“Wear your leather J-Brand skinnies today!” the Angel on your shoulder croons soothingly in your right ear. “Everyone’s wearing them, even Cara Delevingne and Julie Sariñara! What more convincing do you need?
“No! What are you thinking?” the Devil on your left shoulder shouts menacingly. “You’re tired, you need comfort. Succumb to the yoga pants. Don’t let Lululemon down!”
“Leggings? Again? But you wore those yesterday! And the day before! Come on, put some effort in! Don’t make the wrong choice.” the Angel tries desperately to persuade you.
However, the Devil always seems to win your heart. “Comfort over compliments! Who cares if the leather gives you instant sex appeal and a badass vibe? They can never compete with the feeling of luxurious spandex squeezing your limbs to the point of no return! Anyone with a penis goes wild for leggings! You have nothing to lose.”
Welcome to the daily mental debate of women everywhere. Whether it’s your (sexy? slumpy? sassy? studious?) Sunday loungewear, grandma’s eightieth birthday party attire, weekend brunch with the parental units of your significant other sundresses, or the daily school-day getup in question, we’ve all struggled with the choice of whether to try or not to try. It seems as if the majority of the population that houses a vagina between their left and right legs feels as if defining their personal aesthetic with fashion choices that highlight their personality and style is a fatal waste of time. So we clad ourselves in the notoriously heinous North Face jacket + Lululemon leggings + color-coordinating UGG boots combination and call it stylish. I, too, am a victim of stooping to this melancholy level. Fortunately, anyone will access to the internet will witness that wearing an ensemble (if it even deserves to be called that) of that degree will never land you on Tommy Ton’s drool-worthy blog. If that’s not enough motivation to force you to explore the depths of your wardrobe, let’s get down to business—dressing to impress does not and will not take much effort if you determine what your staples are.
No, I do not mean the impaling half-rectangles of metal that litter your desk. I’m talking about your key pieces that make the array of clothes you hazardously threw onto your body an outfit. Your wardrobe, closet, and conscience cannot function without staples. Not basics (your wardrobe is a direct representation of who you are and what you stand for, so it should be far from basic) but staples: key pieces that serve as the ice cream in your delectable ice cream sundae of an ensemble.
Coming from a girl who frequents shopping malls and swipes her credit cards at the same frequency as someone breathing, having items in my closet that I continually go back to seem a bit erratic and bizarre. But it’s true! Ask anyone – I may constantly be updating my wardrobe with the freshest department, thrift, and vintage finds, but there are about eight beloved items in my closet that I keep in heavy rotation.
When I bought said items, they didn’t seem necessarily exquisite or unique; why should they? In my eyes, your staples should be pieces that set the stage for the main focus of your outfit; they should be impeccably made with a direct aesthetic that can be virtually altered depending on whatever else you pair it with.
That’s why today – not tomorrow, not in a few hours, but right this instant – you’re going to find your staples. No, no, this isn’t an immediate excuse to grab your/your significant others’/your parents’/your boss’ credit cards and rush to the nearest Neiman Marcus (but if you insist, let me join you!). Instead, it’s time to look at your clothes, at yourself, and at your style…after you take a peek at mine.
My staples include eight of my most treasured items of clothing that no matter how many times my peers ask me “Didn’t you wear that shirt a few days ago?” I will keep on wearing with pride. And why shouldn’t I? The goal is to dress for yourself, so if you love wearing corduroy Capris with ladybug-printed blouses, keep on doin’ you. Until someone calls Stacey and Clinton and you’re on the next episode of What Not to Wear, that is.
- Statement Necklaces: What I would do to own at least one DANNIJO necklace…the stunning designing duo Danielle and Jodie Snyder never cease to amaze the general public with their exquisite jewels. While I may not suffice the funds to sport their kick-ass gems, this brand epitomizes statement jewelry: eye-catching, ostentatious, and obviously outfit perfecting. For a more wallet-pleasing but still flashy options, ASOS really makes the magic happen. A simple outfit of black jeans and a tank top can be entirely transformed with some major bling, so take it from me (and the Man Repeller) and layer, layer, layer! The possibilities are truly endless.
- Unconventional Shorts: Not only should your shorts be long enough to diminish assumptions that you forwent the shorts entirely and are merely wearing underwear, but they should make you look fantasstic. I usually take the more obscure route and love to rock what my peers like to call the “Napkin Skort,” which is actually a gorgeous and fundamental skort from Zara with a geometric and architectural aesthetic. Yes, yes, I wear it at least twice a week, no matter the weather… STAPLES ARE STAPLES FOR A REASON! The more you wear it, the more creative you can get with your pairings. Point being, it’s inevitable that you invest in a killer pair of shorts that not only flatter your body type but flatter your personality, as well. Some girls wear short shorts and some girls wear high-waisted shorts, but I will always be the girl that prefers this skort.
