Chic Wardrobe Essentials 2.0

I have to admit that my wardrobe has taken a turn for the worse. After a stressful bout of job switching and ignoring fashion trends, my collection of stylish ensembles has fallen into a state of ill-fitting clothes and oversized tops, and we simply cannot have that! I’m back on the fashion wagon and looking for a few new pieces to update the age-old classics, but what’s the next step?

Everyone has a unique view on what should be considered an essential. After you’ve caught up on the books, articles and videos on the subject it’s time to add a youthful twist that I think is crucial for bringing those pencil skirts and breton tops into the 21st century.

Here are the pieces I have my eye on:

The Silk Blouse

The right silk blouse can go from the office to the pub with little more than a piece of statement jewelry and a swipe of bright lipstick. Today’s silk blouse is looser and longer with roomier holes for your arms. Pair a silk blouse with ankle pants, pumps and understated jewelry for an easy outfit suitable for a young professional in any office. Trade the pants for a great pair of jeans and a long strand of pearls and your outfit instantly transforms into “casual socialite.” I love the idea of pairing the sweet flounces on this Elie Tahari blouse with leather leggings and pumps. This Joie blouse has a demure V-neck that is sensual without being too sexy and Everlane’s white tank is a minimalist’s dream.
All of the tops I’m recommending are sleeveless and there has been some serious debate recently about bare arms at work (the lovely Lisa and Kaarin of the Pop Fashion podcast discussed it on a recent episode). I’ve always worked in ad agencies, which tend to be more creative environments, and I have never had a problem wearing sleeveless tops. I have also never dared to wear a spaghetti strap and tended to shrug on a sweater or blazer when meeting with clients: all things to be considered!

The Stretch Trouser
I call it the millennial fashion problem: we all want to look like we’re in haute couture and feel like we’re wearing sweats. My solution is a structured pant with a little yoga stretch. You might be thinking, “this crazy lady wants us to wear leggings as pants.” My answer is “yes and no.” Anything you find for $10 at Target is great for fast food runs and weekends but nothing thinner than ponte leggings is appropriate for work wear, date night or Sunday Brunch. Who What Wear has my back on this: apparently H&M has aptly named it the “tregging.” I’ve heard Donna Karen makes a great pair and I’ve been obsessed with Exact Stretch Pants from The Limited the pants. JC Penney is a great place to pick ponte leggings.

The Not-So-Basic Blazer
There’s nothing I love more than slipping into a figure-flattering blazer. A well-fitted blazer is one of my favorite tricks for looking like you’ve got your life together (I rave about it in this post). For me, that’s an extra slouchy boyfriend blazer or an oversized tuxedo-style blazer. I’ve seen many gorgeous girls rock shrunken, silk, double-breasted and military jackets. Find what works with you and run with it! I’m personally loving these impressive finds from Modcloth, Anthropologie and Zara.

The Non Ballet Flat
Nothing says “I’ve got it together” like a functional and structured shoe. I spent the past two years working at a PR agency and I quickly learned that hobbling around in heels is NOT chic. Tucking a great pair of flats in my bag has saved me time and time again. Traditional ballet flats can come off as a bit too casual, but a flat with a pointed toe, like Franco Sarto’s faux leather flat, looks pulled together while elongating the leg.  Oxfords lend a masculine touch to floral pieces and nothing is more it-girl than a great pair of chelsea boots. I found these beauties on DSW’s site and bought them on the spot! H&M has a loafer that would go great with ankle pants and an oversized sweater.

The Fun Pump
There’s a reason “The Devil Wears Prada” pans from the shoes up: the are seriously the window into your soul. If your wardrobe is as dark and subdued as mine, a fun pump will inject some much-needed confidence. Red and leopard print has been the go-to for fun heels for decades. You could stick with that, or you could upgrade your style with Modcloth’s polka dot heels. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous pick up a pair of Nine West’s Pointy Toe Pumps in a floral print or International Concepts’ orange suede pumps.

What pieces are a must for your wardrobe? Share your must-haves with me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter (I even like a cheeky snap if you can find me).



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