Every morning, we fight a losing battle with our closets. This battle intensifies if we have an important meeting or a hot date to dress for! Because our closets are like bottomless pits, they store everything we throw at it. Think about it: as we get older, we accumulate items of various styles that don’t necessarily match together. Add to that, our tastes also change. Meaning that what we thought was ‘cute’ two years ago is ‘tacky’ today. This leaves us with a mismatched, haphazard wardrobe. No wonder we can’t find things to wear!
So, what’s the solution? You would be surprised to learn that it isn’t a complete closet overhaul or an expensive shopping spree. Let’s face it: it’s going to cost you a lot of money if you want to uproot your entire wardrobe and start afresh. Instead, the key to solving this problem is to invest in a select few staple and statement pieces. But what are staples and statements, you ask? And, how will they solve your everyday “I don’t have anything to wear” problem? Well, let me educate you about these two very important fashion concepts.
What is a fashion staple?
Think of them as a wardrobe must haves for every woman. What they do is they connect disjointed pieces (of any style) together. Basically, what they do is tame mismatched wardrobes somehow.
Fashion staples are classic items that never quite go out of style and they fit in with every style sensibility.
Because staples are timeless pieces of clothing, they add a sense of familiarity to any ensemble. Think of this outfit: an over-sized Batman t-shirt with a denim skirt and ballet flats; as it stands, this outfit has too many distractions. What it needs is one item to tie everything together. For this outfit, a well-fitted navy blue blazer would be a wonderful staple piece to salvage it.
What is a fashion statement?
Meanwhile, the second fashion concept that you need to familiarize yourself with is fashion statements. Unlike staples, statements are not typically of the classic, “never goes out of fashion” mold. Instead, they allow you to express yourself. They can also make bold statements on your behalf or reveal aspects of your personality. For example, if your statement is your grandmother’s silk scarf then it shows that you are devoted to your family and that you enjoy retro styles. In addition to staples, your wardrobe needs to have statement pieces because they take a somewhat “common look” and infuse it with some pizzazz.
The concept of statements and staples help salvage many closets. Staples, because they are the opposite of short-term trendy items, can be worn for years. On the other hand, statements can go out of fashion, but they should be a true reflection of yourself. So, you shouldn’t bother if they are “in” or “out” if you love rocking them. It is always a good tip to make investments in good quality staple items because you will get multiple uses out of them. And, if they can be tailored, you would be able to wear them at any size. Here is a list of the most essential staples that every woman needs to own, followed by some universal statement pieces:
Best Fashion Staples
Us ladies owe a lot to the screen legend, Marilyn Monroe. Her sultry strut in heels taught us that there is a holy connection between our womanly curves and high heels. That is why every woman’s wardrobe is incomplete without the perfect pair of high heels.
The black heel variety has the uncanny ability to match every outfit. They pair perfectly well with tapered pants, skirts, dresses and anything you throw at it. You can opt for a simple closed-toe kind, ankle strapped ones, ones with embellished details in the front or back, etc. The best heel height is anything between 3 to 4 inches. Anything higher or shorter will not be universally suitable.
Another icon who introduced us to the little black dress was Audrey Hepburn. Holly Golightly’s form-hugging Givenchy sleeveless black dress is known as the most iconic LBD of all time.
The key to this wardrobe essential is to pick one that hugs your body in all the right places. They say that black is slimming so prepare to knock everyone’s sock off with this saucy little number. You want to keep it simple: clean silhouettes and no prominent distraction on the dress.
This Rebecca Taylor short-sleeve lace dress is a modern take on the classic LBD. The lace is fun and fresh as well as perfect for breezy summer nights. The slightly shorter length will help accentuate your legs if you have an hourglass or pear-shaped figure.
This Theia Couture sleeveless floral hem tea dress is a bit dressier than the lace LBD. But, notice that its floral detail at the bottom of the dress does not detract from the other half of the dress. The knee-length height of the dress is a good throwback to the more classic look of the LBD.
You can easily blend the LBD with your mismatched wardrobe by pairing it with over-the-top shoes, jewelry or jackets/cardigans.
I am sure you can understand why the trench coat is on the list. The quintessential fall jacket, the trench works with every pant cut, color or style (except cargo pants!). It pairs equally well with heeled or flat footwear as well as with boots.
Again, this wardrobe staple needs no introduction. Throw anything at a white tee and it will thwart it no matter what. The chameleon of the clothing world, there are so many things you can do with this staple. Pair it with jeans, jeggings, pencil skirts or denim jackets – they all work with it.
You might be wondering, why are skinny jeans an essential item. It is because the skinny cut works with any body shape, unlike straighter cuts. Jeans can be dressed up while just as easily dressed down. This versatile, timeless piece of clothing has been around for decades and it doesn’t look like it’s going out-of-fad any time soon.
Remember to have it tailored to the right length of your legs or remember to apply the right cuffing technique to match your shoes. Your cuff also defines the type of look you are aiming for. Longer cuffs are more informal or edgier while shorter cuffs are more elegant and feminine.
A key to prolonging your denim is: don’t wash it frequently and pop it in the freezer to remove odors (I’m not kidding!). Also don’t forget to check out my other article on how to wear jeans with boots.
Like the skinny jeans, the flared skirt fits seamlessly into any type of figure. Any type of design on the skirt: plain, printed or a color block, so long as there is a flared bottom, works with any top or shoe combination. You can pair these with crop-tops, denim shirts, white button-downs or even leather jackets and you can still come out a winner.
Do you have a stained shirt that fits you well but you are too attached to it to throw it out? Or maybe you have a beautiful collared shirt with a ghastly skeleton in the back (from your goth phase)? Don’t throw it out just yet but add a simple cashmere sweater on top of it with the collars jutting out. And, voila, you have an effortlessly simple, elegant look!
Best Fashion Statement Pieces
They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend but her purse might be a close second. The epitome of the handbag is the Birkin bag and they do work with everything. They work because the Birkin bag is a style institution of its own. They make statements with every outfit which is why, you need a head-turning bag. Not all of us can afford those Hermes bags but you should invest in a noteworthy bag brand nonetheless.
The wrist-watch, like the bag, has been around for years. Yes, they are incredibly expensive but they will outlast your lifetime. Think of them as investment pieces, which like bags, have a terrific resale value. If you can find yourself a limited edition one to boot then you have found yourself a very attractive win-win.
This Swarovski all-around necklace might seem ordinary and common but pair it with some sweats or a pant-suit and you have yourself a limelight-grabbing piece. Making statements with glamorous jewelry is a fantastic way to steal the limelight.
That was my list of wardrobe staples and statements. Remember that statements need to be a true reflection of yourself. Even that Indian bejeweled broach you bought from your travels can be one. Good luck repairing your mismatched closet with these tips!
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