21 Closet Essentials You MUST Have Before You Turn 21
As the seasons change, and our wardrobe transitions, you know there is a closet cleaning in the near future. When you sit down to dig out all of your sweaters and boots, make a checklist with these 21 closet essentials you have no excuse not to have by the age of 21.
If you think about it, our wardrobes are a lot like our nutrition...it's a balance of variety, portion control and moderation, isn't it? You want to load up on a variety of all your basics, keep your portions of prints, patterns, brights and current trends in check, and indulge in some fancy things. The trends of the seasons will come and go (and repeat every 3 years or so), but the basics are the staples of your closet. As long as you have these important building blocks it should make getting dressed and trying new trends much easier.
1. A Nude Bra:Frilly, neon, lace, and printed bras are super cute and tons of fun to pick out, but how many times have you looked at the picture when you're wearing your cute black t-shirt and it looks see through right to your (now) embarrassing polkadot bra!? You're probably thinking 'well, I already have a nude bra'...but is it your skin-tone? Sometimes a nude bra that is too light for your skin-tone can act as a white bra in those frustrating bra photo-bombs. So, the next time you have a Victoria's Secret discount coupon, get your bootie to the mall and get a real nude bra...and pick up a nude no-show pantie too!
2. Your Plain White Tee:I am shocked if you don't already have a go-to white tee. These are the staple of staple garments to have because you wear it all the time. It doesn't get more classic than this...wear it with skirts, jeans, under sweaters, with a long gold necklace, I mean you'll really wear this all the time! Make sure to try the ones you have on, because you don't want it to be too tight...or too frumpy looking. A soft, relaxed fit that skims over your body (rather than clinging) is ideal. I'd stock up on a few different kinds - v-neck, scoop neck, crew neck, etc.
3. Skin-Tone Cami:There are just those shirts that are a little too see through to rock a nude bra under and still be appropriate for the office or out to dinner. Having a cami that matches your skin-tone is something you'll only have to buy once and you'll never get rid of...I mean I bought mine at BP in like 7th grade and I could never live without it!
4. Black Tank:A white tank is just as important as a nude cami, but for a more dressy look, try wearing a black tank with that skirt or under that jacket.
5. Simple White Button Down:While you will probably need one of those stiff, business button downs, I am talking about a more casual one, fitted and feminine looking one. A white button down with a long gold necklace, jeans and a fedora is a simple easy way to throw on a chic casual outfit perfect for errands or lunch! I love my James Perse button down, because it is super flattering, soft and is not heavy or bulky. I actually have this shirt in a bunch of colors because of how flattering they are...makes your waist look tiny!
6. Crew Neck Sweater:Now that the weather is getting chilly, this will be your favorite laying piece. Whether it is luxurious cashmere, knitted, or a simple soft cotton, you'll quickly find how versatile it is. Look for a muted grey, tan, cream, or black to keep it timeless and in your closet forever. Layer it over a button down for work, or on top of a colorful flannel with an embellished headband for a perfect fall outfit.
7. Black Cardigan:This staple is simple, timeless, and effortlessly chic anytime, anywhere! From thin cashmere to durable cotton, you'll be rocking this with leggings, jeans, dresses and skirts. Super easy to dress it up for dinner, dress down for lounging around, or keep yourself warm from the over-air-conditioned office. I actually have 3 of them in my closet I have accumulated over the years - a classic black one, thicker black one, and a thinner long one (that covers my butt) for leggings. While you're in the cardigan section, check out your white/creams, prints, and styles too!
8. Jean Jacket:I will admit...my jean jacket is literally from 8th grade! There were a few years in high school that it went untouched, but it definitely came to college with me and hasn't been neglected since! Just like your favorite pair of jeans, you can wear it with anything...anytime...anywhere. It's just the perfect layering piece for breezy summer nights, cool autumn days, and adorable over sweatshirts and flannels in the winter.
9. Moto Jacket:There are always frugal options for all of these wardrobe staples, but it's okay to splurge on a nice black leather jacket...can be faux (or if you want to really drop some mullah) opt for real leather. Either way, it's another essential layering piece, because it has the style power to add edginess to even the girliest of outfits. Especially now, it's a great way to make a summer dress fall-ready or just rock with a plain tee, jeans and some rad booties! **If you ever spot a white leather jacket, get it! I found one a few years ago and I think I wear it more than my black one!
