Friday, June 23, 2017

My Top 5 Wardrobe Staples

Hello, beautiful! You know those shopping trips where you buy so much stuff your arms get sore, your credit card bill weeps and your heart nearly bursts with joy? Well, that was me the other day - and now I'm here to share what I bought with you!

But first, I wanted to take a minute to talk about a few of the wardrobe staples I can't live without. In case you missed my post on capsule wardrobes, I've been trying to minimize my wardrobe lately - and I strongly feel that enhancing your closet with high-quality basics is the best way to successfully reduce the number of items in your closet.

I'll also be sharing some of my very best shopping tips to help you navigate the stores and the sales like an old pro! If you're someone like me who easily gets overwhelmed by the environment at the mall, I promise my tips will help you simplify the shopping experience.

My Top 5 Wardrobe Staples 

No closet is complete without an array of neutral basics that can be mixed and matched with every outfit. When I headed out to my local mall on Monday to shop the latest summer sales, I knew I wanted to increase the number of staples in my closet to enhance the versatility of my wardrobe. Now, I'll be showing you what I bought and explaining why I ranked it in my list of top 5 wardrobe basics! 

#1 Black Jeans & #2 White Tee

No wardrobe can ever be complete without the classic combo of black jeans and a white tee! Believe it or not, I went years without owning either a white tee shirt or a pair of plain black skinny jenas - which is why I picked up this adorable set on sale at Abercrombie & Fitch! I love the quality of A&F's clothing, but at full price, it's not something this broke college girl could normally afford. During their summer sale, I scored this pair of black jeans for just $20 and this comfy swing tee for just $10, making these staples a total steal.

I love the combination of a plain tee and black pants for its style and simplicity. For a casual look that screams NYC, you can cuff the bottoms of your black jeans and throw on some cute suede ankle booties. Or, to dress it up for a casual day at work, roll down those jeans, throw on a black blazer and slip into your most practical pair of black flats. 

#3 Simple Day Dress

I've been jokingly referring to this as the "World's Cutest Dress" ever since I first saw it hanging from the rack inside A&F. It was so cute, in fact, that despite the overwhelming number of sales at the mall, I splurged and bought the number at full price for $58. I love that this linen dress is well-constructed and looks like something I bought at Madewell, yet cost about a fraction of the price. 

I obviously love a good day dress for spring and summer - but the best part about a wardrobe staple like this is that you can easily transition it into the cooler fall and winter seasons as well. With a simple cardigan sweater, some sheer tights and a pair of cute booties, this dress can go from the poolside picnics of August to the snowy days of November in no time.

#4 Nude Flats

Okay, okay: it might be cheating to consider these shoes "flats," since they've technically got a wedge heel. However, as someone who's only 5'1", I think I deserve a free pass! Admittedly, they were a bit of an impulse buy on my way out of the mall, but since my old black flats are falling apart at the heel, I'm forgiving myself for this $24.99 Payless purchase.

In my humble opinion, nude flats transition from day to night a smidge better than the traditional black ones - especially "cheater" ones with a bit of a heel. Wear them with work pants and a blazer (or a cute dress and cardigan) during the day, then take off the blazer (or cardigan) and amp up the eye makeup for night. 

#5 Quality Lingerie

What goes underneath your clothes is just as important as what you wear. Not only do you want to be smooth and wrinkle-free throughout the day (which means avoiding lace bras with thin tee shirts and the like), but wearing lingerie you love can give you a boost of confidence on bad days. 

As you might be able to tell from this picture, the Victoria's Secret semi-annual sale is my FAVORITE time of year to splurge on new lingerie. Ever since I turned 16, I've shopped this sale religiously. The three bras pictured in this photograph each cost me $20, while the white bralette cost only $5 in-store...speaking of which, my best tip for shopping the VS semi-annual sale? Always shop in-store versus online; I tend to find there are more in-stock varieties in my size offline than on.

Honorable Mention

I almost thought I could live without mentioning these denim shorts, but since it's been 90 degrees and sweltering hot outside for the past five days, dark-wash denim shorts like this $25 pair from Hollister are quickly becoming my latest obsession. While they aren't exactly a wardrobe "staple," they still make for much cooler nights than my black skinny jeans! 

My Best Shopping Tips 

If you're anything like me, you might get a little bit overwhelmed by big semi-annual sales. Unfortunately, if you're anything like me, they're also probably your favorite time of year to shop, since it's a great way to get a bang for your buck when it comes to high-quality wardrobe staples. Thankfully, I've learned a few key ways to minimize anxiety and stay focused while navigating the mall during this stressful shopping time: 

  • Start with a plan. Creating a list of all the stores you want to stop at will help you simplify your shopping trip and avoid impulse-buying items that won't fit into your wardrobe. My personal list included some of my favorite stores like Victoria's Secret, American Eagle, Hollister and Abercrombie and Fitch.
  • Know what you need. With the exception of the World's Cutest Dress, everything I bought was strategically designed to fill a gap in my wardrobe. Buying only things you actually need, rather than throwaway items, will help you love what's already in your closet that much more.
  • Understand your personal style. I used to be the kind of person who tried to "reinvent" myself through clothing. To me, basic equaled boring, so I didn't want to "waste" money on wardrobe staples like white tees and black jeans. Now, I try to stick to things I know I actually like - even if my personal style is a little bit plain Jane, I definitely save more money by buying clothes I'll actually wear IRL! 
  • Shop twice annually. Going on two massive shopping trips in June/July and December/January during semi-annual sales will save you money in the long run - not just from the bargains you'll find, but also because you won't feel as tempted to impulse shop during the rest of the year.
  • Don't shy away from your real size. During this shopping trip, I discovered my jeans and dress sizes had increased, while my bra size had gone down. High school me might have forced myself to squeeze into an extra small dress or size 3 shorts, but now, I think comfort and fit are the keys to ensuring your wardrobe staples actually last!
  • Resist buying into trends. As a sorority girl, I know how tempting it can be to buy That Bag or Those Shoes - you know, the ones all your friends have been scrambling to get their hands on for months now.  However, I think it's so important to resist transient trends and instead invest in timeless pieces that won't go out of style. 

What's the #1 wardrobe staple you couldn't live without? Let me know in the comments below!

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