Wednesday, June 13, 2012

My Wardrobe Essentials

The other day, I received a comment from SewPetiteGal:

Would love to see a post from you on your wardrobe essentials. I know your 30x30 challenges kind of poke on that, but you do such a great job on curating your closet (as well as remixing for completely different looks) and I'd love to see an update :)

I jokingly replied that every piece in my closet is considered essential. Or at least that's what I tell myself to justify each purchase ;) I personally don't think I have a well-curated closet (thanks SPG for the kind words though) because my closet seems to be growing at a more rapid pace than what is going out. One thing that works for me is not buying duplicates and very rarely do I buy similar items (weakness: three gingham shirts). I figured if I'm faced with a dilemma every morning between two pairs of slightly different dark-washed skinny jeans, I'll always reach for my favorite over the other.

In general, my life is pretty simple and my wardrobe reflects that. I work in a casual environment and spend my weekends in an even more casual state. For times where I feel like dressing up, I try to buy items that will work in both worlds. I do this to get the most wear out of my clothes and to challenge my styling ability.

I'm hesitant at putting a hard cap on the number of essential items because lifestyles change and so do closet size. So using categories as a guide, here are my wardrobe essentials:

Button-up shirt: Whether solid colored, various fabric (linen, chambray), or prints (gingham), I live in button-up shirts. They allow me to seamlessly transition between work and casual outfits because they are just so versatile (and perfect for layering). Examples include: (1) by itself; (2) doubled up (great way to mix colors/patterns/textures); (3) layered underneath with collar and hem out; (4) open and layered with a jacket; (5) turning a dress into a skirt.
outfit details: one / two / three / four / five

Tee: I find plain t-shirts to be the best blank canvas to style an outfit around. V-necks work best for me because I'm small up top and the neckline is great for accessorizing. Examples include: (1) simple and classic in t-shirt and jeans; (2) dressed up with a blazer; (3) moto-chic; (4) business casual work-appropriate; (5) feminine with lace.
outfit details: one / two / three / four / five

Pants: I like skirts, but I'll always be a pants kind of girl. Right now I'm going through a slacks phase, but I always eventually go back to form-fitting, well-worn jeans.

Outerwear: More often than not, a well-tailored blazer will suit any occasion (though it's also nice to have a casual jacket, ie: anorak/leather, on hand for others). Of my three blazers (navy, gray, black), I find myself reaching for the navy most often. I suppose the color is just so easy to pair with everything. Examples include: (1) with a dress; (2) with a skirt; (3) with shorts; (4) with cargoes; (5) with jeans.
outfit details: one / two / three / four / five

Trendy piece(s): I'm a believer that fashion should be fun. There's nothing more laughter-inducing than when experiments go wrong. It's also times like this when you learn about your personal style -- what works for you and what items should be burned.

The cost of chasing trends can add up, so I try to stick to a couple items at a time, and from the cheaper end of the spectrum (Old Navy, Forever 21, sales, etc). If an item works out, great! I'll wear it until it needs a replacement. If not, that's okay. It's a small cost to pay.

This season, I jumped on board the train for big polka dots, tapered pants, and anchor prints. Trends that I decided are not a great fit for me include pastels and peplum. I won't completely rule them out for the future, but as of right now I have my hands full.

When paired with older/classic pieces, trendy items are a great way to give an old outfit a new "look." I do this often by taking an overworn outfit and replacing a piece or two here and there. To the general public, it may look like a completely new outfit but I know better ;) For example, a black tee and jeans worn two ways: with an anorak vs. a fur vest.

Bags: I love bags, so my essentials list is probably longer than most. I have a diverse enough collection where most (if not all) voids have been filled: dressy, casual, crossbody, low-maintenance, fun, and clutch. If I had to pick just one as the utmost essential, it would have to be my white Longchamp tote. It best fits my everyday needs, rain or shine.

Shoes: This is probably the hardest one to narrow down, but I'll say: neutral pumps/wedges (ie: black, nude, snake-skin), ballet flats (great for casual and dressy occasions), non-rubber sandals/flip-flops, and a pair that's totally unexpected (ie: satin, bows, spikes).

Accessories: A scarf is my most essential accessory. Not far behind would be a statement necklace. I feel that both pieces would instantaneously add an interesting detail to any outfit, especially simple/neutral-colored ones. Scarf examples include: (1) dressed up; (2) with a sweater; (3) for warm weather; (4) to stay warm; (5) for added color.
outfit details: one / two / three / four / five

What are your wardrobe essentials?

29 comments:

  1. i love this!! and all of the pics you put together. i think that they are all great ideas. i especially agree with the tee. i was totally lacking something until i picked some up a while back. they're wonderful!

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  2. Thank you SO MUCH for posting this! I love your style and this is just perfect. PERFECT! :)

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  3. great post! I love all your outfits and essentials list but that scarf you bought on ebay is the best deal and works so well in your closet!

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  4. I really enjoyed your post. It is really great! I've tried to figure out so many things with my closet for long time. Now your post for sure helps me to figure out what to do with my closet.

