My 10 Essential Pieces Part 1: The Cake

by Elle

This year, I’ve been more deliberate in my choosing of pieces to add to my wardrobe. It was a calculated decision on my part to be more conscious of what I add and take away from my existing wardrobe.

In honesty, I’ve been in a bit of a lull, a fashion writer’s block, if you want to call it that. Don’t get me wrong. I know what works for me and what cuts fit me better than most, what colors are complimentary, what pairings to put together but I’ve been stuck, like we all are sometimes. I’ve stared at my closet full of clothes and thought to myself, I have nothing to wear. I’ve looked at my pairs of shoes but feel like I don’t have the right type of shoes to go with this outfit or that.

For the past month or so, I’ve been soul searching in the fashion sense. Trying to figure out how to work with my wardrobe, trying to find the science and math behind outfit pairings so that I could maximize my wardrobe without forfeiting my translation of current trends, styles, my fashion perspective and more importantly, me. The most important part of the equation in fashion is the individual. It is ultimately the person and not the clothes that make the outfit not the other way around. Fashion is surprisingly very autobiographical, like our lives, it is distinct to us and our needs.

With that in mind, I can not help but revisit the Ten Most Essential Pieces. Everyone has their own version of the list, why not, we all have our absolute go to pieces. Nevertheless, what you chose is definitely a reflection of your personal style, profession, lifestyle, and geographic location.

This post and the next will talk about the ten items that are the most essential in building my outfits. Much like a cake, outfits work with a great base. Once the base is set then its time accessorize.

THE BASE-IC PIECES

1. T-Shirts

They come in all shapes, sizes, prices, cuts and prints and out of the many pieces in my closet it is the most versatile. It is great for layering and great by itself. It can be dressed up or down and definitely goes with everything and it is the most reasonable to obtain. They come as inexpensive at $4 or as expensive at $100. I personally like the inexpensive ones, they work just the same and sometimes their quality is much better. I select my tees by their texture and feel. I personally like softer knit fabrics. On top of finding t-shirts that are softer, I also like t-shirts that have details that add personality to an outfit like pleats, drape, or combined with other fabrics. Another thing you need to about t-shirts, they are very easy to modify according to your needs.

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Allison Izu grecian draped tee. One of my personal favorites to pair and accessorize.

Photo credit: Adam Levine Photo

2. A Great Pair of Jeans

A great pair of jeans is a definite closet staple.  Through the years, I have tried on different styles, cuts, fabrics, and brands.  Finding a great pair is sometimes a challenge but when you do find the one and it fits just right, it’s like love, it’s meant to be. While denim cuts are trendy, I’ve come to rely on the one cut that flatters my body the most. When I find a pair of jeans that fits really well, I do what most people do in that situation, I buy several pairs of the same cut and brand of jeans, sometimes in different washes. I also make sure to have one pair in a darker wash for dressier outfits.

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Printed Trousers from Zara

Photo credit: Km2Creative 

3. The Pencil Skirt

So classic and goes with anything, it is my absolute favorite type of skirt. It’s slimming and sometimes curve hugging. It can be dressed down for an easy breezy day of errands, dressed up for a fancy dinner or a night out with the girls and still work for high powered business meetings. They come in different fabrics, prints, textures, lengths and sometimes heights.  The basic black pencil skirt is a must for your wardrobe. When looking for a basic black pencil skirt, look for quality fabrics and stitching as well as light lining. Because the shape is so classic, I find pencil skirts in season appropriate prints and fabrics to add to my existing wardrobe.

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Zara Floral Pencil Skirt paired with an Old Navy Sleeveless Button Down Shirt

Photo credit: Adam Levine Photo

4. The Button down

My ultimate blouse of choice, is the button down shirt. It is a closet staple that has never gone out of style and it is definitely a wardrobe workhorse. While a white button done  is a wardrobe must, through the years, I’ve added different colors, prints, and sleeve lengths to the collection that I rotate throughout the year.  The button down is an easy pairing piece. It can be layered under or over another piece. It can top a pair of shorts, a skirt, a pair of jeans, slacks, and even a pair of overalls or a jumpsuit. Longer ones can be worn as a short dress or a cover up for a day at the beach.

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J Crew Polka Dot Button Down paired with a Floral Pencil Skirt from Ann Taylor. One of my favorite mixed print pairings. 

Photo credit: Adam Levine Photo

5. Shift Dress

Another great basic is the shift dress. The slimming cut is flattering for many body types. I love that can be dressed up in so many different ways. A simple floppy hat can make it lunch date appropriate, a blazer can make it seriously business, a little bit of sparkle and pearls can make a great outfit for dinner dates. A shift dress in basic black is perfect for that go to Little Black Dress.
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J Crew Shift Dress in Polka Dot Print accessorized with a bow belt from Ann Taylor. 

Photo credit: Taryn Reid Photography

These basics have been  my absolute go to items for years. They are reliable, timeless, and lasting. I hope you enjoyed this post. I know I have enjoyed writing it. Let me know what you think. Take care and thanks again for reading.

XOXO,

Elle