When I was growing up, my mother was always very concerned with getting timeless pieces to add to her wardrobe, she taught me how important it is to check for quality. It’s something I still do to this day, and EVERYONE should. Creating a beautiful wardrobe is like collecting art, it takes years to build a beautiful collection and it’s best to find your pieces in unconventional spots.
Rule No. 1
Check for quality, the brand doesn’t matter. You can find good quality stuff at almost any place, and terrible quality for that matter. You don’t need to buy all your pieces from middle to high end places, you can find plenty of amazing pieces at places like Zara, Mango, Gap, etc. The most important is checking that care tag! I try to stick to an 80-20 rule, 80% natural fibers(cotton, cashmere, wool, silk, linen, leather) 20% man-made(polyester, nylon, acrylic, rayon, polyurethane). There are certain fibers like polyester, that are usually in things like jackets or coats, to give the coat a bit more structure; so not every man-made fiber is bad.
Rule No. 2
I always break this rule, and I always come back and beat myself up about it. STICK TO NEUTRAL COLORS. For really important pieces or accessories, sometimes it’s fun to have a pop of color, my rule is that if you don’t already own a similar piece in a neutral, then first buy the neutral. Neutral colors being: beige, white, black, navy, grey, camel. For example, I love a good silk shirt and I already have a beautiful white one, but I’ve been hankering for a magenta one just for a little pizazz. Also you can add fun colorful scarves to your wardrobe instead of bright shirts or pants!
Rule No. 3
Such an obvious one, but it’s something I definitely struggle with; buy clothes that are meant for your body type. I have a petite pear shaped body, I would say that my body is pretty “standard”. It looks like a drawing in a biology book of a body, the only difference being that my lower half is just slightly larger than my upper half. There are certain pieces that I love, like full length skirts or pleated skirts, but they amplify my lower half, it’s not a good look on me. I also love slightly baggy jeans, or baggy tops, but they just do not work with my body.
My List of Must Have’s
*note that this is list is based off my personal belief and my body type. I’m not a fashion stylist, I can barely follow my own advice let alone address every body type. Some of these items might not be perfect for everyone’s body, but that’s why it’s so important to find inspirational people who have similar shapes to you!
- Tapered Levi’s 501 100% Cotton jeans. These are so flattering on pretty much every body type! You can either find these vintage, at a Levi’s store, or buy redone vintage ones. I prefer to find these at vintage stores, and then get them tapered to fit my body perfectly.
- Classic Tee’s(white, black, grey). There’s nothing better than a perfect t-shirt. I’m still on the hunt for my perfect tee, but for now I just get 100% cotton ones from Zara or H&M and that’s been working fine for me.
- Black Jeans(skinny/tapered/straight leg). I have been living in my tapered black jeans, they’re such a staple and I’ve been loving them way more than skinnies!
- Button Up(white/striped/light blue). A nice button up like the ones from Ralph Lauren are such a staple, and you can always find them at outlets for a really good price.
- Cashmere sweaters(cream, grey, black). Cashmere is so comfortable and soft, and you can find some really affordable brands! My favorite is called From Future here in Paris, and their sweaters are less than 100€.
- Black Leather Jacket(or suede). Such a staple. Can be worn all year, love that YSL moto look, you know? My fav brands for leather jackets are Maje, The Kooples, Claudie Pierlot, Sandro. When I was in french school, a girl in my class had this gorgeous black suede jacket that she paired with jeans and a white tee all the time. I loved the look, still haven’t gotten this jacket yet, but it’s on my list. Also this white leather jacket from Selected is also G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S!
- Little Black Dress. This is such a cliché, but really it’s a necessity. It’s a great piece when you don’t know what to wear, or you want to look really chic, or you low key need to go to a funeral. It’s best to have a few. One of my favorite’s I got a few years ago from Bershka(Europe’s version of Forever21 and it’s still holding up great!)
- Blazers. I have 2 blazers, and to be honest I don’t wear them too much but they’re so classic and every once in a while I see someone wearing one and it inspire’s me to pull it out of my closet. J Crew makes some really nice blazers.
- White Cotton Blouses. This is a really easy item to find at inexpensive places like Gap, Zara, Mango, etc. Look for 100% cotton and interesting styles or shapes! These are a favorite of mine to pair with 501’s and strappy sandals
- Strappy Black Sandals. I have the world’s ugliest feet, but I swear to god that strappy sandals with a block heel are flattering on almost every foot!! I got a suede version from H&M a few years ago, and I wear them ALL.THE.TIME.
- Leather Mini Skirt. I love this piece, it’s probably one of my favorite things I have in my closet. You can dress it up or down, you can wear it in every season, it’s SO versatile. You could wear it with a white tee, sneakers on a casual day or you could wear it with heels and a sweater when you go out to dinner. Low key my favorite piece.
- Silk Slip Dress/Slip Skirt. A very 90’s look, but a slipdress or slip skirt has a really lovely shape, and the texture mixed with the cut is very dreamy.
- Army Jacket. I love a good vintage army jacket. My fav one that I wear all the time is a Vietnam Jacket that I got here in Paris at Doursoux in the 11th. I made mine unique to me by adding my grandfather’s last name and the branch he was in.
- Black Suede Heels. I’m a big fan of kitten heels, which I know not everyone loves. But I’ve had a pair of J Crew suede kitten heels since like 2013 and I still love how perfect they are with jeans or with dresses. They’re an absolute staple. You don’t have to get kitten heels, get whichever sized heel you like!
- Black Wallet on Chain. I love a good wallet on chain for when you wanna go out but don’t want a big bag. I have two wallet on chains, one that’s pink that’s perfect for weddings. And another one that is just a great little mini bag to have. Very stylish, can dress up or down!
- Black Cross-body Bag. If you haven’t read my post on buying designer, you can see my beautiful baby that I bought this past year. It’s such a classic, I know that I’ll have my YSL for life. It’s absolutely stunning and so simple! No need for a high end bag, I’ve had a classic coach crossbody and it’s also been a huge staple in my closet.
- Checkered Blazer Jacket. This gives me soooo many throwback vibes of different decades, because this is such a classic piece. I picked up a really beautiful checkered jacket at Zara this past fall for only about 40€. This coat from Everlane is stunning.
- Black Peacoat Jacket. So simple, so versatile, a real necessity. Again, I got my jacket at Zara, and it’s held up beautifully. You can really accessorize this coat with different scarves or pins!
- White Jeans. Every summer I see pretty much everyone wearing white pants, and you’ll really utilize this item quite a lot! I’ve been really digging white on white outfits recently!
- Trench Rain Coat. I’ve been looking for the perfect vintage Burberry raincoat for a few years now. Pretty much everyone I’ve found has been giant and I’m looking for one more fitted! This could easily be a piece that you have in your closet your entire life.
I hope this list was helpful for you! Building a great wardrobe takes time, and even after you’ve found your staple pieces you can still upgrade those nicer new ones! I’m constantly in the process of repurchasing similar pieces so that I don’t just have one button up, I have options! Leave a comment below and let me know what you think is a staple item for you!