20 Wardrobe Must-Haves
About a month ago, I shared some tips on how to build a wardrobe you love. For the last couple of weeks, as I was purging my closet, seeing what I had and what I was missing, I knew I needed a guide to help me figure everything out. As I browsed Pinterest, I couldn’t find a pin for the life of me with what I felt was a good list of wardrobe basics. So I decided to give myself some time to think about basic pieces for a great, well-edited closet.
Today, I wanted to end the week by talking about wardrobe must-haves. Please note that I’ll be talking about some investment pieces. I’ll also be sharing mid-range pieces for those who aren’t interested in spending a lot for their wardrobe. Get ready because this is going to be a long post!
A trench is such a great layering piece for those chilly spring evenings. They’re also great to layer in the fall and winter if you don’t prefer to wear heavy coats or like the bulky look/feeling. Believe it or not, I have a black trench coat, a red one and a beige one with piping, but don’t have a “normal” one, ha! I’m personally looking to invest in a Burberry trench so I can have it for the rest of my life. I’ve tried on one in a store a few years ago and it was so beautiful and well-fitted. Since they are pricey, I’m taking my time to research in terms of fabric, length and cut before I take the plunge.
In the meantime, I’ve found high-street brands like Zara to carry beautiful outwear, especially trench coats. This blush trench is beautiful and under $150. I’d be happy with it for the time being as it’s a color I’m looking to inject into my wardrobe.
Another great layering piece is the leather/moto jacket. If you want to add some edge or tone down a feminine outfit, a leather/moto jacket is definitely a no-fail piece to have in your wardrobe. I’m pretty sure I own my weight in terms of jackets, especially moto jackets. I’m a huge fan of faux leather because I still get the look and feel of a leather/moto jacket, but stay within my budget. However, on my dream wishlist is a Nour Hammour jacket. It’s extremely expensive, but I mean, take a look at Erica of Fashioned Chic and how she styled this jacket, this jacket and this jacket! SO drool-worthy and so worth it! Their leather jackets are made to order in Paris. Even though it takes 1-3 weeks (depending on how you customize your jacket), your purchase is returnable/exchangeable within 14 days from the date of delivery. Pretty awesome if you ask me!
On my ultimate wishlist is this blush studded jacket which also comes in black, this beautiful pink-laced jacket and this mother of all edgy jackets! Until I have major play money, I’m happy with more affordable jackets from places like Zara. This white cropped jacket Wendy wore from Banana Republic and a biker jacket from Blank NYC is what I keep reaching for to finish my looks so I know investing in a nice jacket will be well worth my money. I’m currently eyeing this sky blue jacket and this faux leather jacket, both under $100.
Another great layering piece for spring is a denim jacket. Throw this over jeans for a denim on denim look or dress down a floral dress with some Converse and you’re good to go! I’ve only ever owned one denim jacket and it was from Dear by Amanda Bynes when Steve & Barry’s was still around. Anyone remember those days? (I wonder if saying this will date me.)
If you’re looking for well-made denim jackets that will age with wear, I’d go for designer jackets which run between $200-$500. Since I don’t wear my denim jackets often, I mean, I’ve been wearing the same denim jacket for years, I’m okay with having a more affordable option like this dark wash denim jacket for under $120. Oh and you’ll see me wearing the jacket from Amanda’s line next week!
Me and layering pieces. Anyway, I promise you’ll get a lot of use out of blazers even if you own just one. They just add polish and sophistication to an outfit even if you’re wearing ripped/distressed denim. Blazers are also something I collect my weight in too. I’m not one to shy away from safe colors, but I feel that when it comes to blazers, you can go outside your comfort zone and go for a red blazer, pink blazer or even a blue blazer and still make it work within your wardrobe. I currently have the cape blazer in red, a teal one from Aidan Mattox and a white one from Theory that I love.
I’m dreaming of a Balmain blazer and until that day comes, I’m happy with pieces from brands like Lavish Alice and White House Black Market. I just ordered this beautiful Balmain-esque blazer (under $70!) last week that I can’t wait to get in the mail!
White tees (I said that with an ‘s’ on purpose) are such a staple! You can wear a tee with trousers, a nice jacket, some heels and a structured bag and still look put together. The majority of tees I own are graphic tees from the men’s section at Old Navy. (Hey, guys shirts are super soft and comfy!) I have yet to find a good, well-made, I-want-to-wear-it-all-the-time white tee. I usually nab mine from Target, but I go through them pretty fast as they don’t wash well. I hate pilling on tees, but I also don’t see the need to pay hundreds of dollars for a white tee either.
