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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.