Quality vs Quantity
One of my best friends, who I admire tremendously, taught me a great lesson in college, the key to a great wardrobe is not quantity but quality. My friend was able to make an infinite amount of outfits with a very limited wardrobe and looked great every single day. Her secret was to buy quality basics and accessories and effortlessly put these pieces with a few trend items to produce envy worthy outfits. You do not have to have a ton of money and a walk in closet full of clothes to look great, you just need the essentials and the courage to try new combinations. Yes, I do like trendy pieces and indulge in a few items that are ‘this moment’ (HELLO crop tops) but for the most part I invest my money in wardrobe staples and expensive looking pieces. Make sure you have the essentials covered first then purchase some of the trend pieces that stand out to you and will fit seamlessly into your wardrobe.
The wardrobe staples
T-Shirt– Make sure you always have crisp, clean, well-fitted tees in white and black available in your wardrobe. Find a style that is flattering to you, crew neck and v-neck tees flatter the body differently. I also have a gray and navy blue tee as these colors flatter and brighten my skin tone.
Tank Top– Like the t-shirt, tank tops offer endless options, be sure to have at least a black and white one available to you in pristine condition.
Blouse– A white button up is a must have, if you have the money invest in a black or red (or whatever color flatters you most) as well.
Jeans– Have a pair of wide-leg, boot-cut, and skinny jeans in your closet. Try and find jeans that have no pocket detail or trendy wash or tears (I dislike jeans that come all ripped up!!), the key here are simple, well-constructed jeans.
Jacket– A fitted blazer is a must, I would opt for a white or black blazer, which are classic colors and can be the most versatile. I tend to have an edgy style, so for me, I also have a quality black leather jacket.
Cardigan– Find a well-made cardigan in a color that flatters you and is comfortable. Essentials are to be worn to no end, so make sure you purchase pieces you feel comfortable in and would wear with no qualms.
Skirt– It is important to always have a pencil skirt that fits like a glove with a hem that falls just above or below the knee (keep it classy ladies).
LBD– The LBD is a must; it can be worn during the day with a scarf and blazer for a more casual look or at night with a trendy necklace to dress it up. Find one that fits and is flattering to your body type.
Recommended Quality Accessories
Watch– Invest in a quality timepiece like Timex or Michael Kors, a lower quality outfit is brought up a notch when the accessories are of high quality.
Sunglasses– Not only is eye protection important, sunglasses elevate the look of your outfit, so a great pair of sunglasses is a must; if you can spring it, buy a pair of classic shades like Ray Ban Aviators.
Purse– Having a great purse is important. Like wearing the wrong shoes, a cheap purse can ruin the whole outfit. It is important to buy at least one quality bag, Nordstrom has a great selection of quality bags for a more reasonable price. Fossil is a personal favorite as well, they make great quality bags for a reasonable price.
Heels– Heels are a must for every fashionista, all you need is a good pair of black and nude heels. Again, my personal style is edgy, so I also have a quality pair of boots and a heeled bottie as well.
Scarf– I LOVE scarves, I recommend getting one of high quality and then getting several that are budget friendly to supplement your wardrobe. When it comes to scarves, this is where you want to bring in fun colors and patterns so keep that in mind when you are on the hunt.
Finding quality Items
If you are able, I recommend buying all the basics from a higher end store such as Nordstrom or J Crew, but that is not necessary, in most case you will be able to find great pieces at a good price just by looking for pieces that look expensive.
In terms of finding expensive looking pieces, the item must have the characteristics of quality; always check seems, buttons, zippers, and beading on items before ever considering the purchase, if the item fell apart or tore in the store it will never stand up to everyday wear. If the zipper catches, looks flimsy and cheap, or is plastic put the item down and run. Look for metal zippers and buttons on items (nothing screams cheap like plastic buttons and zippers) and give the seams a tug to ensure they are strong.
With jeans, look for a pair in a dark wash which tends to look more expensive. Avoid trendy wash jeans and ones that are bedazzled like a kids craft. Make sure the pocket size flatters your behind and remember to go a little smaller because jeans tend to expand with wear not shrink. Also, be aware of length, a high water pant does not flatter anyone. My personal manta is to avoid anything with cargo pockets or the Capri style jean; they do nothing for your figure!
Also important are construction and material. Look for items that fit properly, have a good cut, and are absent of oddly placed seams, pockets, and slits. Look for items that are made of a good quality material, if it has a weird sheen or looks cheap on the hanger avoid it.
Happy shopping! What are your favorite wardrobe staples or the trend pieces you love at the moment? Let me know in the comments below.