- The Little Black Dress (LBD) - Legend tells us that Coco Chanel created the first LBD, however long before Coco Chanel debuted her version, women everywhere had found the versatile, comfortable and practical garment to be a must-have. Every woman needs a flattering version of the Little Black Dress hanging in her closet. It makes you look endlessly elegant. It never competes with you but always lets you shine. You can dress it up or dress it down. And let's not forget the slimming effect.
- A classic, tailored, White Shirt - The white shirt has been called the key to American style. It's the perfect pairing with your 9 to 5 business suit or your favorite jeans. It's simple. It's chic. It's forever practical and unpretentious. When I was working in the corporate world my favorite office attire was a classic white shirt, pearl choker, navy or black trousers and any one of my MANY jackets. It's effortless. Now that I'm out of the corporate arena, the white shirt and a classic cut jean or kahki pants is my go-to wardrobe.
- Cashmere cardigan or sweater - There is nothing more luxe than donning cashmere. No matter the weather, cashmere can be worn for any kind of occasion. I used to wonder what all the fuss was about but the first time I slipped on a cashmere sweater, I was hooked. Try a cashmere cardigan in a neutral shade over a dress, a tee, a button-down, or wear it alone. A turtle neck or sweater is great with jeans, skirts or pants.
- Trench Coat - preferrably Tan. Trench coats are the best. The add instant mystery and go with almost everything. If you need to dash out and the rain is pouring down, a classic trench coat will keep you dry as well as looking stylish. Even if you live in a warmer climate, having a trench coat in a lightweight fabric is a must. Designer Michael Kors is quoted as saying, "Put on a trench, you're suddently Audrey Hepburn walking along the Seine."
- Dark Washed Denim Jeans - It has been said that jeans are the most perfect clothing item ever invented. The majority of Americans own between 4-6 pairs of jeans! They are practical, simple, stylish and elegant. Finding a cut and style that flatters you is worth a day in the mall and the hassels of the dressing room. A dark wash is your best bet. They can go from the office to dinner out, from Saturday at home to a shopping trip with your BFF. Any outfit built around the jean seems more relaxed, more practical and unassuming than it would feel if you substituted black trousers for the jean.
- A classic Men's-style Watch - Women's watches are rather trendy and tend to change often but the allure of a classic men's-style watch will never dim. There's just something timeless about a classic, round-face, wrist watch. (No pun intended.) Seeing a man's watch on the elegant wrist of a women is ultra flattering. Finding a style that looks good can be a little bit of a search so I recommend going for a style with a classic leather strap.
- Diamonds - okay, quality fakes will do if your budget does not allow you to splurge at this time. You just can't go wrong with diamonds. A simply elegant pair of stud earrings or a classic tennis bracelet is perfect for anytime, day or night. No matter the season, diamonds are appropriate for both casual and dressy attire.
- Flats - Now, let me start by saying that EVEN if you are on the short side (like me), there will come a time when you MUST give your heels the boot for practicality. Thank God those times are few and far between for this 5 foot, nothing girl. Nothing looks more ridiculous than a girl trying to wear high-heels on terrain that is best navigated in flats. Find yourself a stylish pair that with go with your favorite jeans, pants and skirts and wear them with pride!
- A classic high-heel pump or sling-back - my choice is a classic black. It's the go-to shoe. I wear mine with suits, my LBD, flared jeans and trousers. I would be lost without my black sling-back. If you are short, I recommend opting for a sling-back instead of a closed in pump. Trust me - it will make your legs look longer. I also recommend buying two or even three pair if you find a style that feels great on your feet and flatters your foot. Remember, classics never go out of style and this one basic will be used over and over again!
- A GREAT Bag - Okay, I will admit it. My name is Alisa and I'm a Purse-aholic! Okay, enough said. The BAG - it's the one wardrobe piece where you can have fun. Lots and lots of fun! But just like the classic high-heel pump, a stylish lady needs three great bags that will carry her through every occasion. They are a Tote or Shoulder Bag. A Clutch. A medium-sized Handbag maybe one with a chain-link strap. The tote is for daytime and will carry almost everything. The clutch is for nighttime and will carry almost nothing. The handbag falls somewhere in between. Did you know that the handbag only became a female accessory at the beginning of the 1900s? Before then, only men carried a purse. Once ladies began to venture out on their own, the handbag became a symbol of independence.
When building the foundation of your wardrobe, the key to buying these pieces are to buy as "classic" as possible - nothing to bright, trendy or embellished. You can find these 10 items in all price ranges and qualities. Buy the best you can afford as these items will compose your blank canvas for years to come.
Until I see you again,