Because I’m restricting myself from shopping so much, it has helped me realize how much I appreciate my shopping efforts of yore (yes, I just used the word yore. I’m such a geek!).
This isn’t about your basic wardrobe essentials: black blazer, black trousers, black skinny pants, pencil skirt, little black dress, a nice basic sweater, white button down, a great pump.
This is about items that have become wardrobe essentials in my closet. Pieces I have come to cherish and don’t know how I survived before they became part of my life. These are also pieces I will be super sad to part with once I have worn them down to nothingness. Let me stop thinking about that before I get depressed.
My personal essentials and how I wear them:
A khaki corduroy blazer. I bought this during my days at Banana Republic so I got the $130 blazer, half off. I have not regretted it one second. I have paired it over dresses. With jeans. Skinny pants. I don’t think I’ve paired with a skirt yet, but I certainly could. If you don’t have one, you are missing out on a cute way to polish up a not-too-dressy outfit.
My soft denim top that I sometimes pretend is chambray. I would wear this every other day if it didn’t make me look like I had no creative bones in my body. I almost never got one to begin with, thinking it looked too “cowboy”…not that there’s anything wrong with that! It’s now a favorite layering piece!
My red, wide leg dress trousers. Something I have wanted for years! This was another splurge of mine from BR. $98 I used 40% off coupon. When you’re doing a wide leg trouser, it’s best they practically brush the floor. I love trying to pair it with not-so-basic colors. I almost always pair with a pointy toe pump, because it creates a much sleeker silhouette than a rounded toe. If its not a pointy toe, it’s an open toe with a higher heel. A kitten heel will also work, as long as it’s pointy! I am not usually a fan of saying “never” in fashion, but I would probably never recommend a flat with a wide leg pant. It does nothing to flatter the leg lengthening effect of the ensemble.
My high collar sleeveless white top. I much prefer this to a traditional white button down. I got a silk version a few years ago, but after many trips to the cleaners, it is quite dingy and yellow-looking. So, when Banana Republic came out with a similar cotton version a couple years later, I rejoiced! The high collar spices up, what I consider to be, a pretty boring wardrobe staple.
My black button down. Forget a white button down–I say go for a black one! It’s just as versatile and more slimming and chic than white! Not to mention you can wear it a ton more because you don’t have to worry about that unfortunate dingy action that always seems to happen with whites. I usually wear mine with the sleeves rolled up or layered under a sweater. My favorite thing to pair it with is fitted boot-fit jeans and high heels for casual friday or shopping without kids! Such a sophisticated, polished look. I also love it with pencil skirts!
My brown “cowboy wannabe” boots. As a self-proclaimed heel lover, I ventured off a little here and got these cowboy-inspired kicks. I wear them so much in the fall with everything! And of course they’re much more practical when running around with the kids.
My yellow 3/4 sleeve dress. I cannot begin to describe how much I love this dress. It has the clean lines of a great LBD. Yet the color is an attention getter. If yellow is not your color, find a simple, 3/4 sleeve dress that IS in a color complimentary to your skin tone. Although I am a firm believer that most people can wear any color as long as the hue is right or if other wardrobe elements can create a “diversion” to the color. I love pairing my dress with jewel tone shoes and accessories or throw on a blazer to make it work appropriate.
My tan “croc” leather loafer. I will wear these ’til I bust the stitches. And then I will pay whatever it takes to replace them or repair them. My go-to when I’m on the go. It’s my choice over a ballet flat any day. Please don’t crucify me, ballet flat lovers! I hope Tory Burch isn’t reading this (I think its safe to say she isn’t). I just feel ballet flats shorten the leg so much! I do own a few ballets and wear them on occassion, but I prefer the loafer since it offers more of a structured look and a bit of a higher heel than the ballet. It also gives your look a nice, little preppy finish!
And, last, but not least, my white blazer. When I purchased this (once again) from Banana Republic, I had no idea how often I would wear it. It’s great for work or to dress up jeans. It’s just super versatile.
So, there you have it. You may notice a lot of my essential pieces are mix and matchable. So, I can really create a plethora of outfits using these few pieces. I hate that I don’t have more of a variety of brands, but Banana Republic is pretty much the highest quality I can afford on a regular basis! I promise I have a ton of other brands in my closet, but they’re fillers for the most part and i would not consider them “essentials.”
What are your non-essential essentials??
By Vanessa Culpepper