50 For A Fashionista

I can not even tell you how many times I have been asked, “What are you’re list of must-have pieces?” “What pieces couldn’t you live without?” Well, truth be told, I don’t believe there is one magical, holy grail of a list that is one size fits all. But as of right now, here, in 2013, as a fashionista quickly approaching the age of 20. Here are my fashionable 50 that will be sure to transform your wardrobe into something that is equal parts functional and frickin’ fabulous!


The Clothes:

1) A pair of dark wash skinny jeans. They are the ever so flattering and well as flirty jean. Tuck them into boots, cuff them with flats… think of them as the swiss army knife of your denim collection.

2) The chambray top. Timeless and ever so versatile. If you’re a chambray shirt-virgin you will wonder how you ever dressed without it! It should be fitted but yet not tight. Wear them alone, layer them under or over. The possibilities are endless.

3) The sexy, skimming the ground flare jean. This should be really flattering and be long enough to wear with heels. Perfect for a polished look or a boho goddess look. Seven for all Mankind makes great ones.

4) The perfect white blouse. Enough said. But seriously, this will save your “I-do-not-know-what-to-wear-today-dilemas.” Wear with anything. My favorite is a button up bought one size too big, with easily rolled sleeves.

5) The striped T-shirt. This nautical staple is also 100% Americano. Always comfortable, as gives that easy chic vibe that everyone wants. Great for the day-to-day grind, but in a timeless fashion, The Ralph Lauren-esque glamour that you want.

6) A black boyfriend blazer. I like mine with 3/4 sleeves and a streamlined shape. It creates insta-polish in any outfit. Wear to work… or over a cocktail dress. The choice is yours.

7) A pair of colored/coated jeans. Ya I know what you are thinking, “They are so trendy”. But I think you can make anything work with a dose of confidence. Patronize a hue that is a jewel tone or a bold red.

8) The LBD. Get one that has a little extra oomph. Whether it’s a peplum detail, a little lace, a cut out. Make it anything but boring. (This one is uber flattering).

9) The sexy leather (or in my case, minus-the-leather) jacket. This is a great investment. If you buy a good quality one, it could outlast a decade. Get one with a classic shape that will be sure to pass the test of time. (if you are looking for a good quality vegan leather option, Express and Free People make amazing options).

10) A tweed jacket. I’m not saying to go buy a Chanel jacket (even though, that would be major), but a tweed jacket can add some great texture to an otherwise flat outfit. You can go high-end or get a good buy at Target.

11) A jean jacket. Think all-American girl. It also would go great with that striped shirt… You think your jeans are versatile? A jean jacket is just the outerwear counter part.

12) A pair of cut off denim shorts. Pair with pieces that air on the side of professional to avoid looking like a sloppy teenager. They look great with summer-time-tanned legs. A new way to rock them has emerged recently, pairing with tights and ankle boots for the colder months.

13) A patterned or bold color skirt. Ideal hem lengths vary for everyone, but avoid an extreme mini skirt. This could be dressed up for drinks or dressed down for every day. My favorite one at the moment is a feminine A-line midi.

14) The perfect white T-shirt. It is the basic piece that many outfits will build on. My favorite is neither too tight or too loose. I love a good v-neck cut.

15) A great day dress. Get one that works with your body… not against it. Personally, for my body type, I love a good shift dress than can be beautifully boxy or belted to perfection. Make sure it is light weight so it is easy to layer.

16) A big chunky sweater. Great for the cooler days. Its über comfortable and can be completely chic. Express makes some great ones. Be sure to opt for a cocoon, pullover or flyaway style (When it’s in season).

17) A striped blazer. This may not strike you as a “must-have” piece, but after getting mine, I know I can’t live without it. I could wear it 100 different ways, easily.

18) Black skinny jeans. Sexy, dark, slim fitting. Perfection.

19) A crew neck sweater. (or multiple). Get some that are infused with personality. Maybe a french saying, a color blocked version or a cute embellishment perhaps? Have fun layering any shirt with a collar for a comfy meets preppy ensemble.

20) The “I’m sexy and I know it” dress. For the days you want to ditch the LBD. Something flirty and fun that makes you feel drop dead gorgeous. A little over the top is great. Throw practicality out the window and invite frivolousness in.

21) A pencil skirt. It should hit the knee or slightly above. It also should be tailored to perfection, displaying your curves but definitely not skin-tight. Great for work, social gatherings or a classy cocktail hour.

22) A pea coat jacket. I am personally infatuated classic black or sophisticated camel in this case. It will be in style forever. Make sure it has shape and doesn’t make you look like a box.

