Wardrobe Essentials

I often get a questions about how to build a wardrobe, and clothing must-haves. Hopefully this list will help you out a little.. and like me, will give you more options when you’re shopping and don’t really *need* anything 😉

1. Dark-wash, perfect-fitting bootcut and skinny jeans

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A great pair of jeans is like a best friend. The best part is that you can dress them up or down and if you invest in a pair that’s well-made and fits you like a dream, they’ll last forever.

2. Blazers and boyfriend crops. For the blazers, choose one “fun” one (a unique texture, striped or color- my denim one is my fun one) and one black.

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To me, blazers dress up an outfit more than a basic cardigan and can be worn with pretty much anything- rompers, dresses, skirts, crops, skinny jeans, etc etc. I wear my boyfriend crops all the time- they work with wedges, flats or sandals.

3. Soft tees and button-up shirts in a variety of colors. They’re great layering pieces and match whatever- great casual comfy pieces.

MY OTHER VIDEOS

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Express has great tees, but I also love the ones at J. Crew and American Apparel.

4. Shift dresses and cotton dresses.

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Easy to accessorize with belts and jewelry, and you can go casual by wearing flats or sandals with them.

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5. A seksi coat or trenchcoat in a classic color.

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Every winter I lust over a white belted coat from Victoria’s Secret, but never buy it because it’s way too hot here. Cold-climate friends, I envy your coat-wearing ability 😉

6. Flowy tops. Try not to go too crazy with the patterns or colors, so you can re-wear in the future. I prefer florals, solids or basic prints, to wear with dressy shorts, a pencil skirt, or skinny jeans.

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Anything I’m missing? What’s your favorite wardrobe essential?

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34 Comments

  1. Averie (LoveVeggiesandYoga) on May 24, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    Fave wardrobe essentials?
    My 16.99 sports bras from Target, I love em 🙂
    My Be Present yoga-meets-streetwear pants
    And a hoodie/sweatshirt/sweater b/c it can start off 50F and cloudy and turn out to be 80F and sunny in San Diego and layers are key!

    love your finds!

    • Erin on May 24, 2011 at 8:31 pm

      I love the Tarjay sports bras too. They are on sale this week and I had to buy another one 🙂

      • Julie S. on May 25, 2011 at 3:28 pm

        Me too!

  2. Erin on May 24, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    Being in a colder climate, cardigans/sweaters are a must have for me. I loved all the open front cardigans stores were selling this winter. I am also glad I won’t be wearing them much longer since summer is just around the corner!

    • Julie S. on May 25, 2011 at 3:29 pm

      These are a staple for me, too, but I actually wear them more in the summer due to all the restaurants, stores, offices, etc. blasting their A/C!

  3. Courtney @ Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life on May 24, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    Don’t envy us cold climate friends TOO much…I’d kill for your weather during 95% of our cold months up here! I agree with Erin above though…cardigans are a must, along with my UGGS. That’s probably the one thing I look forward to most with cold weather…I finally get to wear my Ugglies. 😉

  4. Becky @ The Bex Factor on May 24, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    You’re forgetting the LBD!!

    • Fitnessista on May 24, 2011 at 9:14 pm

      gah! how could i?!

  5. Jen on May 24, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    Lululemon! I live in their stuff 🙂

    • Fitnessista on May 25, 2011 at 10:08 am

      me too 🙂

  6. Elizabeth @ the good life on May 24, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    Accessories! Even if I wear similar outfits when I switch up the earrings or watch or purse it feels brand new!

  7. Kelly @ Laughter, Strength, and Food on May 24, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    A fashion necessity for me are fitted v-neck tees. I love them because you can take them from casual to dressy by adding just a sweater or a blazer. Aaaand….they are way comfy, which is the best part! 😉

  8. Katie @ Pop Culture Cuisine on May 24, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    I second everything you said, including flats, which now that I am preggers have become my shoe of choice!

  9. Emmy on May 24, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    I talked to my sister on the phone (she lives in CA), and she said, “It’s ALWAYS sunny here. It’s kind of annoying.” I live in MN, and I replied, “Are you kidding me?! It HAILED this weekend.” Hailed. And it’s practically June! I’m still wearing my North Face fleece… So don’t be too envious of us. 😉

  10. The Get In Shape Girl on May 24, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    Wife beaters!! or just plain white tanks/ tees. pearl necklaces. brown riding boots. silver clutch.

  11. Jenny @ Fitness Health and Food on May 25, 2011 at 12:02 am

    ohh such great ideas! It will be wonderful when we’re done with our ‘life transition’ and I can do a bit of shoppin’!

