Wardrobe Must-Haves

Yippee Ki Yay!  We are back to Fashion!

There are some items that you absolutely need ready and waiting in your closet. These make up the basis of your wardrobe; they’re the “must-haves” , no matter what your style — the wardrobe essentials. To be considered a wardrobe essential, an article of clothing has to have several important attributes:

  • It must be versatile. This is the most important quality of an essential piece of clothing. One key factor in versatility is color. Because wardrobe essentials have to go with lots of other clothing, they tend to be monochromatic and neutral in color. They also must work with different outfits. A jacket that you can pair with a skirt, pants, or a pair of jeans is a good example.
  • It has to be of good, perhaps even exceptional, quality. A wardrobe essential makes a statement, and anyone looking should be able to tell that it’s top shelf. High quality also means that it wears well, and for a very long time — very important for a garment that you’ll rely on again and again. 
  • It should be in a classic style. You don’t want your wardrobe essentials to ever really go out of fashion.
  • It must be a 10 or a Wow!  These garments, like everything in your closet, should have all the qualities of a 10, and because they form the basis of your stylish wardrobe, it’s okay to spend a little more for these than you would for  other, less essential, items.

    Black dress – The Little Black Dress (LBD) –  Should classic and  sophisticated (and dare I say teetering on sexy) . It should be well-made and fit like a glove. It should hide your flaws and accentuate your attributes. It can go from day (wear it to the office with a cardigan or blazer and a set of pearls and leather pumps) to night (take off the blazer or cardigan and add some  evening makeup,  funkier jewelry, and heels).

    Black pants – A pair of high-quality, flat front, black trousers are a necessity in every wardrobe. Stay away from pleats because they only accentuate an area that no one really needs accentuating! If you can buy only one pair of trousers, select a length that matches the heel height you most commonly wear. And choose a lightweight wool that will work in summer or winter.  Like a great pair of jeans, if you find a pair you absolutely Love, Love, Love, buy a 2nd pair.

    White blouse – Think of a white button-up blouse as your upper body’s version of black pants—it’s versatile enough to wear anywhere, with almost anything. Pair your white shirt over a bathing suit for a weekend getaway or with your favorite pants for work.  You can dress it up.  Dress it down.  It’s perfect.

    Blue jeans – Whether faded or tailored, the right pair of jeans will make you feel fabulous every minute.  When you find a pair that you absolutely love, and fits perfectly, if you can swing it, but a 2nd pair. My new favorite brand is Kut from the Kloth.  I get them at Nordstrom.  I have the faded, ripped pair, and a darker denim.  Same fit. Different look. Ralph Lauren and Seven Jeans are 2 other great brands that work for me.

    Sassy skirt – Every woman should have a knee-length black skirt that fits perfectly and gives her a slim appearance. The particular style is up to you (and what looks good on your body type): It can be a pencil skirt or an A-line skirt.  So that it can go from season to season, look for one that’s a lightweight wool.  I suggest one not too short, and not too long.  Just above the knee.  Pair it with boots, or high heel pumps.  Wear it with a turtleneck, or white blouse, or sweater set, or t-shirt with denim jacket.  Each gives the outfit a new fresh look.  Take it a step further, and make your black skirt, a black leather skirt…Leather is not just for clubbing anymore (not that I would know about clubbing).  I have a black leather skirt , slightly higher than the knee, which I pair with…you guessed it, white blouse, or a turtleneck, or a black suit jacket.  And, I’m able to wear it for work.  It’s a classic look, even with it being a leather skirt.

    Flats – Give your feet a well-deserved break and get a fabulous pair of flats; try a knockout color like red. Heels aren’t the only way to fancy up your feet. From preppy-casual to peep-toe sexy, you’ll love the way the right flat shoes look with jeans, dresses and trousers.  These are a recommendation from my friend Donna, who finds Tory Burch flats, the most god-awfully uncomfortable shoes!  Attilio Giusti Leombruni.  And, pricey, yet worth it.  My #1 fashion advice (aside from a fabulous black shawl)…Life is too short to wear uncomfortable shoes.  Find shoes that feel good, and You will feel good.

    Boots – According to the laws of fashion, when something has been around for three seasons or more it has the right to declare itself a “basic”.  Wear them with jeans, leggings, or a skirt or dress.   In fact a decent pair of  boots can catapult even the most boring outfit into a ­fashion wow.

