Wardrobe Function :: 10 essential and timeless pieces that will age as gracefully as you do

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My two greatest fashion icons growing up were my mother and my maternal grandmother.Their style was timeless. Classic. Chic. They were elegance personified. My mother was a career woman in an era where many women weren't. But because she worked in the arts (she was head of Public Relations for two of New York's most prestigious museums) her style was hardly buttoned up. She always looked chic. My grandmother exuded style. She looked like an old Hollywood star. Even as a young child I knew their style was exemplary. I went through many styles and style challenges in my teens - I blame 80s fashion for all of it! But eventually I found my way. I too gravitated towards the classics. And over the years, my sense of style really hasn't changed at all.

I have a lot of clothes - Actually let me rephrase that. I have a lot of clothes that I've managed to to hold on to for many, many years. My favorite velvet duster was a "splurge" when I was in my early 20s. I also have cashmere sweaters, dresses and pants that are over a decade old now. I can be hard on my shoes and jeans tend to wear out but I tend to gravitate, for the most part, to the same simple styles. Of course I like to have fun with my clothes and toss in a few trendy pieces for fun and good measure. But I believe in sticking with the tried and true. They don't call them the classics or timeless for no reason at all. Not only are these items timeless in look and design, but they flatter a multitude of body shapes. Perhaps this is the reason that these pieces can be worn well by women from their 20s into their 50s and probably well beyond. I am quite certain that this is the reason I still have many pieces I bought in my mid to late 20s. 


1. A tailored blazer or jacket

Essential to every wardrobe. A well fitted blazer will carry you through many years. Classic styles and colors such as black, beige, grey and navy complement a wide variety of colors. These simple jacket can be worn with jeans, dresses, skirts and dress pants. They can be worn over T-shirts, blouses and lightweight sweaters. A well tailored jacket may well be the most versatile piece of clothing we own.

Pret A Porter

2. A white blouse

You should own at least one classic, button down white blouse. But once you own one you will want many, and in many different styles as well. Simple and uncomplicated a white blouse can be worn to the office, to a cocktail party or with a pair of jeans. Add a pearl choker for a classic and polished look or a fun colorful bauble for a trendy or more bohemian feel.


3. A cashmere sweater

Start your collection with just one. Choose a classic color such as off white, black, beige or grey for the most versatility. Perhaps you will opt for a pull-over crew neck or a cardigan - but select a style that will give you the most use. Worn with jeans, dress pants, skirts and dresses, you will be instantly hooked. Watch as your collection of colors and styles grows instantly! For those with sensitive skin, cashmere is a godsend! My mother must have cashmere sweaters that are close to 50 years old. They will last forever if you take proper care of them. 


4. The Little black pant - The cigarette pant

I tend to think of the elegant Audrey Hepburn when I think of these timeless, flattering pants, for I do think that she made the iconic pant what it is today. These pants hit just above the ankle and can be worn with heels and flats alike. These pants can be paired with a dressier top, or worn casually with a simple sweater or turtleneck as Miss Hepburn did. I have several pairs of cigarette pants, all slightly different, and they are incredibly flattering and always stylish.


5. Well fitting bootleg jeans

I say well fitting because we all know that finding that perfect jean can take some time. My advice is this - when you find it, get several pairs. A good pair of jeans doesn't have to cost a lot, but should fit well. They should hit and flatter all your curves. They shouldn't cut into you or add bulk. I love my jeans. I wear them for almost every occasion. I have learned to dress them up with a well tailored jacket, heels and pearls - they can take me from work to dinner. I love them with a pretty pair of flats and a cashmere cardigan, and I love them with a little white blouse. I often wear them casually with just a little white T-shirt, then if I need to run out I can add a quick touch of sophistication by sliding into a pair of heals and a little jacket. My jeans go everywhere I go practically!

Kenneth Jay Lan

6. A chunky pearl necklace

I wear pearls with everything. EVERYTHING! I have several chunky pearl necklaces. I have one that I wore on my wedding day that I still wear with everything from cocktail dresses, to - you guessed it - my jeans! 

Manolo Blahnik

7. A pair of leopard flats

Leopard is the new black. It's become a wardrobe staple and goes with everything. It really does. It offers a bit more personality and pizzaz than a simple black flat - and yes, your wardrobe should have one pair of those too!


8. A good pair of black pumps

Self explanatory, yes?

Mod Cloth

9. The LBD - Little Black Dress

Also, self explanatory, yes? If for no other reason, you have nothing to wear to a cocktail party or other event you can always rely on your LBD. It's like your BFF for your wardrobe. It will never let you down. Trust me on this!


10. The Trench Coat

Classic, timeless, this coat will help you weather any storm. Whether you're on your first post college interview or you're late to meet your new post-grad hire, this one coat will see you through most of life's events. If you live in colder climates, invest in a trench that comes with a warm liner. 

I think what I love best about these essential pieces is not merely the fact that they are indeed timeless, but they are so incredibly versatile and can all be interchanged and worn together.