I’ve been asked a lot recently about my opinion regarding the wardrobe essentials or “staples” that I feel every woman should have. I received the first request last week when my cousin who is a 20 something new mother sent me a message via Facebook frantically requesting my advice. The other request came from Jennifer Keitt of Kiss 104.1 in Atlanta. Tune in this Sunday between 7:00-8:00 p.m to find out what we discussed about the importance of image in the workplace and the top 5 essential for women and men.

I’ll discuss my relatives dilemma today. Like many new moms and working women in general she had reached a crossroads and felt like nothing worked anymore and frustration was setting in. She was even contemplating throwing out her entire wardrobe and starting over. If I had a nickle for everytime my clients expressed these sentiments to me this blog would be titled “The Fashion Savy Nicklenairre”. Be it new motherhood, holiday weight gain, mid-life change, recent divorce or just a flat out rut, women and men often find themselves at this place and BEYOND.

Well, after I talked my cousin out of throwing everything away I suggested the following:

1. KNOW that this feeling too, shall pass. Having a new baby is a wonderful accomplishment and you must give mother nature time to let things fall back into place mentally and physically. Not to mention she’s a bombshell and actually has a great fashion sense. Sometimes you just need a little motivation and guidance in the right direction.

2. TRUST that you have made some good fashion decisions in the past and we can find some staple pieces to add to your new wardrobe.

3. CONSIDER  your personality and body type.

4. BUY  pieces that can easily be integrated for different occasions and worn several different ways (clusters/capsules). When you buy “outfits” they tend to get clumped together and become useless. Everything should be functional and interchangeable.

Given the fact that I already know her personally I then suggested 10 essential based upon her age, body type, color analysis, and lifestyle. I feel a detailed assessment is always the best starting place even when suggesting essentials. Everything is NOT for everyone nor every body type. For example, the peplum is going to be huge next season, but if you’re familiar you know this style can easily add 2-3 inches to your hips.

Michelle’s Top 10 Essentials

Age: Late 20’s

Body Type: Full Hourglass (36-24-36) aka: Boomkack 🙂

Style: Sexy Chic

Color Analysis: Cool/deep (looks good in most colors various seasons)

Personality/Lifestyle: Sexy young mom, wife, Texas chic, foody and occasional socialite

1.Riding boot (Tory Burch, Coach, Frye, Sam Edelman, etc.). I don’t normally prefer a 3″ heel on my comfy boot, but again this was customized for Michelle who is shorter than I am, loves heels, and is a southern Texas gal who loves cowboy boots. The second riding boot is more my speed, but I actually love both for her. The first one will give Michelle a hint of cowgirl without being ridiculous and apparent. The second gives her a slightly sleeker edge along with comfort and style that’s less casual. They are both winners.

Knee High Casual Boot: Dolce Vita
Tall riding boot: Tory Burch

2. Ankle boot with nice heel and a little edge

Suede Ankle Boot: Dolce Vita

3. Classic pump: The peep toe pump is a classic and mesh is trending in 2012. Both of these would be great lasting additions to her wardrobe while staying current and fresh.

Peep Toe Sling Back Pump: Giuseppe Zanotti
Pump with Mesh Trim

4. Premium denim and jeggings (hourglass): Michelle is a fit hourglass and can wear a variety of styles without many issues. She is voluptuous and therefore gaping in the waist at the back is often an issue. J Brand is known for hugging the hips and curves in the right way (sister friendly). The flare has a higher rise and Michelle has a small waist therefore these may actually have to be tailored. If you love everything about a piece of clothing except for that one little thing I say invest in a great tailor and make it yours.

Skinny Jean: J Brand
Wide Leg Flare: 7 For All Mankind

I wouldn’t suggest this style for everyone, but they are great if you have a smaller waist and larger bust. The optical illusion of width on the lower half balances out the top portion. Michelle is curvy on top and bottom, but can pull these off because of her small waist and medium height. I woud not suggest this style for a woman under 5’5″ unless they were tailored, her trunk was longer than her torso, or the heels were 4″ or higher. Flares dragging the ground is not cute when you’r e 5’2″ tall.

5. Structured Pencil skirt: When you are a curvier woman structured fabrics such as wool are often more forgiving than cottons or jersey matte. Loose fabricks tend to lack shape and lets face it, they aren’t very flattering. Clinging and laying close to cellulite is NOT hot. At the knee is also a great length because it adds sophistication without loosing height by hiding too much of your lower half.

