Whether you’re looking to re-build, re-organize, refresh or even reduce your wardrobe, the first step is identifying your essentials. They’re the pieces that are the backbone of any wardrobe, and that you reach for day after day.
Today I’m joining up with Jennifer of A Well Styled Life to talk about our wardrobe essentials.
Even though I’ve worked from home for over 5 years, I’m still refining my wardrobe. The last couple of years especially have reinforced an emphasis on comfort. But they’ve also reminded me how much better I feel if I’m “put-together,” and that I’ll never be someone who’s comfortable hanging out in pajamas or sweats all day.
Comfortable and “composed” wardrobe essentials
The pieces that most earn their keep in my wardrobe are those that are simple, practical, and easy to style. A few years ago, I started prioritizing pieces that will travel well when adding to my wardrobe. So it’s no surprise that most of my essentials are what get included in my travel wardrobes.
Sweaters and tees
During the coolest months, you’ll usually find me in a cashmere pullover, either crew neck or v-neck style. A lightweight cashmere sweater is warm enough, but doesn’t make me overheat indoors. During transitional seasons, I’ll rotate in fine merino wool and cotton sweaters.
Styles that are fitted (but not too snug) and layer-able get the most wear and are best for travel. I always have one or two striped sweaters in rotation.
cashmere v-neck | cashmere crewneck 1 | cashmere crewneck 2 |
merino | favorite cotton (budget-friendly option)
When it warms up, tees are my go-to. Though I love the finished look of a collared, button-front shirt, I just don’t feel at home in them. Striped tees add visual interest and make my outfits feel more finished when it’s too warm to layer. So I’m always on the lookout for them, and have been known to buy backups when I find styles I love.
I have a couple of older Eileen Fisher long sleeve tees that I still use for layering. They’re a viscose-blend fabric and have held up exceptionally well. I hope she brings back something similar.
Jeans and pants
So jeans should come as no surprise. 😉 Despite a bit of burnout with them during the fall, they’re still my “default setting” most days. But as with my other essentials, comfort is key. I no longer shoe-horn myself into skinnies; even my slim leg jeans aren’t skin tight. This month I’ve been alternating between a darker wash slim-leg style, and a medium wash boyfriend style.
slim-leg | boyfriend 1 | boyfriend 2 (similar)
But at times I do want to look a bit more polished, or just want to mix it up a bit. I like 5-pocket styles in materials other than denim (e.g. corduroy) and find them as easy to style as jeans. And there are lots of good “hybrid” pants options that are as comfortable as sweats or leggings, but can dress up enough for dinner out.
Favorite non-denim pants:
No matter the style of pants, they have to have some stretch for movement and comfort!
Adding a jacket is one of my favorite shortcuts to make an outfit look “finished.” ✅ I prefer lighter weight and softly-structured jackets, including sweater jackets and “coatigans.” Most of the jackets in my current wardrobe are either a few seasons old, or were purchased while traveling or second-hand. But I’ve linked to a few that are either still available or similar to ones I own.
relaxed sweater jacket | tweed jacket | blazer | denim jacket | fuzzy trucker jacket | leather jacket
Shoes and boots
Footwear (and accessories) are my outfit “secret sauce.” A standout pair of shoes can really make an outfit, and I’ve collected some really fun styles over the last few years. I’d list ankle boots, loafers & oxfords, and sneakers as my “essential” footwear styles for cooler seasons and travel.
Comfort is absolutely my top priority! Heels over 2 inches are a no-go, so platforms can be a good way to get some height and visual volume.
Footwear in current rotation:
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Be sure to visit A Well Styled Life to see what Jennifer has chosen as her wardrobe essentials! What are some of yours?