Here is a little exercise I borrowed this from Angie at youlookfab — Identify your personal wardrobe basics.
I don’t believe in a generic list of wardrobe basics. Instead, I believe in a personalized list of wardrobe basics that brings factors like body type, lifestyle, work requirements, climate and personal preferences into the equation.
I appreciate this because every time I watch Tim Gunn’s Guide To Style and he says he believes there are 10 wardrobe staples every woman should have, I find myself shaking my head. I have no use for a trench or a white button down shirt. And then there are items that I MUST have in my wardrobe, such as a jean jacket, that he never mentions. So when I saw Angie’s post last week, I decided to make my own list. Feel free to make your own!
Jeans: If you’ve hung around here for very long, you know of my love affair with denim. I wear jeans every day of the week (or, at least, I used to until I resigned myself to living in sweat pants until my jeans fit again, but I digress… At any rate, I love my blue jeans. I couldn’t live without them, and I could probably make a case for denim being appropriate for any occasion with the possible exception of a formal wedding. I have straight leg jeans for tucking into boots, straight leg jeans tailored for flats, boot-cut jeans tailored for flats, boot-cut jeans tailored for high heels, and trouser jeans for dressier occasions. I also have cropped jeans for summer, and I’m hoping to add some white jeans to my wardrobe this year. You might say my affection for denim borders on obsession. And we haven’t even talked about the denim jacket yet. Which is a great segue to #2.
Denim jacket: I have several denim jackets that I wear a lot in the summertime. I love a denim jacket for throwing over a skirt and sleeveless sweater in the warmer months to give the outfit more of an edge. It’s also a great look with khaki pants. Here’s proof that if an occasion calls for a skirt, I will probably have a denim jacket on with it. This was me with C at my SIL’s bridal shower last fall. As you can see, C’s rocking the denim too.
Black slacks: As much as I love my denim, and I wear jeans almost anywhere, I draw the line at church. Therefore I have a nice pair of lined black pants that I wear to church. I swap out sweaters and tops and wear black pants to church almost every week. I need to add a few more pair to my wardrobe. I’m working on that.
Cashmere sweaters: There is nothing quite like cashmere, and I have collected cashmere sweaters over the years. They don’t pill, and they are so so so warm and cozy. I wear them with jeans to go to the mall or out to dinner, with my black pants or my tweed pencil skirt for church on Sundays, and pretty much any time a t-shirt isn’t appropriate. Which brings me to #5.
T-shirts: I live in t-shirts in the summertime. V-neck t-shirts, rounded-neck t-shirts, boat-neck t-shirts, crew-neck t-shirts — I have drawers a drawer full of them. Lately I’ve been trying to get away from wearing solids all the time, but t-shirts are my go-to piece for summertime. I wear them with jeans, capris, or skirts. I throw a jean jacket or a cardigan on top if I’m going somewhere that it might get cold. For some reason, button-downs and blouses don’t work for me, so the T-shirt is a summer staple.
Tall boots: I finally gave the tall boots a try, and now I can’t imagine winter without them. I have a pair of Uggs that keep me toasty warm. They’re cute with my boots tucked into them but I can always wear them under pants if I want to. I also have a couple pair of leather tall boots with low heels that are cute with skirts or over jeans.
Flip-flops: I know they’re far from high-fashion, but I couldn’t make a list of wardrobe basics and neglect the flip-flop. I wear them ALL. SUMMER. LONG. They are so easy and cute and effortless, and they go with EVERY-thing. Although I do not wear them to church. A girl’s gotta draw the line somewhere.
Wool car coat: I have several winter coats but the one I go to the most often is my blue wool 3/4 length coat that I got for Christmas a few years back. I love that it’s blue, not boring black or brown or camel. It pops any outfit, and it has become a signature piece in my wardrobe. I had to have the lining repaired this winter because it was ripping, so for now it’s as good as new. I don’t know what I’ll do when it wears out. Here I am with Sarah in NYC last fall, sporting my blue coat (and jeans of course!)
Sweats: I know, I know, you were hoping I wouldn’t go there. But I figure once I threw the flip-flop in here, there’s just no stopping me. I love my sweats. I spend the majority of my life right here at home behind the computer, and I refuse to acknowledge the opinion that a sweatsuit alternative is in order. Na-na-na-na!!! My fingers are in my ears. Yes, the sweatsuit, for better or for worse, is an essential outfit in my wardrobe.
Diamond earrings: I love diamonds (who doesn’t!?) and I waited a long time for my diamond earrings. They look great with anything from my sweats to my Sunday clothes. I wear them ALL the time. I only take them out when a pair of statement earrings is in order.
23 thoughts on “Personal Wardrobe Basics”
Great list. What are you favorite brands for tees and cashmere? Finding good quality along with good price is such a challenge!
For cooler weather I discovered Chico’s turtlenecks (on sale) launder very well. Now I would like a “go to brand” for warmer weather tops.
Okay, I love the blue coat, but I can’t stand wool. It seems so heavy, it makes me suffocate. It looks fabulous though, so maybe I should reconsider. I am so glad that diamond earrings made your list. I wear diamonds in my top holes too (mine are of the CZ line though!) and it is true that diamonds match everything.
