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Thursday, August 12, 2010


Assistant fashion editor Erica Milano is back with us today to weigh in on those items that are a must-have for any woman. Somehow I don’t think my craft smock is going to make her Top Ten List. -- AP

No, Anastasia, I’m afraid not. Most women have no need for kangaroo pockets. Although, I know we’re both grateful for that smock. If anyone wants to know why, they’ll have to wait until
Assault With A Deadly Glue Gun is released in January.

But back to wardrobe basics…many fashion gurus have devised Top Ten Lists. No two are alike. Today I’d like to give you my Top Ten List of Wardrobe Basics, culled from listening to the experts over the years and deciding when they made sense for the average woman and when they didn’t.

1. Basic Black Dress -- This is timeless. You can dress it up or dress it down, depending on the event. No woman should ever be without a little black dress.

2. Black Dress Pants -- Good for work, good for after work cocktails or dinner. Why black? It’s slimming and versatile. Like the basic black dress, you can make it work for any event by switching out tops and accessories.

3. A dress skirt -- Whether it’s a pencil skirt or another style, every woman should have one skirt that will work for multiple occasions. Black is a good color but gray will do, and choose the style that best flatters your figure.

4. White tailored shirt -- Again, a timeless staple of any woman’s wardrobe. Pair it with dress pants, skirts, or jeans, over a T-shirt or under a blazer.

5. A pair of well-fitting jeans -- And I don’t mean the ones you use for raking leaves and doing housework. Don’t wear them to the office or the theater, but paired with the right top, shoes, and accessories, a good pair of jeans will work for many other events.

6. A blazer -- Buy one in a neutral color. Blazers can be worn over dresses, with skirts, dress pants, or jeans.

7. A pair of khaki pants -- Like the dress pants and jeans, khakis are versatile enough that they can be dressed up or down with the right tops and accessories.

8. A suit -- Every woman needs at least one suit in her closet. Black, navy, or gray works best. A good suit will see you through most of life’s events from job interviews to business meetings, conferences, formal luncheons, and of course, the occasional funeral. You can also break the suit up to wear the jacket with jeans or slacks and the skirt with a sweater set.

9. A gray cashmere sweater -- Another classic and it will go well with any of the other items in your basic wardrobe.

10. Accessories -- This is how you take your basic wardrobe items and make them work for you, no matter the occasion. The right scarf, belt, hat, or piece of costume jewelry will make a statement, whether you want that statement to say classic, conservative, fun, hip, or funky.

Thanks, Erica! Great advice, as usual.
So…has Erica left anything out that you feel essential to your wardrobe? Let’s hear from you. Post a comment to be entered in our free book giveaway from our Book Club Friday guest author.
 -- AP  


Jill McCullough said...

Hi Erica! Your list makes me feel a little bit better about what's in my closet, although numbers 3 and 10 are challenging. Can I just vent my rage against the pencil skirt for a moment? It looks fantastic on women in the fashion mags but when I've tried to duplicate the look, it makes me feel like I've just had a two hour lunch -- at six in the morning! I'm glad you suggested a style that flatters your figure. I've had better luck with fuller, fluffier skirts.

Re: #10, I'm equal parts envious and admiring of any woman who can pull off wearing a scarf. So many ways to wear them... and I always come off looking silly. I've learned to rely on the rest of your suggestions: belts, hats, and big earrings. I can't think of anything to add to your list, except maybe a white cotton T-shirt and, as an assistant fashion editor, you'll probably pretend I didn't say that ;)


Hey, Jill, little secret: Erica changes into sweats the moment she gets home. Thanks for stopping by.

KM Fawcett said...

What about the karate gi? That's a staple in my wardrobe. :)


Spoken like a true black belt!