The trick to assembling a classic wardrobe is to gather a mix-and-match collection of timeless clothing pieces and accessories that work double, triple or even quadruple duty. By building a chic wardrobe of 20 to 25 tailored, versatile pieces, you will have an outfit ready and waiting at your fingertips that can take you from the desk to dinner. Be prepared to spend some time and a few dollars to find age-defying tops, skirts, pants, dresses, jackets, footwear and accessories that fit and complement your body type.
Try on form-fitting tops that flatter you. The narrowest part of a curvier figure might be right under the bust; choose blouses and sweaters with a high-set empire waistband or well-structured seams allowing the rest of the top to float gracefully away, making your legs look like they go on for days. A slender person can wear more fitted clothing; added ruffles across the chest and a peplum waist bestow a shapelier form.
Shop for quality pants, jeans and skirts without pleats that add unnecessary bulk. A smoothly fitted pant should flow naturally down the leg line from the widest part of your hip. A tall, slim frame suits skinny jeans, pencil skirts and Capri pants, while an hourglass shape rocks straight-leg pants, trouser jeans and A-line skirts. Almost everybody can wear the right walking short, with a hem just above the knee.
Find knee-length classic dresses that speak to who you are. Prints add interest and give you the chance to express your wild side. Every woman needs a little black dress to romance a date or head out on the town. Wrap-style dresses, shirtdresses and classy formal dresses have a certain “je ne sais quoi” that never go out of style.
Show off or create a shapely upper half by adding a couple of must-have jackets to your wardrobe. For a streamline fit, pick well-seamed coats with texture, such as tweed, that button comfortably below the bust and don’t sit above the widest part of your hip. A basic well-made cardigan substitutes for a jacket on a sultry summer evening.
Flaunt a pop of color. Buy neutral structured suits and sport them with red or green high-heel, pointy-toe pumps for work. For an edgy look, slip into a tall, slender boot and a wrap-style dress. Don walking shorts with a sweet kitten heal or rhinestone sandal for shopping or the PTA meeting. Add a couple of fashionable bags to your collection for variety, but never “match” your shoes to your purses; instead, think of them as “going well together.”
Glamorize simply stated outfits with jewelry. A basic summer dress comes to life with a chunky bracelet. Statement-piece necklaces add a personal wow factor to a traditional suit dress. Fill in the space that a swooping neckline opens up with an attention-grabbing string of beads, but keep your neck free of gems when a top has built-in glitz.
Mix your classic pieces to make the most of your wardrobe. For example, break up a formal suit and sport the jacket with a tee, jeans and heels or wear the trousers with a casual coat, blouse and stilettos.