Saturday, October 10, 2009

Wardrobe Oxygen

Every woman who reads my blog must read this list immediately. You can skim what I've posted or, better yet, click the link below and read the whole article.

Staples for Every Woman's Wardrobe

1. Black Tailored Pantsuit in Seasonless Fabric
Look at the fabric of men's suits. It's a fabric that is smooth, doesn't wrinkle easily, looks good in winter and in summer. You want an equivalent.

2. Black Seasonless Trousers
These are trousers that go with a fun top for a night out, with a twinset for work, with a cute jacket and tank for dinner, with a sweater for a jaunt to the mall. Sometimes it's nice to give the jeans a vacation and dress up a smidge.

3. Jeans - and I Don't Mean ANY Sort of Jeans
A slightly vintage look is always flattering, and will be less likely to show wear as you wash and wear these jeans month after month. Darker means slimmer, and more stylish. Toss your faded jeans, your high waisted jeans, your tapered jeans.

4. Jeans Again - But These Have a Totally Different Purpose.
Jeans are not just for everyday, jeans have become haute couture. Not all of us can afford a pair of $250 denim, but we can acquire a pair that is a bit more refined, a bit nicer, reserved for special occasions.

5. Black Heeled Boots
Heels may be hard to get used to at first, but they make you walk straighter, they make your clothes hang better, your butt looks better, your calves more toned.

6. Black Leather Pumps
It's okay to go with comfort over trends with these pumps. Just don't forgo heel height. Think feminine, think classic. Think "What Would Jackie Wear?" Jackie wouldn't wear 4" stilettos in patent leather, but she wouldn't wear dowdy black microfiber elastic shoes with a clunky heel.

7. Not So Little Black Dress
This dress is your "in a pinch" dress. With pearls you are ready for a day wedding. With a cardigan, it's perfect for a christening or funeral. Add jet beads and dangly earrings and you are dressed for your company holiday party. A white oxford underneath some styles, and the dress becomes a sassy jumper appropriate for the workplace.

8. Silver Hoop Earrings
Nothing jazzes up a simple outfit better than a visible pair of hoops. They add shine and sparkle, make a simple top and pants into a "look," and dress up everything in your wardrobe. Wear with your simple black dress for your company's holiday party, your merino v-neck and skirt for a date, with a simple tank and jeans for a night out with the girls.

9. Black or Gray Merino V-neck Sweater
Having a basic like black or gray is a must - this is a color that will not go out of style. I have a merino v-neck in charcoal from J. Crew that I purchased in college and still wear a decade later. The merino v-neck will replace your sweatshirts, faded knit pullovers and bulky cotton sweaters; it is just as comfortable but far more refined.

10. Trendy Skirt
This skirt will jazz up your simple merino v-neck or tee shirt, it will add pizazz to your simple button-downs, sweaters and jackets. A fun skirt can add necessary humor, personality and even formality to a very basic wardrobe.

11. Trendy Jacket/Blazer
Nothing pulls basics together and makes an outfit better than a jacket. A simple ribbed tank and jeans is appropriate for lunch with friends when topped with a blazer. Your basic black pants and a simple tee is work-appropriate when matched with a jacket. When it's fun, funky and "trendy," it takes basics to the next level and adds your personality to your wardrobe.

12. Slim V-neck Sweater in a Signature Color
This sweater will brighten the most gloomy days if you chose the right color. It can be worn with skirts, jeans, work pants, capris. With the right accessories it can work for a luncheon, work, the mall, the weekend, a cookout and even a cocktail party. Since it's your signature color, you probably won't ever tire of the color, making it a wardrobe mainstay.

13. Signature Accessory
A signature piece has some heft to it - it is noticed by others and helps define your personal style. This is not a delicate gold chain with a small heart, it's not the Tiffany bracelet that every other woman in America owns, and it is not your wedding set. This is something that you add to the picture, something that takes your staples and makes them a wardrobe.

14. A Sparkly/Evening Shell or Top
A great evening top will get miles and years of wear. Under your basic black suit, you are ready for a company event or cocktail party. With a simple black or ivory skirt, you're dressed for a wedding. Pair it with black pants or dark jeans, you have a great outfit for a night of dancing.

15. The Perfect Tee - or Two
This tee is not from Fruit of the Loom, it is not unisex, and it is most likely not 100% cotton. These are tees that are refined, feminine and flattering.

