Smart buyers know that a complete base of your wardrobe starts with a set of basic elements. These items in which you invest at start (and which you replace on the way, as they get damaged) must fit your silhouette and size, they must be made out of quality materials and, most important, to have cuts that will be above seasonal tendencies. With other words, they will become the “foundation” on which you will be able to add pieces with trendy cuts. Here are my 13 recommendations.
It is a clothing piece in which you really should invest, so I advice for you to go a greater effort and pay a higher price for it.
You will want a beautiful cut, of a material that is not too thin and does not get rumpled too quickly, sufficiently classic to wear it over a tailor-made suit at an interview, and elegant enough to wear it over a dress. Look for one that will not go lower than your knees, so you can wear it with as many lengths of pants and skirts as possible.
Such a clothing item is made to keep you safe from rain and wind, in the spring and autumn. This is why a trench should have, above all, a simple style that is not heavy at all. Avoid models that have too many zippers, colored buttons, or prints. A trench with a belt in the waist area fits almost any silhouette, another essential for the base of your wardrobe.
A quality trench, with a neutral color, should last for 3 or even 4-5 years.
Black pants (or brown)
There are high chances to know already that their presence in your wardrobe is mandatory. A pair of pants in a dark color – it can be black, dark brown or grey, according to the color shade you picked as being the base of your wardrobe – can be worn in various occasions and rarely go out of fashion. Because we are talking about another piece of resistance for the base of your wardrobe, it is worth buying a pair that is made out of high-quality material and pay some more to the tailor, for adjusting their length (if the case).
Look the shops for a pair that you can ware both at the office and in your spare time. The cut that is suitable for all silhouettes is the boot-cut (straight on your thighs, slightly flared and loose in the lower part).
Avoid skinny cuts for start, as you can buy these once you are done putting together your “foundation”. When you buy pants, here are the clues that will tell you if you chose the right size: the pants are not too tight around your bottom and thighs; they do not make any creases underneath your bottom or in the front side; the pockets are stuck to your body, not outspread, the belt is not sinking into your flesh and does not create crinkles over the material.
With long sleeves, buttons, and slightly slim – it is essential for the base of your wardrobe. Look for a shirt that is long enough to enable you to tuck it in your pants or skirts. As a rule, shirts that are slightly slim will fit you better. Don’t overdo it though – if it is too slim, the buttons will look like they are ready to pop over your chest, which means that you need a bigger size.
When you find the right cut and size, I recommend that you buy two identical shirts. White shirts should be renewed each year – no matter how well you look after them, they will get yellow in the armpit area, due to perspiration and deodorants, the cuffs and collar will get dirty, and you can have small accidents (like stains that will never come out, etc).
For start, it is great to buy a simple shirt, which you can wear with under vests and colored jackets, with scarves, coats, vests, and so on. Later on, you can add a manly shirt, straighter, or a more feminine and romantic one, with barb, frills, folds, and other sleeve lengths. You will be able to wear the shirt with pants, skirts, jeans, under a jumper dress, or under a jacket.
Dark colored jeans
Except the black ones, which go out of fashion easily, the dark colored jeans are more refined than the ones that have a light color (light blue) or the washed-out ones (too 80’s!). You can wear them during the day with a T-shirt, and in the evening with a sexy top and high heel sandals.
Together with the bathing suit, the jeans are probably that clothing item that triggers in women the biggest frustrations – because there are so many cuts, colors, and pocket types. For most women, a low-rise or mid-rise cut (meaning that the waist has a low or medium height) are the best, to which mid-sized pockets are added on the bottom, about one palm away from the belt (so not very low on the bottom). Also, the pockets should be sown as close as possible to the middle stitch so that they won’t create a wide bottom. If we are talking about your first dark colored pair of jeans, buy a pair that don’t have colored stitches or unless details.
My advice? Try as many cuts as possible, as you may be surprised of how well some will fit you, which you may not have taken into account otherwise.
