Are you looking to build an impressive wardrobe? Then the secret lies in investing in timeless classic pieces as your foundation, and topping off these staples each season with on-trend items. While that guidance is an excellent place to start, it’s not always clear what those “foundation” pieces precisely are. Investing in your wardrobe is admirable, yet you need to know exactly what items to purchase.
Investing in timeless, quality pieces of clothing will not only help you look incredible but also save you hard-earned money. Instead of wasting fine fashion dollars on cheaply made articles that are outdated after a season or two, focus on purchasing staples for longevity and style. Furthermore, you’ll always stay up-to-date because you can easily incorporate the latest colors, designs, and fabrics that change according to trends and your style.
Every woman, regardless of her age, body type, or individual style should own the essential pieces that always look fashionable and timeless. These items can be dressed up or down depending on your mood; and by knowing what you need to invest in each one, you’ll build an ageless collection that is sure to save money while making you feel sensational!
1. Black Pumps
A well-crafted pair of black pumps will provide you with the most value for your money. With lavishness and versatility, they are able to add an extra hint of sophistication when matched to date night denim or office attire. Ensure that quality is taken into account—as these shoes have been known to last a lifetime! In addition, if any repairs ever need to be made, they can always be done–reinforcing their longevity even further.
If you seek a timeless piece of footwear, go for closed-toe pumps with an almond shape. While round and pointed toes have had their brief moments in the spotlight, nothing matches the enduring elegance of almond-shaped toe designs. Matte leather is also preferable over patent or suede if you want something that easily transitions between seasons – perfection!
What to Spend: When you’re looking for an exceptional pair of mid-heel pumps, you can expect to spend anywhere from $100-$150. Make sure to try on the shoes in-store with the hosiery that will be worn with them. My recommendation is Michael Kors; however, Clarks, J.Crew, and Sam Edelman also offer durable, classic pairs of heels which are incredibly comfortable too.
Bonus Item: Step up your style and break from the mundane with a pair of red peep-toe pumps! They provide an elegant, less-formal alternative to traditional closed-toe shoes without breaking the bank – you can get them for as low as $30-$40.
2. Trench Coat
Trench coats have been a fashion staple since the late 1800s, and it’s easy to understand why! They not only provide function but also flatter all body shapes with their waist-defining silhouette. This timeless style looks terrific on all body types, from petite to plus size. Whether you want a dressy look or something more casual, it’s the perfect piece for any drizzly day during the fall and spring seasons – not to mention that it always helps create an air of professionalism too!
If you are searching for a timeless trench coat, neutrals should be your go-to. Look for design features like mid-size lapels, double-breasted silhouettes, and drawstrings at the waist to make it stand out from the rest. The higher-end options often utilize lined cotton gabardine fabric but leather or poplin variants exist as well.
What to Spend: When looking for a trench coat, you can find options at various price points. For utilitarian purposes such as commuting to work in poor weather conditions, the higher-end pieces between $100 and $300 will be your best bet. If you are shopping on a budget, brands like Banana Republic and London Fog offer affordable selections that still maintain quality standards. Of course, Burberry is always the classic choice if you have some extra cash to spare!
Bonus Item: Investing in a leather jacket can add some whimsy to your wardrobe, especially if you favor wearing trenches. Look for one featuring moto accents like buckles and zippers to make it interesting yet practical. You don’t have to break the bank either – opt for faux leather options that cost under $50 since they’re primarily meant as decorative pieces rather than functional ones.
3. Dark Wash Jeans
Jeans are an essential item for any women’s wardrobe, and it pays to put your denim funds into a dark wash. With these jeans, you can add flats for brunch with pals or spice things up by adding some heels plus a shimmery top for the upcoming holiday bash! From taller straight-legs to bootcut and skinny, the type of jeans you should choose depends on your figure; Apple shapes look amazing in high-waisted styles while pears can rock a classic boot cut and ruler shapes are suited for super slim skinnies.
Rich, dark colors with a minimal amount of whiskers and fading give you a classic but fashionable style. Make sure to turn your jeans inside out when washing them in cold water – this will retain their color for longer!
What to Spend: My favorite brands are Calvin Klein, J Brand, and Liverpool Jeans Company – prices range from $50 to $100.
Bonus Item: Adding a splash of color to your wardrobe can be an easy way to look stylish! A pair of colored jeans, like yellow or red, is the perfect piece for any weekend outfit. Pair them with neutral colors and try not to break the bank when purchasing – aim for around $30 as they are likely only trendy. That way you won’t have too much invested in something that may go out of style soon enough!
4. Pencil Skirt
When it comes to skirts, the pencil shape is a timeless and universally flattering choice. With its classic high-rise waistline and knee-skimming length, you’ll look fabulous in any situation or event – making this skirt your go-to wardrobe staple for years of style success! From the office to Sunday service, a pencil skirt is an invaluable addition to your wardrobe; it pairs perfectly with all kinds of blouses and jackets.
Here’s a quick hint: When searching for the perfect skirt, check the fabric tag and pick one that has between 2 to 5 percent spandex content. Not only will it provide an extra bit of shape, but also make sure your skirt stays in place all day without loosening up like with pure cotton or polyester garments. Buy a neutral hue so you can mix and match any top!
