The Wardrobe Essentials You DO need to own

the wardrobe essentials you really DO need to own

(Sweater: ZARA)

I’ve never been a fan of those lists of “The Ten Items Every Woman Must” own – or whatever number their author managed to come up with.

Actually, come to think of it, I’m not a fan of ANY list that claims to apply to EVERY woman: we’re not all the same, after all, and wouldn’t it be boring if we were? There are, however, a few items out there which I really DO think most of us should have in our closets: these definitely won’t apply to EVERY woman, but if you’re starting to think about building a wardrobe, here’s what I think it probably should contain…

4 wardrobe essentials that actually do work for everyone


Pick whichever style works for you: flats, heels, sneakers, whatever. The most important thing isn’t what they look like, but whether or not you can actually wear them for more than a few minutes. It’s really easy to look at articles insisting that everyone must own a pair of ballet flats, say, and feel like you should run out and buy some, but the fact is, not everyone finds ballet flats comfortable or even practical. My current most comfortable pair of shoes, for instance, is a pair of 4″ stilettos from Office, which I can wear all day without them starting to pinch – oh, and they don’t make my legs looks stumpy, like ballet flats do, either. Your best option might be something totally different, but whatever it is, track it down, and then use it as the basis for your wardrobe.

Practical footwear is often the most problematic item to shop for, because what LOOKS good isn’t always the same as what’s practical. If you can solve this one, however, your wardrobe will be off to the best start possible, so it’s worth spending some time (and money, if you have to), on getting it right.


Most of the “Every Woman Should Wear” lists suggest a classic trench as the answer to every sartorial problem. Now, it just so happens that, for me, the classic trench IS the answer to most of my outerwear issues (and, in winter, a wool version is basically my coat of dreams), but that won’t be the case for everyone. When you’re shopping for outerwear, consider what you’ll be wearing underneath it: if you wear a lot of very full skirts, for instance, a fit-and-flare style coat will be a better option than a narrow-cut one, which will force your skirt to bunch together to fit under it. Get this one wrong, and you’re guaranteed to feel frumpy and unstylish every time you set foot outdoors.


By this, I don’t mean you need to go out and buy yourself a drawer full of expensive, lacy lingerie – although, if that’s what you fancy, go for it. There’s a reason why underwear is sometimes described as “foundation wear”, though: it forms the foundation of your outfit, and has the power to either make or break your outfit. Choose wisely (personally, I find nude t-shirt bras look better under my clothes than brightly-coloured lace ones, as much as I love the latter), and go for a fitting if necessary, to make sure you get the perfect fit.


No list of wardrobe essentials would be complete without the little black dress, would it? The thing is, though, not everyone suits black (I look like a vampire in it), or even likes dresses. Most of us do, however, have the odd special occasion to attend, and unless you want to have to go shopping every time you’re invited somewhere, it can be a good idea to have something “in stock” that will work for just about everything.

The reason the LBD is always such a popular choice here is down to its versatility, and the fact that a black dress can usually be dressed up or down as required. So can lots of other clothing, though, so, rather than forcing yourself into a black dress you don’t particularly want to own or wear, the key is to find something that works with your own personal style, instead. That could, indeed, be a dress of some description (even a black one!), or it could be a pair of tailored trousers, or a camisole and skirt: it’s really up to you. My suggestion here is to go for something in a single colour, with a simple shape: that way you’ll be able to wear it to multiple events, without anyone noticing that you always wear the same thing!

What would YOU say are the wardrobe essentials that work for almost everyone? 


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