23) A “fun” winter jacket. Mine is a nude with a super exaggerated collar that can be belted in so many ways. Maybe a great jewel tone color? Animal print? Have fun and make a statement.

24) Lets talk boobs. You need a strapless nude bra. It will save you. In case you all didn’t get the memo: never wear white under white (most people don’t understand this concept where I live).

25) A seductive bra. This is different for everyone. This should make you feel like a Victoria’s Secret model. Oh, definitely go get professionally fitted. I can almost guarantee it will change your life. Remember, 75% of women wear the wrong size bra!

26) The no-show underwear. For all the tighter things in your wardrobe. Choose something in a nude hue that is seamless, it will do the job well.

The Accessories

27) A black thin waist belt. It pulls you in at all the right places and could make a burlap sack flattering.

28) A nude belt. For the shapeless outfits of the lighter colored variety. It adds a little extra polish to just about anything.

29) A fab hat. It honestly isn’t that practical unless you are at the beach. But bad hair day? Solved. Plus, it makes you feel instantly glamorous.

30) A great pair of gloves. Make them special. If you live in a place with snow, feel free to splurge. Mine are leather BCBG ones with studs that I adore. Have a neutral winter jacket? Get a pair in a vibrant jewel tone.

31) A patterned scarf. It is just as comfortable as it is fashionable (which is a surprisingly hard combination to find).

32) A red handbag. It is that extra “pop” that many outfits need. Get a good quality one with a classic shape and it will serve you and your outfit’s well for years to come.

33) A black or nude tote. Pick a versatile one but infuse it with a little bit of your personality. Mine has a quilted detail and a chain strap. It will be a lifesaver when your little dainty bags can’t fit all of crap you haul around. (This becomes especially true if you are a college student).

34) A cross body bag. I did not realize how essential this one was until recently, when the reality of me going to Europe became ever so real. For the days you are just stripped down to the bare essentials or are dropped in a city with one of the highest pick-pocket rates in the world. If you just happen to have an uncontrollable sense of wanderlust, have options.

35) A clutch. For those special occasions, or in my case whenever I feel like. If you want to be on trend, go for an oversized one. In my humble opinion, they can work just as well with boyfriend jeans as a Jovanni cocktail dress.

36) The perfect watch. Why do I say perfect you ask? This is a piece that will never fail you and can be worn with just about anything in the fashionable universe. I tend to lean towards ones that are minimal, sans bling. But it is up to you. I have tiny wrists, but I still find myself wearing oversized ones because I love the almost out-of-place look. Moral of the story? Much like a man, don’t settle until the perfect one comes along.

37) Stackable rings. I love the versatility they provide. You could wear one on every single finger if you wanted, or all on one. They give luring intricacies to any outfit. I have them both in gold and silver.

38) A pair of diamond studs. Ok, listen ladies. I am the biggest advocate of costume jewelry, but there are just certain things you don’t cheap on. This piece you will honestly be able to wear forever and are the epitome of classic timelessness. I’m not saying you need 2 carat ones, just ones that add a little sparkle.

39) Pearl studs. Think Audrey, go for a classy little extra that is the blank slate of accessories. Just control yourselves, bypass the gaudy fake ones.

40) A chain necklace. It is sexy and streamlined all in one accessory. It adds a little je ne sais quoi to your demeanor. If you are like me, and wear this piece a little too much, get one that is a better variety that will not tarnish.

41) Layerable bracelets (1) (2) (3) (4). The deliver a dose of fun to any outfit. Choose ones that “go” and not necessarily “match” to strike the perfect style note. I have ones that are jeweled, spiked, chained and are a simple so I can match them to my style of the moment.

42) Sunglasses. That make a million different styles. Looking for a rocker-chic pair? Rayban’s black one are ah-mazing. Maui Jim aviators are the perfect pair to a beach-bum lifestyle. Or go Rachel Zoe glam with 70’s-inspired oversized frames. But which ever you choose. Try them on. What looks good on someone else’s bone structure may or may not look stellar on you.

43) A major cocktail ring. I’m stealing some verbage from the lovely RZ here, and when she says “major” it means it has some extra wow-factor. This may mean different things for different fashionista’s according to style. Mine is a edgy gold vintage ring from the 70’s.

The Shoes

44) The black pump. This is the one shoe that exudes equal parts confidence and classiness. It will bring you far. That make-or-break interview: done. That date with a guy you have been ogling over forever? Perfect. Paired with jeans, the perfect mix between trying and the ease of not trying (so hard that is). One piece of advice: invest. If you can stretch your budget, proceed confidently.