What to Spend: When looking for a pencil skirt that fits great, I recommend setting your budget between $50 and $75. Notable brands such as Calvin Klein or Vince Camuto have skirts worth the price tag, however, if you are on a tighter budget H&M has various options to choose from all under fifty dollars.
Bonus Item: Accentuate your waistline with an A-Line skirt, complemented by a tucked-in blouse and belt. For less than $30 you can buy one for cooler weather as well as light fabrics for summertime! Investing in this fashion staple is sure to help elevate your wardrobe from average to stylishly chic.
5. Riding Boots
The array of boot styles is ever-changing, and it’s perfectly acceptable to purchase a low-cost yet trendy pair. However, some of your money should be allocated for an excellent quality set of classy leather riding boots that you can use season after season. Timeless knee-high boots originally popular amongst horseback riders, these chic and sensible shoes can last for countless seasons. Whether you pair them with a dress, skirt, or trousers, they will always be fashionable no matter the occasion – plus bonus: their lack of heels makes them quite comfortable!
Investing in quality may cost you a bit more, but it’s worth every penny. If you’re looking for the best riding boots out there, Frye Company is your go-to choice. Their materials and craftsmanship make them uniquely suited to withstand the rigors of horseback riding while also getting better over time with use. It’s why they are my favorite pair of boots!
Trying to add a bit of height while also ensuring functionality? Look no further than Ralph Lauren and Cole Haan who offer high-quality riding boots with thick, stacked heels beneath two inches. Not only will it give you an elongated leg line but the assurance that however tall you are, your ride will be one for the books!
What to Spend: Finding the perfect pair of boots doesn’t need to be a tedious task. With prices ranging anywhere from $200-400, you can always ensure that your choice is made with quality in mind. Look for genuine leather – this material not only looks great but it has the ability to stand up against wear and tear over time when properly maintained. Don’t forget to measure your calf circumference at its widest point as well – this will help guarantee that you obtain the best fit possible so those boots can last forever!
Bonus Item: Looking for an affordable boot? Fall is your best bet! However, they may not be the most practical option. But if you’re just looking to make a fashion statement, why not splurge on some stylish boots that won’t break the bank? I usually try to keep my booties under $50, but with patience and luck – you can easily find them online or in stores for as low as $30 (or even cheaper!)
6. A Tailored Button-Up
Button-up shirts can be a nightmare for busty figures, but when tailored to perfection, nothing looks more timeless. Not only will you look ready for the office or a night out with jeans and skirt combinations, but your layering options become endless when pairing them up with sweaters! An ill-fitting button-up, however, can make you look sloppy. Therefore, ensure that your shirt fits properly and securely without any noticeable button gaps. If you have a larger bust size, it is always beneficial to shop at specialty stores for the ideal fit!
If you want to make an impression, don’t be afraid to experiment with colors and patterns on your white button-up. Neutral patterns like dots or a subtle animal print are my favorites because they not only add character but also offer versatility. For a flattering look, seek out items with curved hems and full-length sleeves that can be worn long or rolled up to show off your elbows.
What to Spend: Express Essential Shirts are the perfect choice when looking for high-quality button-up shirts -all at an affordable price of $50. Shop now and you won’t regret it!
Bonus Item: A chiffon popover shirt is an essential piece of clothing to own. Unlike a typical button-up, it has less structure and is perfect for more relaxed occasions yet looks polished nonetheless! On top of that, you can get them in various colors and patterns at extremely affordable prices – $20 to $30 only! I typically find my popovers from neighborhood boutiques.
Without hesitation, I would choose to keep my blazer if all other clothing had to be discarded. Its remarkable versatility is just unmatched! Not only is a blazer perfect for wearing with jeans and heels on evenings out, but it can also be used to dress down an elegant cocktail dress. It’s all thanks to the timeless cut that slims any body shape and makes everyone look their best. A classic black blazer is an essential wardrobe staple for any woman, regardless of if you work in a professional environment or spend your time with the kids at home. This timeless piece will give you an effortlessly chic and polished look in a pinch!
When purchasing a blazer, pay close attention to its length; it should ideally be just above the hip. Lengthier choices may appear more fashionable, yet they have the undesirable effect of making your legs look shorter than usual. On the other hand, though shorter styles are pick-me-up in their own right, they do not provide as much versatility when looking for something that flatters you universally. Moreover, make sure that tailoring is optimal and fits you snugly at the waistline to conclude with a distinct shape altogether!
Ultimately, finding the right blazer means choosing a stance that flatters your body type. If you have a bustier figure, then select a higher stance; whereas those with more athletic figures should opt for lower stances. When trying it on, give yourself an embrace to check if the shoulders fit properly and not too tightly.
What to Spend: Invest between $50 and $75 in a quality blazer from any of the two established names – J.Crew or Banana Republic – as both are renowned for their professional-grade attire.
