Developing your personal style and a timeless wardrobe can be a daunting task. How do you choose clothes that truly reflect who you are? Truthfully, I think the majority of your style is formed when you’re young and refined as you get older. It’s influenced by the movies you watch, the music you listen to, the books you read and the friends and family you surround yourself with in subtle ways you may not even notice.
Much of my style is influenced by my mom, who was really my gateway to fashion when I was younger. She has always been innately stylish. One thing I’ve learned from her is to stick to the classics and stay true to yourself. I’m all about trying trends but I typically go with my instincts and lean more towards classic pieces. I also think they’re easier to style and have longevity.
a timeless wardrobe
I’ve broken down my wardrobe basics by category below. For instance, if you’re looking for a great quality white button-down, scroll below to see a curated selection. I’ve selected the pieces that I personally like and recommend based on their fit, quality, and cost. Most of what I wear on a daily basis is a combination of the pieces shown below. If you’re just starting out, go with a great t-shirt, well-fitting jeans and an oversized blazer. You can always build from there and most importantly, add your own unique twist. I’d love to see what outfits you put together. Comment below with your favorite pieces.
Basic t-shirts (white, black and grey)
A basic t-shirt will serve you well for years to come. I prefer Everlane and Madewell for good quality t-shirts at an affordable price. Madewell has the Whisper Tee, which feels more casual and is currently on sale. Everlane has several different options and the shirts tend to have a thicker material. I have the cotton crew and v-neck t-shirts, which I wear on repeat throughout the year.
A lace cami can be layered under a leather jacket or blazer and looks great with denim or trousers. Go for a loose fit so nothing clings too tightly. Cami NYC has a great assortment or for a more affordable option, check out Express or Abercrombie. I often wear a lace cami with black trousers and a long knit cardigan with some delicate jewelry for a put-together and professional look.
A classic white button-down shirt is a necessity for corporate life and can be styled in a number of fun ways for a more casual vibe. The slim signature blouse at Equipment is classic and elegant. For a more affordable option, Ann Taylor has some great pieces like this slim fit button-down (currently 40% off). Additionally, I included one from H&M that is $17.99 plus 25% off! The masculine silhouette looks especially chic while layered on top of a delicate slip dress and tied at the waist.
Great-fitting denim (black, grey, dark blue and light blue wash) in your silhouette of choice.
I have a pair of Madewell black skinny jeans that I wear almost everyday of my life. Your trusty denim will likely get the most wear in your closet so I suggest getting a pair that fits well in all the right places. On that note, jeans don’t have to be expensive. I have a pair of black skinny jeans from Topshop that I bought for $35.
For my petite readers, go for a cropped version so it hits right at the ankle. You can wear black skinny jeans with nude booties or heels to give the appearance of longer legs. Brands that I think fit really well are Topshop (the Jamie and Sydney jeans), Mother, Rag & bone, Madewell, Abercrombie, J Brand and Express. Lastly, consider a light wash straight leg cropped jean to add some variety (looks great with boots).
Black trousers are a wardrobe stable, especially if you work in an office setting, therefore I’m comfortable spending more for a great quality product. I get really excited when I find a pair of black trousers that fit perfectly because I know I’ll be wearing them for years to come. For example, these Theory pants are pricey (normally $325 but on sale for $130) but the quality is on par and I consider them an investment piece.
Go for a high-waisted version because it makes your legs look longer. You can also wear them with a black blazer for more of a suited look. Just make sure the shades of black match. J Brand has a pair of scuba material black pull-on trousers that are the perfect work pant. I’ve been wearing them for five years and they’re still in great condition. I often need to hem my trousers (I’m 5’3”) but with an ankle length cut, you can get away with no tailoring.
Jogger sweatpants (black, dark grey, blush)
For school drop-offs, I err on the side of comfort and go with sweatpants and a t-shirt with sneakers. To me, joggers are a more chic version of sweatpants and look more polished. I’ve had this pair of fleece jogger pants since Perry was born and still have them on heavy rotation. Great retailers for chic joggers include Urban Outfitters, Abercrombie, and Target.
Little black slip dress
A slip dress can be worn in endless ways. The dress itself is sexy and delicate so it pairs nicely with heavier items like bulky sweaters and jackets. The Vince slip dress is classic but I included more affordable choices as well. AllSaints has same great options that come with sweaters so you don’t need to worry about finding a layering piece. I have this dress with a crewneck sweater but they just came out with a turtle neck option. Go for a low back version for a sexier look or a more layered look for a less revealing vibe.
A sweater dress with a camel coat and boots is one of my favorite outfits. I also love a midi length knit dress with knee high boots and a leather jacket. It’s very Rene Russo in The Thomas Crown Affair. Enza Costa is known for their ribbed knit dresses and will be a Fall/Winter staple for me. I personally gravitate towards basic pieces with a subtle design element. For example, a plain black midi dress with shoulder cut outs or a sweater dress with a ribbed material.
In 1974, Diane von Furstenberg created the wrap dress and it has been a timeless wardrobe staple ever sense. You can now find a classic midi wrap dress in almost every major retailer but here are some picks below.
Oversized blazers (black and beige)
This is probably one of the most multifaceted pieces to include in your closet. It can be worn to work or styled casually and is one piece you will find yourself picking up time and time again.
Classic coat (camel, oatmeal, or grey)
If you’ve been following for a while, you know I love a classic camel coat for the Fall. Similarly, a grey statement coat adds structure and is a business wardrobe necessity. H&M has a great collection of coats right now for under $200.
Black leather jacket
You don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a nice leather jacket in your closet. There are some really nice faux leather options available, for instance from brands like BLANKNYC and BB Dakota. However, if you’re interested in purchasing an investment piece, go with the AllSaints or Madewell jackets below.
Ever since I saw AJ wearing an open sweater cardigan in Empire Records, I have loved the look of a long sweater as a layering piece. On that note, who doesn’t love Corey’s plaid mini skirt and combat boots look? Anyway, I digress. A long cardigan makes for a great transition piece between changing weather. I would go with camel, like the one shown here.
A trench coat is perfect for that Parisian, chic vibe. You can go with a more structured version or a draped design to add some dimension to your outfit.
Pointy-toed pumps (black, nude)
One of the most common questions I get is where to find comfortable heels for work. I have worn the black and nude suede pumps by Sam Edelman shown below for years now. Essentially, they have a nice height and are surprisingly comfortable for a pair of pumps.
Strappy sandals (nude, black)
A classic large tote (black, nude)
I use a large tote for work-related activities. The bags included below are large enough to carry your laptop, planner, notebook and everything else you may need for work. Consequently, I also somehow end up accumulating diapers and toys at the bottom of each bag. Luckily, the options below are large enough to handle it all.
I’ve been using a small bag for everyday because I found myself stuffing my large bags to capacity. Essentially, the small crossbody bags keep things minimal and are perfect for just your cell phone, wallet and keys.