    I am missing out on a lot of great essentials 😛

  12. Mac on May 25, 2011 at 12:14 am

    Please don’t be too jealous of our winter coat wearing ability, months upon months of nasty weather comes along with that… yuck! I love earrings, they add so much to an outfit I think.

  13. Tiffany K. on May 25, 2011 at 12:37 am

    If you want cold weather, feel free to come visit in Alaska ANYTIME 🙂 With such chilly temps pretty much year-round, scarves of all different weights, colors, textures, and patterns have become a necessity for me! I love them for their function and ability to mix things up!

  14. Colleen on May 25, 2011 at 6:37 am

    What a great post! I am very “shopping challenged” and have had a hard time transitioning my wardrobe from my hippy/sporty/funky college days to a more classic/classy look. This will definitely help me outline what I have and where I need to fill in.

  15. Katherine: Unemployed on May 25, 2011 at 6:44 am

    what I need is a better way to look like I’m wearing quality but this is great advice for building blocks. I need to start from zero basically

  16. Fallon on May 25, 2011 at 7:25 am

    A basic white shirt is always an essential!

  17. Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin on May 25, 2011 at 7:50 am

    Great choices! I agree with all of these. I would add cardigans to the list. They’re a staple for me in the fall and winter!

  18. Stacy @ Stacy Eats on May 25, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Fun post! I definitely agree with you on a good pair of jeans. I’ve been searching for the perfect fitting skinny jeans but can’t seem to find the “one” so for now I have a couple of stand-ins from Old Navy. They totally give me mom butt though. 🙂

  19. Jessica @ Stylish Stealthy & Healthy on May 25, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    These are all great pieces to have in your wardrobe and I looove those nude Steve Maddens. The only thing I would add is maybe a classic pencil skirt because I swear they are flattering on everyone!

  20. Julie S. on May 25, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    I love the tanks from Victoria’s Secret w/ the built-in bras. Nice & cool on those really hot summer days.

  21. Lauren on May 25, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    Cardigans are a must for me! I’m always cold no matter where I go so I keep on with me at all time, they are also great for wearing over tanks or strapless tops to quickly turn them into office appropriate attire 🙂 Also, I can’t live without my sundresses and black pencil skirt!

  22. Brittany on May 25, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    I love this post, Gina–fun to see your staple pieces!! In addition to the awesome things on your list, I love gray and heathered beige lightweight long cardigans, paired with a tee and jeans or layered over a dress. I also have a ton of lightweight, longish racerback tanks, which are perfect for casual days with a colorful, fun scarf (another essential!) or for a dinner date with a statement necklace, skinnies, and sexy wedges.

    I always dream of having the funds to build the PERFECT wardrobe built on great essentials!!

  23. elle on May 26, 2011 at 9:08 am

    j crew tees are definitely a staple in my wardrobe! they are the most comfy and i love their colors – especially this season. i stalk them until they go on sale because i can’t rationalize spending $30 on one t-shirt given the rate i spill food on myself! where is that white dress from? i love it!

    • Fitnessista on May 26, 2011 at 10:17 am

      j crew 🙂

  24. Ari on May 26, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Gah! No boot cut jeans. So awful, please don’t 🙂 I agree with all of the others though, and would add cardigans, brown riding boots (which you can wear with black and grey, as well) and white shirts in a variety of styles – a crisp button up, a white v-neck, a crew neck, and a few tanks.

  25. Jessica on May 28, 2011 at 4:01 am

    You should do a shoe basics post!

    Good tips though.

  26. breakingsilence @ Freshman -15 on June 2, 2011 at 11:48 am

    I LOVE my dark wash boot cut jeans. 🙂 I have 2 pairs. They were on sale @ AE and last FOREVER. Flats are another essential in my wardrobe! I am curious as to what you’d recommend to a college senior trying to go for a more “classy/classic/adult but not boring” look on a budget! I’ve picked up a few basic t’s in fun colors that can be dressed up or down from stores like Gap and Ann Taylor Loft (on sale!) but I will always take other recommendations!

  27. Kasey on June 10, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    So funny story…I started reading your blog just a few weeks ago and was perusing this fashion post when I saw a familiar pair of awesome Aldo T-strap wedges next to your adorable white J. Crew dress, I just bought the same wedges a few weeks ago. A few days after reading your post I was in J. Crew and spotted the white dress and it was on sale(!!) and there were only two left and one just happened to fit perfectly…it was clearly a sign from above so I nabbed it up! I got so many comments on the outfit when I went out to a birthday party that night, thanks for the inspiration!

    • Fitnessista on June 11, 2011 at 11:05 am

      so cute!!!

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