Get Your Wardrobe in Shape with these 10 Essential Style Pieces
By Suzanne Blons
Have you ever stood at your closet door, looking at your piles of folded and not so folded wardrobe, and felt like you have nothing to wear? Your pants are too tight in the derriere. The shirts all make your bust look lopsided. And your favorite dress has a hole that has needed mending for, um, 5 years?
Give your wardrobe a makeover by only keeping items that fit, are comfortable, versatile, and of great quality.
Do an inventory of what needs to be repaired, tossed out, or given away. If you haven’t worn a piece of clothing in six months, give it a solemn funeral and say goodbye.
Then, check if you have these 10 items that every busy professional woman must have!
White Button Down Shirt
There is nothing like a clean, crisp, button down white shirt with sharp collar to look polished and professional. A white button down shirt goes with a skirt, slacks, and jeans, and can be dressed up or down with the right jewelry and even a scarf. Toss on a leather jacket, jeans, and heels and you are ready for a first date.
If you are like me and can’t maintain anything that’s white because of children, chocolate, or spilled wine, then only spend around $50 for this piece.
I recommend getting button down shirts in white, light blue, and vertical stripes because of its versatility and classic appeal.
I know it’s tempting to buy cheap shoes, but don’t do it. A good, solid pair of black, neutral, or tan flats will change your life. Shoes that are made well and properly cared for should last many years.
Believe it or not, potential bosses look at your feet and make judgments about your attention to detail and value. Flats are like that white button down shirt—they go with nearly everything and can dress up or down easily.
Think about pairing the white shirt, black slacks, and flats in any shade for a stylish quick outfit for the day when the alarm doesn’t go off and the car won’t start. You’ll look put together even if you don’t feel that way!
Style has changed, and pencil skirts are now seen outside of the office, dressed down with floppy sweaters and t-shirts. You can also go for a straight skirt that sits lower on the waist for a more casual feel.
In any case, go for a flattering hemline, whether it be above the knee or slightly below, and dress it up or down with flats or heels.
I used to work with a woman who could run a mile in her stilettos without breaking a sweat, while I would have aching feet and heavy perspiration after about an hour standing in them. Comfort is the operative word with heels and companies are obliging.
My personal favorite is Clarks with their cushioned sole and just enough elevation to make me look chic.
Buy 3.5” leather heels that follow the line straight down from the back of the leg, and an elongated toe to make up for the shorter heel.
Take proper care of your shoes by treating them with a weatherproofing product and getting the heels tended about every 6 months.
My best friend went through about one or two handbags a year before finally breaking down and buying a well-made, pricier version. It’s been five years and the bag still looks fabulous and has paid for itself.
I recommend going for minimal hardware and structural integrity with lots of small inside pockets. Find one that can be worn across the body as well as on the shoulder for sheer practicality and functionality.
Soft leathers tend to wear out more easily so find a material that will maintain its shape, even with abuse.
Little Black Dress
It doesn’t have to be fancy, in fact it’s better if it isn’t, that way you can pair it with flats and a denim jacket or a cashmere wrap and heels for a trip to the opera.
Try a wrap dress. It looks great on any body shape, and keep to above the knee and either short sleeves or sleeveless for all-season versatility.
And of course, keep your pearls handy for that moment when you want to channel Audrey Hepburn.
Wardrobe basics are usually white, black, and gray, and need to be peppered with color for style and pop.
Usually, I hit Target and load up on seasonal T-shirts. I layer them under everything from cardigans, sweaters, jackets, and tailored suits.
Always keep a selection of scarves, long necklaces and cute belts to look modern with your T-shirts. And, of course, find your favorite pair of jeans to toss on with your T-shirt, black heels, and leather jacket.
Great Fitting Jeans
Are you the woman who owns 10 pairs of cheap jeans (and they look it) when you only need one or two pairs that are perfectly cut?
Find jeans that minimize your booty and lengthen your legs with a material you want to sleep in.
Try raw denim—it takes time to break it in, but once you do it looks and feels great, and lasts a long time.
Imagine this – you walk into a business meeting holding your coffee mug and computer, wearing black pumps, a pencil skirt in charcoal, a white t-shirt with a long multicolored necklace, and an ultra-cool black biker jacket from a vintage clothing shop. Your boss does a double take. In my business, we call this a ‘score.’
Leather jackets don’t go out of style and although potentially pricey, add a high level of unbeatable character and texture to how you present yourself.
Just buy it and enjoy watching the boss topple over.
Cashmere or Knit Pullover
Cashmere or knit pullovers last and look classy with jeans, skirts, and even your new leather jacket.
I recommend buying them in a few flattering shades and use them during seasonal transitions like spring and fall. Layer them during the colder months with a tailored winter coat and colorful scarf.
Take the time and energy to get shirts and other items tailored and dry-cleaned. You also can buy a steamer and keep your everyday basics looking snappy and smart.
It’s better to have the right wardrobe than a big one. You can stand at your closet door and take a deep sigh of relief that you have the perfect outfit for that day.
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About the Author:
Suzanne Blons is The Beauty Shaman and works as a professional makeup, hair, wardrobe stylist and snarky beauty blogger in Colorado. Check out her website at www.suzanneblonsmakeup.com!