Thanks so much for all your fun feedback and comments on the first “How to Stretch Your Closet” series post last week. It seems like a lot of us are trying to do that these days. I’m posting the second installment of the series, and today, it is all about the staples!
When I first started attempting to cook (attempting being the key word), one of the first things I read via Sandra Lee is the importance of having your pantry and fridge stocked with the essentials, the basic building blocks for recipes. How can you cook up a last minute meal if you don’t have the staples already on hand? The same is true for your wardrobe. You will get more use out of your wardrobe and quicker successful outfits if you keep your closet stocked with staples.
Here is what I think every girl absolutely needs in her closet:
- a pair of skinny jeans
- a black pencil skirt
- a black blazer
- a black dress
- a pair of black round toe heels
- a comfortable and chic metallic flat
- a classic belt
- a cream or white long flowy tank
- a semi-structured black bag
- a rockin pair of black boots.
These are things that can jazz up, change, transform, and carry pieces throughout the seasons. These ten staples will help you get more out of things you already own. I promise.
For me, there are three main ways I determine whether something is considered a staple piece. 1) Can I wear it, in some capacity, year round? 2) Will it help me transition other closet pieces from day to night, office to weekend, and summer to fall? And 3) Is it something that if I wore it once or twice a week, no one would notice the repeating pattern?
The last one might sound a little weird, but here’s the deal. I can wear a black pencil skirt two or three times a week, and when I mix it with other pieces no one can tell its the same skirt. I can throw on my black blazer with almost anything, without people asking, “Umm, didn’t you wear that earlier this week.” The same can’t be said for a patterned pencil skirt or the mustard colored one I’ve been eyeing lately. The staples are basics, which means quite simply, they’re translatable in almost every city, season, and situation.
If you’re in need of some of these things, here is my best shopping time. Invest. Not necessarily money, but invest your time and patience into finding the perfect staple pieces. Don’t settle, because these are your staples so you need to LOVE them. If the blazers isn’t fitted enough for you, don’t get it. If you think the skinnies are too tight in the thigh, let them go. If it has a weird detail on the sleeve, but you love everything else, put it back. No matter how good the deal, if you don’t love it, you won’t wear it. Keep a list of what staples you need and stay on the lookout. I’ve been looking for a structured black bag for months now, but just haven’t found the right one. Its on my list though, so I’m investing a lot of time and patience looking for just the right one.
Ok, so to prove my theory, I did a little experiment. I thought about one of my favorite staples, the black blazer, and thought about all the places, outings, and occasions in the past few months where I’ve worn it. I don’t have pictures for each one, but I scrounged up a few pics that I did have to show just how versatile this closet staple is…
Back in April, for one of my birthday dinners this past year, I wore my black blazer over a loose fitting floral top, boyfriend jeans, heels, and as usual for me, several layered necklaces.
Here is what I wore to a shift at the store last week. I honestly felt like wearing sweatpants, but since that isn’t an option, I voted for a maxi dress. And to make it look more fall (and store) appropriate, I added my trusty black blazer, and a few pieces of bling. Voila, instant outfit!
This is at my friend Natalia’s birthday dinner in May, when I paired my blazer with a pair of skinny jeans and a strapless striped top. I usually wear dresses to birthday dinners, but I was in a hurry, so I leaned on my trusty blazer.
I always wear my black blazer when I travel. The first reason is because I always pack a blazer, because it helps me transition the few things I can jam into my suitcase for various occasions, settings, climates changes I encounter on my trip. (That was one of my criteria above remember?) The second reason is that if I wear it on the plane, I don’t have to worry about it getting smashed in my suitcase, and the third is that is helps with the unpredictable temperature changes of an airplane. Here, its thrown over a simple gray v-neck tshirt, boyfriend jeans, and heels.
Its not uncommon for me to wear my black blazer with dress either. It helps me dress it down a bit, and also helps me make dresses work in different seasons (or hide my pasty white arms when I didn’t have time to get some color on me.) After having this blue dress for two years, I wasn’t super crazy about it anymore, but for a dinner with some of our New York wedding friends, I paired with with my blazer, giant earrings, and giant heels, and suddenly, I liked it again!
So for me, staple pieces come with endless possibilities. They make every piece in your closet ten times more wearable. They are the perfect way to get the most out of what you have in your closet, while looking chic, fresh, put together. You’ve read about my stance on staple pieces, but what about you? Do you lean on staples to stretch your closet? If so, which ones? Leave a comment, I’m dying to hear your stance on staples!