Is anyone else tired of all of the articles and shopping roundups telling you what clothes you’re “supposed” to have? I mean, do we really all need a little black dress? What about a midi skirt? Does every woman need to have both a trench coat and a leather jacket in her closet? The truth is that we don’t all feel confident in every silhouette, and we all have different styles (that’s what makes fashion interesting!).
So instead of telling you again how you need a classic pair of black heels (when you’re much more of a flats person), here are the items every woman should (actually) have in her closet, easily adjustable for every style, body type, and budget, so you’ll never have to say, “I have nothing to wear!” ever again. Consider it your ultimate fashion bucket list.
1. Quality denim
Even if you’ve been living in sweatpants lately, denim will never go out of style. Whether your preferred fit is straight leg, skinny, or oversized, take the time to find a high-quality pair that will last forever and make you feel like your best self, every time you put them on. Experiment with less expensive pairs in different fits, and once you find the best style for you, invest the time and money to find a good pair in your ideal style.
2. A go-to dress you can wear from day to night
The key to an ideal day-to-night dress is a simple style that’s a blank slate. It can be just as casual with white sneakers and a denim jacket as it will look killer at happy hour with strappy heels and statement earrings. Make it work-appropriate with a blazer and loafers to wear to the office, and then throw on a pair of heels before drinks with the girls (that’s the definition of work-life balance, right?). P.S. if dresses aren’t your thing, a nice pair of pants and a classic button-down will do the transitional trick as well.
3. A good bra
No matter what cup size Victoria’s Secret told you you were in eighth grade, we all should have a good bra. You know the one I’m talking about: the type of bra that lifts you up in all the best ways, the type that doesn’t pinch or sag, and the type you know would’ve saved Lizzie McGuire a lot of trouble in that episode when she and Miranda wanted to go bra shopping. To find the perfect bra for you, check out the inclusive brand we love, read about Everygirl Editorial Assistant Jess’s experience with a direct-to-consumer brand, or shop the most comfortable bras on the market if comfort is more your style (literally).
4. Sunglasses for your face shape
Think of sunglasses as you would any item of clothing: the most flattering pieces are the ones that are tailored to you. While your tailor can’t alter or hem your sunglasses, finding the right size and style of frame for your unique face shape can enhance your features and elevate your style. To find what sunglass shape is best for your face shape (or to identify your face shape), check out our 2020 Sunglasses Guide.
5. Comfy pajama set
I feel like a pair of nice pajamas are a rite of passage; you become an adult the day you throw out your old camp T-shirt and invest in a jersey or satin set (that’s how it works, right?). As if we needed more convincing to get ourselves some cozy pieces, it’s an investment for our health! After all, don’t you sleep better when you’re in new, comfy PJs? Treat yourself to a set that will feel so luxurious that they’ll become your sleepwear, work-from-home uniform, and loungewear, all in one. Go ahead and live in them; we won’t judge.
6. An everyday work tote
Yes, all of us will likely have a lot of purses throughout our lives. Arguably the most important one is a work tote. Think about it: your work tote is basically like the magical bag in Mary Poppins. Need a phone charger? You’ve got one. Looking for a lip gloss? Check the side pocket. Think you forgot your daily planner? Nope, it’s in there. Craving a piece of gum? Oh yeah, there’s one in there somewhere (can your envelope clutch do that?). Make sure you have a work tote that you love and will last you a long time because you’re going to be carrying it everywhere.
7. Leggings that feel like second skin
You know them, you love them, you work out in them, you unapologetically wear them as pants when nothing else will do. What once was a jazzercise staple in the era of ’80s aerobics has transformed into a wardrobe basic for brunch plans, loungewear, and even a part of our work uniforms. They’re the comfiest thing you own, so you might as well find a pair that will look and feel as good as possible, right? If you wear leggings specifically for exercise, read this; if you want to read about an Everygirl-editor favorite, read this; and if you’re looking to get away with wearing nothing else ever again (me), read this.
8. A work blazer
When I had my first “adult” internship at ELLE Magazine (not to brag or anything, but I just casually drop that whenever I can), my mom bought me my first legit blazer. By that, I mean a blazer that had nice buttons, a tailored fit, and shoulder pads that were neither flimsy nor trendy (“trendy” shoulder pads can get overwhelming). To be honest, it was the one item of clothing that healed a bit of the inevitable imposter syndrome (because owning a nice work blazer means you’re a real adult).
9. A swimsuit that makes you feel good
Every woman needs a swimsuit that hugs her in all the right places and won’t make her feel like she shouldn’t indulge in a spicy margarita or two (well worth the bloat, am I right ladies?). As hard as it is to find, the perfect bathing suit for you is out there, I promise! To start your quest, check out our favorite suits of the season and our favorite accessories to go with them (we’ve got your back!).
10. The perfect white tee
Sure, you’ve had lots of white tees in your life. If you’re anything like me, you buy the pack of 3-for-1 over and over again, thinking, “a white shirt is a white shirt, right?” And then when you’re actually getting dressed and the $2.50 tee just looks baggy, unshapely, or plain blah, you know you should invest in a nice white T-shirt (the unicorn of white T-shirts, if you will). The right white tee can be tucked into a pencil skirt, worn under a badass leather jacket, or thrown on with boyfriend jeans for an effortlessly chic OOTD. It will be the most commonly worn piece in your closet, so make sure it’s a good one.
11. Power shoes
You know those days where you need some extra oomph? Maybe you have a big deal presentation at work, or you’re super nervous for a first date. Not that a pair of shoes automatically calms nerves or will ace your presentation, but having a go-to pair that makes you feel like a total badass will help boost confidence when you need it. Whether your power pair of shoes are 6 in. heels, totally flat, or somewhere in between, make sure you have a go-to pair that will make you stand a little taller (metaphorically or physically–looking at you, stilettos). It can be a classic heel, an edgy boot, or even your favorite pair of sneakers, as long as they help you feel like your best self.
12. A signature staple
What does every fashion icon have in common? They all have a staple that is just so them. Carrie Bradshaw? Stilettos. Victoria Beckham? Pencil skirt. Ariana Grande? Half-up ponytail. Mary Kate and Ashley? All black. Beyoncé? A glittery unitard. But you don’t have to be a pop diva or major fashion designer to have a signature look. Whether it’s a colorful handbag, a bold lip, vintage jewelry, or striped tees, find a staple that feels like you, and then rock it consistently and unapologetically.