Everyone is different. We all have vastly different lifestyles, jobs, hobbies, tastes, and, therefore, vastly different needs for our wardrobes. Still, there are a few common experiences and needs—job interviews! first dates! leaving the house on weekends (not in sweatpants)!—almost all of us share. Stock these items in your closet, and you’ll be covered for any of them.
A Classic Pump
If you think you'll rarely need a pair, stick with a shape that never goes out of style. A single-sole with a pointed toe and a heel height you can realistically manage will never wind up in your donation pile. Heels in basic black or a shade of nude to match to your skin tone will work with any outfit and serve a multitude of occasions, from office to big event.
The Dress-Up Flat
Even the most die-hard stiletto wearers need to give their feet a break, so it helps to have a gorgeous pair of flats tucked away. The down-to-earth style makes them wearable any time of day, but embellishments—like beading or lace—will elevate any outfit and feel right at home with your favorite party dress, too.
A Go-To Handbag
You use one almost every day, right? So why not invest in a style that will look great with every outfit. Look for something with a classic shape—like a top handle—or a tote that’s big enough to fit all of your daily essentials—whether that’s a laptop and a stack of papers, a pile of books, or running shoes and a change of clothes—so you won't have to constantly switch bags.
Your Perfect LBD
Done right, the little black dress is arguably the most versatile piece of clothing. The ideal frock is one that fits flawlessly with a silhouette that works for your body, has a modest silhouette (read: not too short, not too exposing), and has minimal frills and details. At a loss for what to wear to work on Thursday? You can’t go wrong in a simple black dress and those aforementioned classic pumps. Have a last-minute date or party invite? LBD and some sparkly jewelry to the rescue!
A Signature Piece of Jewelry
Sure, it’s fun to switch up your basics (and your look) with statement pieces—and they do have a way of turning a ho-hum ensemble into something spectacular—but having a piece of jewelry that you love and can wear every day (whether it’s a family heirloom or a favorite cuff) means never having to think about accessorizing if you don’t feel like it.
A Stylish Coat
During the chillier months, outerwear is the only thing most people will see you wearing. Puffy jackets have their place, but a coat with a little panache, like a tailored wool topper, will instantly up your style game (and dress up anything you have on underneath).
A Tailored Jacket
You don't have to ditch your favorite cardigan, but a tailored blazer or jacket will lend a level of professionalism and style that even quality cashmere can’t match. Look for styles that fit right at the shoulder (with no exaggeration or shoulder pads) and cinch slightly at the waist.
The Right Jeans
The right jeans disregard trends. Do your research, try on as many as possible, and find a pair that fits you like a glove. Pick the pair that you can pull on and feel amazing in, whether it’s skinnies or a flare, and you will have an inanimate best friend for life. Darker, unembellished washes always hit the mark, no matter the year or the season.
A Timeless Suit
Not everyone wears a suit to work. That said, it’s not a bad trick to have up your sleeve. Skip the trends and look for quality construction, good tailoring, and a silhouette that complements your shape. Black will never go out of style, so when you find yourself unexpectedly invited to a job interview, you’ll be set. Plus, you can wear the bottoms and jacket like separates or wear them with a great silk or embellished blouse for a dressy menswear-inspired look.
A White Button-Up Shirt
The white shirt rivals the LBD for Most Valuable Player in almost any wardrobe. It’s a literal blank canvas to be styled to the wearer’s personality. Try it with boyfriend jeans, a crisp pencil skirt, over a bathing suit at the beach...the possibilities are endless.