Closet Essentials for the Everyday Wardrobe

"I have nothing to wear!" How many times have you uttered this exact phrase while standing in front of a pile of clothes?!  I must admit that I go through this ordeal at least once a week.  Imagine, I'm standing in front of my mirror, trying on everything, and I'm not satisfied with anything in my closet.  

 Thanks to Style Minimal on Tumblr for the inspiration. 

Thanks to Style Minimal on Tumblr for the inspiration. 

I've found that the best way to combat the "I have nothing to wear" blues is to stick to the basics.  On days when I just do not feel like pulling myself together (I'm human, let's face it... I am far from an Instagram-glamzon), I love to rely on my wardrobe basics to create an outfit. 

What are the wardrobe basics?  Wardrobe basics or "closet essentials" are staple items of clothing that every man and woman should have in his or her closet.  These 'must haves' serve as a foundation for building a effortless outfit.  

A contributing factor to having "nothing to wear" is the fact that several individuals purchase pieces that are trendy, but not classic.  While trends tend to recycle themselves, they only do so every couple of seasons.  So a trend you love today, will be gone by tomorrow.  I recommend that your wardrobe is built on a solid foundation of the essentials.  Once you have the essentials, you can start building your wardrobe by adding trendy colours, patterns and textures into the mix!  But, before you build, you must ensure that your closest has a solid foundation of versatile, yet key items.

Also, you have to start looking at your wardrobe as an investment.  Your basic items are likely to get the most use out of you, so I recommend spending a little more money to purchase a quality brand or quality fabrics. 

 Shoutout to Tumblr's theycallhimremy for the menswear inspiration. 

Shoutout to Tumblr's theycallhimremy for the menswear inspiration. 

Here are my Top 8 basic wardrobe essentials for men and women: 

men

  1. White collared shirt - A white collared shirt is the number one essential for menswear.  White shirts lend versaltitlity to your wardrobe because they can be worn casually or formally.  Throw on some dark denim and a white shirt-- remember to leave a couple buttons undone for a sexy, chic night out.  Use the same shirt under your favourite suit, add a tie and you're ready for work!  Two drastic looks with one shirt.
  2. Power suit - Everyone (male or female) should have a power suit.  Formal wear is an investment, so take the time to select a suit that is tailored to your body type.  Your suit does not have to be overly expensive, but I would recommend purchasing a quality suit.  Not every occasion calls for a suit, but having a well tailored suit is the best thing you can do for your wardrobe. 
  3. White Crew Neck Tee - I am a huge fan of casual wear.  Every man looks great in a white crew neck tee and some sweatpants.  Casual days call for a casual outfit, so there's not need to break the bank on a white tee.  If you want a clean, crisp and casual look, a white tee is the easiest way to achieve this.  Think along the lines of the Calvin Klein white tee. 
  4. Leather Jacket -  I have to admit that a leather jacket made this list because I'm slightly biased.  I worked for a leather retailer for several years here in Toronto, so I LOVE LEATHER!!! I especially love leather menswear.  The easiest way to achieve a "bad ass" look is to dress up a pair of denim jeans with a leather moto-jacket.  Because I'm biased, I recommend that you invest in a great leather jacket.  Do not cheap out when purchasing leather. If you take care of your leather garments, they can last you for a very long time.  Take my advise, head over to a quality leather retailer and invest in a great piece.  
  5. Dark Denim - To combat those days when you don't have anything to wear, I recommend that you throw on a pair of jeans and a white tee.  If you want a more casual vibe, throw a leather jacket over.  In 5 min, you'll have a great outfit. 
  6. Loafers - A black loafer is a fashion must for men.  It can be worn for almost every occasion, and you have to put minimal thought into what you pair with a single sole loafer. For men who are just starting to build their wardrobe, I recommend grabbing a pair of loafer in black and brown.  These colours are neutral and can be paired effortlessly with a variety of colours.
  7. Sneakers - The choice in what sneaker you choose to wear is a personal decision.  However,  I firmly believe that even if you don't wear sneakers often you should have a variety, ranging from casual to more formal.  Nothing cleans up a casual look more than a 'Creative Recreation' sneaker.  I was introduced to this brand almost 10 years ago and I fell in love with their sneakers.  They offer a range of chic looking footwear at a reasonable cost.  I always recommend that you pick the right sneaker for the occasion.  If you're heading out for date night, choose a sleek black sneaker that will provide casual comfort and class.
  8. Duffle Bag - A duffle bag is a great accessory for men who are always on the go!  If you're making a stop to the gym before heading into the office, then why not do so in style?  Large leather duffle bags can dress up any occasion and serve as a stylish brief case. 

women

  1. Little Black Dress - Every lady needs the perfect little black dress.  An LBD provides you with the security you need to create an outfit on the fly, without having to put too much thought into it.  Add a string of pearls around your neck to create the perfect, classic look for an evening out! 
  2. Black pumps - Forget the glass slipper, everyone woman needs a classic pump.  The best way to turn heads is to pair any suit with a sleek pair of pumps.  It's always recommend to grab a pair of pumps in black or nude.  Both are neutral colours and can be paired with everything. 
  3. Black slacks - A pair of black slacks are easy to throw on for those days when you have nothing to wear.  A black pant with a flattering fit is the most versatile piece that you will have in your closet.  You can wear them with anything.  Thrown on a black pump and you're ready take on the day. 
  4. A collared white shirt - A client once told me that she did not own a white collared shirt; I was floored.  Anyone who has a job should own a white collared shirt.  Even though it does not really lend to my personal style, I am always sure that I have a least two white shirts to choose from in my own closet.  Why? Because the understated elegance of a white shirt adds a crisp put together feeling for any outfit.  To add some mystery, I style my shirts with chunky jewelry.  Statement jewelry livens up the shirt and creates a focal point for the eye. 
  5. Perfect Blazer - Naturally if you have tailored slack and a collared shirt, cap off the outfit by finding the perfect blazer.  When picking the perfect blazer, it's all about trial and err.  You have to find what works for your body.  Once you've found the perfect fit, a blazer can be paired with dark denim for a more casual look.
  6. Classic Denim - Levis, True Religion, raw denim-- it doesn't matter.  Denim jeans with a crisp white tee take you back to the basics of fashion. This look is timeless, effortless and great for those days when nothing else in your closet seems to work.
  7. Trench Coat - I'm a huge fan of using my trench coat in every occasion.  Whether I'm going for a casual stroll, heading to work or a more formal setting, my trench coats are in heavy rotation.  I love the look a trench coat so much that I have two!  I use my loose fitting wrap around trench for more casual occasions, and a more structured trench for formal settings. A trench is definitely an investment piece, so I would recommend taking the time research a quality brand.
  8. Leather Everyday Bag - For anytime, anyplace, and anything!  Just like all of the other essentials on this list, every lady needs an everyday leather bag.  I always recommend that ladies consider the functions of a purse before purchasing one.  Your purse should be an investment piece, so opt for a more classic look with an everyday purse.  I picked up a great leather purse from Roots Canada.  This purse includes several compartments and it's crafted in a durable, cowhide leather.

 

Now that you've got the basics down,  it's time to head out and shop!  If you need any guidance in this department, don't hesitate to contact me to set up and SLF consultation.   Or, if you are anything like me, then you've got this list covered!  Don't forget to comment below and let me know, what is your favourite closet essential?

xo Raquiya G.