- Soft Separates: I am often, unfortunately, blinded by the brand and favor the veeeeeeeery expensive designer shit over the cheaper, knock-off duds. However, one brand that never ceases to swallow me in a sea of happiness is T by Alexander Wang. If you’re going to splurge on anything, commit this mantra to memory: Alexander Wang knows best. His simple yet luxurious t-shirts, dresses, tanks, and more featured in this envious collection are wardrobe musts and the perfect staples for any individual. My favorite piece…low and behold…is a phenomenal black dress. Why would anyone shell out ninety bucks on a boring, black dress, you ask? Don’t lie, I know you’re thinking it. But let me answer you blatantly: WHY NOT? Wang’s Classic Boatneck Dress (With Pocket, must I add) is the most versatile item in my closet: worn as a dress, it is understatedly sexy; tucked into a skirt/pants/shorts, it functions as the perfect black t-shirt; tied up as a crop, it transforms into an edgy surprise. Literally, if you don’t at least look at this godsend or scout the World Wide Web to find a more wallet-pleasing option, you’re insane. On the other hand, if you’re grabbing your wallet and buying this living dream right now, you are my new best friend. And let me say, you’re welcome.
- Leather Jackets: Aight, if you haven’t caught on already, I am not a pretty-in-pink kind of girl. My closet, let alone any outfit, would not be complete without my coveted leather jacket. As I lay here, dreaming of owning a coveted Balenciaga, Diesel, and/or 3.1 Phillip Lim beauty, I am quite content with my badass (and much more wallet-friendly) Trouvé leather jacket. You literally cannot go wrong with any leather (unless you’re, say, Miley), so splurge on nicer brands in classic shapes so your jacket will never go out of style. Toss it on over a gown, bathing suit, or even your workout gear and your look will be elevated by a minimum 120%. I promise.
- Wedge Sneakers: Standing at a mere five-foot-two, occasionally five-foot-three, I need all the height I can get. So when wedge sneakers became the iconic footwear for everyone, everywhere, I caved. How could I resist sneakers (my all-time footwear of choice) that could miraculously make me grow at least two more inches, if only for a day? I eased into this staple with a pair of stellar Jeffery Campbell’s, utilizing their unique cutouts and muted red color to spice up all my sporty outfits. However, change is always needed, and as of a few weeks ago, I upgraded to a pair of cult favorite Isabel Marant wedge sneakers (for a whopping sixty percent off the original price, awwwh yeah!). I have most definitely lusted after these beauties since their debut, and now my French babies (yes, they are my babies; I love them that much) will never be leaving my feet. Dreams really do come true!
- Nike Sneakers: Here comes another pair of sneakers! From kickboxing to dinner parties, these bad boys are probably one of my most versatile staples. And why shouldn’t they be? Nike kicks aren’t just for the gym anymore; this iconic brand is popping up on the feet of the world’s most sought-after style stars, from Leandra Medine to Mira Dumoslava. Obviously I have followed suit and have even surprised myself with how powerful they truly are. My beloved black Nike 5.0’s continually add an inexplicable edge to whatever I am wearing, from floral-printed silk pants to an itty-bitty skater skirt to the aforementioned “Napkin Skort.” And now, with my brand new leopard-spotted Nike’s, I won’t be giving up on this sporty-chic look any time soon. And neither should you! Grab those sneaks out of your workout bag and Make. Them. Work.
- Leather Booties: More footwear, yaaaay! But truly, the staples you clothe your feet in are just as important as the staples you clothe your breasts pair of ample (or not-so-ample) mountains of tissue in. When sneakers do not suffice, I am a sucker of for an edgy pair of leather booties. Boots and booties are vastly different items and this must be highly understood; for short specimens such as I, boots seem to visually shorten your body by cutting your legs off at the mid-calf, knee, or even thigh. When this problem is posed, we can thankfully turn to booties to save us from a pit of never-ending despair. Ending at juuuust above the ankle, sporting a small heel, and complemented by edgy adornments, these Sam Edelman leather booties are a(n inexpensive!) no-fail. They’re newcomers to my closet, and they will not be going anywhere anytime soon.
- Leather-look Jeans: I am a sucker for all things leather: We’ve got a leather jacket, leather booties, and now leather-look jeans…you can get the point. When I went on the hunt for unique jeans to update my pants collection for this fall, I couldn’t resist this pair of Habitual jeans. YES, they’re jeans! Leather pants sell for a steep price that is extremely unattainable for most mortals, so their lustful beauty can be imitated by leather-look pants. Miracles happen!
Isabel Marant sneaker image courtesy of es.aliexpress.com; all other images courtesy of respective links.