Classic Closet Staples
Updated: Feb 24, 2021
The depth of your wardrobe is endless when it includes one of each of these garments!
Pairing a blazer with a dress can take you from church to the office. Changing from flats to heels will take you from book club to the night club.
"The wardrobe possibilities are infinite when you have classic attire that is appropriate for all occasions and always trendy!"
From cowboys and hippies to supermodels and urban trendsetters, jeans have become the most symbolizing garment in American Fashion. Denim legend and Levi's founder Levi Strauss is credited with designing the first-ever jeans in 1870 as a breathable, durable utility garment for railroad engineers, miners, and cowboys to wear during the gold rush out West. It crossed style and economic barriers, becoming the standard off-duty (and, at times, on-duty) staple—a no-hassle garment that can be dressed up or down, depending on the occasion.
Finding the right pair of jeans can be frustrating, though they are the most versatile and the easiest (most times) garment to put on. With styles from dark and high waisted, light and ultra-skinny, bootcut and acid washed, etc. there are many options to try on your figure (trial and error should be practiced) to find your perfect fit. But once you find that ideal pair, you’ll never want to take them off!
The Little Black Dress
Coco Chanel and Jean Patou introduced the little black dress, or LBD, in the early part of the 20th century, when women’s fashion was expected to be corsetry, billowing skirts, and pastel shades. These two pioneering designers broke the mold, emancipating the body of all oppressive elements.
Chanel’s design of the now-universal symbol was a long-sleeved, drop-waisted silk look that reached the knee. It embodied easy dressing, and continues to inspire designers to follow suit, decades after. From Audrey Hepburn in the iconic elegant sheath that Hubert de Givenchy designed in Breakfast at Tiffany’s to Gianni Versace’s ultra-sexy tight body-hugging in the ’80s to Miuccia Prada’s geek-chic pieces a decade later, every designer has put their own signature on this permanent and lucrative staple.
Adopted by the armed forces, infiltrated the gentry and businessmen, and later the world of high fashion. The Blazer’s elevation up the impeccable ranks is due to the way it is sharply tailored, accentuating the shoulders and tapering the waist, giving men a sense of prestige.
But it is said that designer, Yves Saint Laurent introduced blazers to the womenswear industry in 1966, when he debuted his Le Smoking tuxedo suit on the catwalk. Now, if you want to exude a sophisticated quality, it is the most appropriate thing to wear in any environment or occasion.
Originally, this elegant piece of footwear, which was made of leather and featured a low-cut vamp, was worn by men to the operas, balls, and other glittering affairs, in the 1800s. In 1954 the stiletto was introduced and associated with heeled shoes made for women.
Throughout the years, shoe designers have extended the arch, thinned the heel, curved the counter, and added fun colors and prints. Most notably, Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin, and Stuart Weitzman. But it is the modest black pump that endures.
The Dress Shirt
Many prima donnas of fashion have rocked the crisp white button-down with flair, from Katharine Hepburn to Sade. Collar popped, top 3 buttons opened, untucked, paired with jeans and pumps; or buttoned all the way, tucked in, sleeves rolled ¼ up, with trousers and ballet flats, no matter how it is styled and adorned, the top always permeates formality—even when fastened at the midriff on a concert stage.
The Jean Jacket
Flattering, flexible, and completely hassle-free! It can go over any tops and go under any outerwear. It feels soft on your skin keeping you warm on a cool night, but because it’s made from 100% cotton it can also be worn comfortably on a warm Summer day. For those reasons, the jean jacket is always fashionable!
The first denim jacket was created circa 1880 by denim legend and Levi's founder Levi Strauss. Soon after the runaway success of jeans, he gave the world a top to match and dubbed it the Triple Pleat Blouse. From James Dean's iconic denim-jacket sporting portrayal in Rebel Without a Cause in the '50s to Old Navy's stylish budget friendly versions today, jean jackets contradict convention, manifests individuality, and exemplifies anti-establishment cool.
The Ballet Flat
The actual origin of the ballet flat in the 1940’s is conflicting, but in 1956 when French actress Brigitte Bardot requested a pair of her own and wore them in And God Created Woman, the ballet flat as we know it came into fame.
They were initiated into the fashion dictionary, further fashioned throughout the years by Rita Hayworth, Jacqueline Kennedy, and Princess Diana. These women showed that reaching sartorial heights need not require a heel. Paired with a jean and a dress shirt, this ensemble is faithful “go to”.
The Utility Coat/Jacket
Not only is it super versatile adding edge or casualness to an outfit, the utility jacket is an artifact. It’s history goes back to 1898 and the uniforms worn by the 1st U.S. Volunteer Calvary, a.k.a. the “Rough Riders“ during the Spanish-American War. They were created from a lightweight fabric and intended to offset the heat of Cuba. It evolved throughout the military to accommodate the needs of its soldiers.
During the late 1960s and early 1970s in America, the M-65 version of the utility jacket, became a visual object of protest against the Vietnam War. Because of the strong opposition against Vietnam, wearing the green utility jacket gave the wearer a rebellious edge.
It became a symbol in many pop culture movies. The most memorable, Taxi Driver when worn by Robert DeNiro’s character, Travis Bickle. He was a honorably discharged U.S. Marine, who had returned from Vietnam overwhelmingly lost and depressed.
Nowadays, the utility jacket is mostly worn casually, but can be spruced up for a night out. They are usually loose fitting and extends below the hips, but there are blazer styled versions that are appropriate in business casual settings.
The Large Bag
Conveniently large enough to fit an outfit or two, diapers, baby wipes, a small dog, etc. available in many colors and fabrics, perfect for the beach or the boardroom, with a strap(s) that allow it to sit comfortably on the shoulder. Many large bags are so functional that they include a matching, removable pouch that can be used as a makeup bag, toiletry bag, toy bag(hot wheels if you’re a boy mom), or just hold fly away items.
The large bag looks great all year long in any weather or occasion. The many awesome wall pockets hold everything from lip gloss, cell phones, and chewing gum. Some even have special slots for easy access to work IDs and Metro cards! The large bag is a god sent for any woman.
They scream TAKE IT EASY, made from an instantly relaxing terry fleece, it is impossible to ignore them. They have become a quarantine staple, though they’ve been popular for years. They make you feel good while moving, couch surfing, or sleeping and can be worn all year. You can even dress them up with a leather, jean, or utility jacket for a casual chic off-duty look. Featuring an easy elastic waistband, side pockets, a tapered ankle hem, or wide legs. Technical materials and flattering seams have updated and elevated everyday sweats, making them fully acceptable to wear out of the house. There are even faux-leather, satin, and silk joggers that can be paired with heels for a Girl’s Night or a hot date!
So, as you can see these timeless classic essentials are the primer when building your wardrobe, whether you’re downsizing or revamping. Day-to-day dressing is much simpler when your closet is built on an efficient selection of clothing!