Hi Nikki! I’ve got a dilemma and I hope you can help. My measurements are 34B, a 28-inch waist and height is 5’6.” I’m a full-time student who is also working full-time at a start-up, and luckily, my workplace is extremely flexible when it comes to clothing. Sometimes I’m preppy and chic in a blazer and skinny jeans; sometimes I go for a feminine layered look with a couple of peasant skirts and lots of lace and sweaters. Sometimes I wear delicate pink and lavender; sometimes I wear bold bright red and blue. My style changes so often that people remark on how different I look even from a week ago. Do you have any suggestions for closet staples that aren’t just basic plain tees and can work for a variety of different styles, to keep me from running out and buying something new every time my tastes change?
Elle, 25/Bay Area, USA
Welcome to Part 2 of the 10 Recommended Closet Essentials! Elle from the Bay Area is such a fashion chameleon that she can’t peg her style on just one particular look. I hear “Waah!” in her email but I say “Yay!” because who says you just have to stick to one look all the time?
But if you don’t have the money or the closet space to keep up with your inner fashionista, then here are some basics – including both timeless favorites and new classics – you should definitely keep in your wardrobe!
6. The Sleeveless Dress
For me, the “LBD” doesn’t have to be “little” or “black” all the time. Elle, if you feel more comfortable and stylish in a midi-length dress, then keep one on standby at all times. The sleeveless version is more flexible because all you’ll need is a cover-up (shawl, cardigan, jacket) and it looks just as proper and elegant as a sleeved version, and will work for all seasons and beyond trends. So how about a floral faux leather one, eh?
7. The White Jacket
I’m sure that you already have several black and navy blazers and office jackets somewhere, Elle, so I’m not adding to that pile. Instead, why not opt for a dazzling white, tuxedo-style jacket? White always stands out, even in different fabrics or materials such as leather. The white jacket will be a guaranteed knock-out piece in your ensemble.
8. The Ankle Pants
I always believe that your pants should be cut to fit your leg length and not flop over your shoes or drag behind like a sad sack. One of the current trends for trousers is an ankle-length cut, so it shows just a little of your ankles. It looks great be it with flats or heels, especially when the pants have a straight, slim-fit style
9. The Skinny Jeans
I never thought skinny jeans would make this list but they have! This style is no longer a trend but it definitely entrenched as an all-around must-have. But I still advise you, Elle, to have a selection of dark-washed skinnies in your closet. None of the destroyed-distressed-ripped-to-shreds variety (save them for the weekends) so you can easily wear a pair with your button-downs, blouses or fancy jackets when you don’t want boring office pants.
10. The Brogues and Loafers
The title sounds like an English pub but hey, it reflects their heritage. Here are two classics that will never, ever go out of style. If you want to rock a menswear look with your ankle pants, suspenders/braces, shirt and blazer, the brogues and loafers can complete your look. Both can are the hallmarks of classy and preppy styling even in jeans. Contemporary versions feature a crepe or platform heel, two-tone combinations and with a tassel and kiltie (that fringed detail on top).
Do remember that this list is not absolute – these are only suggestions. You can use these as a basis to build your own idea of a flexible wardrobe. Changing trends, personal tastes and lifestyles have to be taken into account, too. But in the end, it’s always YOUR rules, YOUR game.
Best of luck, Elle!
P.S. If you’re sending a question, please don’t forget to include any helpful information about your body type or shape, your tastes or personality. You can include a photo (link only please) of yourself or your clothes (which I will never publish without pre-approval). Thank you!