As Spring is finally here, it’s time to clean out your closet and get down to basics. Wardrobe basics, that is. I am always being asked what every woman should have in their closet as a bare minimum. I have already addressed jeans here and skirts/dresses here. Today we’re going to address the top half of your body. As always, I’m going to give my disclaimer about your lifestyle and needs (tailor your closet to what YOU need, not what everyone else needs) and remind you to seriously consider where you spend most of your time. What percentage of your wardrobe should be casual and what percentage needs to be business or more formal attire? If you used to work in a corporate environment and are now a stay-at-home mom, chances are you aren’t going to play dates in a suit. (If you are, please send me a picture. That intrigues me.) Disclaimer aside, let’s dive in!
The Plain White T-Shirt
So this may be the most versatile object in your closet. It works dressed down with distressed jeans and Converse All-Stars. It looks great paired with leather skinny jeans and some heels. It adds a level of casual chic underneath a blazer combined with a pencil skirt. Lastly, with the right statement necklace, it will be the most comfortable thing you’ve worn under a suit ever. Don’t just grab any white t-shirt and call it good. This needs to be comfortable, fit well, and accentuate what you want, and hide what you hate. I have two favorites that are in constant rotation within my wardrobe:
The Loft Trend Tee. On sale for $14 right now. (I’ve got like 4.) The drape well, the are comfortable and they look so CUTE!
Old Navy Knit V-Neck T $7. I have several of these as well. It fits a bit more slim than the one from LOFT, but I like the V-Neck and it’s super soft. Priced at $7 it’s basically a steal.
The White Collared Button Up
Nothing looks more pulled together than a crisp, white button up dress shirt. It goes with everything. (Ok, maybe that’s exaggerating, but it goes with a lot.) Notice that I said crisp, as that is a necessity. I really can’t stand a wrinkled button up. It looks incredibly sloppy, so remember when you wear a button up, make sure it is starched and pressed. Normal ironing won’t cut it. If you don’t dry clean, buy some light spray starch in a can. Trust me, it makes a big difference. Some brands offer an “wrinkle free” version of this shirt, but in my experience, this is misleading. Nothing I have found is completely wrinkle free, but here is one that I have and love:
Banana Republic Fitted Non-Iron Sateen Shirt $70. I love this because it is tailored, and the structure works well on my frame. The important thing about a button down shirt is that it should fit extremely well. It should button without pulling, yet fit close to your body. We’re looking for tailored, not skin tight. This may mean that you either try on several at different stores or you take it to a tailor. I think it’s easier just to find one that fits in the first place.
After these two, there are a few other staples that you can tailor based on your needs:
A classic, but still tastefully elegant choice. I have entirely too many of these hanging in my closets in almost every color imagaineable. I love them, and I have a bit on an addiction- specifically to the “tie front” versions.
Black and White (or Navy and White) Striped Shirt
These are everywhere and they look great dressed up or down. I would stick to smaller dark horizontal stripes. Wide stripes give the illusion of width and the look is more polished with the stripes of color are smaller.
I prefer a cashmere blend because it is warm and soft, yet doesn’t add a lot of bulk to your look.
This isn’t necessarily a closet staple for LIFE. But it is definitely more comfortable and can be paired with many things in your closet.
The list can go on and on. Start with the basic t-shirt and collared button up and work your way from there.
Hopefully this helps! Happy shopping/cleaning out your closets, ladies!