I am a sucker for fashion and I am always looking for great deals to spruce up my closet and keep things interesting. In my twenties, I loved following fashion trends and scooping up the latest and greatest, but I have realized that this does not lead to a sustainable, staple wardrobe that will last decades. Over the past year, I have changed my attitude about fashion and taken a different approach that has led me to a wardrobe that is much more carefully curated and much more timeless. I am still in the process of weeding out the old and ensuring anything that is new meets my new standards, but I have simplified in an effort to bring in more quality pieces that will stand the test of time. When thinking about a well rounded wardrobe, I believe that focusing on categories of clothing items will help you ensure you have items for all occasions that can be worn in many different ways for many different situations. When it comes to clothes (I never thought I would say this…) more is not always more. Really. More can mean an overcrowded closet, which has left me saying, “I have nothing to wear!” despite mounds of items to choose from. Less can mean more if a balanced, thoughtful approach is taken to building a carefully selected closet. Please see essential item categories and tips that have not proven me wrong to date. “Happy shopping”…or shall I say, “Happy curating!”…
Denim and Trousers: Invest in quality denim and styles that will stand the test of time. I have found 7 for all Mankind and J. Crew/Madewell denim and trousers to be my ultimate favorite. Many pairs I have had for years and they still look fantastic. Essential items in this department include:
Skinny denim in blue, black and white. My favorite pair of skinnies are my Toothpick jeans from J. Crew with exposed buttons (see image below). The wash and cut are classic, but the buttons make this pair a bit more interesting. I stay away from crazy details on denim, and I gravitate toward more classic washes so I can wear them for many years. Denim provides a clean canvas for the rest of my outfit.
A pair of straight, boyfriend cut or bootleg denim. A pair of bell-bottoms or flares can be an essential if they look good with your frame.
Black, blue and brown trousers in any cut that are office appropriate. My favorite trousers are from J. Crew and I love their slim, high waisted trousers with stretch.
Black Leather pants (or wax coated denim…same effect). These are great to dress up an outfit for a night out.
Blazers: Blazers are perfect for vacation, work or a night out and I have found my favorites to be from J. Crew and Diane Von Furstenburg. A few styles to invest in include:
White linen blazer. Great for all occasions and perfect for my California climate. This will look great with denim, a dress, a jumpsuit…the list goes on.
A classic black blazer for work or a night out.
A camel colored, wool blazer.
Sweaters: I finally went through all of my sweaters and realized that if I want sweaters to last more than a year or two, I do really have to seek quality (vs. quantity) here. The key thing to look for is cashmere. Cashmere can be an investment, but I am worth it (haha). I have found ways to find great pieces on a budget! Recently, I been finding some great second-hand cashmere sweaters on Poshmark, and I have been super pleased! I have purchased very high end pieces at low, low prices and the quality has been great! The key to maintaining my sweater collection over the years is to ensure careful laundering so that items so not pill and damage. I always hand wash my cashmere in the sink with a cashmere laundering soap (the one I have been loving is by The Laundress, see image below). From there, I lay flat to dry after using a towel to press out the water after washing. This is the perfect alternative to dry cleaning! I have built a collection of long sleeved items, turtlenecks, short sleeved items and cashmere tanks. My favorite cashmere sweater brands are Vince, Nordstrom (the brand), Bloomingdales (the brand) and J. Crew.
Dresses/Jumpsuits: Dresses and jumpsuits are the perfect for all occasions. I have invested in many Diane Von Furstenburg (DVF) dresses, and these have been my favorite and they truly are timeless. Essential dresses in my closet include:
A black, DVF wrap dress in silk or silk blend. There are beautiful long sleeves and short sleeved options out there. This dress can be dressed up or dressed down. See photo below.
A denim, shirt dress that falls above the knees. I have a couple of these from J. Crew and they do not go out of style.
A fun, maxi dress. My favorite is by Veronica M. I love the fabric and it is perfect for warm, day outings.
Black rompers and a fun, black jumpsuits. All of mine are by Diane Von Furstenburg and some of them were purchased second hand. The fabric is always high quality and, while rompers and jumpsuits can be trendy, the styles I have selected are more classic.
Fitness/loungewear: I am a fitness fanatic and there is nothing better (and more comfortable) than wearing my gym clothes all day! I tend to buy black tops and bottoms. Yes, they are slimming, but I like the fact that this color does not show sweat and black matches with everything! My favorite place to shop for fitness clothes is Lululemon. I am fortunate to get a discount since I am a fitness trainer and I love the fact that they replace any item that does not hold up to the test of time. Invest in quality leggings, tops and sports bras-it makes working out more fun!
Tops and Tees: I love classic white tees as a base layer under blazers and jackets and I have been into monogramming my tees for an added, personal touch! J. Crew has very affordable, cotton tees that are great staples. I also love J. Crew’s button up shirts (both the cotton options and silk options). You really can dress these up or down and I have been learning more towards neutral colors that will mix and match with many outfits. Trouve and Halogen (from Nordstrom) also have quality blouses at an affordable price, but these pieces can be very trendy, thus lasting only a couple seasons (so buyer beware).
Accessories: This is where I like to get fun and trendy. I am not a huge jewelry person, but I do have a fun collection of earrings that I can coordinate with my outfits and I am a hat person. I love fedoras and my favorite brand is Lack of Color. My wool fedoras have traveled with me all over the globe (in my suitcase, which is a total faux pas), but they have maintained their shape. Hats can be pricy, but I have found that you get what you pay for.
Finding your personal style is something that seems to come with age. As I have gotten older, I have found a classic style that works well for my body and I have curated consciously based on my personal style. This thoughtful approach to purchasing clothing and accessories has actually saved me money, despite the fact that I am actually paying more per item. Less is more and I love getting dressed everyday. What are your staple pieces?