Fashion can be a fickle little scamp—as they say on “Project Runway,” one day you’re in, next day you’re out. But if you’re wise about adding just a trend or two here and there, and sticking with classic wardrobe basics that have long stood the test of time, you’ll always make the style cut. Here are eight tried-and-true basics every woman should have in her closet — this season, next season and for many years to come.
1The Little Black Dress
Karl Lagerfeld once said, “One is never overdressed or underdressed with a little black dress,” and we couldn’t agree more. Elegant, sophisticated, easy and versatile, this is your go-to garment whether you’re headed to the office (add a cardigan and flats), cocktails with friends (throw on a moto jacket and ankle boots) or a wedding (pair with great pumps and fab jewelry). Consider the LBD fashion’s main must-have.
Whether you’re straight or curvy, tall or short, a great pair of bootcut dark denim with just a touch of stretch is practically fail-proof. Dress them up with sexy heels and a slinky top; wear them to work with a fitted blazer; or go casual with a simple white T-shirt and ballet flats. Once you find the perfect pair, you may want to go ahead and buy several — because, trust us, you’ll wear them again and again.
3The Flannel Shirt
There’s so much to love about this cozy style that has roots in all sorts of fashion arenas — from lumberjacks to preppies to grunge rockers to hipsters. We love the ease of a plaid flannel paired with soft, broken-in jeans, but also the surprise of tucking one into a girlie, full skirt. Comfort never looked so cool.
4The White Button-Down Shirt
Simple, crisp and right for pretty much any occasion, every woman should have a perfect white button-down in her closet. A fitted style works well at the office with a suit or under a crewneck sweater and it pretty much constitutes the American uniform when paired with jeans.
5The Trench Coat
There’s a reason this classic style has endured since its military beginnings in World War I. Trenches are adored not only by the fashion crowd, but also iconic in the world of pop culture (think Marlene Dietrich, Audrey Hepburn, Jackie O.). A good trench can be worn with virtually anything, left open or tightly belted.
6The Pencil Skirt
Ever have an occasion where you need to look polished and professional or sophisticated and a little sexy? You’re gonna need a pencil skirt. With the right additions, the classic style can take your vibe from retro (Joan from “Mad Men”) to bad girl (Rizzo from “Grease”) to glam (Marilyn Monroe) to a corner office with your name on it. Just look for a version that suits your body shape. If you’re curvier, you will want a more forgiving cut and fabric.
7The Evening Clutch
A special night out calls for a special handbag: cue a pretty clutch. Black is always a go-to, but a fun detail — be it sequins, a bow, leather trim or some other embellishment — ups the fashion ante. Plus, most styles come with a strap or chain that can be kept inside for those times you’d rather be hands-free …or just really need to dance!
Black pumps the ultimate footwear basic. You can wear them with jeans, suits, skirts, dresses, slacks, even shorts. Slip them on in winter, spring, summer and fall. You’ll wear your pumps so often, in fact, that you will eventually wear the pair out. Which is why having several pairs — varying heel heights, fabrications and toe shapes recommended — in your closet is one fashion-savvy idea.