After conducting a closet audit for a client, I check the closet next for the wardrobe must-haves! Why? These pieces are the foundation to a stylish wardrobe. These wardrobe essentials are versatile, which will allow you to easily mix and match them with anything; especially those trendy pieces that change from season to season.
1. White Button-Up Shirt – White button-up shirts are a staple piece because they can be worn with a variety of pieces; especially those items on this list. They can be worn with your favorite pair of black dress pants or under a sheath dress in the fall. For a more casual chic look, pair them with your favorite jeans and heels.
2. Black Pants – Whether they are wide leg or straight leg, every woman should own a pair of classic black pants. Dress them up with a silk blouse and heels for the office. You can dress them down with more casual tops on the weekends. A nice pair of black pants also looks great paired with separates like a tailored blazer.
3. The Little Black Dress – There is a LBD out there for everyone! A little black dress that hits right at the knee or slightly above/below will allow you to wear it for multiple occasions: office, cocktail dinner, wedding, etc.
4. Black Pencil Skirt– Like the Little Black Dress, a basic black pencil skirt can work for a variety of occasions. Dress it up with printed tops, sweaters and jackets for the office. Dress a skirt down with printed tees and tanks for a girl’s night out or a weekend event.
5. Black Pumps – Do I really need to explain this one? You can wear black pumps with just about anything! They will easily take you from the boardroom to cocktail hour.
6. Flats- While pumps are great, our feet need a break! You don’t have to sacrifice style for comfort if you have a pair of chic flats! Invest in a sturdy pair of neutral or animal print flats (this print can be worn as a neutral). You can wear them with dress pants, skirts, shorts and denim. White button up + jeans + animal print flats = instantly chic!
7. Black Tailored Blazer – Like the other wardrobe pieces listed above, a black tailored blazer is essential because it can be worn with so many items. Pair with a white t-shirt and jeans. Add it over your favorite dress. Wear it to bring together an office look. It’s the perfect piece when the seasons begin to change and it’s not cold enough for a heavy coat. The options are endless!
8. White tee – If it’s the weekend and you just don’t know what to wear; throw on your favorite white tee. You have the option of wearing it solo or layering it under cardigans and sweaters. You can also add visual interest to a white tee with accessories like layered necklaces and printed scarves.
9. Striped Shirt – Like a white tee, a striped shirt is a versatile piece. It can be mixed with solids, florals, plaids or other striped pieces (if you’re into mixing prints)! You can also layer this piece under sweaters and blazers or pair it solo with your favorite jeans and skirts.
10. Trench Coat – There are trench coats for both fall and spring that come in a variety of colors. While a tan trench is the classic choice, don't be afraid to have fun with color! A trench can be worn over an office outfit or with jeans and a tee.
11. Dark denim jeans - Dark denim jeans are a necessity because they give you more versatility than other washes, allowing you to wear them to a wider range of events. They are a great choice for casual Fridays at work but also look great with tees/tanks on the weekend.
12. Classic Structured Bag in Neutral- With a classic structured bag, you won't have to wonder "does this bag match my outfit?" If it's a neutral, it most certainly will! Most would advise that the bag be black, but I think you can choose your structured piece to be black, cognac or grey. Having a nice bag on your arm will help tie your look together.
13. Dark Suit – While the 12 items above are must-haves no matter your profession, if you are a woman who works in an environment that requires a suit jacket to be worn in the office or you're in the process of interviewing, a suit is a must! I’d recommend investing in a dark three piece suit (jacket, pants and skirt). This will give you the versatility to wear a pant suit or skirt suit. You’ll also be able to wear the pieces as separates, creating more options in your wardrobe. While black is the obvious choice, consider navy or charcoal. They too are neutrals, giving you the option to pair the separates with a variety of different pieces.
While there are other items that could be added to the list, these are the minimum wardrobe must-haves. They are the foundation to build upon to create a stylish yet functional wardrobe.