Monday, June 7, 2010

Animal Prints: Only One at a Time, Please

“How do you avoid repeating an outfit?” I get asked this question a lot, and each time I have to laugh to myself. Of course I wear the same things twice! I frequently repeat pieces, but have found that it’s all about how they are worn—staples, and not the ones in your desk drawer, are the keys to an ever-revolving closet. 

Staples are things you constantly reach for when getting dressed for work, play, and/or special events. (Some refer to these as “basics.”) Staples are items you continuously purchase when the previous piece fizzles out. Here are some key staples you should always have in your closet:

Black Pants 

A pair of black pants in wool or wool blend is a necessary item for every woman’s closet. I live in mine and own a few pairs. I’m a firm believer in purchasing two of the same fit—you can trade off the days you wear them while saving on dry cleaning costs. Black pants are like a blank canvas. They compliment almost everything you pair with them. A crisp, white button-down; neutral shells and colorful cardigans; vivid silk blouses; and tailored jackets in contrasting colors are all pieces that go well with black pants.

White Blouse

A white blouse is so versatile. It is usually associated with conservative looks, especially when paired with a suit. But, if you wear it with your black pants and a colorful cardigan, jeans and a belt wrapped around the waist, or alone with jazzed up jewelry it breaks away from the traditional, white-collared look. Make sure you get one in a cotton stretch blend; this will keep it from stretching out, which makes the blouse appear larger as the day goes on. 


If you work in a business environment that allows Jeans Day on Fridays, then you know jeans now make up 50 percent of your yearly wardrobe. Finding the right pair of jeans is difficult, but once you’ve found it, those jeans will be your best friend.

 You read all the time about finding the right jeans for your body type. Want to make your rear appear rounder? Get a pair with large back pockets. Want to slenderize your hips? Get a curvy-cut pair that allow for room in the hips and thighs.

Get the picture? Once you’ve found the right pair, make sure you not only get more than one, but make sure they are in dark denim. Dark denim will make your legs appear thinner and longer, and will lean toward the dressy spectrum. I tend to purchase a straight leg jean; they aren’t cut as slim as the skinny jean trend, but are a little more tapered than a boot cut. They’re great with heels, flats, and sandals for summer. 

Jeans can be paired with almost anything in your closet. A sleek, dressy top is great for date night or a night out with the girls. For work, pair jeans with a cute top and either a neutral cardigan or a blazer. Remove the blazer and you’re ready for happy hour with coworkers.

Animal Print

With animal print, a little goes a long way. If you’re wearing jeans or pants, pair them with a cute animal print top. Wear your white blouse and wrap a cute animal print belt around your waist. Take jeans and a cute black top and pair them with a fun, animal print shoe. Just one print, please! No need to look like Georgina of the Jungle.

The Little Black Dress

The Little Black Dress (LBD) is the most essential piece of clothing for any girl’s closet. A simple black dress of either wool or cotton blends can be worn to almost any occasion. After wowing a potential employer in a suit, wear your LBD on a second interview with a fun heel and delicate jewelry. Wear it to dinner with pearls. It’s perfect for the office with a colorful shoe and funky jewels to add a little edge. It can also be worn to a wedding with that special jeweled pendant at the waist.

If you are going to a cocktail party, lean toward an LBD made of silk; the fabric is bit dressier for the occasion. And save those jeweled encrusted heels for those events as well; they are a little too dressy for work.

Again, staples, in my opinion, are the key to the ever-revolving wardrobe.  While writing this post, I created outfits as examples and have several options to choose from when planning my wardrobe this week!  You can do the same thing.  Experiment! Pull out the contents of your dresser drawers and closets and go for it!

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