    Denim jacket  – I wear mine to dress up an outfit, or dress down an outfit.  One of my favorite looks is to pair a dress with a denim jacket.  I love wearing a wrap dress, denim jacket, and boots.  I also wear a black skirt, white t-shirt, chunky necklace and denim jacket.  Or, my black denim jacket, blue jeans, and white blouse, and high heel sandals.  This is the 3rd time I’ve posted this picture, but I just want to drive home my point…you can wear a black denim jacket with just about anything!  (Note…it is very difficult to pair a Blue denim jacket, with Blue denim jeans.  Do Not try this at home).

    Wrap dress – I always feel great in a wrap dress.  you can wear it with a camisole  underneath, or skip the cami, and just flaunt what you have (or don’t in my case, and try to rely on your sense of humor).    I wear mine with boots, or high heel sandals, or my black patent leather peep toe pumps!  They’re easy to travel with, because they weigh next to nothing.  And you can dress them up with pearls, or dress them down with a denim jacket!

    Cashmere Sweater  – Invest in a classic style in a statement-making, vibrant color to brighten up your wardrobe. A cashmere sweater is luxurious and versatile—you can wear it to the office, for an evening on the town or just chilling out at home.  Choose a v-neck or a sweater set.  You can pair it with jeans, pants, or a straight skirt, or wear it over your LBD.  You can get one in black, cream, or red…or an argyle print.  You can also look for a vintage one.  I have one that is a cream-colored Lacoste that was my Father’s, and I wear it belted with a skirt and boots.  Oh, and there’s always something on the bottom! 😉



    Trench Coat – A basic belted trench coat is versatile and comes in a variety of fabric and color options. To avoid looking like a secret agent, choose a well-tailored option that hits right at (or below) the knee for a polished look.  I like Red, Black or White.  My friend Donna has the most Fabulous Burberry Trench.  That falls under the category “It costs more but it’s worth it”.  That is on my wish list! ( Note to file…don’t go looking for Donna in her Burberry trench, because she really doesn’t wear it, as she’s afraid to ruin it.  Can’t say I blame her. ) 😉


    Signature Scarf or Shawl  – The right scarf  or shawl can add instant impact to a suit, a dress or a crisp white shirt. Pick one in a bold color or vivid pattern; tie it around your neck or onto your purse handle, or twist it and wear it as a simple, but vibrant, belt.  Or wear classic black, and say hello to your new best friend!


    Sunglasses – The easiest way to class up any outfit—for work or weekend—is with a super-classy (and UV-protective) pair of fashion sunglasses. A general rule of thumb when shopping for the perfect pair: Rounded frames soften a square jaw line, square frames slim cheeks and rectangular frames add width and dimension to your face.  These are my Burberry sunglasses, which I got on sale at Nordstrom www.nordstrom.com for less than $90.  I wear them every single day, and they came with a fabulous  Burberry hard case to protect them.  I Never leave home without them!

    Your perfect Handbag – I suggest 2: one large, and one clutch.  I also use my large tote for a laptop bag.  No need to have to carry a boring brief-case to carry your laptop.  I throw my small clutch in the large tote, and use it as a wallet .  I also carry the small clutch on its own.  I make sure my small clutch is large enough to carry what I need to carry:  2 cell phones; lipstick; small (really small) wallet; pen and 5 business cards (which also doubles as a note card).  And, needs to be able to hold my keys, which I do not have tons of keys on my key chain.  Only car and house key.

    These are all basics.  I didn’t note any high heel pumps, since I’ve dedicated 3 previous blogs to shoes, my sense if you know my position on fabulous high heel shoes…the More the Merrier!  You can find any of these wardrobe essentials  at Nordstrom, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic,  or Etcetera :).   Of course, you can also  just google any of these items.   I do this when I want something specific to ensure I am getting the best possible price.   I have built my entire wardrobe around these staples.  Black, Red, and White works best are the cornerstone of my color palette.  And building a wardrobe around a color scheme will be a future blog. 🙂




    1. OK, this is good advice. I have a few of these items, and will be thinking about adding a few more. I want to know…who took all those pictures of your bottom half in pants and skirts? They did a nice job. I covet your best white blouse with the high collar! Need a short red belted jacket for spring I’ve decided. TGIF!

      • Hey Carol – the photographer was Annie Lebowitz…Photog to the stars. She was very excited to work with me. 😉 Yes, you definitely need to get that red belted jacket. Please be cautious when trying to match reds. Again, do not try that at home, or without a professional. I’d say jeans, black pants, white or khaki pants. Fabulous! 🙂

    2. I’m happy to say I have most of the essentials on this list! Very informative and always clever and witty… 🙂

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