Top Ten Wardrobe Basics

Every woman wants to look effortlessly stylish and pulled together. Being able to reach into the closet and pull out the perfect ensemble every time doesn’t necessarily have to take the better part of your morning or a small fortune.

All you need are the basics. By that I mean the bare-bones basic clothing items that every woman should have in her closet at all times, no matter the season, no matter the trend. Think timeless and classic; then build from there.

Top Ten Must-Haves:

  1. Killer denim jeans. Straight leg, trouser or slightly boot cut styles are always in vogue. Stay away from anything too trendy like super flare, very high waist or embellished. A touch of stretch is an added figure-friendly bonus, in a low to mid-rise pant.
  2. Crisp white button-down shirt. A classically styled, fitted blouse is best. This is one of those items that can be easily updated to fit current trends.
  3. Tailored jacket or blazer in a strong, neutral color like chocolate brown or black. A tailored blazer, when paired with a skirt or black trousers, is the ideal business ensemble. A quality jacket also can dress up a pair of jeans. In fact, with items 1, 2 and 3, you can go practically anywhere and fit in perfectly.Pair the jeans and white blouse with a wide leather belt and a pair of slouchy boots, and you are ready for lunch at a sidewalk bistro. Slip that stylish blazer over the blouse; add a colorful scarf and platform pumps, and you are on your way to dinner and a movie.
  4. Figure flattering black trousers. Don’t go cheap here; great quality wool or cashmere trousers will last for years, especially if you choose a timeless style, like a wide straight leg or trouser cut.
  5. Little black dress. No woman’s wardrobe is complete without the ubiquitous little black dress (LBD). From a romantic dinner with your beau to a business event, you can never go wrong with the LBD. My perfect LBD is a sleeveless, knee-length sheath. Its classic lines are timeless.
  6. Cashmere sweater. Every girl should own at least one real cashmere sweater. Choose the style that best suits your body shape: turtleneck, crewneck, v-neck or twin set.
  7. Knee length skirt. A classic A-line skirt is great (it will never go out of style), as is a figure skimming pencil skirt (not too tight, of course). The knee length skirt is another one of those items that can be dressed up or down, depending on the occasion.Wear it with a crisp, white blouse cinched with a skinny belt and ruby-red peep toes for a sexy “Miss Moneypenny” look. Or go totally “Audrey” with a sleeveless silk shell, pearls and leather sling backs.
  8. Trench coat. A good trench coat will never go out of style and can be worn almost all year long. Again, don’t go cheap; this item is so timeless that it can last you for decades. Think Burberry.
  9. Luxury handbag. Every girl should treat herself to at least one gorgeous, high quality handbag. The material, style and hardware are of such superior quality that you will wonder how you ever lived without it.
  10. A great fitting bra. This is an absolute necessity. What good are all of these fabulous style essentials if your girls are losing the battle with gravity and your bra straps are falling off your shoulders? A great fitting bra will make your clothing fit better, perk up your posture and dramatically improve your overall appearance.

Word to the wise: think of the above items as an investment; they will form the building blocks of your personal style. Accordingly, this is where the bulk of your wardrobe budget should be spent.  Once you have purchased the foundation of your wardrobe, you can bump it up a notch with a few well chosen accessories to add personal flair.

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About the Author

Carla Laney is the executive editor and co-owner of She She Me (, the popular online fashion e-zine.

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