BTW – Big Mama is taking the week off. She has posted archives all week long.
Enjoyed your post!
Happy Easter =)
Good questions. I like Old Navy’s t-shirts, frankly. They hold up well. To splurge, I go to Banana Republic or the Loft. My favorite cashmere is JCrew and Ann Taylor. I only buy them on sale after Christmas.
I would have to add a wonderfully comfortable sweatshirt…preferably with a hood to the list and it would be pretty close to the same. I live in jeans, when not at work. They are my comfy clothes, along with my fabulous Old Navy sweats.
Julie, thanks for the info. I obviously need to get out around the blogosphere a little more, huh?
I agree! My basics lately have been jeans or a simple skirt with leggings and a tee with a scarf tied around my neck! (Lately I am hooked on American Apparel tees- just plain!) And of course- cute shoes. Flats for me. And my favorite earrings. I know it’s a lot of stuff, but I keep it simple! : )
Steph, I’m not familiar with American Apparel Ts. Where do you get them? What are your favorite cute shoes of late?
Love your list!
Mines nearly identical except I don’t really do sweats…but I have some yoga pants for curling up & watching TV 😉
Now I am rethinking my passing up the cute grey cashmere hoodie and 3/4 sleeve blue cashmere sweater I just saw on sale today.
I like the idea of a personal list but have no idea where to begin for me personally. I am in desperate need of new clothes and feeling like I should not be spending money.
Maybe if I make my own list first, then I’ll have a game plan and know where to start.
I love that you said you aren’t a white button- up shirt gal. Me either. I always feel like “they” always say that is such a staple, yet I never wear that! Thanks for allowing me to admit I don’t like button-ups either!!! I love your list!
Or button-down. Instead of up!!
A personalized list is a good thing. I have a white button-down shirt that I bought because every fashion guru has it on their must-have list…but I hardly ever wear it because I have little kids at home with me!
I love my jeans, but I like skirts too. I wear workout clothes a LOT, which means I wear tees almost every day–I need some new ones.
Does anyone have any suggestions for flip-flops? I need to replace mine and want something with decent support!
You know, I’ve said for a while now that if I ever manage to lose weight, I want my friends and family to nominate me for What Not to Wear. (Because yes, I WILL endure public humiliation in exchange for a $5,000 wardrobe and a new hairstyle!) But maybe I’ll just come to you for advice should that ever happen. More fun – and less humiliating! 🙂
I only own one pair of jeans that fits right now – can you even imagine! My daughter has about 8 pairs, and even my husband has 3 or 4. What’s UP with that?
Alison – I just got a pair of Crocs flip flops that are VERY comfy. I also have a pair of the arch flip flops from Top It Off that are my faves. Nice support. http://is.gd/rPhF
Gosh, our wardrobes could be interchangeable!! We have all of the same stuff! Sad to say, I had a pair of diamond earrings, but now I only have one. 🙁 So my go-to earrings are fakes from White House Black Market–$18 and they look great!
I know what you mean about the list, but I LOVE Tim Gunn. Every time he comes on, my entire family (husband included) goes “Awww, we love Tim Gunn!” He seems like the nicest man ever.
My 10: jeans, slacks, a great pair of heels, a denim skirt (knee-length), a cute pair of glasses since I’m half blind without them, ballet flats, cashmere sweaters definitely, t-shirts, capris for summer, and dressy tops that can double for work or going out. Thanks for the great list idea!
I do subscribe to the essential need for a good white button-down. The right shirt with a great pair of jeans will always look good, year in and year out. Skirts are a new part of my essential wardrobe, appropriate for pretty much everything out of the house. I wish I had as many jeans as you. I really only have ONE pair that fits in a flattering way right now, and they are not short enough for flats, unfortunately.
I love the IDEA of a casual skirt. Still don’t like them as well as jeans though, even though I bought a couple last summer. I still feel like I look best in jeans. But I’m going to try to find a couple more this year.
I LOVE your list and I am inspired to make my own tonight after our Easter dinner! We have a few essentials in common! What fun! thanks :O)
P.S. – Thanks for reminding me that I owned a denim jacket. I’ve worn mine twice since I read this post!!!
Oh! I need to get my lining in my coat repaired before I tuck it away for the winter. Was it expensive to do?
No, Moriah, it wasn’t much. $10 maybe.
Wonderful list. We have very similar styles/tastes, I think.
Jeans and t-shirts *definitely* are on my list. Blacks slacks and tall boots “make the cut” too.
I also have “no use” for a white button-down shirt or a trench, but I LOVE trenches and sometimes wish I did have somewhere to wear one. But I live in Arizona where it’s 80 degrees almost year-round…
For future fashion posts, I’d love to see your write about “how to choose a stylish denim jacket.” I, too, love the idea of a denim jacket, but it’s hard to pick the right kind. Some denim jackets just look way too “80’s.”
You should also write a post about sweats – where you buy yours and why. I lounge around in sweats/yoga pants on most days, but I think I need to invest in a few more fashionable pairs (can sweats be fashionable…?) so that I’m not completely embarrassed when I open the door for the UPS guy.
That’s all for now. I LOVE your fashion posts!!!