Thursday, July 23, 2009

THE LIST of fashion's seasonal guarantees

Real Simple,, says these are the wardrobe basics every woman should have hanging in her glam closet. Wow, could it really be this easy?

Always in Season

Black tank: A white tank has its place—at the gym or on casual outings—but a black one is more universal. Dress it up with dark jeans or a skirt.

Short-sleeved white T-shirt: White tees become unwearable quickly, so skip the costly designer versions and buy a bunch of good-looking inexpensive ones. Then replace as needed. I agree 100%.

Short-sleeved black T-shirt: The best short-sleeve length is about 1/2 to 1 inch longer than a typical cap sleeve—it shows just the right amount of arm.

Long-sleeved white T-shirt: For a trim silhouette in white, choose a slim-fit T-shirt that skims your body but doesn't cling. Same rule applies in black or any other color you may choose. This is a good option for quick errands. A long-sleeved T-shirt can be accessorized and paired with jeans, ballet flats, etc. for a nice effortless look.

Long-sleeved black T-shirt: A surprisingly sophisticated layering piece, this works well under a dress shirt—or even a dress. I wouldn't layer black under many things. I would keep a long-sleeve black T-shirt around to dress up for a casual lunch or dinner with my friends. BUT be careful if not taken care of well, you black tee will end up as a dingy looking grey tee. I stress dry cleaning anything black that is 100% or majority cotton. If unsure, just dry clean all blacks.

Black turtleneck: Consider investing in cashmere: You get more warmth with less bulk. I think a definite, timeless, staple is a charcoal grey turtleneck. Black can sometimes come across as a little stuffy. Plus, I like to look as if I didn't try too hard and charcoal grey can add that little bit of a casual essence too. Really, any neutral, or all the neutrals, are good investments in turtlenecks...especially cashmere.

White button-down shirt: A fitted one will get the most wear: It's easier to tuck in and looks neat when left out.

Crisp white blouse: Softer looking than a button-down, a white blouse is a timeless addition to any wardrobe. Because I like color, I never invest in a white blouse. Also, it's a hard call finding one that works well for me.

Crewneck sweater: Thin knits, in cotton or wool, layer easily for versatility and comfort.

Cardigan: A neutral shade goes with everything, and a longer style that hits at the hip flatters most figures.

A black dress: The “little black dress” is a cliche for a reason: It’s a wardrobe necessity. AMEN! Be sure to get one that's appropriate and has some personality!

Pencil skirt: This classic piece should be tailored so it grazes the tops of the knees.

Jeans: It's worth paying extra for jeans that fit and flatter. Your best bet? A pair made from stretch denim with no more than 2 percent Lycra. (The fabric will follow your curves while keeping its shape.)

Black pants: To get the most from this wardrobe staple, select a style made of an all-season fabric, like tropical wool or viscose.

Skinny jeans: Once considered a trend, they are now a denim staple. Skinny jeans look best when they don’t fit too snugly at the waist. Skinny jeans are not appropriate for every body shape. If you have a larger bottom, or a pear shape, stay away from skinny jeans. They can end up causing similar harm as the taper leg jean.

Khaki pants: For a casual, comfortable look, forget the pleats (a flat front is more flattering) and forgo the front crease. Definitely forget the pleats and iron them flat.

Denim jacket: A dark wash and a slim fit look the most polished.

Cropped jacket: Made famous by Coco Chanel, this item has become a fashion mainstay. You’ll have more opportunities for pairing with one in a solid color or traditional tweed. But be careful, this style jacket can come across as boxy if not done correctly. Try it on! Make sure it hits just above the hip and don't go for shoulder pads!

Black cashmere wrap: A fabric that was once seen only in fall and winter has become a year-round regular.

Fall Basics

Cotton waffle robe: Perfect over pajamas or after a shower, this robe is far less bulky than its terry cloth cousin. Okay?!

The tuxedo shirt: The ultimate day-to-night top, it has a crisp quality that makes it a great multitasker. I'm not a big fan of the tuxedo shirt. I have had great variations of this top, but it's not a piece I go in search of. If you are budget conscious you can just stick with your crisp button up.

Fleece vest: Terrific over a turtleneck or peeking out from under a coat, a vest offers versatility in unpredictable autumn weather. I say no to fleece! Well, I will okay fleece if it's the warm up you wear to and from the gym during cold weather. Other than that, absolutely not!

Athletic sweatshirt: As comfortable as a flannel pajama top—but appropriate for wearing in public. I love my sweatsuits. My sweatsuits are cut for a woman's body, with some sort of feminine embellishment. I will not do an athletic sweatshirt! I just feel they add bulk to the frame and are anything by feminine. Instead opt for a feminine sweatsuit or zip front sweatshirt. BUT, remember this is for quick errands only!

Lightweight waterproof coat: Ideal for traveling, this practical item looks as right with a skirt as it does with a pair of jeans.

Khaki trench coat: Structured and stylish, it’s a true classic. Don't limit yourself! There are so many trench coat options. You can play with the length or try colors. The sky's the limit.

Leather blazer: A trim leather blazer brings a little sophisticated edge to any piece. Add a scarf and you’re ready to go anywhere.

Peacoat: No longer just navy blue, peacoats come in a range of colors and a variety of lengths. I own a navy blue light weight canvas peacoat that I love! It steps up any casual outfit, and the fit is divine.

