Thursday, October 21, 2010

Part 1: Build Your Wardrobe

Do you ever look at your jam-packed closet and think, "I have nothing to wear!" Or, like me, you have about 5 minutes to grab something, hope it doesn't need to be ironed and run out the door to take the kids to school or go to work. I can tell you to plan ahead of time, but c'mon, who really does that? What you need are some go-tos that form the basis of your wardrobe. For me, the key is comfortable, well-fitting clothing that needs minimal ironing and can be thrown on in a pinch.

Because building your wardrobe requires some thought, I'm going to write this in four parts--bottoms, tops, shoes and accessories. And, this is for everyday wear, when you want to looked pulled together to run to the grocery store or have lunch with friends.

Here are the basics you need:

1. Black pants. In my earlier post, I talked about my crush on the Gap series of black pants. Many of the styles are casual enough to throw on with flats but look super polished. I love the Slim Crop and the True Straight. They are both slim enough to tuck into tall boots but easy to wear with flats. 

Style Tip: It's totally worth it to have these pants altered. Do they fit in the hips but are big in the waist? Take them to a tailor for a perfect fit--because perfect fit means fabulous! At the same time, have them hemmed to wear with your favorite flats. For you locals, my favorite tailors are Gino's in Lake Mary and Hung Tailors, Downtown.

2. Jeans. Honestly, one pair of jeans is never enough! Right now, I love the look of the straight/skinny jeans with flats or tucked into boots. Some to try: AG Jeans (Adriano Goldschmied click here for eBay search) Angel fit. They run a little looser in the thigh. I also love the Tory Burch Metallic Brush Legging (although they don't fit like leggings.) Citizens of Humanity also runs a little looser in the thigh. Make sure they are hemmed to work with flats, you don't want them pooling at your ankle, nor do you want to have to roll them up all the time, although that look can be cute!
If skinny jeans just aren't your style, consider a straight cut or bootcut jean that you can wear a little longer with a heeled boot, ankle bootie or wedge. My all-time favorite "going-out" jeans are the JCrew High Heel Flare jeans. They are a higher waist but fit perfectly. I only wear them with heels. You can find them on eBay, but JCrew hasn't made them for a few years. 
Also, notice I didn't recommend any capri jeans? I don't mind the look of a skinny ankle jean or a rolled up boyfriend, but I think a regular capri jean just screams MOM, so I don't recommend them.

Style Tip: Don't forget eBay! Try on different pairs of jeans to see what fits best on your body type. A rise of about 7.5 to 8 inches is nearly perfect (at least for me) as they are low but not too low. Once you discover your size, write down the style, brand and size so you can scour eBay. If you're not into the designer jeans, in my opinion, Gap really makes the best-fitting jeans, followed by Banana Republic and JCrew.

Style Tip 2: Make sure they're comfortable. If the jeans aren't comfortable, you won't wear them, period! You want jeans that you're able to move in and that you can tuck something into without worrying about muffin top and fat rolls. Don't buy them if you're constantly fidgeting or they feel too snug anywhere.

3. Skirts. Full disclaimer: I don't wear a lot of casual skirts. I mostly have pencil skirts or fancy lace, sequins or silk skirts to wear for business, church or evenings out. But, on a warm summer day, or with tights in cooler weather, a skirt can't be beat. A casual A-line or pencil denim skirt can take you from breakfast to dinner with ease. Wear it with a tank top, a slouchy tee shirt or an embellished tee and cardigan. For fall, I love the corduroy skirts with tights and chunky booties. This one from Ann Taylor Loft is cute. Pair it with a turtleneck or crew neck sweater for a 70s/prep look.

That's it! Really, that's all you need to form the base of your "bottoms" wardrobe. Once you have these basics, you can add on from there. But, for everyday running around, a few comfy, solid pieces can take you through entire seasons. You can make them look different by adding accessories, jackets, shoes and tops that give your outfit punch.

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