The next place I’ll be looking for tees is Nordstrom. If you know of good brands of tees you love, please let me know!
I’ve been reaching for stripes within this last year more than ever. I love how stripes can break up an outfit to add some interest. However, you have to be careful when choosing a striped top. My number one rule I follow when looking for a striped top? If you get dizzy looking at it on the hanger (why I also don’t wear polka dots), you might want to put. It. Back! Stripes are a classic pattern that will never go out of style so add lots of striped tops in different styles to your closet. You’ll thank me later.
White/cream blouses are great for layering underneath sweaters, dresses and of course, blazers. They’re so classic and timeless. The key is to look for interesting details like a plunging neckline, button patterns, lace, texture, etc. I have a beautiful ivory blouse from Who What Wear that I love along with a plain one from Zara and a button-up peplum blouse from Anthropologie.
One of the biggest anchors in a great wardrobe is having a no-fail dress you can pull out for any occasion. Whether it’s an iconic DVF wrap dress or even a jumpsuit, you should have several dresses you can fall back on. I personally feel powerful in jumpsuits and love this off brand-black one I found at TJ Maxx (outfit post coming soon!) and a lace sleeve jumpsuit by Missguided I found at Nordstrom Rack.
The ultimate dream would be a flowy dress from Zimmermann, but until a large deposit from a mysterious stranger happens to end up in my bank account, I’m perfectly fine going for dresses and jumpsuits from Express and this beautiful black jumpsuit, this gorgeous grey lace jumpsuit and this mesh jumpsuit.
Whatever your heel height is, go for it all. Suede, leather, patent leather, satin, embellished, buy them all. Just make sure to purchase your shoes at the end of a long shopping day because that’s when your feet is biggest. It’s the ideal time to make sure you buy shoes that you love and will fit properly.
For me, I’m looking to invest in Christian Louboutin and Manolo Blahnik with no more than three inch heels because what’s the point in investing in expensive shoes if they’re killing your feet? Sorry, but I’m not a buy-the-shoes-because-they’re-beautiful girl. I’m a buy-the-shoes-because-they-don’t-hurt-and-still-look-beautiful kind of gal.
When it comes to sandals, buy a pair of heeled sandals as well as flat sandals. You’ll need these neutrals for casual dressing and black-tie type of events. Once you spend the money, you won’t need another pair for quite awhile. I’m a HUGE fan of Stuart Weitzman. I own a pair of their patent Nudistsong sandals in nude for about two years and wear them for many dressy occasions. They’re comfortable and still look brand new!
I also own their 5050 boots (they were a gift from my best guy friend) and am looking at their Highland boots as well as their Opendoor Bootie and their Lofty Bootie styles to invest in for fall/winter. Until then, I’m happy with my 5050s and am looking to nab some sandals from Tory Burch and Sole Society.
What girl wouldn’t want to have a pair of flats in their closet? I don’t care if you’re a major heel lover. A pair of flats can still make an outfit look just as good as a heels do. You just have to find the right kind and you’ll be happy to have them when you travel too! I’ve personally gone through more pairs of black flats than I care to admit. I’ve purchased black flats from Vince Camuto (my favorite affordable brand so far), Sam Edelman, DSW brands, etc.
However, I think it’s high time I invest in a pair from Tieks, Salvatore Ferragamo and Chanel. I haven’t pulled the trigger on any of these brands yet. I just keep telling myself, “Cost divided by times per wear. Cost divided by times per wear.”
If you’re a fitness junkie or just love the athleisure trend like I do, sneakers are a great investment. I love my Nikes and Adidas, but APL is starting to find its way to my heart! If you just wear one pair until they fall apart, APL is probably a great brand to look at. Black and white sneakers are super versatile. However, look into other colors like grey or tan if you want to change things up, but still get a lot of wear.
I prefer to rotate sneakers so each one will last longer, so until I can afford APLs, I’m still on the hunt for these Adidas. I also need to add this Nike pair and these sneakers in black and bronze to the mix.
Sunglasses are like a cherry on a cake. They can add an extra touch and finish off your look. Just make sure they fit your face and don’t buy them just because they’re designer.
I’m not one to invest too much in sunglasses, but as someone who doesn’t have a bridge, if I find sunglasses that fit my face, I buy them right away. I’m not looking to add designer sunglasses to my wardrobe as I already have several pairs from Ray Ban and a few from Target that already do the job.
Until I can find an investment pair that will fit my face/nose, I’m in LOVEEE with these sunglasses. They are $12, look designer, take my outfit up a level and fit my face and nose!
