Closet Confidential-- A Basic Training Lesson

Jan 15 2019 0 Comments

     So you're having one of those lazy Saturdays, you're still in those goofy cat pajamas and don't have your eyebrows on yet, when there's a knock at the door.  You shuffle over and open it just a crack, and then more than a crack.  Standing in front of you is Bradley Cooper-- he has dumped the super model and is asking YOU if you would like to be by his side for the rest of eternity, or at the very least, a couple of weeks (hey, it could happen--never say never).  Like all good things, this too-good-to-be-true situation has a small wrinkle.  Bradley wants to travel light and has informed you that you may only bring one small carry-on.  And not only that, what you put in that bag had better be good because he's not much of a shopper (another wrinkle).  This scenario forces you to pack just your essentials--you must streamline your wardrobe in the name of love.  You need to arm yourself with key basics that will work both together and independently of each other.  Trust me, when BC is waiting on the other side of that door, the last thing you should be doing is trying to match up stuff you bought during the end of season sale at Anthro, with some odds and ends you found at an outlet mall.  Be prepared, sistas.  Grab your key pieces and don't look back. Insert imaginary celebrity boyfriend pic here:

     Let's try to put the wardrobe essentials topic into the context of something we can all relate to.  For instance, if you are more oriented towards food, rather than fashion, look at your closet like your kitchen pantry.  Any foodie knows that you should never be without a handful of essentials on your pantry shelf--olive oil, tinned tomatoes, flour, salt, dried pasta, that ancient yellow box of baking soda, you get the picture.  Sure, you will undoubtedly have a bunch of impulse items in there (ugh that smoked trout from Trader's), and that's cool, but the impulse purchases can't sustain you--you will always need a go-to basic or two to round out your meal prep.

     So, where is this food talk going, aside from making you hungry?  Well, think about approaching your wardrobe in a similar manner to that of your well stocked pantry.  Make sure that you have some solid essentials, i.e. ingredients, that you can wear together or pair with one of those impulse lovelies you brought home from a Boho mega sale last month.  Whether your style is Bohemian or Preppy, or any point in between, there are a handful of crossover pieces that EVERY girl's closet should have.  These basic pieces can be worn together or serve as a primers for another look.  They're like building blocks, think foundations for all things fashion-- think oil and vinegar.  Ok, lets get started.


     The first and perhaps most basic of all essential pieces for any wardrobe is a plain white tee shirt.  Honestly, could there be anything more versatile? You can wear it under a blazer, or with a little pencil skirt, or even tucked into your favorite jeans.  Roll up the sleeves--tie a knot at the hem, whatever--it all works!  Also, you don't have to chose one that looks like your dad's Fruit of the Loom--pick a neckline that suits your shape, be it a scoop, a V, or even that crew neck.  The point is that a plain white tee is easily found, doesn't have to cost a fortune, and can look crisp and polished when paired with just about anything.  

     Side note: Let's add another key top--this one has stripes.  A simple striped tee or knit top is a modern classic and packs a bit of visual punch when paired with your most worn pieces.  Keep the cut and colors simple--think French sailor. It'll look great with your denim and other key staples, and can even be mixed with one of those impulse prints you happened to pick up.  The iconic Breton stripe has been has been a mainstay since Coco Chanel (naturally) incorporated the look in a nautical collection one hundred years ago.  It is simple and classic, and belongs in that closet of yours'.  Oh and that myth about stripes making you look bigger?  Not true.  

     Right, on we go to the next key piece you ought to have--a great pair of denim jeans.  Not all denim is created equal so look for a jean that suits your body type and is finished in a versatile rinse.  Typically, a darker shade in a slim silhouette will be your best bet.  However, if you tend to be a tad hippy, opt for a boot cut--it will balance out your curves on top with a flirty wider leg at the bottom.  We also like denim with just a bit of stretch in it.  The great thing about the stretch factor is that in addition to being sooooo comfortable, your jeans will tend to hold their shape much longer and won't bag-out right away.  I'm sure we have all washed and dried a pair of clean jeans just to get them back to their original shape (sorry water conservationists).  The key here is denim in a flattering silhouette and rinse, that you can wear pretty much everywhere.

   No closet would be complete with out a LBD (you know, a little black dress).  It is, arguably, the most timeless piece you will ever own and has been a wardrobe staple among women for decades.  In 1926, American Vogue published a drawing of a Chanel design--a simple black sheath - and correctly predicted that it would become a uniform.  It's a no-brainer that can be worn in the work place and/or dressed up with different accessories for the evening. An always readily available option that pairs easily with heels or flats and denim or leather jackets. You can find one with that Chanel label, or pick one up at Target, you decide--just make sure to add one to your essential list.  