Wool Pencil Skirt: Marc Jacobs
The Abstract pencil skirt: Sachin+Bobby

Side bar: Quick case study

I’m sure you’re all familiar with these two characters from Love and Hip Hop. This is an example of two petite (probably under 5″4′) women who are wearing pencil styled skirts in the wrong and right ways. The key to rocking a pencil skirt properly is fit, length, and the shoe style.

-Fit must hug your curves while flattering the rear and legs.

-Length must be at the knee or sligthly above to show that you are sexy, but still a lady

-Shoe should be chosen according to the style of the skirt but mainly because of it’s ability to flatter the little bit of leg that you have showing. Case in point: If you are wearing a skirt that comes to your knee and you’re petite chances are you only have a small bit of leg left showing. If you put a shoe boot or ankle boot on with this look it could go wrong really quick and create the appearance of you standing in a bucket.

Let’s observe:


Chrissy is clearly several inches shorter than Olivia, but her choice in Louboutin pump (that $6000 pair Jimmy was complaining about) with a hidden platform and just above the knee skirt length gives the illusion that she is actually taller and therefore her look is much more figure flattering and stylish.  Overall I love Chrissy’s style sense. She knows who she is and can walk in a pair of 6″ heels with ease. That Lavender Herve Leger dress with the unflattering breast spillage is the only item that I absolutely disagreed with this season. A flattering FIT is more important than expensive brand name.

***Style Secret: Wearing a nude pump with a hidden platform  actually can give the illusion of a lengthened leg, tighter stomach and overall slimmer body shape.***

Lord NO!

This is just WRONG, and normally I agree with a majority of Olivia’s style choices. The skirt length is well below her knee cutting off much of her upper and lower half. Adding insult to injury “they” (whoever helped shop/co-sign for this look) have thrown a pair of HIGH-top ankle boots with an old LouBou (circa 2007) buckle details and modest heel on her feet. This all puts her deeper into a BUCKET of shame. I’m not going to address the OVER-accesorizing that is taking place up top. That’s for another post. Just remember LESS is more sometimes.

6. Cool accessories (bangles,necklaces, oversized men’s watch, etc)

Gold Bangles: Tory Burch
Blue Leather Strap Bracelet: Tory Burch
The oversized man’s watch

Personally I like to mix things up and layer, but some people prefer one style or the other for a more refined look. It’s all about doing what you FEEL best represents your style in a unique yet sensible manner. Michelle can easily transition these from day to night. You could add more metals, beads, or straps.

7. A great handbag: I really love Kate Spades line of handbags this year. They are affordable yet well crafted, classic and chic. These are just a few examples of classic and statement bags that can transition from work to play. The statement bags are often splurge items and should be purchased after the classic staples are acquired because they are sometimes trendier and may give you less value from a cost-per- wear perspective (another post topic).

Kate Spade Bowling Bag
Kate Spade: Portola Valley Blaine bag in ostrich embossed cowhide
All hail the Queen: Alexander McQueen studded tote              
Alexander Wang large tote

8. Leather jacket with a slim cut: Jackets should flatter your curves or lack thereof by cinching the waist and creating feminine lines. Stay away from the boxy boy cuts unless that is your goal….to look like a boxy boy. Feel free to add a slim colorful belt of your own if your jacket has belt loops!

Andrew Marc waxed motorcycle jacket: I’d buy black first then brown.
Elizabeth & James Green Leather Jacket with belt accent. This is another splurge item  because of the color and price.

9. Fitted black blazer: This piece can be worn with leggings, jeans, slacks or the pencil skirt. Tuxedo blazers are a cool way to stay current yet timeless. BCBG always has a great selection.

BCBG black blazer with leather sleeve
BCBG blazer with cut out detail

10. Black wide leg slacks (4 season fabric):

Ann Taylor black Fem Curvy trouser: Fitted in waist with  more room in hip and thighs

I chose this style specifically for Michelle’s profile. Depending on your body type you may find that other styles are more flattering. In general you can’t go wrong with an all seasons straight leg slack. Michelle is curvy so I chose a style that would hug her curves and accent them in the right areas.

I hope you all enjoy this style analysis teaser which is similar to the one that I give my clients. I’ve always approached styling in a holistic yet light hearted manner because it’s not just about the clothes, its about how you feel, having fun, being educated and being who you are. Until next time!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *