Wardrobe Essentials: Clothes

"Wardrobe Checklist of Must-Own Clothing"

Now that we've covered the shopping guidelines - let's take a closer look at the wardrobe essentials for clothes:

Wardrobe Essentials: Tops


Basics, casual tops are a part of your closet's core foundation. You need them for layering (eg. underneath a see-through shirt or a low-neck sweater, with a cardigan or with jeans alone) for showing off your accessories!

Secure them in neutral colors with a versatile neckline such as V-neck or scoop neck.

Essential Casual Tops - Your Wardrobe Essentials

    The chic fashionista Anna Villaruel says

    Crew necks are tricky as they make most body figures look wider and shorter, but they're ok for layering and keeping your body warm under a sweater


    In a dark and light neutral color. Essentials for your fitted sweaters and fashion tops with a low'ish neckline.

    Tank tops

    Go great with your cardigans and sweaters


    Both short and long sleeves. Quarter sleeves look especially good on Petites or anyone with short arms!

Super-essential for any fashionista who loves the casual-chic look.

Can also be spruced up with accessories to create a party look (eg. black tank top, statement necklace, denim shorts, sheer black tights, platform sandals). So stock up on these plain casual tops!

Build on your casual tops-collection with:

Tees and tank tops in various necklines and simple styles (eg. wrap, lace trim, navy stripes, oversized, etc.), graphic t-shirts. Turbo-charge your style with denim shirt and plaid shirt.


Dressy tops are a must in any chic fashionista's wardrobe! They're fabulous for dressing up a basic or casual bottom, such as a pair of cargo pants - but are mostly essential add-on to your workwear closet like pencil skirts and dress pants.

To really up your chic factor, secure them in your best light and dark basic neutrals. Black, dark navy blue, white and ivory are ideal.

Essential Dressy Tops - Your Wardrobe Essentials

    White Button-down Dress Shirt

    For work, interviews and looking sophisticated. If your style is Trendy it looks chic with denim shorts and jeans, or unbuttoned on top of a casual dress and a skinny belt. Click here for outfit ideas with a dress shirt

    White Blousy Tunic

    Super-essential for mild and warm days. Looks good with slim chinos or a pair of leggings - superb for that polished-casual look.

    Basic Blouses

    Whenever you need to wear something pretty and sophisticated then a neutral-colored dressy blouse will never fail you. It's easy and flexible to accessorize (think pearls or colorful statement necklace!) and can be paired with just about anything.

    I recommend buying them in your best dark and light neutrals so that you have something for both Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer months. Make sure the details are pretty but minimal - such as ruffles, beautiful (gold, silver metal, mother of pearl, etc.) buttons, special fabric (silk) etc. One of my fave in my own closet is a see-through chiffon blouse (along with a black camisole underneath) which I often wear to look chic and alluring :-)

    Black Party Top

    You need at least one party top in a dark neutral (black is perfect for everything!) that can be easily matched with your jeans and short skirts. Look for styles that accentuate your best assets or show more skin than normal

Stretch your style envelope with:

Various timeless dressy details such as sequins and prints. Also try blouses and shirts with a glam-factor, for example a pussy bow. You may also want to add a silk blouse for a spiff of luxury and perhaps have fun with different fun necklines such as sweetheart (it boosts your bust!) - or details that play up your waist!

Click here for more Fashion Advice on Tops and Shirts

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Wardrobe Essentials: Sweaters

Sweaters warm but are also worn for layering as well as adding texture and interest to a plain tees or dresses. Cardigans especially are excellent for camouflaging muffin tops and balancing out a prominent upper body.

Secure them in your best neutrals and in fabrics suitable for the climate you live in. If you live in the tropics (eg. South-east Asia) stick to thin cotton/polyester sweaters.

Essential Sweaters - Your Wardrobe Essentials

    Cardigan sweaters

    In dark and light neutrals - and in a lightweight fabric. A cardigans works as tone-it-down piece and a fabulous layering garment. If your style is bohemian then buying more than recommended is a must to really cover your needs. Click here for outfit ideas with a cardigan

    I personally can never get enough of them - and often layer them on lazy t-shirt days. I've bought cardigan sweaters in all my best neutrals for my warm and deep coloring such as black, charcoal grey, brown, ivory and beige.

    You also need a couple of cozy knit cardigans for the colder months. Same guidelines apply.

    Turtleneck sweater

    A Fall & Winter closet must. Cozy and classy :) Buy your first turtleneck sweater in a lightweight wool fabric that blends with your pants and dress shorts without the bulk. Go thicker depending your country's climate. Click here for outfit ideas with a turtleneck sweater

    I would also get this in a tunic sweater style - looks super chic with tights and fashion boots :-) Another variation of the turtleneck would be cowl-neck. *not a must if you live in a warm all-year-around climate

    Wool V-neck or scoop-neck sweater

    The chic fashionista Anna Villaruel says

    If the climate where you live is hot thin cotton sweaters and cardigans will do

    Preferably made of cashmere or high quality fine wool (eg. Merino). Can be worn for almost all kinds of occasions. Layer it with a pretty blouse or white dress shirt, or wear it alone with a pair of black dress pants or jeans for a casual look. If you choose the latter, make sure you add a couple of accessories to make it look interesting.

    Grey Hoodie

    This is more for staying in or for a sporty layering with your slim cargo pants and jeans & tee outfits - but it's an essential when you're out and about (throwing the trash, buying groceries, etc.). Mid-gray is a universal neutral that look good on all complexions.

    If you want to double your outfits with a laid-back flair consider buying a grey sweatshirt instead or as an addition to your sweater-collection.

Add Bells & Whistles to your basic sweater-collection with:

Fashion vests (eg. denim, knit, lace, etc.) and a cozy knit sweater with your favorite print! Also add a couple of sweaters with stylish necklines and textures. Try a shawl cardigan and a sweater dress

Click here for more fashion advice on Sweaters

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Wardrobe Essentials: Outerwear

Jackets and coats are everyday essentials and the last finishing touch on an outfit. Jackets are also great for changing the feel of your ensemble - creating an ultra-chic juxtaposition of cool and pretty!

It's important to secure them in neutrals - especially before you buy a bright focal coat or jacket. Neutrals look great with anything and don't cast a shadow over your stylish outfits :-)

Wardrobe essentials - Outerwear, jackets and coats

The chic fashionista Anna Villaruel says

A cardigan, denim jacket and a thin blazer are enough if you live in a all-around warm climate

    Leather Jacket

    Many might disagree with me on this, but it is an essential for all chic fashionistas. It gives that little edge to sugar-sweet outfits. A very casual jacket that goes with anything from to spring. *not a must if you live in a warm all-year-around climate

    Get this in your best dark neutral and if you want to switch it up by adding one leather jacket in a lighter neutral such as beige or tan.

    Denim Jacket

    A perfect companion with your sun dresses and tunic tops. Try a cropped denim jacket! Darker and brighter blue denim look best on darker hair. Light blue on blondes.


    Excellent for office work - and even casual outfits. You can also wear a blazer to polish a tee and jeans outfit. Boyfriend blazer is my favorite :) I would buy one in a dark neutral (black, navy blue or charcoal grey) and another one in a lighter neutral (white, ivory, cream/beige, heather grey) for that fresh Saint Tropez look :-)

    Lightweight Jacket

    Safari and military jackets in a lightweight fabric such as Poplin are a must for milder days - layered over your shirts and tops. The military pocket jacket worn with your chinos or jeans is especially popular for Spring.

    Trench coat

    A classic must for spring and fall. Very classy-chic and lady-like. I have one in beige and another one in black with brown belt buckle and buttons. Love it. You'll always look sophisticated in a womens trench coat. *not a must if you live in a warm all-year-around climate


    You need a windbreaker or a raincoat for those wet days. If you want to look classy in the rain you can find trench coats made to be worn as rain coats :-)


    A casual winter jacket for leisure time during really cold winters. I have one in black with a furry hoodie. It goes with everything! *not a must if you live in a warm all-year-around climate

    Wool Coat

    A short wool coat is a F/W essential for daily wear and frequent uses. My fave wool coat style is the high collar and pea coat. *not a must if you live in a warm all-year-around climate


    A wool overcoat goes with your classy outfits or whenever you want to look like a lady. Click here to learn more about Womens Winter Coats

Go beyond the basic outerwear with:

At least one focal jacket or coat in a bright color! Add outerwear in different lengths and in details that express your personal style, such as studs, ruffles, belt, boho print. Also try a different collar style :-)

Click here for more fashion advice on Jackets & Coats

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Wardrobe Essentials: Jeans

Denim jeans go with everything - from pretty blouses to your most casual tops. They're quintessential to casual-chic style. Pair denim shorts with tights and a sophisticated dress shirt, or match a pair of wide leg jeans with a sleek wrap sweater.

