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Must Have Wardrobe Essentials for Every Woman

Posted on September 29 2018

Did you spend the morning staring at the contents of your closet and lamenting the fact that even though there are plenty of clean clothes available, you still have absolutely nothing to wear? We’ve all been there. The truth is that being a clothing hoarder can actually hurt you in the long run, leaving you with too many options to make a decision and keeping you tied to styles from years past that don’t really work anymore. How can you fix this problem? By dialing in and figuring out a few wardrobe essentials that you can always rely on.

First things first: it’s time to take a hard look at your closet and figure out what needs to go. Yes, we know, every piece is sentimental. There’s a memory tied to it, you met the person of your dreams while wearing it, or you’ve had it since college. Ultimately, though, you’re holding on to something you don’t wear anymore. We promise those good memories will still exist even if that mid-length skirt from six years ago goes to Goodwill.

Go through every piece of clothing you have and be ruthless about paring it down. A good rule of thumb: haven’t worn it in a year? Time for it to go. Don’t let yourself succumb to the siren song of jeans that are two sizes too small that you SWEAR you’re going to fit into again one day. Let them go. It’s okay! Besides, if you lose weight, you’ll want something new anyway!

When you’ve completed The Purge: Outfits of Yesteryear, you can move on to the fun part, which is refilling your closet with wardrobe fashion essentials that will make picking out an outfit every morning a simple joy rather than a stressful chore. But before we get started with a list of pieces, let’s review the rules of must-have wardrobe essentials.

The Core Tenants of Womens Wardrobe Essentials

  1. Every piece shalt be multi-functional – Too many closets get clogged up with colors, patterns, and styles that only work with a very narrow selection of your remaining wardrobe. Before you stock your closet with new clothing, carefully consider whether you can easily wear it with other pieces you own. If you’ll only be able to wear that lacy top whenever you get one specific skirt dry-cleaned, then skip it.
  1. Thou shalt skip bargain bin items simply because they’re cheap – It’s incredibly tempting to take a deep dive into the sale racks, and it’s fine to do so if you think you’ll get a great deal on something that works, but don’t snap up clothing simply because it’s a bargain. Doing so fills your wardrobe with junky pieces that you don’t particularly like, but you just COULDN’T pass up. Don’t bother. Sale items that you don’t wear are still wasted money.
  1. Thou shalt maintain a streamlined wardrobe from this day forth – Now that you’ve already made the first purge, commit to keeping it that way. Every piece of clothing you buy should be carefully considered as a staple part of your new wardrobe. Every time you get something new, something else has to go. This keeps your head on straight and makes sure you don’t end up with another Closet of Doom.
  1. Thou shalt buy the things you feel good in – We all have things lurking in our closet that we keep for one reason or another even though we cringe at the thought of wearing them again. Let them go. Think of it as making way for new pieces that reignite your love for your wardrobe! Every single piece should make you feel like a stunner.

The wardrobe commandments have been spoken. Now it’s time to go over the wardrobe essential must haves that make this whole thing work. Are you familiar with the concept of a capsule wardrobe? The idea is to have a core set of interchangeable pieces that all work with one another so you can mix and match according to occasion, season, or preference. These core pieces can be supplemented with seasonal pieces (like winter coats or summer shoes), or dressed up or down as necessary with accessories and “signature” pieces. When you do it this way, you can pare down your closet to as few as 10-30 articles of clothing, which might sound absurd, but if you do it right, the combinations you can create with those 30 pieces are nearly endless. It’s like having 150 outfits at your disposal without having 150 pieces in your closet.

What are these magical, fashionable wardrobe essentials? Let’s dive in to the basic pieces that will become the core of your new closet.

