Wardrobe Essentials: The Basics

When I posted about my commitment to quality a lot of you had GREAT feedback for me. I was so excited to see your enthusiasm and was inspired to write up a whole slew of posts based on the questions you asked me. I’m going to kick things off with a post inspired by J. Mill. She has a hilarious blog so I recommend you check it out when you have a moment. Anyways, she asked me what items of clothing I was going to invest in and if there were any designers I was going to go for this year. I LOVED her question so here’s my answer.

Depending on where you live, your wardrobe essentials are going to be different. I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona and three years ago if you had asked me what was essential in my closet I would have told you a sundress and pretty open-toed shoes. Right now this Chicago weather has me leaning towards a pair of boots, skinny jeans, a cute top, and a scarf. High school Malori would laugh at cold college Malori. Anyways, I gave it some thought and realized there are some pieces a lady should have in her closet no matter where she lives!! That’s this list :).

1) A quality tank top in every color of the rainbow

I’ve been slowly collecting mine from United Colors of Benetton but I’ve heard J. Crew does tank tops right as well. These are INDISPENSABLE in my closet. I wear one pretty much every day. Whether it’s as an undershirt so I don’t die in my wool sweater or a simple addition to a pair of denim shorts the tank top is one of the most versatile and necessary things you’ll own. Go out and immediately invest in some. You won’t regret it!

2) A simple pair of black pumps

Why, you might ask, is this the number two most important item in my closet? Because you can never go wrong with a sexy pair of black pumps. Perfect for everything from job interviews to a night on the town, your basic black pumps will never let you down. My favorite pair from high school broke and I was distraught until I found their replacement a few months later. I’m lusting after Louboutin’s but any classic black pump will do :).

3) Cardigans

This is another basic that you really shouldn’t overlook. I like to have cardigans in various colors, lengths, and textures because they can really put the cherry on top of an already cute outfit (or lend intrigue to a sort of boring outfit). A good time to stock up on cardigans in towards the end of the fall/winter season (aka RIGHT NOW). I think we all know that sale cardigans are better than their full-priced friends. I think you should own one of these in every color of the rainbow as well… just so you’re prepared. If you think that’s excessive you can probably get away with a black, white, and nude cardigan.

4) Scarves

I wear scarves year-round. In the summer I have lightweight linen or cotton scarves draped around my neck and in the winter I snuggle under layers of hand-knit scarves. If you aren’t a fashionista, this is the perfect accessory for you. Wearing a brightly patterned scarf over a simple tank top, cardigan, and skinny jeans make you look like you’re up on all the latest fashions. Something about a scarf feels so Hollywood-glam. Look for scarves with fun patterns and in various fabrics. You won’t regret it.

5) A pair of skinny jeans

I wear my skinnys 3-5 times per week depending on how lazy I am. Some girly girls don’t like to wear jeans but I think they’re a great piece to have on hand. On chilly days you can tuck them into your boots with ease. On warm days they look fabulous with a pair of stilettos and a fun top. If you’re wanting to look professional but laid back you can pair your jeans with a crisp, white oxford and a pair of pretty flats. Jeans are a classic piece of Americana and you ladies should wear yours with pride.

6) booty shorts and appropriate underpants

Yes. These are a necessity. Whenever I wear skirts or dresses I like to wear a pair of shorty-shorts for safety and comfort’s sake. You never know when a gust of wind is going to blow your skirt up so the whole world can get a great ass-shot of you. This is probably impractical but I have a pair in black, highlighter pink, and lime green. The colored ones are fun and because I generally wear black you can’t see them through my clothes. Plus, if I ever go to a rave I’ll be set ;). I also think it’s really important to have a variety of underwear that is appropriate for different occasions. You probably don’t want to be rocking your stripper thong underneath your suit at work. Buy some classier underwear for occasions that call for class. Also, every girl needs some full-butt underwear. For the love of God, don’t wear thongs under skirts and dresses. That is all.

7) A fitted coat

Ladies let’s stop wearing hoodies. I think you get to a certain point in your life when it’s time to say goodbye to shapeless sweatshirts and to say hello to a nicely structured coat. Nothing bothers me more than seeing someone walking down the street wearing a hoodie underneath a zip-up sweatshirt and shivering to death. Maybe this is just a personal issue but I think hoodies belong in the gym, around a campfire, or over your pajamas while you’re cooking dinner and rocking out to Adele.

8) A little black dress

I own about 12 LBD’s and I love every single one of them. They’re perfect for most occasions, are flattering, and are probably my biggest weaknesses. If you don’t own one, you should. I especially love them because it’s basically giving yourself a blank canvas for accessories.

9) A pair of real sunglasses

When I graduated from high school I bought myself two things: A pair of Beats By Dre noise cancelling headphones, and a pair of RayBan Wayfarers. All of my friends told me I was stupid to spend so much money on a pair of “trendy” sunglasses and warned me that I would get sick of them/lose them/break them and would feel dumb for spending so much money on something so frivolous. Three years later and I have NO regrets. In fact, they’re one of the most informed and useful purchases I’ve ever made. They’re still in one piece, I’ve never lost them (knock on wood), and I am still smitten with the style. I suggest investing in a good pair of sunglasses because they truly are worth the investment.

10) Some “just for fun” pieces

Every closet needs fun pieces to give it personality. Maybe it’s that hot pink pencil skirt that makes your legs look fabulous or your polka dot dress that makes you smile every time you put it on. Once you’ve given yourself some basics (jeans, layering tanks, etc.) it’s time to have FUN with your wardrobe. Experiment with accessories, color, texture, shape, and various styles. If you feel comfortable in something then wear the shit out of it because that’s what makes you, YOU.

Some of my fashion icons are Emily of Cupcakes and Cashmere, Liz at Late Afternoon, and Bri at Design Love Fest.

So ladies, I ask…

What are YOUR wardrobe essentials? Did I miss anything major? When I asked my readers on facebook I got some great responses.


All images came from my fashion pinterest board.

5 thoughts on “Wardrobe Essentials: The Basics

  1. This is the perfect post for me right now! I'm in the process of cleaning out my closet as a: most of it I don't wear or doesn't fit, and b: collecting things that are not only a bit more my style, but more worthy of a graduating college senior.Thanks for the list to get me started!

  2. Great list. I currently do not own a LBD at all, nor have I ever, I believe – but! I think I own 6-7 in navy. ;)I am also a huge fan of tank tops and cardis, I probably have the rainbow, and striped rainbow covered. I couldn't do without my belts and I need a new black handbag, which I am going to look for when I visit Chicago ;)

  3. This list is right on! I think you hit the nail on the head with each piece you have on here. The only thing I would add for myself is "something leopard print." A skinny belt, some cute flats, etc. I know it's trendy right now, but I would argue that it's a classic that can add interest to an otherwise simple outfit. :)

  4. I think a nice nude pair of pumps are essential too. find a pair that matches your skin tone. I am extremely petite and my nude pumps make my legs look long and lean.

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