Christian Bielik Shirt At Arsenal
With NYE dead ahead, we”re taking stock of the past year and making room for improvements, starting with our closet. Your wardrobe has the power to be both the impetus for a really great day or the cause of a really bad one. It kind of becomes the center of our universe for a few moments each day — picking out our outfit for a big meeting, a first date, a friend”s wedding. And for all those moments you”ve uttered “I have nothing to wear” in response to that looming interview, party, or big night out, we hear you — and we”re here to help.
The best way to make sense of the stuff in your closet is to clean out the unworn and ill-fitting and make room for the essential pieces that”ll make it easy to pull together an outfit, whatever the occasion. We”ve outlined all the key items — from shoes to tops and jewels — so just scroll through for the complete guide to the clothes every woman should own.
Thanks to Spring, Fall, and Resort iterations, we consider peplum more than a passing trend. The ladylike look is here to stay, and its effect on your wardrobe will have major implications. It”s the top you”ll turn to from work to play, season to season, to lend polish and femininity in one easy step. Just look for one like this H&M peplum ($35) that could go from work to weekend in a flash.
Silk blouses are endlessly versatile as the piece that lends easy sophistication to Summer shorts or Fall denim. Take them to work, and wear them breezily and not so buttoned up on weekends. In any color and nearly any cut, the silky blouse, like this Loft Hidden Button Blouse ($50), has modern femininity written all over it.
Lace and eyelet tops have solidified their place in our wardrobe for Spring and Summer — even Fall and Winter with the right warm contrasts. These are the blouses, like this Rebecca Taylor top ($250), that you can throw on with minimal jewels since they do all the work for you. Their vibe works especially well as a pretty Summer work blouse, but this is a look we love just as much with denim cutoffs as we do under a suit jacket.
As far as essentials go, this may be king. The white shirt, like this Alexander Wang version ($80), is insanely versatile, so don”t relegate its use to casual looks only. Find a version in a great cut that you can wear with everything from jeans to silky pants and sequined skirts.
The striped tee has been a fashion mainstay since Coco Chanel first popularized the classic pattern. Now it”s cropping up in endless color schemes and cuts, though if you”re looking for one you”ll keep for years, we”d recommend a style like this Maison Scotch long-sleeved tee ($85) to outfit every which way, from workwear with a blazer to beachwear with cutoffs. Consider this the best of your basics, right next to your white t-shirt.
The secret to wearing sheer tops with total confidence is having one of these handy camisoles ($98) in your closet. Opt for a nude or black tank, depending on what hues you gravitate toward the most — these will help camouflage and cover and will make your lacy, sheer, and revealing necklines appropriate for any occasion.
From Summer to Fall, the chambray button-down ($60) has become about as essential as the denim jacket — but this lighter-weight denim topper is even easier to style.
No woman should be without a decadent statement top for her special occasions, whether it”s a fancy dinner party or date night. In a wash of delicate sequins or adorned with pretty embellishments, tops like this Zara embroidered top ($119) are the ones you”ll slip into when you need something glamorous and event-worthy.
Consider this your alternative to worn-out college tees and hoodies. A slouchy sweatshirt, like Everlane”s boyfriend sweatshirt ($40), is the casual basic you can knock around in on weekends (without feeling disheveled) or add to more polished bottoms for a cool juxtaposition.
The crisp button-down is a borrowed-from-the-boys staple that now has a womanly identity all its own. It”s just about the easiest way to pull off a pulled-together look in one easy move, whether you”re using yours to top denim or a pencil skirt. Plus, we love that every woman has her own unique way to make this essential, like this Ann Taylor shirt ($70), all her own.
Whether your 9-to-5 requires that you dress up or not, a silk shell like this one from Club Monaco ($199) isn”t just the perfect piece to tie together a suit or tuck into a pencil skirt, it”s also a step up from a t-shirt but step down from your dressier blouses that makes denim look a lot more chic.