Make sure to buy them in basic dark blue denim - it's more versatile than fades and light blue wash. And you can also wear a pair of denim trousers for casual office settings.

Essential Jeans - Your Wardrobe Essentials

    Basic Jeans

    Basic as in minimal fuss and in a solid, dark blue or black wash. It's flexible this way and ooze classy chic-factor. These are going to be worn a lot - so make sure the style suits your body figure and that it's something you would wear on a daily basis.

    Casual Jeans

    We all need pair of casual jeans we can play and wreck with! These are excellent with your casual tops but creates a chic juxtaposition with your classier garments such as a silk blouse or white dress shirt.

    Tailored Denim Shorts

    Ah gotta love the denim shorts with wedge sandal-look for summer ;-) Transition into Fall or Spring by pairing your shorts with tights and boots!

    Casual Denim Shorts

    Another pair of Play & Wreck denim jeans but in a short-and-casual-version. Self-conscious about your legs? Try them in walking or capri style for extra coverage.

Add sugar and spice to your jeans-collection with:

Go beyond the basic bootcut with various leg cut styles, such as wide and flare leg. Experiment with washes and details. Go rocker-chick or boyfriend-clothing-stealer with acid wash and shreds & rips. You might also want to add a pair of basic jeans in a light blue wash - looks great with your summer tops!

Click here for more fashion advice on Denim Jeans

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Wardrobe Essentials: Pants

Pants add variation to your closet with pants. They create the perfect chic juxtaposition of sophisticated and casual - just pair your blouse with chinos, or a classy dress shirt with cargo pants.

Make sure to secure them in neutrals and get them in shorter versions - for that city chic look!

Essential Pants & Shorts - Your Wardrobe Essentials

    The chic fashionista Anna Villaruel says

    Add a pair of wool/tweed trousers if you live in the northern hemisphere where the winters are really cold.

    All-season dress pants

    In both dark and light neutrals. Essential for the office gal. But a must for classy fashionistas as well.

    Great for adding some sophistication to your style (eg. beige high waist dress pants with a fitted white scoop neck t-shirt and a statement necklace and pretty pumps).

    If you're not a dress pants-gal or have no reason to wear them - you'll be just fine with a pair of chinos.

    Cargo Pants

    Good for that sporty-casual look. Wear with a pretty blouse or classy shirt and you've got an ultra-stylish outfit! Take it up a notch with heels :-) Basic neutrals such as black and beige are cost-effective, but military green is timeless as well - and it's nice for adding that unexpected if you love wearing black!


    Also known as casual dress pants or "slacks" are fabulous for achieving a polished but effortless look - and an alternative to dress pants if you don't work in a semi-formal office setting. I love my slacks paired with a three-quarter sleeved navy striped top!

    Dress Shorts

    Express your chic style this summer with tailored shorts. They add variation and look amazing with your blouses and even casual tops - and you can layer them over your tights.

Take your style up a notch with:

Like mentioned in the jeans essentials-section - go beyond the basic bootcut with various leg cut styles, such as wide and flare leg. Try a modern twist of the pants with ankle zippers or high waist. Also - style it differently by adding a pair of foxy shoes!

Click here for more fashion advice and tips on Pants

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Oh how I love thee skirts.. Especially those basic skirts most of us find boring. Fashion has evolved in a rapid pace the past couple of years - it's a lot about mixing and expressing various sides of your personal style. And skirts are perfect for exactly that - creating a super-chic and feminine look!

Go as basic as you can on skirts - secure them in neutrals and in basic styles. And pair them with a sweatshirt, graphic tee and yes, even your chunky knit sweaters!

Essential Skirts - Your Wardrobe Essentials

    All-season Office Skirt

    An example would be knee length black pencil skirt, or an A-line skirt if you want to balance out your hips and thighs. I would also secure this in at least one dark and one light neutral - black is a must no matter skin tone (it's worn far from your face so it's ok) because of its sophistication and versatility.

    You can also try charcoal grey and navy blue for Fall/Winter and white, cream, khaki and/or beige for the summer months.