45) The “oh-so boho” chunky wooden platform. This will give you a lot of lift with minimal effort. It adds a bohemian beauty flare to any summer dress, shorts and cuffed jeans, it is all good to go in my book. Make sure this pair includes some kind of strap, it will make walking 10x easier. Avoid black and gray, stick to a cognac or beige like hue.

46) Strappy sandals. Lets make something clear, shall we? This does not mean flip-flops. Why settle for a fashion flop when you could be wearing a sophisticated sandal, sans that annoying smacking sound. I love ones that include a little metal or leather detail.

47) The ankle bootie. I love the “cute-factor” that goes along with this style. Wear them with cuffed jeans, skinny jeans, shorts, dresses, whatever actually. It delivers a bit of attitude, which I thoroughly enjoy. Get leather, suede, studded or fringed, anything goes! Steve Madden makes great affordable ones.

48) The black (knee-high) boot. It looks oh-so chic paired with black tights or skinny jeans. I would go with a flat one, because they are A) more comfortable & practical and B) less reminiscent of a hooker-dominatrix. Just take my word for it.

49) The ballet flat. Take your pick of colors, but have the basis of taupe, nude and black covered. I swear I could run a marathon in these… ok maybe not. But for sure a major shopping spree.

50) The nude heel. (or wedge for more casual lifestyles). Not only do these pretties make your legs look runway-worthy, but they go with just about anything. The prettiest and parable shoe you will ever come across. If you tend to look like a baby giraffe walking on ice when in heels, I would go with a wedge. Baby steps people.

This is simply just a mental check-list you should have in the back of your mind. What do you already have? Awesome. What does that say about your style? What don’t you have? And let’s make something clear… these aren’t items that you need to go buy right away. This is a tentative list to put you in the fashionable direction.

Oh and just a side note as to why there is more accessories than the clothing pieces themselves… to this, I can say that I honestly wholeheartedly believe accessories are more important than clothing because it is the details of an outfit that turn it from clothing to having and exuding style.

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Like this article? You will Love my Fashionista’s Ultimate Packing Guide, showing every piece of clothing I brought for a 4-month European trip and complete with a daily outfit log of the looks I made with those pieces. It’s everything you need to know for traveling in a tres chic matter.

Don’t forget to  like on Facebookfollow on Twitter and Instagram.

As always, thank you for reading.xosigsmall

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97 thoughts on “50 For A Fashionista

  1. This list reads great, but pictures would be super helpful! I had to do google searches for several of them because I didn’t know what they are. You should put a few up, or even do a fashion show, or put together outfits using these base pieces :)

  2. I have to disagree with the diamond earrings as the thing you don’t cheap out on. WIth the price of gold so high, so many jewelry companies are making amazing options that are affordable (remember, you can’t tell the difference between a diamond and a CZ with the naked eye) and will last just as long. Saving money here is much better than buying jackets at Target, which are inevitably ill fitted and will last you a year at most.

    • That’s a great point. CZ studs look real… if you don’t go all crazy on the size. But I’m still a firm believer that if you can invest in real ones, they will last you for life :) Thanks for stopping by!

      • I totally agree with investing in a real set of studs! I’m a firm believer in what I like to call the high-low wardrobe. With my blog, you’ll see many more expensive high-end pieces mixed with less-expensive pieces, such as a Monif C. dress with a Forever 21 jacket. Diamonds are one of those items that you can set a budget and find the right studs for you. I actually found mine on eBay for a really good price, and they’re 100% real.

  3. I like this list of items – I just wanted to comment briefly on colors. I’m a huge beliver in knowing your most flattering colors to look and feel your best, and so many of these lists default to black and white things. (Thanks for mentioning jewel tones :)) Black is usually pretty good on me, but that perennial white blouse recommendation? Even in “my” shade of off-white, black or a color will ALWAYS work better. My three best colors that I look unreasonably good in are peach, peacock blue-green, and tomato red. And honestly, dark brown is usually better in my wardrobe than black. Maybe this info could help someone else. Just thought I’d mention!

  4. I loved this post! Made me think a lot about my wardrobe… It is great for basics and of course everyone can personalize it … thanks for sharing! hope you can visit my blog and let me know your opinion! xoxo

  5. Great list. Things I would add to the list: a racerback bra (I wear it more than you would think), breast petals (for when wearing a bra isn’t an option, a gorgeous gown (because you never know when you may need it and finding a great one is no easy task), black tights! (and I live in Chicago so mine are fleece lined and are a must for looking cute in the cold).

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  7. So I’m 21 and don’t have pierced ears…. any ideas as to how I can replace the diamonds and pearls? Vintage is great, but not always a staple piece.

