize sunglasses … you want a pair that goes with everything and fits your personality.
17 … sun hat … I’m not going to lecture you too much, but I’ll just say …. protect your skin from the sun! That means SPF and a hat. Choose a classic semi-wide brim that goes seamlessly from the city to the beach, and you’ll always be covered.
18 … skinny jeans … ok, for this one, buy a couple pairs — one in a dark wash, and one with some light distressing for a more casual look. I don’t think this one needs much more explanation … most of you understand that jeans are probably one of the most important pieces in a woman’s closet today.
19 … neutral A-line dress … wear it to work, church, on date night, or to a semi-formal event … go with a length that suits your personality and body type, but I’d recommend not going more than two inches above the knee. Any shorter and you’ll limit it’s versatility, as it likely won’t pass for appropriate at work or in other professional settings.
20 … long, oversized cardigan … perfect for comfy days in over your pjs, with jeans and a tee, or over your shift dress to shield you from an overactive air conditioner at work.
21 … one piece swimsuit … ok, I know … I like bikinis too, and if you really want one, make it one of your “extras” for the summer season. But a classic, high-quality one piece should always be in your wardrobe. Look, there’s nothing dowdy or un-sexy about a one piece, in fact, I think it’s far more sexy because it leaves something to the imagination … plus, it’s just plain elegant … think Grace Kelly. Choose one with some pretty extras … I adore scalloped edges (so pretty and feminine). I suggest purchasing a subdued, neutral color because this piece can certainly go beyond the pool or beach. Wear it as bodysuit under high waist pants or an A-line skirt, or with jeans and your oversized cardigan … just know you can treat this as a top too, if you choose wisely.
22 … classic shift dress … a one piece wonder … wear it to work with pumps, with sneakers and a baseball cap on the weekend, or to cocktail hour.
23 … neutral sneakers … simple, chic, and comfortable. Anytime you’re planning to do some walking, choose these. Just keep them clean and neutral … that’s how you get away with pairing them with everything from jeans to floral dresses.
24 … pencil skirt … a work wear staple that can just as easily go casual … knot your white tee to the side, add sneakers, your oversized sunglasses and a ponytail.
25 … classic, crewneck sweater … the essential layering piece for warmth … wear it with your pencil skirt to work, or jeans and loafers on your day off. I suggest that you choose a mid-weight fabric, to truly keep this piece seasonless… a nice silk cotton blend would be ideal … if you go with wool, you’ll probably have to pack it up in the summer.
And that’s it … the foundation … the essentials. Stay with me and I’ll show you how to pair these pieces with each other, and with carefully selected “extras” each season. But this is your starting point … this is what you should work to build and keep current in your closet every day.
Happy Wardrobe Building!