    Neutral Day-to-Night Skirts

    As an office pencil and A-line skirt would look too stiff and inappropriate on some casual events, I recommend you to secure a semi-casual day-to-night skirt in black and another one in a light neutral.

    Examples of casual skirt styles are circle and tulip. Great for that transition from work to a dinner date, as well as parties - or for just looking chic and pretty!

    White Summer Skirt

    You'd want something breezy and light for the warmer months, such as a cotton summer skirt - looks amazing with a blouse and a denim jacket ;-) White is summer essential - but you can try the skirt in light beige if you prefer a warmer neutral.

    Denim Skirt

    This is a great casual skirt essential that goes with the rest of your wardrobe. If you're more on the sophisticated side, then I recommend buying a right-above-the knee or right-on-the-knee length denim pencil skirt in solid dark blue denim.

    Wearing a denim skirt is a nice break from the classy skirts. Go above the knee for summer and put on a pair of tights when the chilly season is approaching. Looks chic with a white dress shirt or a casual top.

Up the chic-factor of your skirt-collection with:

Both shorter and longer hems. Inject 70s glamour with midi skirts. Experiment with maxi skirts. And create fashion statements with various skirt details such as sequins, studs and visible zippers! Mix the styles like crazy - mix sporty with romantic, or classy paired with trendy.

Click here for more fashion advice and tips on Skirts

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Wardrobe Essentials: Dresses

Wearing a dress can turn heads - and it's the perfect garment to look chic and pretty. And dresses look amazing with high heels!

Securing the basic dresses makes it possible for you to dress it down too. You can layer a versatile tank dress with a white dress shirt, sweats or a cool denim jacket. So buy them in your best neutrals to really get the most out of your money!

Essential Dresses - Your Wardrobe Essentials

    Basic Dresses

    Think tank dresses with minimal details. These are excellent for showcasing your accessories or using a jacket or sweater as a focal point of your outfit. Good for layering - a must in your closet!

    Little Black Dress

    This... works with anything! Any time, any where. For classy gals, a wrap dress will do. But you can also find it in all kinds of styles. I have the LBD in at least 10 different styles! Accessorize it for a more interesting outfit. If black is too harsh on your skin, try dark navy blue. To counter the shadowing (you'll look sick) effect of the color - put some extra effort in makeup and adding jewelry in your best colors and neutrals with the dress.

    Casual Everyday Dresses

    They come in wide range of designs so it's up to your personal style. I would secure at least one basic casual everyday dress for Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter - such as a white tea dress and a black sweater dress.

    Dressy Dress

    You need at least one pretty dress (think tea dress!) in a dark neutral. Keeps you covered on dressier but not formal occasions. Make sure the style is versatile and flattering on your body figure.

    Party Dress

    Us gals need at least one amaaazing dress that makes you feel confident about your body and look stunningly hot. It should show more skin than usual - but it doesn't have to be tacky. Look for party dresses that show off one of your best assets (eg. toned shoulders, plump butt, killer legs, etc.) - and again, make sure it's versatile and in a dark neutral color.

    Cocktail Dress

    A cocktail dress in dark neutral keeps you covered on most semi-formal occasions. You can never go wrong with black or dark navy blue! Keep the details minimal to make room for your pretty accessories.

    Long Gown

    Secure at least one semi-formal long evening gown in a basic style and dark neutral. Keeps you covered on formal occasions where showing your legs is not an option.

Boost your dress-collection with:

Something opposite from what you have a lot of in your closet. Lots of short dresses? Try a maxi dress! Packed with long to mid-calf dresses? Step outside your comfort zone and try a knee or above-the-knee length! Have fun with prints and details - and not least various necklines!

Click here for more fashion advice and tips on Dresses

Now that we've reviewed the clothes - both tops and bottoms - we still have the accessories left! Accessories such as jewelry, hosiery, handbags and shoes. They're basic but are oh-so important to keep your style and wardrobe in order!

Wardrobe Staples: Accessories

Fall and Winter closet essentials and timeless FW fashion trends

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The Chic Fashionista's Latest Trends Picks - Chic Runway Looks and Must-have Trends and Trendessentials The Chic Fashionista's Chic Inspiration-blog - Outfit ideas, celeb style and trend styling tips The Chic Fashionista's Stylish Finds - Latest trends and shopping picks, sales & discounts, link round-ups and featured posts & blogs/sites Learn more about the fashion basics on how to look your best and dress stylish

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