As promised, today begins a series on the top 10 essentials every stylish woman should have in her closet. And it starts with a jacket, a pair of dress pants and a great skirt.
Just a reminder from yesterday: If you don’t already have at least some of the foundations, and you’re starting from scratch, it can be expensive. Don’t worry — Start with the pieces you think you’ll wear the most, and spend as much as you can afford. Quality will be important, because you will be wearing these pieces often.
For these first 3 pieces, choose a neutral color, such as black, navy, charcoal gray or brown. If you choose the pieces from the same line, you can wear them either as separates or together as a suit. (Even blacks come in different shades, so make sure your pieces match.)
These pieces should fit you WELL. Don’t settle, and don’t rule out using a tailor. Women don’t always consider tailoring when making sure their clothing fits.
Now, let’s get this show on the road!
1) The Jacket (or blazer)
The jacket is probably the most versatile essential that you will have in your closet. (Take a look at the outfits below for some different looks.)
The Fit: The torso length is up to your personal preference. Short, cropped jackets are normally better for petite women, where a longer version works better on taller women. Sleeves should come to your wrist bone. Even if you plan to wear your jacket open, you should be able to button it easily.
If you already have several jackets in several neutral colors in your closet, consider these options:
Leather — a leather blazer in a neutral color worn with a skirt or dress and heels or boots is chic at any age.
Cardigan jacket — Also looks great over a dress or with a skirt, and adds warmth in winter without compromising your style. Add a belt for extra flair!
2) Dress Pants
We can thank Katherine Hepburn for bringing attention to women in pants to the fashion world.
The story goes that in 1958, when she was filming “Bringing Up Baby,” she wore only pants on the movie set. The executives asked her to stop, and she said no. One day, she found that her pants had disappeared from her dressing room, so she proceeded to walk around the set in her underwear until her pants were returned. Well done, Kate!
The Fit: Make sure you sit down when trying on pants. The waistband should fit comfortably. LENGTH IS KEY! Tim says, “Get the hem right. A modern look for pants is longer than it used to be. Your hem should create a ‘break’ on your shoe, not skim the top of it.”
(I have several pairs of black pants in various lengths, depending on what shoes I’m wearing. I also believe that a pair of khaki pants is a must for business casual days at the office.)
3) The Skirt
My favorite is the pencil skirt, which is fitted and falls either straight from the hip or slightly in at the knees. If you are larger in the hips or have a tummy, and don’t feel comfortable in a fitted skirt, try an a-line that flares out slightly at the knees. In any case, the hemline should hit right at or slightly above the knees.
Tomorrow I’ll talk about the white shirt. In the meantime, take a look at these looks, and see if you can take at least a few ideas to your own closet!
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