10. Black Blazer:Trust me, finding a perfectly fitted black blazer is a must! You'll wear it for internships, interviews, presentations, to the office, to happy hour, or out to the movies. Just like any of the other staple jackets, it's a perfect layering piece for any season and any occasion. There's just something about pair of dark skinny jeans, plain white tee and heels (or booties...or even flats! I just love this look!). It's also great to layer over a dress to make it a little more profesh.
11. A Chambray Shirt:Sometimes a jean jacket is a little too heavy, but you still want that denim component in your look. There are so many ways to wear them too! Perfect alone, over a tank, or layered with sweaters or vests (like this Groove Girl look). While you're looking, I'd grab a dark and light style and make sure it fits just right...not too tight that you can't button or layer it, but not too loose that it looks frumpy when unbuttoned.
12. Black Leggings:I feel like I don't need to even say that you need a pair of these, as you probably already have 3. I have a pair of cotton ones, spanks/spandex type, thicker yoga ones, jeggings, pleather and a even fleece lined pair. Dress them up with a long loose top, under a dress, or get cozy at work with an oversized sweater and some boots. These aren't just for the gym anymore!
13. Trusty Dark Skinnies:Maybe one of the most important elements for the perfect wardrobe, a good ultra-flattering pair of skinny or straight legged jeans is a must have! Be sure to choose a darker style to ensure versatility. Light jeans are cute and casual, but darker jeans can be dressed up or down. Try to keep it simple with no embellishments (or flapped pockets...can you say ouch for sitting on those buttons) to keep them classic and timeless.
If you don't know that a little black dress is a necessity by now...you must not know girl code. I don't know what else to say other than keep it simple and classic for a flattering dress to take you from work to play...just switch up the accessories. Shy away from the tight, short, Vegas ones to get the most out of it.
15. Printed Dress:A printed dress can work in the office, at brunch, on a date, or class...but be careful. Don't let the pattern overpower you or your outfit. It's totally fine to get those fun crazy ones, but for your perfect wardrobe foundation, be sure to find one where the colors are simple...like a black and white, black and tan, pastels, or one color family.
16. Party Dress:This is one of those indulgences that you definitely need, but you probably won't wear all that much. It's easier to save on a fancy dress when you keep it in mind whenever you're shopping in the sales, rather than cramming in a last minute mall run right before the event. Either way, you'll need to have a fancier dress on hand...it can hang out with your LBD!
17. Natural Tote:A tote is one of the perfect sized bags for all occasions. You can fit your laptop in there for a light day of classes, or a comfy pair of flats to have on hand when your pumps start to hurt at work. When I was in NYC you wouldn't believe the amount of women I saw with extremely professional outfits, heels poking out of their totes and flip flops on their feet. Keeping it natural will ensure matching with any outfit for any occasion. Of course a black one isn't bad to have on hand either!
18. Going Out Bag:If there's one thing I absolutely hate when I go out it's having to lug around a giant bag!! I am all about the phone wristlet right now! It's literally the perfect thing...I throw it in my big bag when I goto work, carry it alone when I go out. Of course there are tons of different styles you can get as your go-to going out bag, like a cross-body or clutch, but be sure to get one in black or natural.
19. Scarves:Now that it is fall, if you aren't really digging that statement necklace you put on, or your outfits is just missing something...opt for a scarf! Adding a scarf will instantly make your look more stylish, accessorized and complete. You can put on a bright or printed one to perk up a mundane look, or make your work outfit ready for a movie with the girls. To get the most out of your scarves, be sure to have a variety of lengths, prints, colors and fabrics. Personally, I would include a knitted infinity, a sheer, tasseled, square, long, short, and geometric printed one.
20. Statement Jewelry:The statement necklace has been rumored to be on the outs, but there are just some outfits that need one. I would make sure to have a classic one and stay away from the oversized/neon/multi colored ones. You also need to have a bold cuff on hand to elevate your total look for any occasion. While not necessary, I would keep an eye out for some classy gold/silver bangles too.
21. Everyday Studs:
There's a time and place for dangly earrings, sometimes they work and other times it's just too much. Make sure you have a pair of everyday studs at the ready for a quick and simple outfit improvement. Make sure they are on the smaller size so they are laid-back enough for class or work, but glitzy enough to add a little glam to your dress.
Once you have checked all of these off the list, rest assured that the foundation of your wardrobe will never go out of style and you now have the perfect closet to really rock fun seasonal trends.