Thursday, January 10, 2008

Here's to a Basic Wardrobe!

Since it's a new year, I thought I might take the next couple of posts to discuss a basic wardrobe with you. Like, what does that look like, really? I'll bet if I took a look inside your closet it would be more than basic. More like "oh my goodness I have so many clothes I don't have anything to wear" closet...are ya with me? So I got to thinking about this and wondered if my own wardrobe was "basic". So I took a look and yep, I think it is. A basic wardrobe "basically" means you have the right clothes to wear when you need to wear them. Does that make sense? Okay, a wedding comes already have it it your wardrobe. Your boss just invited you to lunch to talk about a already have it in your wardrobe. No stress. You just got an invitation to a baby shower and all your old friends from high school or college are going to be already have it in your wardrobe. Got it? That is a basic that works, one that is beautiful, one that is stress-free, and one you don't have to "run to the mall everytime an event pops up" kind of wardrobe. Ahhh, are you breathing a sigh of relief? Hmmm...I am and I already have one! I'm breathing one for you! Most basic wardrobes are going to have 12-16 core pieces. This may or may not sound like a lot to you, but it is the number that works. I'd bet you probably have way more than this many clothes now.
So, let's get started with this idea and describe what your wardrobe should look like.

You should start with a pair of really good jeans. And a pair for casual days. Your dressier jeans should be in a darker wash and should be sleeker in design. These jeans also need to be longer in length as they should be worn with a higher heeled boot or shoe. The more casual pair can be a lighter wash but the length should be appropriate for flats or athletic shoes. So that's two basic pieces. Another basic piece should be a good blouse in a light color like white or ivory or even a pastel. This will get lots of use as I'll explain in a later post. You'll also want to have a terrific blazer or jacket. One that flatters your figure and your coloring. You can wear this with the blouse and jeans and depending on how you accessorize, it can be dressed up or dressed down. Well, I think we're on to something here. I'd love to hear what wardrobe pieces YOU can't live without and let's see if they make our basic wardrobe list. This will be an on-going topic for a week or so, so let me hear from you. What one or two wardrobe pieces could you NOT live without...besides jeans? Cause we all know they are a staple! Can't wait to hear from you! Love, Shari


Zoe said...


What a great topic for your blog!! I do have a few questions about jeans.
1. When is a woman too old to wear jeans?
2. I've heard you say that there really is a style of jeans for every body type but so far this 5 foot 3 inch "O" body type hasn't found them. You know how I feel about clothes, "If if it doesn't make you look and fell fabulous don't buy it!
Honestly, I haven't worn jeans in 10 years; I know you find that shocking. HA!
3. Do you recommend washing or dry cleaning jeans?
I can't wait to read about the other basics. It's great to have my "personal stylinst" so handy.
Love you,

Anonymous said...

Hi Shari,
I think an ABSOLUTE must have is black dress pants!
And in response to Zoe's point on not finding the right pair of jeans, I love Ann Taylor Loft jeans and I am a bit shorter than her. I think they look very nice for the "40ish" woman.

Alyce said...

Hey Shari,
I can't live w/ out my black pants. My dress slacks and my casual everyday black pants, which those are really like yoga pants.
I'm on my way to losing some weight, so I hope to get back into ALL my clothes soon..ha
Blessings ~ Alyce

Kelly said...

This is my list of wardrobe basic must-haves:
Nice black pants.
Dark dressy jeans.
Little black dress (basic that you can dress up or down.
A few cashmere sweaters in black, white or cream, and a color that looks good on you.
A knee-length trench coat.
Low-heeled nice black pumps.
Black suit (3 piece preferably with knee-length skirt, pants and jacket).
Pearl stud earrings, diamond (or cubic zircs) stud earrings and gold and silver hoop earrings, proportion to size.
Classic handbag, structured & framed, in black or cream.
I am looking forward to reading more of your posts about wardrobe..I just got the new book Bazaar Guide to Style and it has a lot of wonderful info and pics in it for women of all ages!

Shari said...

Welcome Kelly! I think you must be new to this blog and I can tell you are quite the fashionista yourself! And a very "classic" one, at that! I'm with ya on the 3piece suit, that will certainly be on my final list. Thanks for checking in and posting! Shari

Shari said...

Zoe girl, You are NOT too old for, my friend, are ripe for them! And oh my goodness, you are going to love the new website I just posted about've got to check it out, order jeans to your body type and let us all know how they fit...I'm gonna do the same. The website is Also, I usually dry clean my jeans. Although my faves right now get cold washed then hung to dry. And they turn out great! love ya, Shari

Kelly said...

Hi Shari!
I am kind of new to your blog but think I have posted before...I sent you the article about "Do Pets Go to Heaven?"
I live in Tacoma WA and I LOVE fashion and style but am finding it trickier to pick out what looks best now that I am almost (gasp!) 50 this year!...I am learning that 'less is best' in many ways with clothing, accessories, makeup, etc....
I enjoy reading your blog and fashion expertise!

Kim said...

My basic pieces are dark wash Ann Taylor Loft jeans and Ann Taylor black dress pants- I love the way these pants fit me (and I am in my 40's too). I have a white blouse that ties at the waist with 3/4 length sleeves from Coldwater Creek that is a staple since I can wear it year round. I am slowly trying to buy nice pieces of clothes since I am a SAHM and the rest of my wardrobe are sweats and old ratty jeans and plain tees.
Thanks for all the advice Shari- I just tried zafu and I am anxious to try the cheaper jeans to replace my old ones, since I can't afford all Ann Taylor stuff.

dcrmom said...

I totally agree on the jeans. I live for jeans. I live IN jeans! LOL. I'm a stay at home mom, so what else but jeans and yoga pants do I need? Ha!

I do not have a white blouse, although every fashion show seems to say that it's an essential. I also don't have a blazer. I live in cashmere sweaters and dress slacks for church, and t-shirts or sweaters with jeans for daily wear. Or yoga pants and t-shirts when I'm really casual.

I do have a couple denim jackets in various washes and shapes. All are structured and help define a waist. I like to wear them in the warmer months over a tank top and a skirt. I wear them a lot to church like that.

I feel overly dressed in a blazer, though.