Is your closet stocked with all the essentials? These reader-suggested must-haves will help you dress for any occasion.

By Real Simple
Updated August 25, 2015
Credit: Ben Wiseman
Credit: Ben Wiseman


A crisp blouse, ironed and ready to wear. Mine is always there to top off slacks, jeans, or a skirt when I get a last-minute dinner invitation or someone drops by. And it’s essential on those "What do I wear to work?" mornings, when I don’t feel like dressing up but want to look nice. Add a scarf or a colorful necklace and I feel put together, even if I’m frazzled underneath. —Lynda Rettick, Bloomington, Illinois


It has made my life so much easier and faster. —Colette Ellis, Ventura, California


Something with great sentimental value that you pull out whenever you need to stand a little taller and shine a little brighter. —Christa Phibbs, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina


A neutral, long cashmere cardigan that makes you feel like a million bucks and can be worn with everything from jeans to pj pants. —@JENMCKAY


It should be rather nondescript, so you can dress it up with heels and pearls or just throw on tennis shoes for a casual outing. —Karla Stephen, South Pasadena, California


Keep a large bag to stash those unworn or unwanted clothes. It’s easier to part with things as you identify them. Then once the bag is full, you grab it and head to the nearest donation center or charity. —Megan Mercier, Wilton, New York


It’s a pop of color and makes you feel sassy. —@TANYARIVERAON2


Find ones that fit like a glove and feel like nothing at all. You can conquer the world if your feet don’t hurt. —Cynthia Vengraitis, Maplewood, New Jersey


Throw it over anything from a silk shell to a beachy maxidress. —@JERSEY_DCA


It’s as simple as it is free, as approachable as it is sexy and alluring, as classy as it is regular. This little number never goes out of style, and it always fits. A smile has to be the most attractive thing that any woman can put on every day. —Jennifer Degenhardt, Norwalk, Connecticut


Every woman should have a secret box in her closet whose contents change as she gets older. From first love letters and concert-ticket stubs to baby teeth and snips of grandchildren’s hair, it’s a reminder of who she is and the life that she has lived. —Kelly MacMichael, Mount Jackson, Virginia


It will make you feel and look your best. If your foundation garments don’t do their jobs well, you can’t expect the finished look to be polished. —Kimberly McKeough, Fairhope, Alabama


—Caroline Mary Gregory, Melbourne, Australia


My goodness, wire hangers should be against the law. Plastic hangers are so...1990s. But wooden hangers make it look like I care about my clothes. Yes, they do take up space, but they keep me from being a clothes hoarder. —Rebecca Stuhlmiller, Stockerau, Austria


You can change the look of a T-shirt, dress, or button-down. And it always fits, no matter how much your weight fluctuates. —Terri Fenzil-Salvino, Telford, Pennsylvania