If only I got a dollar, for every time I was asked ”So what should I have in my wardrobe” or “What are the basics I should own”. The below 10 items are the cornerstone of the perfect fashion wardrobe. Try invest in good quality pieces that will last you a long time. Once you have these 10 staple items you can focus on buying the ‘trendy’ (seasonal) items. Spend less on these items as they will only be in fashion for a season or two.
So here they are, in no particular order.
- The little black dress (LBD)
- A trench coat
- A wrap dress
- A tailored jacket or blazer
- A versatile tee
- White shirt or blouse
- Jeans or denim pants
- A pair of black heels
- Black pants or trousers
- Well fitted, good quality undergarments
The Little black dress (The LBD)- need I say more? Choose one that best compliments your body shape and try choose a style that you can team with flats or dress up with a pair of heels. My tip is go for a top notch quality jersey. Even though embellishment and sequins are all the rage now, avoid a LBD that is too glittery or blinged up, as it will limit the wearability. Think simple, chic, elegant and versatile. Try Jayson Brunsdon, Country Road, Witchery, Simona or Cue.
The Trench Coat - a nice medium weight jacket ideally in beige, mushroom or black that comes with a belt tie so you can cinch in your waistline. Choose a style that could be worn over jeans and a tee or worn over an elegant dress. Avoid jackets with seasonal fashion trims, keep it simple so that you get longer wear from it. Most designers include a trench in their winter collections, but get in quick. If you’re up for a splurge you can’t go past Burberry (as seen in this pic).
A wrap dress - hands down the most flattering dress style on most women. I recently styled 100 ladies for Westfield. I tried a wrap dress on each lady and 90% of them loved it, and a strong majority bought one on the spot. A wrap dress as the name suggests, wraps onto your body and is adjusted with a belt. The adjustment feature is the reason why it suits so many body shapes. Go for a good quality jersey fabric, that has a nice drape over the body. Diane Von Furstenberg is the queen of the wrap dress, so too is Catherine Malandrino. Most fashion designers in Australia include a wrap dress in their collections – try Events, Basque (at Myer), Simona, Jane Lamberton, Cue and Charlie Brown.
A tailored jacket or blazer - a well cut and fitted jacket or blazer, in black or navy is essential. Worn casually over a singlet and jeans or over an elegant dress, it’s a must have item. You could get one tailor-made, or buy one off the rack and take it to an alterations shop to get some small modifications to make it the perfect fit. Opt for one or two buttons, and steer away from seasonal trends like embellishments or exaggerated shoulder pads. In today, but out tomorrow. I’ve seen some nice ones at Cue, Witchery, Farage, Herringbone and Zambelli. If you’d like a custom-made jacket give designer Daniel Avakian a buzz.
A versatile tee - a nice t-shirt that you can dress or dress down, go for a classic white or black. Choose a neckline that sits your body shape, for example if you’re an hourglass choose a low open neckline. Keep it simple, and go for a top quality fabric.
A white shirt or blouse - a white blouse or shirt can be worn with shorts, a skirt, under a strapless dress, with a suit, over pants and paired with jeans for that classic look. Choose a beautiful cotton fabric, with nice buttons and collar. I’d recommend long sleeves over short (as you can always roll up your sleeves). Again keep it simple, elegant and get one that flatters your body shape. Good basics are always available at Country Road.
Jeans (or denim pants) - Jeans are the most versatile piece of clothing, a definite must have. Choose a style that best flatters your body shape. I will post a whole article on choosing a style that suits your shape, but essentially go for a darker shade as they are more flattering and versatile. Bootcut styles flatter most shapes, especially if you have some booty. Skinny jeans are ideal for tall and slim women and jeans with a higher waist can help keep the tummy in. For more rounded apple shaped women, soft denim pants are a great alternative. I highly recommend JeansWest- as they are well priced, yet have heaps of styles for all body shapes, plus their staff are all trained to help you find the perfect pair. Amen. Other great denim brands include: Levis, Lee, Bettina Liano and True Religion (great styles for really tall women).
A pair of black heels - if you only had to own one pair of heels (shock horror!!), make them a black pair of peep toe style heels with a healthy heel. Something that could be worn with a dress, a skirt, a suit or under jeans. Trend based styles such as gladiators, embellished, thick platforms and wedged come and go, just like Santa.
Black pants or trousers - another versatile piece of clothing that can be paired with a tee, a shirt or worn under a jacket. Dress them up or down. Choose a style that suits your body, draping nicely over your legs. If you are bottom heavy avoid any styles with pleating or chunky pockets, as these will just unnecessary volume. Avoid trend based styles such as harem (also known as poo catchers or MC Hammer pants) – You can’t touch this!!
Good quality, well fitted undergarments - I cannot stress this enough. It’s just like building a house, you need good solid foundations to build a house on. Same goes with clothing, if the undergarments are not right, your clothes will not sit right nor look great. Every couple of years, go and get fitted with a good bra. Shop from stores that have well-trained staff such as Bras n’ Things. For those special fashion moments when you need to squeeze into a special frock, embrace ‘magic underwear’ and ‘body shaping undergarments’ to help give you some extra lift, pull and support. Try Bra’s n Things, Myer and David Jones.
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