Saturday, February 2, 2013

22 Essential Items

I wish I had told myself these tips a decade ago, when I first started shopping for myself. Boy, did I wasted a lot of money on some strange clothing items and accessories, cluttered up my closet, never had anything good to wear on most occasions, and looked horrible in many photographs. Ever since I started blogging and studying fashion blogs for the everyday woman, I learned that to look great (especially events where pictures are taken), one doesn't need tons of bells and whistles. I've narrowed it down to 22 timeless and practical items that are worth having from head to toe:

1. Wide-brim/floppy hat:  at least 3.5" brim; preferably in straw, brown, black, blue, or white; if it's packable, even better. Provides protection against UV rays of the sun while framing the face nicely. A must for summer vacations, outdoor spectator events, and picnics.

2. Stud earrings: at least 0.5-1cm in diameter. Either in plain white pearls or plain white diamonds (or CZ), or both. (I'm more a cubic zirconia kind of CZ is for me). Some bling instantly brightens up the face.

3. Hoop earrings: for the inner gypsy! I like about 3/4 inch diameter, but one can go smaller or larger depending on face proportion/preference. Keep it sleek and simple in silver or gold, depending on skin tone and outfits. (I prefer silver on my skin tone).

4. Long station necklace: I learned of this while watching Cougar Town, where Jules Cobb character always wears the same gold station necklace in every single outfit from sweats to party dresses. It sure livens up boring tops, and can be worn doubled-up or long. Preferably in all silver, gold, or with pearl stations. (But remember to adjust it in place before taking photographs, since long necklaces tend to whip around to the side when moving around).

5. White tee: preferably short-sleeve, cap-sleeve, 3/4 length sleeve, or no sleeves (tank), and scoop-neck or v-neck. Lower necklines look better under jackets or when hiding/layering under shirts. (If hesitant on a plain tee, a white tee with subtle stripes or geometric print is okay too).

6. Long-sleeve black knit top: this is for the cold seasons; can be worn by itself or as a base-layer under jackets, vests, sweaters, and pinafore dresses. Neckline can vary from turtleneck, mock-neck, crew-neck, v-neck, scoop-neck, depending on availability/preference. (I personally tend to stay away from high turtlenecks because it seems to make my round face look bigger and rounder for some reason...)

7. Not a plain white button-up shirt: I don't know why style-guides always say every woman should have a crisp white button-up shirt. I hardly see anyone in a basic white button-up, except for waiters at fancy restaurants. Also, a well-fitted plain white shirt is hard to find, stains easily, and one risks looking matronly, schoolgirl-ish, or gentlemen-like when layered wrong. Thus, opt for a white blouse with subtle pinstripes, pindots or polka dots, or a pale blue, nude, blush, or chambray fabric. I see more thrilling layers with these non-white shirts from fashion bloggers.

8. Little black dress: no need to explain this one. Preferably in flattering A-line or hour-glass shape, and easy to accessorize with. (If black isn't your thing, opt for navy blue).

9. Classic jean jacket: we live in a society where "casual" is always in, so a denim jacket helps tone down any outfit. Plus, denim jackets are usually cropped-length, which flatters most women. (Go ahead, try wearing a sparkly evening dress with a jean jacket, and you'll fit in anywhere.)

10. Cargo jacket: this can range from safari to military style, from ivory to khaki to olive cotton fabrics. Like the jean jacket, this helps tone everything down for casual events, while still looking sharp with the tailored lines.

11. Motorcycle jacket: also like the jean jacket, motorcycle jackets are usually cropped length, thus more flattering on the female figure. Plus, the zippers and asymmetrical lines adds visual interest. Something about a good girl turned bad girl (once in awhile) is appealing. Choose neutral colors of black, grey, natural beige in leather or suede like fabrics. (If you prefer less edginess, try in wool or tweeds).

12. Long wool coat: preferably in black. There are times in cold weather when one needs to look professional walking from the car to the destination, maybe a black-tie event, maybe a funeral, maybe a night at the opera. A big wool coat keeps the body warm and cozy while looking sharp regardless of whatever is worn underneath. (If opposed to black, opt for charcoal, navy, deep maroon, or salt & pepper tweed).

13. Trench coat: nothing looks better in the rain, under an umbrella, than a classic trench coat. Thus invest in a water-proof one. This can range from stone to khaki to camel colors, but make sure to choose a hue that doesn't washes out the complexion. (If khaki isn't your thing, opt for navy or red).

14. Slim black pants: any black pants that makes the legs longer and slimmer is key. Make sure it fits snug in the butt and thighs. (Avoid wide-leg styles.)

15. Blue jeans: same rules applies as with the black pants. It should flatter the butt and thighs and is leg-lengthening. If I had to choose only one pair of jeans, I would keep it in a dark wash with no obnoxious back pocket designs.

16. Tan trousers: when the dress code calls for business casual "no jeans" and bored of wearing the black pants and not feeling like wearing a dress or skirt, then tan/khaki (or grey) is the way to go. Best style is straight-leg, not too tight, not too baggy, and wrinkle-free, from wool, to flannel, or polyester blend. (For the average to tall ladies, wide-leg would work in this category).

17. Opaque black tights: for the cold days when bare legs are a no-no. I've experimented with all colors under the sun during my young days and it seems only the dense black tights go well with all my dresses and skirts. Black is just universally flattering for all leg sizes and shape (like my bowlegs).

18. Black booties: I've come to the realization that petites actually look better in ankle booties/shooties than other kinds of boots (especially for short thighs like myself...where knee-length boots often emphasizes how short my thighs are). Booties are also more practical for taking on and off when traveling and are versatile with the black pants/jeans/tights mentioned above, as well as adding spunk to outfits. Choose booties with an almond-toe shape (but still comfortable) and "doesn't cut straight at the ankle" (per Nina Garcia in The One Hundred) .  (But of course, if you have proportional legs, or live in cold snowy climates, higher shaft boots can replace this category).

19. Black pumps: preferably stiletto, almond or pointy toe, to wear from the office to evening wear. The Ann Taylor Perfect pump has been a favorite in the blogosphere reviews for comfort. I own one and love it!  (If have extra funds or again opposed to black, then nude, grey-taupe, or cognac pumps are other options).

20. Tan gladiator sandals: of all the styles of sandals out there, strappy gladiator wins for most fashionable in my opinion. Talk about timeless, this style existed way back to the Romans BC or so. Choose sandals that are comfortable to walk in and matches skin tone to elongate the legs in shorts, dresses, and skirts during summer.
21. Tennis shoe equivalent: for situations when one must walk miles and miles, climbing stairs, and up and down hills....grab a neutral, comfortable shoe with sturdy rubber soles...ranges from oxfords, boat shoes, loafers, or moccasins (my favorite).

22. White shorts: finally adding this to the official list. One must wear something for those hot summer vacations. White shorts just goes with everything! (Black shorts may fit in this category too).

Whew! Anything else not listed are extra (and the fun stuff, haha), depending on personality, environment, trends, and shopping limits.

Do you agree with the essential list above?
Am I missing anything on the list?

1 comment:

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