Bonus Item: If you’re searching for a way to make any ensemble more relaxed and casual, try throwing on a draped cardigan. These garments typically have an elongated shape that is looser than the traditional style of cardigans with no closure in sight. You can find affordable options at your local Forever 21 or Macy’s stores – just add it to whatever look you’d usually pair with a blazer and watch as your day-to-night transformation begins!
8. Neutral Satchel
When on the lookout for a new handbag, you can find an array of styles from practical and relaxed hobo bags to chic clutches. If you are looking for the perfect bag that can accompany almost any outfit, then look no further than a neutral satchel. Featuring tons of pockets and a structured, rectangular shape to provide maximum storage capabilities – including a flap pocket – this versatile bag is suitable for both your work wardrobe as well as casual shopping trips. You will also benefit from its timeless appearance, allowing it to easily transition through all seasons with ease!
As I search for the perfect satchel, a top-carry handle and shoulder strap are must-haves for me. To ensure that my purchase looks timeless year after year, classic colors like cream, brown, and black make all the difference.
What to Spend: Investing in a reliable, high-quality handbag is the best way to go. My current Coach bag has been with me for two years and counting. When looking for a long-lasting option, it’s worth considering spending between $200-$500 on one made from genuine leather that boasts numerous interior pockets. If you’re searching for a quality satchel but don’t want to invest too much, check out Merona from Target or Anne Klein at Macy’s which can be found for around $75. Kate Spade has extraordinary satchels, yet those looking to save money need not sacrifice style; there are plenty of terrific options available.
Bonus Item: Transform your handbag collection with a few affordable clutches. These are ideal additions for special occasions such as weddings and parties, plus they slot inside larger bags to create an instant style switch-up. For around $25 you can have yourself a glamorous clutch that’s perfect for stashing essentials like cards and lipstick!
9. A Little Black Dress
Every woman should have at least one classic little black dress in her wardrobe. It can be dressed up or down to suit any occasion – from a professional setting, or a romantic evening out, to simply lounging around the house. From Holly Golightly’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s look to Princess Diana’s chic off-the-shoulder number, some of the most legendary fashion moments have been with a Little Black Dress. It truly is an ideal outfit for any situation since its timeless style and sharp lines will never go out of fashion!
What defines an LBD? Well, for starters, it’s length – opt for knee-length or shorter. With a selection of party heels and cardigans paired with flats, the options are endless! Whether you’re looking to rock the perfect wedding look or ace that office meeting attire; your little black dress has got you covered every single time! The timeless shape of a Little Black Dress (LBD) lends itself to being sleek and form-fitting all the way down, thus emphasizing your silhouette. Additionally, LBDs generally come with minimal detailing so you can add flair by accessorizing or experimenting with different shoe styles!
What to Spend: When it comes to finding your perfect little black dress, the fit is of the utmost importance. So much so that spending a little more on quality and design may make all the difference. My favorite LBD cost me around $120 but my second best was just fifty dollars -so go with whatever makes you feel like a million bucks! Adrianna Papell and Calvin Klein are two reliable brands known for creating stunning yet timeless designs sure to turn heads wherever you go.
Bonus Item: Ready to bring some fun, ease, and splash of colors into your wardrobe? Look no further than a maxi dress! With prices ranging from $30 – $50, it’s the perfect way to spruce up any outfit. Grab yourself several in multiple colors and styles for an effortless look that can take you anywhere.
10. A Perfect White T-Shirt
To complete your classic wardrobe, you must find the ideal white T-shirt. What makes a shirt perfect in addition to looking great on it? The neckline! V-necks are by far the most flattering for any body type. Additionally, I recommend selecting one with fine knit fabric rather than looser ribbed material which tends to lose its shape quickly. Finally, choose a fabric that contains some spandex as it will ensure an optimal fit throughout each wear!
A classic white T-shirt is the perfect piece of clothing to have in your wardrobe. It can be dressed up with a statement necklace and blazer for work, or worn casually at the farmers’ market by pairing it with sunglasses and a scarf.
Shopping for T-shirts is an effortless task since they are available virtually everywhere. However, it is important to take the time and try on a few options before purchasing them; this way you can be confident that your purchase will be a winner! Gap carries some outstanding shirts for all occasions – check out their selection first if you haven’t already. With the right fit and fabric, you’ll have a shirt ready to wear anywhere!
What to Spend: For just $20, you can acquire a basic white T-shirt that you will love. It’s worth it to grab several of them because they may discolor and stain over time – so having extras on hand when your old favorites are ready for retirement is always a great idea!
Bonus Item: Revamp your wardrobe by rocking a patterned T-shirt! Test out different necklines and you just might find yourself enamored with crew necks or falling head over heels for round necks above the traditional V.
Reflect on how much of your shopping is due to poor-quality clothes or objects that have already gone out of fashion. Investing in quality clothing may require more money, yet it will be worth the cost since they can last longer both in terms of durability and trendiness. Thus, you’ll feel satisfied with what you pay for! By grounding your wardrobe in timeless, classic pieces that never go out of style, you can easily elevate even the most inexpensive and trendy clothes in your closet. This will give you maximum value for all of the items in your wardrobe!
What fashion items do you consider to be essential foundation pieces in your wardrobe?
This post originally appeared on MoneyCrashers.com.