If it was up to me, the Top 10 basics would be more like the Top 100 basics as there are just too many things I NEED to have in my closet. Alas, not everyone is as materialistic as I am so I guess I am obliged to list the actual must-haves that a normal person would and should own. Between my own experience and reading books and watching TV shows that have listed their basics, here is my List of the Top 10 Essentials each woman should have (listed in alphabetical order).
Black Dress – Most women are aware of the LBD (Little Black Dress). The more basic your dress is, the better it is to “dress up” with different accessories, allowing you to wear it multiple times and getting a lower CPW (cost per wear).
Day Dress – Not formal enough to look like you’re dressed up for a New Year’s party in the middle of the day and not casual enough that you look like you’re wearing a pajama dress. If you’re not sure what a day dress looks like, just think about whether a dress would be presentable and can take from the workplace straight to a work party.
Dress Pants – Black, gray, brown or beige – they come in all sorts of (neutral) colors. You can own all of the previously mentioned colors OR if you’re on a tight budget, black is best as it will go with everything and is most flattering.
Dressy/Classy Shirt/Blouse – A crisp white button-up top should come to mind when looking for one of these. The sleeve length and style can vary, but always keep in mind that it should flatter your figure (it’s not as easy as borrowing your husband’s version), be able to button up without playing peek-a-boo and showing some of your bra or camisole and lastly, have a simple cut and collar – avoid purchasing one like Seinfeld’s pirate top.
Jacket/Coat – Just like the dress pants, your coat or jacket should be purchased in a neutral color so that it goes with most if not everything you own. Some things to consider are the weather conditions it will have to endure, the length of the jacket, the fabric and the smaller details (ex. single or double breasted, size and color of buttons, with or without pockets, size of the collar etc.).
Jeans – The pair you invest in can either be your best friend or arch enemy. Make sure to get these in a size that fits you well (avoid getting the muffin top effect), flatters you (size of pockets on the butt, the wash etc.) and stays that way. Tip: NEVER stick them in the dryer, especially if they have any type of stretch as the heat will destroy the shape and stretch of the fabric.
Skirt – There are several styles to choose from... the best way to know which one suits you best is to try them all on. Make sure you consider its versatility. Buy something that can be worn to both work and Sunday brunch.
Trench Coat – These are sold in almost every store, so there will be one available at all price points. Buy the one that best fits and flatters you as spending some extra few dollars will pay off with this timeless piece.
Versatile Top – This top should be versatile enough to be worn under a blazer to work, alone to a club or with a cardigan during a movie night with friends.
Workout Wear – I’m sure you’ve all retired your high school joggers but if you haven’t it’s definitely time. There are so many places to buy modern workout wear depending on your budget and type of activity. Just make sure you don’t get in the habit of wearing this out of comfort (like to do groceries or to run other types of errands).
Now that we have that covered, here is The Broke Fashionista’s extended list for those of you who are looking to fill up extra closet space... yeaaah, that’s it (also in alphabetical order).
BlazerBright-coloured PantsDenim JacketDenim ShortsFloral Top/Short DressFur CoatLeather JacketLeather PantsPlaid “Lumberjack” TopSheer Button-Up Long-sleeved BlouseV-neck T-shirtsWhite Pants
Stay tuned for my Top Accessory Must-Haves.