A turtle-neck or V-neck sweater
A turtle-neck that is slightly fit, made out of a thin material can be worn as an elegant top in the evening, with a taffeta skirt, or more casual, with a pair of jeans. Still, this cut is not suitable for all women.
If you have large breasts, short neck, narrow shoulders that are slightly tilted, a small face and/or round, the turtle-neck is not for you – regardless if we are talking about a classic turtle-neck, with a tight collar, or of another type of sweater, which has a large and rolled collar.
In this case, buy a V-neck sweater instead, which will offer balance to your body’s features.
A quality suit
Maybe not everyone needs a suit for work, but it is a good idea to have one for the base of your wardrobe– you may need it in case you will attend an interview, or for a situation in which a conservative attire is needed.
Even if you may never get to wear that suit as you should, you can still wear its pieces separately. A coat can bring a refined note to a pair of jeans and a white T-shirt. You would have numerous options when it comes to making combinations: with T-shirts, shirts, very feminine tops, with tank tops, or with thin pullovers that have short sleeves.
Look for a suit in neutral colors (sand beige, chocolate brown, medium grey, or light navy blue), made out of material that suits all seasons. Make sure to modify it at the tailor so that it will fit you like a glove. And keep in mind that both pieces of the suit must be taken to a cleaning service (even if you wore just one), so that one piece of the suit will not get washed-out faster than the other.
A black dress (or not)
The little black dress was considered itself the definition of style, since Coco Chanel invented it 80 years ago. And Audrey Hepburn helped it become a classic element, when she wore it in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. These days, the dress doesn’t have to be black anymore – but it must be coquette and versatile.
Neutral colors and discreet prints are as good as dark colors.
Just make sure to pick a half-elegant cut, which will fit your silhouette, and that you will be able to wear as well with casual accessories (boots, scarves, big bags) as you could with elegant accessories (sandals, jewelry).
Pencil skirt, conic skirt, it will not fit everyone – but when you’ll find one that suits you, it will be sexy, refined, and seductive. And, of course, classic. Look with patience until you will find a beautiful cut, which will settle nicely on your thighs and hips, without making creases along your hip line and across your thighs (it is a sign that the skirt is too tight).
An alternative to the pencil skirt is a cut that is slightly forming a trapeze. This is a universal cut that suits all women, but most suitable for women that have wide hips or “love handles”. It will help you define your waist and hide these areas with issues, because it has slightly more material in it. If you have a short stature, you should avoid cloche skirts, because they will make you even shorter.
Excellent as a resistance piece: it can replace a coat when it is worn over a dress, a shirt, or a top; it will bring it a colorful accent; it can become a main point if you throw it over your shoulder; it will redraw your silhouette if it worn buttoned up and together with a skirt. Also, you can add it a thin or wide belt, to attract attention over your waist line and for giving your attire some personality.
Long sleeved T-shirts
Without being too thin, T-shirts that start at the base of the neck or have a V-neck are great under a sweater or coat. In the spring, you can wear them under a thin dress with straps, or under a short sleeved T-shirt, to extend its resistance in time.
Short sleeved T-shirts
You should have several of this kind of T-shirts, in solid colors and 2 or 3 white ones. Look for a model that is slightly slim, but not molded on your, and slightly longer if you want to wear it with low-rise cut. And buy different cuts: at the base of the neck, V-neck, U-neck, boat-neck, etc.
Slim polo shirts
The ultimate in casual dressing, polo shirts are as iconic as they are comfortable. You can refine your smart casual looks with the womenswear designer polo shirts. Such a shirt, although it is generally placed in the “preppy” style (college or school-like), is slightly more elegant than a regular T-shirt, due to its cut. You can opt for a cotton one, a one simple or with inserted details, or cotton mixed with Lycra.
A blazer or coat
A well-tailored coat will help you make the weekend jeans a bit more elegant and so essential for the base of your wardrobe. You can also wear it with a dress, at the office, or, combined with another dress or pants it can help you compose a suit.