Jeans have always been a favorite wardrobe staple of mine. The darker the wash, the edgier the look. I’ve purchased denim from Old Navy in the past. Even though they are affordable, I feel that their quality as declined so I have switched to designer jeans. Paige Denim is by far my absolute favorite brand for jeans. I own several pairs in dark wash, black and light pink and they’re all comfortable, stretchy, wear and wash well. Other brands I own and love are DL 1961, Frame and NYDJ.
I’m looking to add a grey, white and light denim wash to my closet next so I’ll be looking at AG (heard so much about them!), J. Brand and Hudson.
For me, investing in jeans is important. After I read this article, I’ve made it my personal mission to purchase higher quality denim.
Totes are so practical. Whether it’s for work, errands or travel, totes are a definite must in your wardrobe. For a dressier and polished look, I love my structured Tory Burch (mine is about four years old). When I’m out running errands or going to work, I use my casual Street Level totes. Yeah, emphasis on the ‘s’ because I own three! Tip: Street Level totes are usually on the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale list so that’s when I get mine. If you’re wondering, I have the gray (styled in this outfit post), black/brown and neutral/pink.
I’m still happy with my totes, but I want to invest in several totes (wayyy into the future of course), so I’m looking at Prada, Saint Laurent and Louis Vuitton totes. I’m a big fan of luxury goods especially handbags.
Crossbody bags are a great must-have piece in your wardrobe if you prefer to be hands-free. I love my Rebecca Minkoff crossbody bags (after looking at my outfit posts, I think I’ll give them a rest, lol!), so much that I own three. I love being hands-free when I’m shopping so I normally wear one of my RMs during the weekends.
I’ve been eyeing this Louis Vuitton Pochette Métis for the last six months now. After seeing how other bloggers like Lydia with it and watching reviews (I watched this video review from Angela and this handbag video), I’m hoping to take the plunge in October, just in time for my birthday and the fall season! I’m also contemplating this style in pink and black. If you’re looking for handbag reviews, Chase Amie is a good resource. If I come across anymore great reviewers/bloggers, I’ll let you know!
Even if you’re a minimalist, a pair of studs, pearls and gold dangly ones will be enough for your wardrobe. My mom has told me that if you wear one piece of jewelry, it should be earrings as it can add the finishing touch no matter what hairstyle you choose.
Chanel’s CC studs have always been on my wishlist, but until that day comes, I’m happy with these stud earrings (under $40; been wearing mine for years) and these Dior-esque double pearl earrings (under $30).
I understand not everyone prefers wearing a necklace. However, if you could only have one, choose a dainty necklace and one that has some meaning to it. For example, initials or coordinates of someone you love, a special date or even your own name. A dainty necklace will add just enough shine to your outfit without going overboard.
I’m not looking for any investment necklaces, but if you are, I like Jennifer Zeuner.
I love belts as they can change your outfit instantly and give you a shape. Unless you’re a huge accessories fan, you’ll only ever need four belts, two if you find reversible belts. Black and brown belts obviously go with everything. Just get them in a thin and wide size and you’re set!
I have two sizes in both colors. Both of my black belts are old, but from New York & Company. My wide brown belt (2 inches) is from Dear by Amanda Bynes and my thinner brown belt (it’s about an inch) is from J. Crew.
Although I am looking for an investment belt like Gucci, I’m in no hurry to add this accessory to my closet. If you’re looking for a well-made belt, I love Club Monaco‘s belts (love this belt that Megan styled).
If you don’t like to swim, skip this one. If you love the water (even if you can’t swim), a classic swimsuit (in black) will be your best friend! Whether your preference is a one-piece (I prefer this style over a two-piece) or a bikini, you won’t regret having several suits to rotate throughout the summer. I personally like black because it’s so slimming and makes you look like you have somewhat of a tan.
I’m looking to invest in Marysia swimwear, but until then, my five year old two-piece from Victoria’s Secret and this La Blanca one piece have served me well. If you want to invest in Marysia as well, you can find them at other retailers like Shopbop, Revolve, Everything But Water and Neiman Marcus. Each place has different inventory so make sure you check first before you order/drive out to their stores!
I know everyone’s fashion preferences and lifestyle is different. By no means am I posting this to encourage a “keeping up with the Joneses” mindset. Please know that whatever your lifestyle is, do what you feel is right. This is just how I feel when it comes to my wardrobe.
If you’re currently building your wardrobe, what are your must-haves?
Sorry for the late post today! Although it’s a very long one, I think it was important to talk about in terms of fashion!
Sidenote, if you’ve made it to the end of this post, let me know! Seriously. Email me and let me know.0