16. Well-fitting Wool Winter Coat

Keep your parka for your ski trips and snowball fights in your backyard. You need a coat that will work for every other occasion in your life. We don't have the money or the room to house a closet-full of coats, so it's best to invest in one coat that will work for every occasion that takes place in the colder months.

17. Great Fitting Bras
There are bras for romantic evenings, bras that have pretty straps to wear with tanks. Bras that match your panties, bras to wear to the gym. This bra is not any of those. This is a bra that makes your bustline look fantastic. It may not be the sexiest bra, but when worn under a slim sweater, it makes you look taller, younger and slimmer.

18. Panty Line-free Underwear
Nothing ruins an outfit more than the wrong foundations. You now have the right bras, you now need the right underwear. Baggy, wrinkled or binding underwear DOES show, even through jeans and can ruin your figure as well as your outfit.

19. A Pashmina or Wrap
Think this doesn't fit your lifestyle or personality? Think again. In the right color and weight, this item may get more wear than your favorite pair of jeans. With sundresses to ward off an evening breeze, with cocktail dresses year-round it's a great coverup.

20. Clutch Purse
Black is a safe bet for a clutch, but this is a great chance to show your personality. A beautiful printed silk, a quirky beaded design, sequined Pucci-inspired pattern, vintage brocade... you'll find an interesting fabric or print will get more mileage and be more versatile than a basic piece, and doesn't then have to coordinate with your shoes.

21. Daily Purse
Once a week or so, you should go through you bag and remove all the superfluous things that get caught in there - ATM receipts, gum wrappers, the 20 pens and 15 lip glosses that collect through a week, lint-covered tissues... you get the idea. Your daily bag should have what you need on a daily basis and no more. It's great to have a purse survival kit, but you don't need to keep all the contents of your kitchen's junk drawer.

22. Sexy Shoes That Can be Worn for at Least Five Hours
I promise you, they really do exist! These shoes are sassier than your traditional leather pumps. Maybe a strappy heel in a matte gold, possibly a peeptoe heel in black satin. These shoes will take your basic black dress from day to evening, make your work suit suddenly cocktail party-appropriate, and even jazz up jeans and a sparkly top for a night out on the town.

23. Sunglasses
Sunglasses protect your eyes from glare and from sun damage. A large pair is good because they will also protect the skin around your eyes from the elements. Sunglasses are far more chic than squinting, and they pull an outfit together. Somehow that bit of mystery does really add to one's appeal!

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I have 15 of the items on this list: pants, jeans, boots, pumps, black dress, black sweater, skirt, jacket, colored sweater, accessory (pearl necklace), panties, wrap, daily purse, sexy shoes, and sunglasses. Some are not the fanciest. The jeans, pumps, and skirt are second hand. Both sweaters, the dress and the boots are from those trendy cheap stores in the malls (Forever 21, Body Shop kinda stores). The pants, panties, sunglasses and sexy shoes are from Target or Walmart. The accessory and wrap were gifts. The purse is from TJ Maxx (where else!). The only pricy thing on this list is the jacket. It's this wonderful red leather jacket I splurged on and absolutely love.

I'm adding the other 10 items to my shopping list and hopefully I can get some great deals.
Black Suit: I'm going to go with my friend who works at Dress Barn and get a nice suit for 40% off.
Sexy Jeans and Evening Top
: These are low on my list, but J.C. Penny has a couple sexy trendy brands like Bisou Bisou which are sure to have good finds in this category.
Silver Hoops
: Also low on my list. I like (somewhat) dramatic dangly earrings. I would go far enough to say that such earrings are a second signature accessory for when I'm not wearing the pearls.
Wool Winter Coat: Oh, well I just got a really wonderful trench coat with a full skirt, so I'm satisfied for now.
Great Fitting Bra: A desperate need. I recently lost around 30 lbs and all my bras are rather ill fitted. I hate spending but seeing as I've finally lost all the weight, I suppose I can finally get a good bra.
Clutch
: I don't go out much. I wonder if Mama would give me one of her sparkly sequined clutches... I usually end up borrowing one for every party that we go to anyway.


If you work in an office every day, I suggest purchasing two pairs of black pants. The Old Navy Ponte Trousers are excellent, I hear. I don't have a pair but plan on picking one up. I also recommend a good black belt. I wear one every single day. Also a desperate need. I ended up wearing Boyfriend's belt to work the other day.

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