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“Looking good and dressing well is a necessity. Having a purpose in life is not.”

January 25, 2010

(Thanks to Oscar Wilde for the quote.)

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the difference between a closet and a wardrobe. (Not the physical differences – a wardrobe being stand-alone and a closet built-in.) Since I entered the “real world” back in June, I’ve obviously had to make a bit more of an effort with my daily duds than I did back in college. I wasn’t sloppy by any means, but my style lacked cohesiveness.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to put together a good wardrobe that will work on multiple levels (for work, for weekends, for dates). Basics, like black pants and a good pair of jeans, might be worth the investment. Then again, you could wear your $15 Forever 21 skinny jeans for two years, as I have, and be just fine. (I am looking to spend a little bit more on a better pair now, as I’m now sporting subtle white spots at the knees.)

If we’re talking basics, Victoria’s Secret has outstanding sales a few times a year. Sign up for their e-newsletter and get notified in advance. And if you spend a certain amount online, you get free shipping!

I think it’s important for most things in your closet to match. I tend to wear black more than brown, so most of my clothes can be worn with black rather than brown. I’m also a big fan of purples and blues. Of course, I’m not advocating that you wear the same colors all the time — incorporate a few awesome, colorful, statement pieces into your wardrobe. And don’t forget about accessories and shoes. They can truly make or break your ensemble.

I’m still finding my sartorial style, but I think I’ve made a good bit of progress in the past year. I’ve finally discovered what works best for my shape and now can frequently be seen sporting a dress or skirt cinched at the waist with a pair of heels.

What are the staples in your closet? What do you reach for when you’re running late and still have to look put-together?

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. Christina permalink
    January 25, 2010 9:46 pm

    I know you’re going to hate me for saying this but my current go to outfit is comprised of the following:

    Black leggings
    Black boots
    White w/ thin black stripes BF v-neck
    Blazer
    Scarf

    I live in black, white and grey. I can’t help it.

    • January 25, 2010 10:00 pm

      I could never hate you, but … leggings are not pants! I know some people can pull it off but they just make the rest of us think we can. I have been known to sport the leggings/boots/tunic combo while running errands on Saturday mornings, but my business is always fully covered, even while sitting down. That’s my only caveat.

  2. Carmen permalink
    January 25, 2010 11:42 pm

    I think leggings can be worn as pants as long as people wear shirts that are long enough to cover their bum.

    • January 26, 2010 11:01 am

      I sort of agree, but I would never wear just leggings and a tunic to work. Maybe leggings with a minidress or something … I prefer leggings for brunch and errands. And I’m firmly in the “ankle-length or not at all” camp, none of this mid-calf-length business. 🙂

  3. Mekelle permalink
    January 26, 2010 12:00 am

    My grey boots. So cute and they go w/ everything. I’m obsessed. And my yellow/mustard purse from Target!

  4. January 26, 2010 5:42 pm

    Yikes… I don’t think I even know what my own staples would be… I reach for boots a lot lately because of the cold. And for work I do a lot of skirts/dresses with tights or leggings and boots. I love my Intyce boots so much I am inclined to say that they go with everything in my closet but that is probably (definitely) not true. Other staples would have to be wide leg AND skinny jeans, cardigans (lots of them… I still don’t think I have enough for all my needs), and fun scarfs/tops… I would choose either fun tops under cardigans or fun scarfs to change up an outfit.

    When I’m running late to work I just reach for a “dressier” version of my mom uniform: dress pants (or even casual pants that just aren’t jeans), basic top, cardigan, flats, and hopefully a fun necklace or accessory. Never anything exciting. It’s so hard to pull of a running-late outfit in the cold! Come warmer weather and I’ll be good with some go-to dresses and skirt-blouse combos… soooo much easier. (I used to think winter wear was easier… no, I was wrong.)

    I will now stop rambling…

  5. January 26, 2010 5:45 pm

    And I would definitely say that if you’re building a wardrobe, make sure EVERYTHING you buy can be worn at least five different ways and in at least two different settings (work and brunch, or date night and weekend vacay…). I have lots of things in my closet that aren’t quite so versatile. Granted, I bought them at a time in my life when they didn’t NEED to be versatile (hello 8:00am classes, freshman year of college) but still… versatility!

    • January 26, 2010 5:50 pm

      Totally agree. I have tons of dresses that I can adapt for work and going out and brunch and practically anything else (which is why they’re my go-to choice). I even have a dress that’s too short to wear to work, so I’ve worn it as a skirt!

  6. January 27, 2010 8:13 pm

    Aww, love this entry! Jessica of WIW posted about cohesiveness a few weeks back and how she uses a lot of black and purple. Honestly, I don’t think I’m there yet with that kind of organization. I feel like I have too many colors that don’t exactly go together and it’s something that I’m trying to remedy this year.
    Also, I have not forgotten about our brunch date. I’m busy this weekend and next, but would you like to meet up sometime after that, say, the weekend of the 13th or 20th? Just let me know what works for you!

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