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    1. If you wouldn't mind sharing, I'd be interested in hearing about your trials and errors with your closet :)

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  5. what a great post! really thoughtful and well laid out, with examples. thanks cee!

    xo julesinflats.blogspot.com

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  6. AWE-SOME! Wonderful post - I love how you also point out some favorite / most versatile pieces. This was exactly what I was hoping for and more :)

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    1. I have trouble coming up with topics to blog about, so thank you for asking! I had fun writing this post :)

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    2. Great question and great post, Cee! New follower, also in the DC area.

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  7. This is one of my favorite posts of yours, Cee! A must-read. Thank you so much for taking the time to pull this together. I was a little surprised that you picked your white long champ tote as the utmost essential. Thought you'd pick the Bal. :) I have to come back and click on all the links to study more. lol.
    btw, what material is your Navy blazer? I wonder if it's too warm for summer.

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    1. Bal was a close second :) The leather's untreated so I don't take it out in the rain, which means it's a bit high maintenance. I have no worries with my Longchamp in that aspect.

      My navy blazer is definitely too warm for the summer. I got away with wearing shorts when temps were in the 70s. The fabric content is 96% wool/4% lycra. It's the theory Bindi blazer if you're interested.

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  8. Hey Cee!

    This was a great post! I agree with the other ladies...thoughtful and nicely put together! :)

    About a year ago I hardly had any plain tees to wear out of the house, and now I have discovered that I love them. You are owed partial credit because I always revert back to that bright pink t-shirt pairing you did! That helped me to see the versatility of a tee. So a tee is my newest essential item.

    Another thing...belts! I like to have two of each basic color (one with gold hardware and one with silver) and some funky ones to dress up neutrals items (like tees!)

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    1. I'm glad to an enabler for your growing tees collection ;)

      Ahh... belts, yes, I'm glad you brought that up. They are to pants what scarves are to tops. I definitely wear mine an awful lot too!

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  9. I couldn't agree more with every single one of your choice. Especially the scarf. Just can't live without them.
    Seattle Beauty Fashion Blog

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    1. I can only imagine how often you get to wear your scarves living in Seattle, where hot summers are scarce, right? Jealous!

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  10. Loved this post :) Detailed and informative and loved seeing all your closet essentials :)

    katattack2000.wordpress.com

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  11. This was very helpful and informative Cee :) Thank you!

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  12. Great Post! Enjoyed reading it. I love my neon pink v-neck burnout tee this summer. it's on trend and so verstile. i really need help with editing my closet and this post inspires me. i think i'm going to give up a silk grass green flowy skirt that i have problems styling.

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    1. Before giving up the skirt, I vote for holding it up against various items in your closet. You never know what unexpected pairing might occur that didn't cross your mind :)

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  13. wow this was wonderfully written and beautifully styled! I have so much inspiration to work off now, especially with the scarf and button up layering

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  14. wow this was wonderfully written and beautifully styled! I have so much inspiration to work off now, especially with the scarf and button up layering

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  15. Man I love this post! It's great to see all the variations of outfits in one post!

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  16. I love all these looks! They´re fashion forward and functional. Great style. :)

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  17. Hey there. I just stumbled upon your blog! Great post and very helpful. I would love to know how you go about choosing scarves (thought process, how you rule them out or in, etc.). I feel like there are so many styles and prints to choose from and it can be overwhelming to figure out which would work with a wardrobe!

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    1. Hey Kate! I own so many scarves, but don't really have a set formula. I tend to just buy whatever catches my eye. I kinda treat scarves as a trendy piece, so the cheaper the better, and in fun prints. I went through (and is still going through) a chain/horsebit print phase which I wore in the first 3 scarf outfits. I then went through an animal print phase, a polka dot phase, and now an anchor print phase. I think classic pieces like the chain scarf can go with any outfit in any color. Trendier pieces like my pink polka dot scarf I like to pair with other pink and blue items (my go-to colors it seems like). I like to pair animal prints with "sophisticated" colors like black/white/gray. I guess what most of my outfits have in common is the color scheme. When I'm unsure of how to pair scarves, I take colors found on the scarf and choose other clothing items to complement it. Hope that helps!

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  18. Ok, this is officially one of my favorite posts, ever. I think I've asked this before, but I need you to SERIOUSLY consider coming to Atlanta for a weekend to help me clean out my closet! Your style is what I want my style to be, but you seem to have a much better handle on it than I do. *sigh* I may just have to stick with my cardigan and skirt/dress combo forever, since that's what works for me...I do live in the South, after all :)

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    1. Hey I live in the South too! Well, technically and it certainly feels like it with the heat wave the last few days. One of these days, I will make a trip down to Atlanta!

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  19. I love, love, love your blog.

    I love your style. I love that you make fashion look fun--and possible.

    I'm Asian too--and sort of petite and sort of regular. Thank you so much for posting your outfits--inspiring and helpful to me. And I admire that you've found a balance between anonymity and nonanonymity that works.

    Did I mention that I love your blog?

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! <3

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