Ballet flats (or skimmer flats) are a no-fuss solution to feeling polished and pulled together while on the go. They”re equal parts ladylike and casual, meaning we can wear them with pretty pleated skirts, shift dresses, or even cutoffs.
Charles David Leather Flat ($115)
Gym sneakers are meant for the gym, but a pair of cute kicks like these are a wardrobe basic worth investing in. They”ll look a whole lot sweeter with jeans than your cross-trainers will.
Vans Classic Navy Slip-On Shoes ($45)
It”s no wonder these ankle boots have a huge celebrity following. The neutral hue and walkable heel will serve you well year-round.
Étoile Isabel Marant Dicker Boot ($650)
Come Spring and Summer, we make the seasonal shift to sandals. Great wedges are easy to walk in and pair just as well with party dresses as they do with casual shorts and denim.
Dolce Vita Open Toe Wedge Sandals ($169)
This pair of polished pumps will never let you down. From the office to your evenings out, these are a classically chic finish to everything.
Christian Louboutin Pigalle 100 black kid pump ($645)
Think of these as your much-cooler alternative to flip-flops. Since we gravitate toward flat sandals all Summer long, make sure you opt for a pair with details you”ll be happy to slip into on a daily basis. Something with a fun color or great studded finish can up the ante on your everyday dress.
Loeffler Randall Gilda Single Band Sandals ($225)
Every girl needs a pair of seriously sexy heels in her arsenal. Whether you opt for vibrant color, a statement print, or ultrasexy detailing, this pair should be the one you throw on with everything from jeans to your evening dresses to feel instantly sexy.
Zara Criss Cross High Heel Sandal ($90)
For Fall, Winter, rain, and beyond, a pair of tall boots lends polish and protection from the elements. They”re as chic as they are practical.
Frye Dorado Riding Boot ($598)
Nude heels are a no-brainer for completing our evening looks as well as our dressier day ensembles. They”re seasonless, go with everything, and pull double duty, lengthening our stems.
Jimmy Choo Lang Leather Heeled Sandals in Nude ($775)
Smart brogues or loafers have become a wardrobe mainstay. Think of these as an office-to-off-duty alternative to sneakers with a preppy-cool twist.
French Connection Dakin Oxford Flat ($130)
Even if your office doesn”t have a “dress code” in place, you”ll be happy you have a polished sheath dress in your closet for everything from interviews to a big presentation at work. Choose one like this Tibi marled french terry dress ($300) that”s easy to change up with a blazer or tights and your footwear of choice.
For the days when jeans just won”t do, the maxi dress ($70) is a perfect alternative. It”s comfortable to travel in, easy to layer up, and works all year. Long story short, it”s a must.
There are days when your jeans and t-shirts just won”t cut it; that”s when a perfect day dress like this Diane von Furstenberg Ivana short-sleeve full-skirt dress ($375) comes into play. You won”t feel overdressed if you wear it to brunch with friends, and you”ll certainly feel more polished for dinners out. It”s not a special-occasion dress, but it”s an elevated alternative to your basics that you”ll rely on weekly, if not daily.
When the weather starts to cool, you”ll be happy you have a go-to sweater dress ($730) in your arsenal to wear with boots and tights all Fall and Winter. It”s a perfect layering piece.
For wedding season, formal dinners, and special events, it becomes pretty essential to have an appropriate dress. That means something formal and full length, like this Alice + Olivia gown ($495). Opt for one in a color or print that flatters your complexion and can be reinvented each time you wear it just by switching out the accessories.
It just doesn”t feel like Spring and Summer without the perfect sundress. Find one that flatters your frame or shows off your best assets, like this Zara printed crossover dress ($60), and wear it with flats or heels all season.
For those special occasions that don”t call for a totally formal dress, you need a pretty cocktail dress ($685) that can go from dinner and drinks to a party, if need be. Choose one with details that will work all year to get the most for your money.
