My Five Closet Essentials

Whether your wardrobe is large and multi-closeted or small and “curated,” there are some closet essentials you likely don’t want to live without. I know I have them. I can’t get dressed without them (we’re not talking about socks and underwear). I take them to NYC. Their cost-per-wear is probably under fifty cents. And nobody in my life notices how much I wear them.

These are the quiet heroes, the essentials that form the base of lots of outfits. Things I replace when they wear out, and they actually wear out, unlike many of my “special” pieces. So a tribute today to hardworking closet basics.

Here’s my list, and I would love to read about yours in the comments:

1. Black tees. Long, short and sleeveless, I can’t live without them. Often solo, sometimes layered under another top or a blazer. I usually buy these new, at GAP or similar, because even the most expensive black tees wear out after repeated washings.

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Sometimes I start to collect too many of these! Just a couple of nice ones are enough.

2. Boyfriend (now girlfriend?) jeans. These not-too-tight or too-loose jeans are my daily favorites. I love to roll the cuff at the bottom. I prefer a dark wash and no fancy stuff. I have thrifted some great ones, and also buy new at GAP.

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At one of my favorite NYC thrifts on the left. On the right, the new, slimmer “girlfriend” jean.

3. Funky boots/booties. Why be normal? I love slightly odd shoes and boots. They make me happy, especially when the rest of my outfit is fairly sedate.

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These make me smile when I get dressed. Similar to left, to right.

4. Solid midi skirt. Most of my skirts are this length. I love to cover my knees and show off a shapely calf instead.

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And . . . more crazy-ish boots.

5. Navy blazer. Or black. As long as it’s classically cut with no frills or extras.

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Belting a blazer gives a whole ‘nother look.

Stay fabulous, and share your essentials here,

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  1. Enjoyed this! My first visit to your site. Are you ever lucky, that you can wear those shoes! I was careful all my life, but now that I’m “solidly middle aged,” I have two bunions and a hammer toe. And no fat left in the bottoms of my feet to cushion the NYC asphalt. Jenny_O: Me too with black…sooooo, I make up more, wear a colorful blazer or sweater (but nothing granny-ish!), or metro-goth it out with an olive and black-leather-sleeved, diagonal-zippered short jacket and lace-up, Dr. Martin black boot knock-offs. Live a little! πŸ˜‰

  2. Black and grey t-shirts with various sleeve lengths are my essential layering pieces. Other than that, I don’t know if I have any other items I would consider basics. I wish I could find cute ankle boots like yours that fit me, and are comfortable!

  3. Ballet flats are a great wardrobe basic. I have three pair: black and spotted leopard from Banana Republic and bright blue from Tieks are expensive, but the colors and patterns are fantastic.

  4. I wish I could wear black on my top half because there are always so many great black tees and fancy tops in the thrift store, but they make me look like the Grim Reaper is on his way … therefore, my basic essential top is white. I also get a lot of wear from my black slacks and navy slacks (do we even use that word anymore?) and a 3/4 sleeve cropped white cardigan. My jewelry takes the place of your sweet footwear, but only because my feets are hard to buy for πŸ™‚

  5. I have all of these essentials that you mention, but sometimes I’ll swap out a black T for a heavy cami. You have the best collection of booties! Thinking about it, palazzo pants are also one of my essentials.

  6. I freely admit I do not own one single plain black tee. I do own one cami in black that I use when I want to layer.

    Almost all of my tees have graphics or writing on them and I’m much fonder of grey.

    Ironically jeans are what I wear most often when at home and I own 4 pairs. In reality I could probably get that down to two which are my favourite. I’m scared if I wear them too often though I’ll wear them out and then will need to find a new favourite pair and I loath jean shopping.

    Fun boots or booties? There is one addiction I share with you : )


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