  8. This is a fabulous list! I’ve just recently started to pay a little more attention to fashion. And I though I was afraid of accessories before… I have really come to find that they can totally change the whole outfit, so that you were the same clothes a ton of different ways. Thanks for coming up with this list! :)

  9. This is an amazing list!! I am becoming an elementary school teacher, so I’ll probably opt to wear flats 99% of the time (I graduate in December) and am planning on redoing my wardrobe this summer to fit a more professional and put together look. So, this is exceptionally helpful :) Thank you so much!

  10. getting my daughters closet ready for her first year of college and trying to show her that she can’t take everything and that some things must go as we need college clothes now not high school clothes — this is the first 50 things I will make sure get packed as I think it will fit most occassions that she will come across including rush week! Thank you so much! (P.S. when she is gone to her dorm I am going to do a check on my own closet!!)

  11. Great list! I think it’s a great way to keep a budget in mind when shopping and to make sure you’re buying pieces that go with the rest of your closet and not just impulse buys. I personally cannot live without a chestnut brown leather belt that can be worn around the waist or normally, and of course I *need* my woven leather huaraches (they’re like loafers). They instantly add a J. Crew causal vibe to any outfit, especially a pencil skirt and gingham button down combo.
    Thanks for the list! Just thought I’d add my own thoughts :)

  12. Great list – one item of non-fashion note, if I may?
    Your initial question “What are you’re list of must-have pieces?” should have been “What are your list of must-have pieces?” Silly, I know, but with grammar, as with fashion, the power is in the details. ;). I do love the list!!

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  14. Great list, but as a European I don’t understand why you say you need a cross body bag if you plan to go to Europe?
    I do have one though, I wear it when I’m riding my bike.

    • A cross body bag is helpful in a lot of the bigger cities in Europe because they are notorious for pick-pocketers, which we don’t have a lot of in the US. Thanks for commenting!

      XoXo Brenna

  15. I can’t tell you how helpful this list is! I grew up in a private school. When I wasn’t wearing my school uniform, I was wearing my athletic clothes to practice or sweatpants at home. This will definitely help me amp up my wardrobe. Thanks!

  16. I just found this post on pinterest, and I cannot tell you how much this helps me. I have been a stay at home mama for 6 years, so needless to say I mostly wore jeans and tshirts, and our budget never allowed for much shopping anyway. Before that, I worked in the medical field and wore scrubs to work so I didn’t need a professional wardrobe. Now that I am starting a new job soon and I actually need nice clothes, I had no idea where to start. I found your list and have already purchased several pieces. This fashion-challenged girl thanks you!

  17. Hello, I am in need of a fashion make over. I am a plus size, 16- 18 and need inspiration on what kind of clothes to look for . I am tall 5″8 and most of my weight is in my belly and bottom. Would you suggest some ideas please. I would so greatly appreciate any ideas.I love color and chunky jewelry!!

    • Hi Pam,

      As much as I would love to give you some ideas, I do provide styling services (see the tab on the menu) and It wouldn’t be fair yo my current clients if I gave you that service for free. You might want to consider purchasing a package. They are 50% off until Friday.

      Xo Brenna

  18. I absolutely love this! I just got a new job and I was stressing on the clothing that I needed to invest in, this helps so much thank you! :)

  19. Please please please where can I buy a soft-ish denim jacket? The ones I’ve had feel so stiff and I’m not skinny so the bottom of the jacket seems to stick out in front. But I adore them on everyone else! I’ve had a couple in the past and keep wanting to wear them but every time I put them on they just didn’t fit right. Any suggestions?

  20. I liked a lot the list,The only thing were I disagree a bit too much is when you say “black/nude” I think sometimes brown goes as good as nude or black. Anyway,It’s the best list I had ever read,Really. GOOD JOB! :)

  21. I’m truly enjoying the design and layout of your blog.
    It’s a very easy on the eyes wwhich makes it much more enjoyable
    for mme too comje here and visit more often. Did you hire out a developer to create
    your theme? Exceptional work!

  22. Loved this list and loved knowing that I have almost everything on it already! Unless you have big bucks to blow, I would advise getting cz studs made at a local jeweler, have them set in white gold. They will last just as long as diamonds, it’s the setting that normally makes a cz look cheap. I’ve worked at a high end jeweler for years and my 1ct in each eye fooled ALL of my clients. Just make sure to have them cleaned regularly. 1ct in each ear is just big enough to make a statement without looking fake.

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  24. My partner and I stumbled over here different website
    and thought I may as well check things out. I like what I see so i am just following you.
    Look forward to exploring your web page yet again.

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