Every woman”s closet should come equipped with this staple ($850). It”s an iteration you can dress up or down and wear to both celebratory and somber occasions.
A lady needs at least one pretty, delicate necklace that she can slip on every day and that will look equally as chic with a slouchy gray tee as it will with a cocktail dress. We love how this piece offers just enough sparkle.
Gorjana Taner Pave Bar Necklace ($68)
Add sizzle to your wrist year-round with a sleek cuff bracelet. We love how this art-deco-inspired piece looks on its own, but you can also try it out with a group of thinner bracelets on top.
CC Skye Deco Cuff ($245)
To add that extra wow factor to an LBD, opt for a pair of standout jeweled earrings. It keeps focus up top, and in most cases, you won”t have to worry about wearing any other jewelry.
BaubleBar Natural Pagoda Drop Earrings ($32)
Every girl needs one gorgeous, slightly over-the-top statement necklace — it gives a fresh pop of intrigue to any look. We especially love pairing ours with a white t-shirt or LBD — and nobody does these pieces better than Dannijo.
Dannijo Leona Statement Necklace ($570)
A group of slim, stackable rings looks great no matter what you”re wearing and gives you the feeling of being accessorized without having much on.
Jules Smith Designs Edie Thin Stackable Rings ($65)
A pair of thin gold hoops look so lovely and elegant with a topknot or messy ponytail — a perfect look for the office. We”re loving the tiny emerald stone detailing on this pair.
Jennifer Meyer Jewelry 18K Gold and Stone Hoop Earrings ($550)
It”s safe to say that a watch has turned into a jewelry piece in its own right, and nothing helps you look like the picture of punctuality better than a sleek, menswear-inspired gold watch. The best way to wear it is as you would any other bracelet, so feel free to stack bangles, friendship bracelets, and even cuffs with it.
Michael Kors Gold-Plated Steel Chronograph Watch ($250)
Even if you aren”t a total earring girl, a pair of simple studs will help tie your everyday look together and help make even the most casual of ensembles look a little more polished.
Mini Disc Diamond Studs ($170)
It goes without saying that a cocktail ring can add tons of depth to your evening look — wear one alone or up the ante by stacking a few rings on different fingers.
Alexis Bittar Molten Ring ($150)
It could be a family heirloom, a gift from a friend, or a good-luck charm — and whether you wear it alone or consider it just another component of your daily arm party, it never comes off.
Minor Obsessions Gold & Diamond Sparkle Evil Eye Bracelet ($265)
The most basic building block of your bag collection should be a simple style smart enough for work but chic enough to make your most fashionable friend grin with approval. Before investing in one, like this Elizabeth and James medium black satchel ($525), consider your daily load, and make sure you pick a style that can accommodate it. If you hardly ever need to bring your laptop to and from work, then don”t stress about finding one that”ll fit it. Too large is an invitation to overstuffing.
Don”t fall prey to the trap of thinking a clutch only means pint-size and formal, acceptable only as an evening accompaniment to a cocktail dress. These days, clutches come large and ready to accommodate a wallet, a phone, a Kindle, and even a slim pair of ballet flats. Try this Wallis bright yellow envelope clutch ($52).
The official grown-up always has a practical bag ready in case her weekend takes a turn that involves a quick, last-minute trip. Whether yours involves sliding something into an overhead bin or simply tossing it into the trunk, a pliable style with straps that can be worn over the shoulder, like Everlane”s The Weekender ($95), is a smart way to go.
For weekends and off-duty events, it”s a treat to store the work bag in favor of something lighter. The crossbody style is perfect, and whether worn over the shoulder or across the trunk, it leaves hands blissfully free for more important things (like browsing the sale rack). We”re fond of Kate Spade Saturday”s All Along ($135).
