Essentials, classics, basics (whatever you want to call them) are the building blocks to our wardrobe. They are the go to’s for all occasions and the work horse pieces of our closet. Every woman needs the basics in her closet, in excellent condition, and always ready to go. These pieces should be of better quality but that doesn’t mean they have to be expensive. You can buy the items on sale because they will always be in stock and in style; good quality can come from some mass retailers but don’t feel bad splurging as it is well worth the investment. The essentials you need won’t change much over the years but of course your job and daily lifestyle will indicate which you will need more over others.
This is a must-have you simply cannot go without. No matter how simple or intricate your look will get you’ll always need to start with a basic tee. It’s important to have both long and short sleeved ready-to-go in black, white, and gray. I know these are staples in my closet and should be in yours too. You can never go wrong with a great crewneck or v-neck. Brands like Splendid, J Crew, Madewell, Current Elliott, Rag and Bone, and Wilt have great sturdy tees that will last you a while. I tend to spend a bit of money on my tees because I know I’ll wear them a lot.
Even if you’re more of a dress and skirt kind of girl, you still definitely need a sturdy pair of jeans in your closet. You should have a classic blue jean for everyday wear and a darker skinny jean in dark indigo or black to dress up a look . You can dress up a skinny or straight cut with a heel or pair a slouchy boyfriend with boots, sneakers, or heels depending on your look.
Even if you don’t wear them often, you should still have a pair of trousers in your closet for dressier occasions. A pair of black, gray or navy trousers is a great alternative to a dress when you need to get dressed up. Skinny crop or straight are my usual go-to’s but you can always rock a full wide leg to channel your inner Lauren Hutton – this look is usually better on someone a bit taller. If you have a pair of quality trousers in 2 different color and styles, you’ll be fine for whatever occasion pops up.
A great blazer in black, gray, navy, or camel is a perfect weekend outfit upgrade. You can dress it up with a nice skirt or pant or keep it casual with your staple pair of jeans. A good blazer is something you will want to invest in as inexpensive brands tend not to fit as well. You can even find a tailor if you need to…trust me, it’s worth the investment. You can never go wrong pairing a blazer with your look as it will be your go-to for an instant outfit update.
Even if you live in Miami where it’s 80 degrees on Christmas day, you will still need a coat at some point. A casual parka style is always a good look while a wool mid length coat in a classic color can be worn with everything and is appropriate for all occasions.
These are must haves, especially for Miami winters where we like to dress for the season even though it’s still hot outside. You’ll need a classic long and short sleeve crew neck that is slightly fitted for everyday wear. I recommend starting with basic colors like black, white, or grey but you can add other colors to your wardrobe to spice up your look. A great sweater is so easy to pair with anything like pencil skirts, trousers, or jeans. You can dress the look up with a pump or keep it casual with a boot. You’ll also want a longer cardigan or draped sweater to throw over your basic tee; its an essential to bring when you know you’ll be in a cold office or maybe just get chilly throughout the day.
Ladies, make sure your bras fit! Wearing proper underwear in the right color and cut depends on your outfit. Something as simple as seeing a panty line can turn a flawless outfit into tacky in a second. Make sure if you need spanx with certain looks you have it in good condition. If you use them regularly, 1 black and 1 nude slip are also important to have but maybe not crucial depending on your wardrobe.
Little Black Dress
This is the must have staple for every woman’s closet. Channel your inner Audrey Hepburn and invest in a great black dress you can wear forever. I have a Miu Miu LBD I bought for a friend’s wedding 15 years ago and still wear it all the time. Quality is of the utmost importance here since you will inevitably need a LBD for several occasions. You can invest in a more casual black dress but you’ll also need a conservative fitted dress that is good for day events, work, church, funerals, cocktail hours, and so much more.
Make sure you have a trouser belt to bring your look together. You’ll want it to be thin but no too skinny and ideally in both gold and silver hardware.
You need at least 2 good pairs of proper PJs. Think about when you have over-night guests coming into town or when you are the guest in someone else’s home. Definitely not the time for a nightie or ripped up tee.
Every woman needs a good structured tote, if not for work then for traveling. You can never go wrong with a satchel and a cross body as well. If you are the girl who does not change out her bag much you should make an investment on a quality bag in a neutral color that will last you a long time.
There are a few shoe essentials you need to have ready at hand: a classic pointy toe pump in black and nude, strappy sandal for evening wear, pointy or ballerina flats, chic sneaker, black walking boots, and a black pointy stiletto boot is perfect for evening during the fall and winter months. These different styles should cover all bases for every occasion.
With all of the above your closet should be in great shape and ready-to-go for any occasion. Notice I’ve mentioned a lot of black in our essential wardrobe – yes, coming from NY it is my go to – however, black, gray, and navy are and will always be the backbone colors to include. If and when you add color and pattern to your wardrobe you can do so easily as long as you have your fundamental colors and pieces to work with.