      Side note: Another fantastic  go-to dress option would have to be a classic wrap dress--it's chic, simple, and flattering on every body type.

     While we're showing a little leg, do consider a classic pencil skirt.  Your pencil skirt should hit at or just below the knee and have a slim-fitting shape--you know, like a pencil. You can style it for the work place, or pair it with a tee and fitted denim jacket for an easy weekend look that, ok I'm gonna say it, doesn't involve stretchy pants (sorry, "athleisure" junkies).

     Speaking of denim jackets, let's touch on your outerwear basics for a moment.  Every essential wardrobe ought to have a denim jacket, a little black moto, and depending on your general look, a solid blazer, and in that order.  I must admit that I own all three, however the blazer hasn't been pulled out in years, but it's there.  These outerwear basics are timeless and without specific season.  You can wear a denim jacket over a little strappy dress in the summer, or layered over a sweater during cooler months.  The little black moto will work in the same scenarios as the denim, but will add a bit more urban attitude to your pairings.  Now, if you have the budget and the closet space, a solid blazer is another great addition to your outerwear options.  A tailored blazer doesn't have to be limited to the work place--it looks great with jeans and can even be juxtaposed with some of those impulse lovelies you have.

     While we're on the subject, let's go over some other necessary accessories: your footwear choices.  Shoes seem to be the one thing that most of us feel we can never have too many of (thank you, Imelda).  I'm embarrassed to admit that I have shoes on top of shoes in my closet, resulting is this odd footwear layer-cake.  My excessive homage to the shoe industry is not particularity practical since I seem to wear only a handful of them throughout the year.  I pretty much go from a sandal in the warm months, to an ankle boot (can't beat a classic Chelsea) during the cooler ones.  Throw in a simple ballet flat, and a pretty black heel, and you're good to go.  If you have the room, you could add a white leather sneaker.  I need to heed my own advice and weed out several pairs that just take up valuable closet real estate (sorry chunky clogs from the 90's).  Also, if you are using some of that valuable space for Uggs and/or Crocs, we need to talk...

     So, do those shoes have to match your bag?  Absolutely  not--your bag just has to be something that is versatile and can crossover between all of your looks.  Let's face it, handbags take up a lot of valuable real estate in your closet, so it's important to choose wisely.  Every well appointed wardrobe would benefit from a few go-to bags that will work in a variety of situations.  Let's begin with the biggest bag you may want--a classic tote.  Pick one that is comfortable on your shoulder and not too heavy.  Look for a tote that isn't, literally, weighted down with hardware.  Yes, those big buckles and oversized zippers are cute but girlfriend, you don't want to end up looking like the Hunchback of Notre Dame after a day of shopping.  A tote is great when you want something large enough for your work stuff during the day, and could possibly double as a small overnight bag for your after hours' plans.  If you're just popping out for dinner, or need something for a more formal event, a clutch is great.  A clutch is perfect for holding your keys, your phone, a lipstick, and a few other small essentials.  Look for a one with a card slot wall on the inside that can hold you ID and a credit card, and will keep your interior space organized.  A fantastic spin-off of the clutch is a wristlet.  This is one of our favorite bag types--it has the dimensions of a clutch, but has additional card slots on the inside, often a zip security wall, and best of all, wait for it, a little wrist strap so that you can dangle it from your wrist and remain hands' free.  We have some great ones in stock from Hobo that also feature a cell phone pocket on the outside--this company thinks of everything! Finally, if your need is for something bigger than a wristlet, but smaller than a tote, you can't go wrong with a crossbody bag.  The crossbody bag stylishly distributes the weight of your can't-live-without-it stuff in a way that spares your back and shoulders. Once again, we have to give a shout-out to Hobo--we have several cross-bodies in stock that are fantastic!

      Finally, it's important to have some sort of statement jewelry.  By that we don't necessarily mean something big in size, but rather a special piece of jewelry that can work with all of your wardrobe combinations.  A simple string of pearls is the perfect example--don't fret if the 10mm Mikimoto strand is out of your price range because it is easy to find a similar look that will pass for the real thing.  Pearls look great with ANYTHING.  Wear them to work, a night out, or even over, you guessed it, a classic white tee and blue jeans.  

      Remember that famous Carrie Bradshaw quote?  Look at your closet as an investment and make sure that you include pieces that can serve as building blocks for the impulse items, as well as work alone when you're pressed for time because BC is waiting downstairs. 






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