Essential Tops

womens wardrobe essentials

There are a handful of staple shirts and blouses that are absolute must-haves for nearly anyone. Every woman should own at least one dress shirt, a white blouse, a turtleneck sweater, a plain white tee, and a striped shirt. Your choice in the style of these tops is totally up to you based on your personal fashion sense and the type of work you do. You may want to go looser or more fitted, long-sleeved for all, or a mix of short and long. The one important piece to keep in mind is to stick to neutral, easy-to-match colors. White, off-white, gray, camel, and black. Sometimes you may be able to get away with something more colorful – a red sweater or navy stripes – but make sure you stick to solid colors where possible and that it will work with multiple other pieces.

Essential Pants

Show of hands: how many of us have 10 pairs of pants but only ever have the same two on regular rotation? Yeah, we’re guilty, too. It’s okay! Now we all know a better way. Your wardrobe essentials should include a pair of black trousers, casual distressed or boyfriend style jeans, classic denim jeans in a style that flatters your body best, and a dark wash clean skinny jean. Style is again up to you – choose the cut and color that looks best on you. Whatever you choose, make sure your pants will work for any season and that you steer clear of patterns that will be difficult to match. These are your staples!

Essential Skirts

Skirts are a little tougher to narrow down as far as must-have wardrobe essentials, but it can be done. Depending on your body type, choose a style that looks good on you. That may mean a pencil skirt, midi skirt, A-line skirt, pleated skirt, or wrap skirt. Don’t be afraid to get skirts in more than one style for some variety, but remember to stick to neutral colors. Black works best, but a simple pattern also works. Choose two or three that work for you. Avoid super trendy, difficult-to-match styles and patterns, as well as skirts that aren’t appropriate for work.

Essential Dresses

Every woman needs to have a little black dress! This is a fashion world staple, without a shadow of a doubt. Black is a classic and versatile color. Choose a style that looks good on you and makes you feel like your best self. Other essential dresses include a “weekend maxi dress” – something that’s comfortable and wearable to any event – a wrap dress with a knee-to-calf length skirt, and a slip dress that works well with layers. Think of these as pieces that are relatively simple on their own, but can be completely transformed with the right accessories and layers.

Essential Outerwear

Depending on where you live, you may need to invest in heavier coats than others. Some people in climates that remain temperate year-round can get away with light jackets no matter the season. That said, there are a few essential pieces of outwear you’ll want to invest in: first priority is a leather jacket, then a structured blazer, a long winter overcoat, and a denim jacket. Outerwear gives you more flexibility on the style front – you can be more creative in your choice of color and pattern for clothing that you’re going to remove when you’re indoors. That said, your light jacket and blazer options should still match well with your other clothes, as these are often kept on. Your overcoat could be a camel coat, pea coat, trench coat, or whatever works best for your area. Outerwear styles stick to classic designs no matter what year it is, so this is a solid area to invest in.

Essential Footwear

wardrobe fashion essentials

Ah, shoes. We love shoes! We bet you love shoes, too. Shoes can make or break an outfit, and they can also seriously clog up your closet. Much like the rest of your wardrobe, you should try to pare down those pairs until you have some semblance of order. Here are our recommendations for absolutely must-have shoes: one pair of ballet flats, one pair of slip-on sneakers, one pair of flat sandals, one pair of ankle boots, one pair of high boots, and a pair of classic heels. We know, only seven pairs of shoes? Absurd. We get it. This is an area where we’re more flexible. Shoes are a joy. That said, you do want to make sure you have several neutral-colored pairs that you can wear with every one of your mix-and-match outfits.

Whew! That’s quite the checklist, right? Time to get started building a wardrobe that works every day of the year, no matter what. You won’t believe how easy it is to get dressed when you have several pieces that work in tandem with one another. Once you have these staples ready, you can supplement with signature pieces and accessories that let your personality shine through. The right handbag, earrings, and scarf can take an outfit from day to night, or a work dress from the boardroom to date night.

Need a place to get started? You can come see us here at PUNCH for tons of sweaters, shirts, jackets, jeans, outerwear, and more that will work perfectly with your new wardrobe. Need help figuring out how to get started? We’d absolutely love to help.

Do you have favorite womens wardrobe essentials? What are they and why do you love them? Which items are most difficult for you to give up?

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