The most practical style in your arsenal should be a roomy tote. The open-top shape comes in handy more than you”d think, from tagging along to the office every now and then to doubling as the smartest carry-on ever. Avoid prints or bold colors in favor of a neutral, and you”ll have found a style that”ll just keep getting better with use. Banana Republic”s navy and white Ashbury colorblock tote ($130) is one of our favorites.
There”s something undeniably off about trying to carry a big bag when you”re dressed to the nines. Pick a simple box style — like Henri Bendel”s Party Starter box clutch ($128) — that fits only the necessities, and use it as an accent to any after-dark look.
No closet is complete without this key transitional coat, which can take wearers from crisp Fall nights to cool Winter mornings. Loose and belted, it”s often waterproof.
Make an investment: It doesn”t get more classic than a camel-colored Burberry trench.
Get in on the trend: Go with a surprising color, or replace the attached belt with a bold leather cincher.
Quite the Winter-coat workhorse, this outerwear option fastens with horn toggles, also known as walrus teeth, and rope closures. Other features include two large patch pockets, a hemline that falls right at the knee, and a hood.
Make an investment: Opt for one in a sheath silhouette. That way, there is limitless layering potential.
Get in on the trend: For an edgier, more downtown vibe, opt for one with an asymmetrical opening or one that is more formfitting.
Inspired by those worn in polar regions, this is a heavier version of the classic anorak. The hooded coats — most typically in shades of olive or army green — are the perfect casual cover-up for weekends out and about.
Make an investment: Stick with one in khaki or green.
Get in on the trend: Make more of a statement with a fur-lined hood.
This classic military-inspired wool coat — originally worn solely by sailors — is ultrawarm, often unisex, and always double-breasted.
Make an investment: Pick a traditional one in a neutral, like black, dark gray, or navy.
Get in on the trend: Although they typically hit right at the hip, opt for something even longer. And try something in a print, like tartan or houndstooth.
Many fashion insiders don”t use the sleeves of their coats anyway, so a cape — a sleeveless cloak that fastens around the neck and forms a circle — is a practical option.
Make an investment: The more similar to those fairy-tale versions (think Little Red Riding Hood), the more classic, so opt for a simple color with a single ribbon or button tie at the collar.
Get in on the trend: For a more updated approach (and more coverage), wear one that has a closed front and two arm slits.
The ultimate outer layer to make you feel as if you were inside by the fire, a down-filled quilted puffer is the only surefire way to stay warm in freezing temps.
Make an investment: For more function than fashion, pick one that covers the most square footage or one that even dusts the floor. Moncler is a brand proven to keep in the heat.
Get in on the trend: Pick a cropped, collarless puffer that will keep your torso toasty while still showing off your outfit.
Consider this the cool parent to the classic trench coat — a warmer version but one that”s stood the test of time while still coming in and out of trendiness.
Make an investment: The minimalist versions from Céline and Max Mara are sure to make lasting impressions.
Get in on the trend: If it ain”t broke, don”t fix it. The only thing worth experimenting with this coat is the hemline.
The ultimate cold-weather protector is a fully lined fur coat. And if real fur isn”t your thing, faux-fur alternatives serve the same purpose, often with a much more affordable price tag.
Make an investment: Choose one that kept the natural color and texture of the fur, and take good care to preserve it. A fur coat is the ultimate fashion family heirloom.
Get in on the trend: If you are opting for a wild color or the on-trend patchwork style, faux-fur options might be wise.
Sure, no one needs a wild printed topper, but having at least one bold outerwear option will surely come in handy for nights out or when an outfit could use a little something extra.
Make an investment: Although these coats are inherently trendy, you”ll never regret picking a classic print, like leopard, which will always be wearable. Same goes for classic bright colors, like red, or jewel tones.
Get in on the trend: Move on from colors and prints and pick one with embellishments, from feather trim to intricate beadwork.
Get more of the essentials with these guides:
The Tops Everyone Should Have in Her ClosetThe 11 Things Every 20-Something Should Have in Her WardrobeAttention 30-Somethings, This Is Your Wardrobe Checklist