Winter Basics

Heavy sweater: Look for a big, chunky knit that’s both comfortable and stylish. No! Chunky is a bad word. Before you buy a big heavy, chunky, sweater look into a nice wool coat.

Cashmere hoodie: More luxurious than the cotton variety, this layering piece is a sportier version of the cardigan. I haven't thought about this as an option in the past. It's worth exploring as long as it is free of a kangaroo pocket!

Dark-wash jeans: A wardrobe standby in the cold winter months that’s available in a variety of cuts. Keep in mind that boot-cut and wide-leg styles work well over boots.

Pantsuit: Wear the jacket and pants together to show you mean business—or treat them like separates to maximize their use.

Gray flannel pants: These stylish standards look great with brown, navy, and black—and also with brights.

Wool trousers: Look for a lined pair in fine gabardine wool, made with a twill weave, which won’t feel too heavy.

Down vest: Works best in a neutral color like brown, black, or navy, so you can wear it with anything. Be careful. This can come across as looking very juvenile (avoid the hooded vests), or add lots of bulk if you carry extra weight in the middle of your body.

Black cashmere wrap coat: Whether calf or fingertip length, this elegant item will work for day or evening.

Winter coat: Fur-trimmed, down, or wool, a winter coat should offer enough room to accommodate a sweater or jacket.

Spring Basics

Cotton polo: More tailored than a T-shirt, it offers cool comfort on even the stickiest days.

Cotton blouse: An airy and attractive springtime fundamental.

Printed tops: A few boldly patterned pieces add life and color to spring basics. No polyester though!

Lightweight cashmere sweater: Single-ply cashmere offers comfort in over-air-conditioned offices and movie theaters.

Cotton button-up cardigan: Combines the softness of a sweatshirt with the elegance of a cashmere sweater.

Lightweight waterproof raincoat: Easy to carry as a guard against spring’s fickle skies, it blocks wind and rain without weighing you down.

One-button blazer: A cotton or lightweight-wool jacket is a pulled-together layer that can be removed when the temperature rises. Be careful with the one-button part. Some of us may need a little extra support. If you have a larger chest look for two or even three buttons. But don't forget the length. No matter how many buttons you end up needing don't let the jacket pass you hips.

Inverted pleat skirt: As good looking with a tailored button-down shirt as it is with a tank top, it can be paired with a jacket for a more professional look.

Capri pants: These ankle-baring bottoms look great with ballet flats or strappy sandals.

Chinos: Comfortable cotton pants that are durable enough for a day in the park but still look proper in the office.

Summer Basics

Bathing suit: A well-fitting one- or two-piece in a go-anywhere color like black, white, or navy never goes out of style.

Convertible strapless bra: This adjustable undergarment looks smooth and natural under a strapless dress, tank top, or halter.

Cotton pajamas: A pretty patterned pair works as both lounge wear and sleepwear.

Built-in bra tank: Offering coverage and support (and an end to visible bra straps), this tank can be worn to workouts or cookouts—and even to the office, under a jacket or sweater. Only do this if you have a chest that can be supported by a built-in bra. If not opt for a tank with straps wide enough to hide the straps of your supportive bra.

Ribbed cotton tank: Originally made for men, these shirts are now available in female-friendly shapes. Pick one that fits your figure—it works well alone or under a suit jacket.

Cotton blouse: Choose a lightweight top from a range of colors and a variety of prints.

Cotton printed dress: Stay comfortable even in heavy-duty humidity. A cotton dress, period. I make Maxi dresses a summer staple because they can be worn in a variety of ways, to a variety of places. Also a cute eyelet dress or shirt dress can handle humidity and numerous types of affairs as well.

Strapless dress: A white one will show off a great tan, but black, navy, and camel also work beautifully. Do strapless if you are comfortable with strapless. If you aren't, remember that dresses are staples in the summer. It's near impossible to go wrong!

Khaki shorts: The summer-wardrobe equivalent of air-conditioning, khaki shorts keep you cool, comfortable, and looking crisp.

Cotton drawstring pants: A good-quality pair will take you straight from yoga class to lunch with a friend. I don't agree with this either. I usually keep the drawstring pants in my pajama drawer. They have no structure or support. Wear at your own risk! If you are looking for that great option to always fall back on get a cotton dress! You can also go for a jersey to avoid the possibility of excessive wrinkles.

White jeans: Available in a wide range of styles, white jeans look chic with almost any warm-weather top.


  1. wow, that was a lot to take in, but great information as the new clothes begin to hit the stores. I definitely have plenty of black and white tops, but I do need a nice crisp white blouse, just havent found the perfect one yet. Jeans, is a work in progress and the others I'll definitely consider.

  2. Hey Dee! Remember these are general basics. Don't run out and buy the list. Look at the items that are best for you and go after them. Also you have the time to take it slow. Because they are basic pieces you can buy them over the course of a few seasons. Some you may want to invest more money in as well.

    Also as far a jeans go, have fun. I love to jean shop, but it can be exhausting too. Take an afternoon and try on a number of different types and brands. If nothing else you can eliminate the ones that will not work for you. Also, take a friend because you aren't going through this alone. I have to jean shop everytime my weight changes or the trend changes.

    Thank you for reading!