CLOSET BASICS

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The size of a woman’s closet isn’t correlated with her taste but having a too-large closet can sometimes complicate the simple task of dressing oneself and make frustrating a process that, at a minimum, should be painless.

In this guide I propose nine basic items that I believe form the foundation of a versatile wardrobe. Those who prefer a more minimalist wardrobe don’t need more than a few pairs of shoes, some simple jewelry, cold weather accessories, and two-to-three handbags beyond the nine items listed here. And those who need more sartorial variety can expand on this list with relative ease.
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SLEEK WHITE BLOUSE

Easily dressed down with jeans and perfect for work when worn under tailored blazers, white blouses are a true wardrobe staple. Choose something drape-y, like a crossover or wrap top with a V-shaped neckline, that adds visual interest when paired with suiting jackets and dainty jewelry.
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PREPPY TRENCH COAT

Not just for a rainy day, trench coats have shed their military association and become a timeless piece for mild weather. Burberry trenches are a luxury item but, consider how often you’ll reach for it, the cost per wear will soon be mere pennies.
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LADYLIKE TWEED JACKET

Beyond having a cohesive color story and the right fit, central to any good outfit is a balanced mix of textures;  tweed often offers both complexity of fabric and color. Wear tweed jackets with jeans to elevate an ensemble or pair it with sheath dresses to complete a work outfit.
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COLORFUL PRINTED SKIRT

A pop of color can breathe life into even the most mundane of outfits. Choose a silhouette that flatters your shape or just go with a classic knee-length A-Line skirt that is flirty but still demure enough for more formal occasions.
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TAILORED SUITING JACKET

Suiting jackets don’t have to be boring. A perfectly tailored blazer can dress up a pair of jeans or be part of a business formal ensemble. Choose a three-season fabric that is easy to maintain like a Super 120 wool and brands like Theory that specialize in jackets.
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CASUAL BUTTON DOWN

Consider a woven fabric like chambray or something in a livelier print. Button downs can be worn unbuttoned strategically to be knotted at the end, tied around the waist to channel a ‘90s trend, or worn all buttoned up for work.
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TEXTURED PENCIL SKIRT

Pencil skirts are a work staple but, because of their hip hugging property, can be easily transformed for after-hours socializing. Choose one in a neutral color and an interesting material to maximize versatility.
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NEUTRAL LONG COAT

A long coat in a neutral color can be worn to cover up even the most questionable outfit choice. Wear a long coat and all denim to chase trends or over workwear for an unparalleled sophisticated look.
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DARK WASHED DENIM

Expensive designer denim isn’t always the answer. One can find a pair of well-fitted jeans in a flattering style at any retailer. Gap and Levi Jeans come to mind as affordable options offered in a range of sizes, washes, and cuts.

These nine versatile pieces can be worn almost year round with strategic layering and, because of their classic design, will never go out of style.
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